Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tips to ensure a painless blog tour

Tips to ensure a painless blog tour
By Natalie-Nicole Bates

Nearly two years ago, I had no idea what a blog tour was. I had signed two contracts in the space of one week, one for my short story Antique Charming, the other for my contemporary romance, Change of Address. I was caught up in the exuberance at the thought of finally being published. I had a blog designed, and started looking at promotion.

This is when I found out about the relatively new concept of a blog tour. Simply put, a blog tour is an organized selection of blogs that an author will visit and promote her books. The blog tour may be organized by a promotion company, or for the more ambitious author, may be organized by the author herself.
For the sake of this writing, I’m going to concentrate on blog tours arranged by a promotional company.

So, where do you begin?

My advice is to thoroughly research each company who offers blog tours and find out which will offer you the closest to what you are hoping to accomplish. Do internet searches, take advice from the experiences of other authors, and most important—ASK QUESTIONS before you commit to a tour. Does the tour company cater to your specific genre? Do they have bloggers with a wide range of readers or are they more genre-specific? By asking questions up front, you will be much happier in the end.

When do you begin?

Most blog tour companies need as much notice as possible to arrange the best bloggers for your tour. In a perfect world, we would love to have our blog tours begin the same day our book is released, but this is not always realistic. Currently, an 8-12 week lead in time is not unrealistic.

You will need to provide up front your cover art, your links, a blurb, an EDITED excerpt, your bio, and an EDITED pdf of your book if you are requesting reviews.

A word here about edited excerpts. ALWAYS wait until you have your final edits from your editor before submitting excerpts, or you have the publisher’s permission.

Be Realistic

Before you book a tour, be realistic with what you want to accomplish. Like me, you have a life outside of writing. Perhaps you have a partner, children, and quite possibly a job and hobbies. A blog tour is a commitment. 
How long do you want to tour? A short story or short novella requires usually a week –long tour, a novella, two weeks. Tours can last one month, or even longer.

Do you like to write guest posts? Guest posts done right can be time consuming. If you do a month long tour, can you realistically write maybe twenty guest posts that are relatively unique and relevant? Do you like to do interviews? What about reviews? Will you be offering any giveaways?

Be honest with yourself about what you can handle. Be up front with the person arranging your tour. They will help you to tailor your tour to fit your needs.

A quick word here about reviews. Reviewing is a subjective business. We love our writing like our children and it hurts us deeply when we get a bad review. I know it’s been said that you need to develop a thick skin in this business, and it’s true. My attitude is, If you like my work, great. If you don’t, keep walking. There are simply things in this life that we cannot control, and the reviews we receive are among these. My advice is to bite your lower lip and thank the reviewer for their time. NEVER react to bad reviews. It’s not worth your time or reputation. This is just one person’s opinion, and they are entitled to that opinion. If you feel you're being unfairly bashed, contact the tour arranger and let her act on your behalf.

So now, we have our materials, our dates selected, we’ve toughened up emotionally, and are ready to start our tour. 

Now what?

Have fun! This is a joyous occasion in your life! People are talking about YOUR book, and YOU are the star of your blog tour!

Each day of your tour, visit the blog who is hosting you. If you do not see your tour there right away, give it some time before you contact the company who arranged your tour. A lot of bloggers host authors each day and need to give each author their fair share of time. Only contact the tour arranger if you don’t see your information after mid-day.

Be gracious and thank the blogger who is hosting you. This is a MUST. She is taking her time to host you, possibly interview or review you, as a courtesy.

Make a comment at the blog. A lot of readers are a bit skittish when it comes to making comments. Be friendly and approachable, and the readers will react to this. If the readers don’t comment, don’t fret! They are still reading the blog! Check back a few times to see if there are any comments you need to respond to.

Promote! Promote! Promote! Let readers know where you are appearing. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and any place that allows promotion.

At the end of your tour I hope you are feeling satisfied with the results. If you’ve experienced any problems, do share them with the company who arranged your tour. Thank them. It is a long process to arrange a tour and coordinate information as well as a wide range of bloggers.

I wish you the best of luck if you are planning a blog tour. I hope some of my tips will be useful on your road to blog tour success.

Natalie-Nicole on the Web

Twitter @BatesNatalie

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Upcoming Release, COME FULL CIRCLE/Natalie-Nicole Bates

I'm thrilled today to share the beautiful new cover art and blurb for my upcoming contemporary romance, COME FULL CIRCLE, available soon from Books To Go Now!

Fifteen years ago, Bethany Minor fled her home town after being left at the alter by Dane Brennan. After the sudden death of her mother, she is forced to return home and face her past.

The years have been hell for Dane, and seeing Bethany again only reopens wounds he long thought closed.

When they realize the flames of their past love never died, Bethany and Dane will need to confess all before they can have a chance to reclaim their life that once should have been.

But when the truth of the past is finally revealed, will they still stand as a couple?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Misadventures in Crafting Part 1: Buried Alive

Hello J My name is Tara Fox Hall and you’ve seen me on these pages before as a guest from time to time. I’ve been invited to be a regular contributor to Moonlight Romance Authors by the very kind Regina Paul. So to begin my first regular blogging journey, I’m here to talk about the fact I’m being buried alive in yarn.

How did it happen? Well…a relative, now deceased, was a yarn hoarder. When I learned that there was some yarn from the estate that no one wanted, I jumped at the chance to get some. I like to make simple knitted scarves each year—meaning 3-4 usually—to send to Native American reservations out West that have very frigid winters and not very many resources. A box of yarn would be welcome, and would mean money I could save to help promote my books (wink!).

It was only when I got the first delivery of yarn that I understood the magnitude of what I had signed up for. There was not a box of yarn with a few leftover skeins. There was not two…or three…or five. There were many, many boxes all FULL of untouched skeins of yarn! (Untouched by humans, that is…because little furry opportunists had been hard at work in some of the boxes making nests…ensuring that some entire boxes needed to be washed).

In short, there is enough yarn to bury me alive, literally.

There are to date also ten projects in various stages of completion I’ve discovered so far…and the yarn to complete them. The problem? These are crochet projects. I only know how to knit (and am a beginner at macramé). There are crochet hooks aplenty in all sizes, too…and something that resembles a jump rope made of wood and plastic that I think might be a yarn winder. (Anyone guess at what this could be?) There is also rug yarn aplenty, some of good heavy quality and some of decent quality, but definitely enough for at least 3 rugs of average size. I know how to latchhook and am experienced in rug design, so the how-to is there…I just need to design very colorful rigs, as there are many, many colors to use up. And all this rug yarn is uncut…so just the cutting will take significant time.

I’ve just had my second shipment and await a third in the next few days. All yarn needing washing so far has been processed (Thank God for washing machines, old pillowcases, and my relative’s love for acrylic…with  slight curse for this relative’s bizarre need to roll entire skeins into balls, which then all unravel and tangle together!). I do have to untangle the mess and reroll the balls washed yesterday, but I am keeping ahead of the shipments so far. With luck, I likely will continue to do so. It’s not a magic house; the yarn supply is finite. But once the shipments are all here and clean, what to do with them? Scarves are a certainly, but what else? Here is my possible list. Feel free to make suggestions!

  1. Pile all the yarn together and take a picture for posterity.
  2. Learn to crochet, to finish the projects that are almost done that are pretty (and more than 50% complete).
  3. Sort the rest of the regular yarn, putting bigger lots into piles and deciding on projects.
  4. Cut the rug yarn, to help determine possible patterns
  5. Decide on rug patterns and sizes. (A Promise Me rug?)
  6. Get lattice for latchhooking sufficient for the rugs
  7. Get started!

Join me in the coming months here for updates on my progress…or lack thereof! All support is vastly welcomed!

Blurb:    After learning Theo is alive, Sar immediately embarks on a mission to find him. Reunited, the lovers return to New York; Danial, Terian and Theo uneasily combining forces to protect Sar from Al’s assassins still seeking her. But when Sar is taken prisoner in an all-out attack, only one man can save her: her old adversary, Devlin.

Buy Links:
Melange/lulu link for Print, PDF and HTML copies: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/takenforhisown.html
Barnes and Noble.com: 
I cried a few tears, turned out the light and let my mind drift. Just as I was falling asleep, I remembered the potion. Terian had said the potion would recreate the dream with Theo, but that when it ended, the dream would fade from memory.
I needed to put my feelings for Theo to rest and let him get on with his life. It was time to be done with dreams and get back to reality.
I turned the light back on and got up, rummaging around in my duffel bag. I found it and spent a few minutes removing the vial from the bubble wrap I’d taped around it for safekeeping. I uncorked the top and drank. The taste was bitter. This was it, the end of him and me. I packed the empty potion vial for Terian for reuse, then lay down. I drifted in a sleep-sort of fog and finally begin to dream.
It was my home, my farm. Again, I stood there, calling out to Theo to wait, not to leave.
Again, he stood motionless at the door for a second and then he turned to me, riding me to the floor. Kissing me roughly, as we tore off our clothes as fast as we could.
Every memory came back in full force, sweeping me away in a storm of emotion. It washed away the years with Danial, even everything I felt for Elle and Theoron. There was only Theo and I. We were one.
Theo made love to me again and again. I relished his body next to mine, his muscles holding me, moving me, pleasuring me. Soreness set in as night fell, but I renewed my efforts, knowing that the end was near. As Theo finished and reached for me, I pushed him away.
“Sar?” he said questioningly, his eyes worried, his hand outstretched.
In a few seconds, Danial’s voice would sound. This was it, the end.
In desperation, I shouted, “Theo, I love you, I love you more than anything or anyone. I’ll love you the rest of my life!”
As my words tore out of me, Theo’s body flickered. Suddenly thin scars appeared on his shoulders from a whip, the edges raised and red, then similar scars on his chest. A mass of scar tissue bloomed whitely on his hip.
I lunged for his outstretched hand as he faded before me.
I fell out of the motel room bed, landing on the floor. The room reeked with the odor of lovemaking, the odor of sex.
“God damn it, no!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I’d fucked up badly. I’d forgotten Terian’s words to me the night he’d given me the potion, telling me about the dream it would create for me one last time.
“And he’s not here to renew it with you…”
Terian had said it, thinking as I did that Theo was dead. But Theo wasn’t dead, he was alive. I’d reached out and touched him again with another dream. Moreover, this time, he’d know immediately that what had happened was no regular dream. He’d come looking for me, remembering the scent he’d caught wind of a week ago.
God, I had to get gone as fast as I could!
I threw on some clothes and frantically gathered up my things. There was no time for a shower or food. We had to get moving!
I grabbed up my duffel and ran for the door, my keys in my hand. A footstep sounded outside my door and then the door was kicked open, flying back hard to slam the outer wall.
Theo stood there breathing hard, his eyes dark as a storm. He reeked of sex the way I did.
I hoped for his sake he’d woken up alone.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he said, his voice deep and rough. He slammed the door behind him and locked it.
“Theo, I—”
“You are going nowhere, Sar.” He strode over, anger pouring off him. He grabbed my keys and threw them. My duffel followed. He pushed me to the bed roughly, then covered my body with his own. “You want me so bad, Sar, here I am,” he snarled, his eyes gone yellow. His fingers were claws, digging into my skin.
I closed my eyes, trembling.
He put his hand on the side of my face and gripped my jaw. “Open your eyes,” he said roughly.
I opened them, my vision swimming with tears.
 “Don’t cry, Sar. You wanted this badly enough to send me another dream.”
“I’m sorry—”
He bared his fangs at me in a snarl and roared deafeningly. I shrank back from him as much as possible.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Natalie-Nicole interviews Daniel Tremont from SEE ME

Natalie-Nicole interviews Daniel Tremont from SEE ME

I’m thrilled to send some time with Daniel Tremont, hero of my paranormal romance, SEE ME, available from Leap of Faith Publishing.

NNB: Daniel, it’s rumoured that you have eternal life. Can you tell me how this happened exactly?

DT: A long time ago, 1896, I was the unfortunate victim of a lumber mill fire—I was burned beyond recognition. I don’t really remember much except for waking up on an embalming table with the most beautiful brown eyes staring down at me. That’s only the beginning of it all, though.

NNB: Did you recognize these beautiful brown eyes?

DT: Of course, it was Charlotte Hopkins, daughter of the local undertaker. She was more than just a beautiful pair of brown eyes, she was…magic. What she did for me that day, was love.

NNB: Is it true that you are a Funeral Director?

DT: I have been, and I will be again. I’m much better with the dead than the living.

NNB: So, you’ve been in love with Charlotte all of these years?

DT: I always loved Charlotte—well, she’s Carly now—but it’s far more complicated than you can ever imagine. That day of the fire, I don’t think Charlotte knew of her power, and when she resurrected me, well, she was more than just a little bit spooked. She ran away and I never saw her again for a very, very long time.

NNB: How did you know you would never die?

DT: I knew I was different after the fire, but to what extent I wasn’t sure. I knew I was a healer, but I always tried to convince myself that I never really died in the fire, that I was just very, very ill and imagined everything. When I was forty, I thought I was just lucky. When I was fifty, I sort of knew. All of my friends were aging and I looked the same.

NNB: It must be very difficult to retain friendships when your friends are aging and you’re not.

DT: It’s definitely one of the worst aspects of being eternal. Through no real fault of my own I have to walk away from friendships when people start asking too many questions.

NNB: In the past, have your friends asked one too many questions about your uniqueness?

DT: I live a much regimented life when it comes to dealing with people. There’s too much of a chance of my getting tripped by questions about my past. I’ve learned over the years to basically keep to myself.

NNB: Have you ever resurrected anyone?

DT: Almost…once. You need to understand that I have always loved Charlotte. But I was extremely lonely as well. In the end, I didn’t do it, and I’d prefer not to talk about it. That was a very dark time of my life.

NNB: Understood. What can you tell me about Charlotte, who now goes by the name Carly?

DT: She is the love of my life. I will never be complete until I am with her forever. And it will happen, sooner or later, one way or another.

NNB: You sound very determined, very sure.

DT: What I know, is what I know, that’s all. Until it happens, I’ll do what I must to get by.

NNB: Are there other eternals out there like you and Charlotte?

DT: There’s an eternal named Xander Elliott. He also loves Charlotte, but he’ll never have her. He’s cursed by his former lover, Embree. Embree, by the way, is the eternal who resurrected my Charlotte. I’m sure there are others as well.

NNB: There sounds like there could be more stories in the future involving Xander and Embree.
Many thanks, Daniel, for trusting me enough to share a tiny bit about yourself and your outlook.

To read more about Daniel and Carly, look for SEE ME, available at Leap of FaithPublishing, or visit my blog at: www.natalienicolebates.com

Carly Anders  is hearing voices in her head. Another one of her kind is trying to contact her. She knows of the malevolent freaks—others who are eternal like her and seek out the weak to inflict pain upon. For years, Carly has held up huge protective walls to keep herself and her secrets safe. Now, physically and mentally exhausted, Carly needs protection and rest.

She accepts the invitation to visit an internet friend who needs help appraising a collection of antique photographs.  The situation is not ideal, but Carly hopes a male presence in her life will deter the determined suitor who haunts her thoughts and dreams.

Daniel Tremont is not what Carly is expecting.

The former funeral director has a secret of his own. Not only is he eternal like Carly, he is her creation from all those years before—her abomination she thought she killed.

Daniel has been searching for Carly for years. He knows she is the piece of his life that he has been missing for so long. Now that he has found her, he has no intentions of letting her go.

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Find Natalie-Nicole

Twitter: @BatesNatalie

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Allure of the Short Story by Natalie-Nicole Bates

The Allure of the Short Story
By Natalie-Nicole Bates

Since the release of my short story, Antique Charming, I have been consistently asked the same question—Why did I opt to write it as a short story versus a full-length novel?

The answer is actually quite simple. From the start, Antique Charming was always intended to be a short story. It was meant to be six hours in the life of Lizzie Morton. A sensual, delicious little bite to leave the reader asking questions, especially, just who or perhaps better…what exactly is Adam Nichols?
I am delighted that the story has sparked debate among its readers, even controversy. This was my intent. As a writer, it’s very easy to stick to a formula where all of the storylines are neatly tied up with pretty little bows by the end of the story. The curtain falls, all questions answered. But why is this an absolute necessity? Of course it brings a sense of closure for the reader. 

But why shouldn’t the reader be able to speculate her own conclusion to the story?

So, just how did Antique Charming come to be, and from my perspective, exactly what is Adam Nichols?

I am an avid collector of Victorian and Edwardian-era photographs. To me, there is much beauty in these black and white stills. Last spring, I found a photograph from an online seller that completely captivated me. The size of a postcard, but printed on a much thicker stock was the image of a funeral home (I come from a long line of folks in the funeral care business). Outside, a very handsome man stands proudly with his hands clasped in front of him, most likely one of the owners at the time. Although the photo is slightly faded, you can still clearly make out the reflection in the glass of a black funeral carriage tied with elaborate ribbons. The back of the photo reads in very elegant script, Week of Oct-11-1896.

Although the photo was pricy, I splurged and bought it for myself.

When I finally held it in my hands, I was in love. It was then that an idea occurred to me. What if a very lovely lady who is just starting out in the funeral business buys this particular funeral home, determined to restore it to its former glory. And what would happen if one night this woman was visited by the very handsome man in the photo who claims to still own the funeral home?

To me, the idea seemed like a good one. He wasn’t a ghost or a vampire. The closest I could describe him is as a dybbuk. In Jewish folklore, the wandering soul of a dead person that enters the body of a living person and controls his or her behaviour. But even is dybbuk isn’t quite accurate.

At the end of the day, it is you, the reader, who will decide just what Adam Nichols really is. I never expected so many readers to write and ask me for a full length novel. Perhaps at some future time I will speak with my publisher about turning it into a full novel. But for right now, my photographs are beginning to speak to me again and just maybe inspiring a few more paranormal spins.

Antique Charming is available from Books To Go Now Publishing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Inspirations for writing Back To You by Natalie-Nicole Bates

My Inspirations for writing Back To You
By Natalie-Nicole Bates

First and foremost, Back To You is a romance. It follows the relationship between Lynsey Reznor and Nick Lincoln. Two basically polar opposite characters who have been in love with each other since they were teenagers.

I wanted to write a story with a true love never dies kind of theme, and explore the situation of dating again after the demise of a long-term relationship, which is difficult to understand unless you’ve actually been through it. It becomes even more complicated when your new partner’s ex is deceased. She goes up on a pedestal, and you are often looked at as a pariah.

But there is also another reason I wrote Back To You, but unfortunately, it got a little mixed up along the way.

For those of you familiar with me, you know I have another Unity-based story called Change of Address. Change of Address was released before Back To You. In reality, Back To You is actually the first story in the Unity series, not Change of Address.

But that is life, that is publishing.

When I envisioned the series in my mind, I saw Lynsey Reznor as the central character. Through Lynsey, the reader would be introduced to the town of Unity, and the characters who live there.

In Back To You, I introduce the reader to the most eligible bachelors of Unity. As Lynsey looks for love, she encounters a number of potential suitors.

We meet Evan Monroe, who is perfect marriage material. We find out he has recently been in a serious accident, and is still recovering. He’s an absolute doll, but Lynsey never felt an instant chemistry with Evan.

Lynsey then reacquaints herself with Owen Mitchell. Lynsey jokes that she met Owen over an open grave. Owen is an extremely complicated man. I call him a provocateur. He also has a very shocking, heartbreaking past which is not explored in Back To You, but the reader knows there’s more beneath the skin of Owen Mitchell, not just the mercurial persona he presents to the outside world.

And then there is Caleb Smith. The gregarious, larger-than-life man that the women love and the men despise. Like Lynsey, Caleb is looking for love, and it’s hinted that Lynsey and Caleb had a relationship in the past. Caleb is Nick’s greatest completion for Lynsey’s heart.

We also briefly meet Ryan Maine, but Ryan is off limits ladies, he has eyes strictly for Amii Sloane, and he’ll do whatever he must do to have her—whether Amii wants him or not.

By the end of Back To You, the reader has a pretty good idea of what might be coming in the future. We have bachelors looking for love and just waiting for their stories to be written.

I hope you enjoy Back To You and Change of Address. Look forward to Amii and Ryan’s story in Amii’s Angel, the next Unity story coming soon.

Back To You is available from Amazon through Books To Go Now as a single release and as a collection featuring BONUS stories Antique Charming and Remember The Stars, in both ebook and paperback format!


On the surface, Lynsey Reznor seems to have it all. She is beautiful, brilliant, and a successful true-crime writer who has been living the past decade in Miami. But what Lynsey lacks is what she needs the most—a family.

After the death of her mother, and yet another failed relationship, Lynsey makes an impulsive decision to return to her hometown of Unity. But Unity will present its own bittersweet memories, most notably, her first love, Nick Lincoln.

Twenty years ago, Nick broke teenager Lynsey’s heart when he decided to marry another. He had his own private reasons—reasons he never explained to Lynsey. Now she is back, along with a chance to reclaim her love. But Lynsey wants answers from him that he may never be able to give out of duty and guilt.

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Twitter: @BatesNatalie