#8Sunday: From Alien Mate, the alien shows his true colors…

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To recap: Falsely convicted of a crime, Starr Conner is sent to an alien planet with other female convicts to become an alien’s mail order bride. She’s just met her new mate, Torg. The planet is in the throes of an ice age, and Starr has just found out she’s going to be living in a cave. She bursts into tears.

A touch to my shoulder became an awkward pat, and then I found myself enveloped in an alien bear hug, my face pressed to Torg’s massive chest, covered by the animal hide. It stank, but he smelled good. And felt good–rock solid, like the kind of man you could lean on. For so long I only had myself to rely on.

I hiccupped and sniffed, trying to suck back the snot. From his pouch, Torg withdrew a swatch of, what else, animal hide, and dabbed at my face. “It will be all right, Starrconner. I promise.”

The blending of my first and last name into one showed he still didn’t understand Terran naming structures, but in his rough, gravelly alien voice, it sounded so sweet and so charming, I cried harder. In another time, in another place, I might have wanted him.

Book Description

I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.

But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.

I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.

It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland.  Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?

Don’t miss this funny, steamy sci-fi romance–get your copy of Alien Mate today!

Click the logo to visit the other authors of Weekend Writing Warriors.

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Backlist to the Future: STARGAZERS by Anne Kane #B2F #TBT #ScifRom

Backlist to the Future is a weekly Thursday feature highlighting science fiction romances from authors’ backlists.

To be notified of future Backlist to the Future posts, you can subscribe to this blog (top of the sidebar). If you’d like to submit your book for this feature, click here to get the particulars.

 

By Anne Kane

When I first envisioned the Stargazers’ universe, I wanted to create somewhere that being female was a plus. I wanted strong heroines who were the reason things happened, not hapless ninnies waiting to react or be rescued after something bad happened. In the end, I created a group of futuristic witches who could tap into and control the energy of the (fictional) ley lines that connect the planets. The more talented the Stargazer, the better she was at controlling and redirecting that energy.   I cheerfully borrowed bits and pieces of folklore from witches, druids and other earthly connected groups to add plausibility to the Stargazer universe.

In hindsight, I’ve learned that focusing on the heroine ahead of the hero is not a formula for commercial success, however while it was never one of my better selling series, the Stargazers were definitely a favorite for me as an author.

Stargazers blurb

Descended from the witches of old Earth, Stargazers have the ability to control the lines of psychic energy that join the planets and other heavenly bodies. They use their talents to bend the energy to their own use, much the same as the druids of old Earth used to harness the ley lines. They can power space ships, run machinery on far away planets and detect people’s presences from great distances. Highly sought after, both by legitimate sources who want to hire them and by pirates who enslave and sell them, they are constantly on guard.

In this collection, five stargazers defy the odds and find love and adventure as they travel across the galaxy.

Book Excerpt

Tarik watched the young woman pacing the cargo bay of his ship. Tall and willowy, she stalked the width of the cell with angry strides of long, slim legs. A short, fitted tunic did little to hide her shapely figure, and he felt a spark of heat ignite in his gut despite his mistrust of her kind. Wisps of wavy, chestnut hair escaped from the single braid that hung to her waist, and her green eyes sparkled with rage.

He felt the corner of his mouth tilt upward as she aimed a kick at the wall. He’d bet if he could hear what she was muttering, it wouldn’t be very ladylike. Of course, she wasn’t really a lady. Krystal de Mylar was a Stargazer, one of the few who hadn’t yet sold her talents to the Intergalactic Council. Probably holding out for a better deal, he thought cynically.

The lack of military security surrounding her had made her an ideal target when he realized he needed to acquire one of the accursed witches in order to rescue his brother. Tarik’s renegade status made it impossible to post a job proposal with the Stargazers’ Guild, so he’d simply used his resources to plan and execute the perfect kidnapping. Unfortunately, none of his cybernetic enhancements would help him explain to the infuriated redhead why he’d spirited her away from her home without her consent.

The woman stopped pacing and pivoted to face the hovering droid, her eyes narrowed so that the green irises sparkled like gems. She’d obviously realized someone was monitoring her. A flicker of heat ran up his spine as she stood still, legs spread and hands on hips. Her mouth moved, and his attention dropped to her full, luscious lips as they moved slowly in exaggerated speech.

You are going to regret this.

It wasn’t hard to read her lips. Or the threat in her eyes. He sure hoped she didn’t know how to wrap the interplanetary energy lines around his neck.

BUY IT HERE

Author bio

Anne Kane lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with an adorable little mutt named of unknown lineage, a cantankerous Himalayan cat, and too many fish to count. She has two handsome sons and five adorable grandchildren. By day, she’s a respectable bean counter, but after hours her imagination soars and she writes romances that span the galaxy and encompass beings of all sizes, shapes and origins. She first started telling stories as a child and she just can’t seem to stop.

Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking, swimming, skating, playing guitar, singing and of course, reading.

Website | Blog | Twitter |  Facebook | Pinterest

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#Giveaway ~ 45+ science fiction romances PLUS a Kindle Fire ~ ends May 1

 

I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share. I’ve teamed up with more than 45 sci-fi romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels to 2 lucky winners, plus a Kindle Fire to the Grand Prizewinner! You can win my novel Captured by the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 3), plus books from authors like Evangeline Anderson, Grace Goodwin, Lisa Lace, Veronica Scott, Sabine Priestley, Sue Lyndon, and many more!

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: bit.ly/sfr-apr-17 

But wait! There’s more!

Pets in Space,a sci-fi romance anthology, is on sale for $2.99 until May 1. Then it will be removed from publication and won’t be available at all. Check it out and other futuristic fiction deals here.

Speculative fiction sale

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Got a newsletter? Now what? How to get subscribers…

One of the first questions authors have after opening a newsletter email list account is, “Now what? How do you get people to subscribe?”

It’s not as daunting as it seems.

I use MailChimp for my email newsletter list, but the process works similarly with other services like MailerLite and MadMimi. When you open your account, you’ll design a subscriber signup form, and you’ll get a URL which links to that form as well as some html code to put on your website that will create a form on your site.

 

  1. The first way you begin to collect email addresses is by putting that signup form on your website  (check the top of the sidebar to see mine). MailChimp calls this an “embedded” form.
  2. You can place a pop-up on your site instead of/or in addition to the embedded form. You probably saw mine when you landed here.
  3.  Place your signup URL in the backmatter of all your published books letting readers know they can subscribe for future books releases and updates.*
  4. Include the URL at the end of blog posts, guest blogs, and virtual tours.
  5. Whenever you do a Rafflecopter giveaway make signing up for your newsletter one of the ways in which people can get contest entries.
  6. Include your newsletter link in all your bio links.
  7. Give away a free book to people who subscribe. Nothing you do will be more effective than this. You can use a backlisted book or write a new one just for subscribers. The “book” doesn’t have to be long. You’re a writer! Whip out a 10K short story. This works extremely well if your freebie is part of an existing series. Not only will it encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter, but it will introduce them to your series.
  8. Run a contest and have a prize drawing to collect email subscriptions.
  9. Participate in a multi-author organization promotion in which readers subscribe to authors newsletter in exchange for entering a drawing for a B-I-G prize. The most effective of these promotion (for authors anyway) are those that focus on a specific genre and allow participants to choose which newsletters they want to receive. Still, you will get a lot of contest-seekers who only want to win a prize, but there will be a good minority who are interested in your books, or at least your genre. The promotion services that lump all the genres together and distribute the same email addresses to everyone are not effective at all. One of the promotion services I recommend is Ryan Zee.  (His genre-focused prize genres work well for the reasons I stated. I get no kickbacks of any kind; I recommend him because I’ve used the service and had a good experience).
  10. You can join with authors of a similar genre and run your get-a-free-book-subscribe-to-my-newsletter-promotion.

Tip: If you do a prize giveaway, either your own or with service, don’t, don’t, don’t send your new subscribers a buy-my-book newsletter immediately after they subscribe. You need to give them the free book, introduce yourself, build a bit of a relationship before you start mentioning your book sales.

Newsletters FAQs

Q: I don’t have a published book yet. How can I do a newsletter?

A: You are in  perfect position to build your subscriber base by building a relationship with your future readers. Talk about what your plans are. Give them status updates. Tell them what inspired you to write the story. Share your cover. Share (carefully edited!) excerpts. Recommend your favorite reads. Share other authors’ new releases.

Q: How often should I send a newsletter?

A: When I first started mine, I figured 4 book releases a year, so 4 newsletters. Ha. Ha. Ha. That first year I sent out 17 newsletters. I had more book releases than I’d predicted (had a bunch of re-releases), plus I participated in some special sales and promotions I wanted to tell my subscribers about. My opinion is you should send a newsletter at least once a month so they don’t forget who you are, but no more than twice a month so you don’t annoy them.

Q: How do I know what newsletter service to use?

A: Three of the main ones are MailChimp (2000), MailerLite (1000), and MadMimi (500). All three are free at the start, but as your list grows, fees kick in. The numbers in parentheses correspond to how many subscribers you can have for free. If you are growing your list organically, it will take you a while to build up to 2000 subscribers (took me 2 years), but if you start doing contest giveaways and promotion campaigns, you can get there really fast — like in one campaign! For 3000 subscribers,  MadMimi would cost you $10; MailerLite, $20; and MailChimp, $50. At 10,000 subs, it would be MadMimi, $42; MailerLite, $35; and MailChimp, $75. That’s one reason why it’s important to trim inactive subscribers from your list. You don’t want to pay for people who never read your newsletter.

Q: I’m doing other promotions, do I need a newsletter?

A: A newsletter is the most direct way to reach out to readers who are interested in your books. You have complete control. You don’t have to hope they’ll land on your blog, or that Facebook will show them your post, or that Amazon algorithms will recommend your book. You control the contact. They can always not open the email, but if you’ve developed a list of your fans, they’ll want to.

Do you have any other questions? What tips do you have for building a newsletter list?

* If you want to see an example of an effective presentation of a newsletter signup URL in backmatter, download my sci-fi romance, Stranded with the Cyborg. It’s free (at least at the time writing/posting of this blog). Scroll to the end of the story and you’ll find an example of how best to present your newsletter subscription signup.

Amazon US |  Amazon UK |  Amazon CA |  Amazon AU

iBooks |  Kobo |  BN

(Note: If you bought Stranded months ago, the backmatter is different now. To see the example of how to present your newsletter info, you have to get the free version).

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#8Sunday: Starr gets more bad news…from ALIEN MATE #scifirom

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iBooks | Kobo |  Barnes & Noble

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. I’m excerpting from Alien Mate, my new science fiction mail order bride romance. To recap: Earthling Starr has landed on planet Dakon, which is in the middle of an ice age, and has met her new mate Torg. It’s a bit of distance to his home, and when she has a hard time hiking through the snow, he slings her over his shoulder. Her POV…

“Put me down.” I punctuated another token protest with a light slap. If he complied, I’d be in trouble; my cheap synth shoes offered little protection or warmth.

“Not until we get to camp,” he replied to my relief.

The continued “camp” reference worried me. On Terra One World, people spent days or weeks in wilderness areas called camps for the sole purpose of making their lives difficult. Roughing it on Dakon?

“Tell me about your home,” I said.

“It is one of the nicest tribal camps–the caves provide natural shelters and are much better than anything manmade.”

“Did you say cave?”

Book Description

I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.

But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.

I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.

It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland.  Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?

Don’t miss this funny, steamy sci-fi romance–get your copy of Alien Mate today!

Visit participating authors of Weekend Writing Warriors. click the logo:

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April 23 is World Book Day…get your #free book #giveaway #WorldBookDay #scifirom

April 23 is World Book Day.

Get your FREE copy of Stranded with the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 1) here:

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iBooks |  Kobo |  BN

World Book Day was founded in 1995 by UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organzation, to promote reading, publishing and copyright.  April 23 is the death of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. In the UK, World Book Day is celebrated in March.

Ten years ago Penelope Isabella Aaron had been a pain in Brock Mann’s you-know-what. Much has changed in a decade: “PIA” as he code-named her, has grown up and is about to attend her first Alliance of Planets summit conference, and Brock has been transformed into a cyborg after a near-fatal attack. Now a secret agent with Cyber Operations, a covert paramilitary organization, Brock gets called in, not when the going gets tough, but when the going gets impossible. So when he’s unexpectedly assigned to escort Penelope to the summit meeting, he balks at babysitting a prissy ambassador. But after a terrorist bombing, a crash landing on a hostile planet, and a growing attraction to his protectee, Operation: PIA may become his most impossible assignment yet.

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Backlist to the Future: Archetype by M.D. Waters #scifirom #B2F #TBT

Backlist to the Future is a weekly Thursday feature highlighting science fiction romances from authors’ backlists.

To be notified of future Backlist to the Future posts, you can subscribe to this blog (top of the sidebar). If you’d like to submit your book for this feature, click here to get the particulars.

 

The guest author’s post that was scheduled for today fell through, so I’m substituting with one of my favorite sci-fi romances, Archetype by M.D. Waters.

I read this book a few years ago. This line in blurb caught my attention immediately: “Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which . . .”

This book hooked me from the start and kept me guessing through the entire story.  When I used to do my year-end book awards, Archetype was one of my best books of the year in 2014. I loved this book!

Here’s the full blurb:

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which . . .

In the stunning first volume of a two-book series that will appeal to readers of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick, Emma wakes with her memory wiped clean. Her husband, Declan—a powerful and seductive man—narrates the story of her past, but Emma’s dreams contradict him. They show her war, a camp where girls are trained to be wives, and love for another man. Something inside warns her not to speak of these things, but the line between her dreams and reality is about to shatter forever.

Get it on Amazon

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Space Kissed #ScifiRom Mega Sale & #Giveaway April 18-24 #Free Books

Check out the SFR Mega Sale & Giveaway hosted by Space Kissed Promotions!

13 SciFi Romance Authors are offering some of their hottest SFR reads in this sale! Many are free! You can also win one of two $25.00 Amazon gift cards just by signing up to one—or all—of these authors’ newsletters or following them on Facebook!

To enter the giveaway, just enter your email address and unlock the bonus entries for more chances to win! Good luck!

Check it out here

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What makes a book a ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ read?

I’ve been reading a science fiction romance this past week. It is very well written and clever. I’m impressed by the writer’s imagination and execution. As an author, when I read another’s book, I usually think one of two things: “I can do that,” or “Damn, I wish I could that.” This person’s SFR is a damn-I-wish-I-could-do-that. She has created things I would not have thought of in a million years. Her knowledge of the world enabling the crafting of metaphor is impressive, as is her command of the English language. I’ve had to look up the definition of a few words, which rarely happens to me.

But you’ll notice I said I’ve been reading it for the past week. It’s an excellent book, but it’s a slow read. It’s about 75K words, which isn’t an enormous length. There’s a lot of techno-wizardry. in the book, and I feel like I have pay real close attention. After reading for a while, my brain gets tired and I want to rest. The book is what I call a dense read.

Quite a few reviewers have said my books are a fast read. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a compliment or a complaint. I don’t write super long novels, but I don’t write super short novellas either. My novels tend to be in the 50-55K range. I think that ‘s a decent length.

So what makes a book a fast or slow read? Obviously a reader can breeze through a 25,000 word novella faster than she can an epic 110,000 word tome, but I don’t think length as much as language and writing style make a book fast or slow. (Imagine reading 25K of contractual language or a technical manual v. 25K of genre fiction).

Complicated or convoluted plots and subplots make for a slower read, as a large number of characters. When it’s a challenge to “keep track” of who’s who and what’s happening, I think that slows the pace of the story.

But, I also think language is a big factor in the pace of a book.

I tend to use short sentences, using verbs to convey description instead metaphor or simile.  I probably wouldn’t say “he cantered as fast as the winning horse in the Kentucky Derby.” I’d be more apt to write, “he galloped.” I avoid a lot of pseudo-techno jargon in my sci-fi romance, using just enough to flavor the story without dominating it. Some SFR writers glory in creative spellings of alien names; I try to keep mine easily pronounceable. My character names are alien, but you know how to say them; they’re like foreign names you’re familiar with. Hola, Juan! Bonjour, Jacques!

I think my writing style gives the impression my books are shorter than they are. I’m 71% done with this book I’m reading, which means I’ve read about 53K. It’s taken me a week. I’m pretty sure my 55K Alien Mate can be read in one to two nights.

What do you think? What makes a book fast or slow for you? Do you prefer fast reads or slow ones?

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#8Sunday: From Alien Mate…an alien tries an Earth idiom….

Alien Mate is available now!

Amazon US |  Amazon UK |  Amazon AU | Amazon CA

iBooks | Kobo |  Barnes & Noble

In this excerpt, Starr, a mail order bride, has met her alien mate Torg. Things are a little (very!) awkward between them. They set off on foot for his “camp,” and Starr slips and falls on the icy ground. We’re in Torg’s POV.

I rushed to her side and assisted her to her feet. “Are you all right?”

“The ground is slicker than dog snot.” She pushed off the hood and rubbed her head.

I didn’t know what dog snot was, but I understood slick. I brushed the snow from her coat, flipped the hood over her head, and tucked wayward strands of hair inside. Though it resembled straw, it felt very soft, slippery in a good way, and I had to resist grabbing a handful and stroking it. Maybe a compliment would break the ice? “Your hair is slicker than dog snot.”

Her jaw dropped, and then she scowled at me before stomping toward the woods, and I realized I must have said the wrong thing.

Book Description

I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.

But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.

I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.

It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland.  Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?

Don’t miss this sexy, suspenseful sci-fi romance–get your copy of Alien Mate today!

Visit participating authors of Weekend Writing Warriors. click the logo:

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