Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Holiday Novella! Just in Time for a Highland Christmas -- Excerpt

I'm very excited to announce the release of my new holiday novella from the Highland Gardens series, Just in Time for a Highland Christmas...

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas
A Highland Gardens Novella
Book #2.5

e-Book available from Amazon
for an introductory 99 pennies
until December 1st.

Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?

When the Chief of Clan MacLachlan travels to the stronghold of his feuding neighbors to fetch his betrothed, she is gone. A year later, she is still missing. Making life more vexing, a band of reivers are stealing clan cattle, leaving behind destruction. Archibald MacLachlan determines to capture them and administer harsh punishment.

Though once in love with the man, Isobell Lamont refuses to wed her clan's enemy. After running away, she joins the band of reivers set on revenge.

Can Archibald forgive the raven-haired beauty? Will a journey through time bring them together for a Highland Christmas?

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas, a Scottish historical time travel romance, is 101 pages of Highlanders, scheming faeries, a mischievous brownie, magic, adventure, and romance set in 16th century Scotland and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Read an excerpt... 

The fae are causing havoc again. Munn, the MacLachlan clan brownie, is determined to bring the unlikely couple together...

Munn entered the council chamber and grinned.

Maids and gillies hurried to and fro, making ready for the wedding feast that would take place after the pledging of vows. He was sure the chief was up to the task of bedding the lass and planting his seed. The third match would be complete. Caitrina would be free to return to Tir-nan-Og—the fae land o’ heart’s desire—and the MacLachlan clan would be blessed.

He was certain the lass would come around and pledge her troth to Archibald along with her love. If she continued to refuse, Caitrina would do something to make the lass change her mind.

Lines furrowed his forehead as his skin started to itch. Caitrina’s unusual fae scent, a combination of peony, freesia, and sandalwood perfumed the air before she shimmered into corporal form in front of him.

“You were wrong,” she said without preamble.

“Dinnae tease.”

“Oonagh returned from the sojourn in Ireland and provided the players for the last match.”

“Archibald and Isobell,” Munn said. “Admit I was right.”


He frowned. “Then who?”

“Nae concern of yours.” Caitrina faded.

“Wait! You must help with Archibald and Isobell.”

“Not my problem.” And she was gone. Vanished to another time and place.

Damn Caitrina. Munn huffed. What was he to do? Archibald and Isobell needed to be matched. ’Twas their destiny.

Munn crossed arms over his chest and scowled. Why was the lass resisting? Archibald was a man with a full head of hair and numerous teeth. Did she think she could do better?

Bah! The chief should drop her into the pit to linger for a long while. At least until she cowered like a proper wife. Munn scratched his chin and scoffed. None of the other wives he kenned were submissive to their men. The Highlanders grew weak. Led around by lasses in skirts.

He shook his head. ’Twas a damn shame.

Ach, he needed to think. Invisible to the others in the hall, he paced from the chief’s table to the aumbry, one end of the council chamber to the other and back, and again.

An argument near the hearth rumbled in the background. Archibald and the Lamont disagreeing yet again on how to handle Isobell’s rebellious ways. Another stubborn lass came to mind—Lady Laurie.

Try the wine. Spontaneous inspiration came over Munn. Why hadn’t he thought of it sooner? He spun in a circle and travelled to another part of the castle.

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hire me! I'm a novelist.

I am past the halfway point of building a new website for my soup business.

Pitch phrases are easy to call up. I repeat them regularly at craft shows and to interested shopkeepers.
Some sound essential: I can't be too creative with "add to 7 cups of water" without sounding like a nutcase. "Stand on a kitchen chair holding a full pot of water and pour the water into a narrow-necked bottle sitting on the floor," isn't good advice.

I can be a bit more creative with the "About" page. I rewrote that completely, giving a thumbnail history of my gardening-preserving-cooking journey.

Customers have commented that I must have a background in marketing- specifically copy writing.
I don't. I've had no training except for a good education in grammar and literature--and novel writing. The descriptive skills of a novelist are useful. That mental thesaurus, which stores ten choices that mean "tastes good."

Other endeavors benefit from a writer's word-smithing. Have you parlayed your skill with words into useful cash? Does your day job require the ability to construct understandable messages?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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In less than two weeks we will celebrate Thanksgiving. This year, I have so much to be grateful for. The two boxes I offered you last month have become USA Today Bestsellers.
From sweet to sexy, suspense to small town drama, travel from Belarus to Africa to the snowy Highlands of Scotland as Santa delivers our gift to you—love, laughter and happiness this Christmas!

SRR Xmas

Warm your heart with 14 Sweet Christmas Kisses, a bundle of PG-rated romance novels and novellas from USA Today bestselling authors.

preliminary Xmas 2014
And now, back by popular demand.
This holiday season, you'll find the Spirit of Main Street alive and well in a wonderful collection of twelve holiday romances, CHRISTMAS on MAIN STREET Box Set.
Nobody’s Cinderella by Joan Reeves, Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author.
A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming by E. Ayers, National Bestselling Author.
What if...this Christmas by Kelly Rae, National Bestselling Author.
The Christmas Wish by Tori Scot, Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author.
Her Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk, USA Today Bestselling Author.
The Christmas Con by Jill James, National Bestselling Author.
A Light in the Christmas Cafe by Kristy Tate, Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author.
A Potters Wood Christmas by Leigh Morgan, National Bestselling Author.
A Smoky Mountain Christmas by Carol DeVaney, National Bestselling Author.
The Christmas Gift by Pepper Phillips, Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author.
Small Town Glamour Girl Christmas by Stephanie Queen, USA Today Bestselling Author.
A Baby for Christmas by Susan R. Hughes, National Bestselling Author.
Decorating on Main Street is our companion book to Christmas on Main Street boxed set and our gift to you. Here we have gathered our favorite holiday crafts and traditions to share with you.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner and relax with a cozy box of books to read.
And keep in touch at:
Twiter @MonaRiskS
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy Reading,
Best Regards,
Mona Risk
USA Today Bestselling Author
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER, Affaire de Coeur Magazine:
BEST ROMANCE NOVEL: Preditors & Editors.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Building a Box Set

Recently I’ve been trying something new in promotion, the multi-author box set. It started when Mark Coker came to visit my RWA group and told us about an Apple promotion that his company Smashwords was part of, where they were soliciting multiple author box sets, collections of books by several authors with a common theme to be offered for 99 cents. I’m sure anyone who is on a mailing list for Kindle, or any other kind of ebook, has seen ads for these collections. They frequently have a 3-D cover like this one, making it clear that it consists of multiple authors.

Obviously at 99 cents, particularly when split between large numbers of authors, this kind of project is not likely to result in a lot of money per person. What it is supposed to do is appeal to a large group of people, many, if not most of whom, are not familiar with your writing. In this way you should be able to pick up some number of new fans. Also there is the possibility of getting so many people to buy this bargain collection that you can actually get on one of the major best-seller lists, such as Amazon top 100, USA Today or even the New York Time Best-sellers list. Once that happens any author in the collection can legitimately add the title “New York Times Best-selling Author” to their cover. The last, of course, is the brass ring, and unless there are already a couple of NYT bestselling authors in the box set, the chances of it happening are pretty slim.  

The USA Today list is a little more likely. In fact I checked today and found at #133 a box set called “Ten Christmas Brides” by Ruth Cardello, Nina Bruhns, Donna Fasano, Rebecca York, Helen Scott Taylor, Patrice Wilton, Mona Risk, Annie Jones, Alicia Street, Mimi Barbour. I recognize more than a few of those names, but there are a few on there that I expect will now be adding that USA Today Best-seller label to their accomplishments.

This is the reasoning behind taking a novel you are already selling and packaging it for sale with other authors for a bargain price. There is a slim chance you will hit a best-seller list, but you are very likely to get more attention. And since box sets are intended to be bargains there isn’t the stigma of “giving your book away”. Does it make sense if you only have one title out to put that in the box set? Unless you are building a name and are going to release additional books in the near future, probably not. But it can make sense if you have multiple other titles in the same genre.

I’m currently in two such box sets. The first is the Apple promotion that I mentioned first. This was hastily assembled with two other authors who also had fantasy/paranormal romances. I added my futuristic romance, Promises To Keep, and we titled it “Rogues In Time” to link in that the stories take place in multiple time periods, the other two being distant past and modern day.

One of the other authors did the cover and formatted the stories together for Smashwords, I put together an author agreement to cover the length of time the box set was to be in existence, about three months, and we uploaded the book. It got into the Apple promotion, and we all tweeted out the news and mentioned it on Facebook. Sales are coming in, but our expectations at this point are pretty modest. Some of that is with three authors rather than 10 we aren’t quite as attractive as the other sets on the Apple page, and we got into the promotion somewhat later, missing the initial excitement. We’ll see where things are in January.

The second box set has been an interesting experience. First of all it is holiday themed, which is very timely. People buy Christmas and other holiday related stories at Christmas time. Always have, and very likely always will. This is a collection of 10 shorter works by members of my RWA chapter and some other local authors, primarily in the Bay area. I was taking a cover art class and used the box set as a class project so I needed a title to work with. The first title we picked was “West Coast Holidays” but we ultimately opted for Candy Cane Kisses as a more clever title. It got expanded to Candy Cane Kisses and Enchanted Embraces when we added several paranormal stories to the mix. I won’t go into a description of the discussions that were had over the title and ultimately the cover, other than it is interesting how ten different people can see the same project in so many ways. But we finally settled on the title and a cover that we could live with.

And now comes the promotion. It turns out that we have some very experienced people on the team who have run book campaigns in the past. Under their guidance a Facebook page was set up along with the designated hashtag #KissesEmbraces, which has been central in our promotion efforts. We have held a pre-order Facebook party, complete with prizes, we've created daily posts to the Facebook page for the box set, with themes like #MistletoeMonday and #FestiveFriday (the latter was my favorite because it was all recipes!). We even have a Grand Prize raffle that people can enter. Prizes are donated by the authors and we all chipped in some cash to cover the promotion costs.

This Monday, November 17th, is the actual release of the box set, meaning the links that are at the moment pre-order will become order buttons, and everyone who already bought a copy will receive their books.  Once more, we are having a Facebook party from 4:00PM to 7:00PM (I'll be there at 6:30 until the end) to celebrate, again with prizes and a lot of fun, so be sure to check it out!

I check the Amazon rank of the set on a daily basis. At the moment is at #10,220 Paid, which isn’t bad.

Oh and here are the buy links:

I’ll let you know more next month on how the box sets are doing, as well as tell you about my other Christmas books. Right now I have to put together a Facebook post for Monday’s release party and find a picture to use. Never a dull moment when promoting a box set.

Janet Miller

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bouchercon-An Amazing Conference; but am I ready for it?

Forgive me for being late with my blog entry, but I've been attending Bouchercon 2014, in Long Beach, California.  Wow!  This is as big and intimidating as RT, which I attended five years Chicago.  BIG writers here, with all of their fans: CJ Fox, Jefferey Deaver, Michael name it...he or she is here!  I have learned so much, especially about what it takes to sell thousands of books.  Point is, I'm not well known enough to benefit (costwise) from being here.  I wasn't the right author to show up at RT, either.  We authors need to have a fan base larger than mine before we should spend all the money to go to RT or Bouchercon.  Why did I spend the money?  Because I have figured out that Romance isn't the only category for my novels.  This crime/mystery genre fits my last novel more readily than Romance/Suspense.  Are you finding your novels have 'emerged' to a genre quite different from your original genre?  Based on what the big-selling authors at this event say, we have a right and a joy in changing up our genres and experimenting with our writing.  My take-away from this conference...write what feels good!  Yippee!

Monday, November 10, 2014

NaNoWriMo and me

I'm not participating in NaNo because I kinda live NaNo all the time. I write every day and I have goals I set, not for a month or a day, but for a book.

Example: I started Book 4 of my Endless American Dream Series on July 1. I have 7 chapters to go to finish. I've written 20 chapters. My goal is to finish it by the end of the year, and I think it's doable. I'm high on my word count. This book will clock in at 150,000 words, so obviously I'll have to trim it, but I'm not going to worry about that now.

That's what NaNo can teach people--get the words on the page. Edit later, or edit minimally now and just keep writing. You'll find that once you get in the habit, it's easy to do. Just make sure to sit down and write -- every day if you can.

Now back to my regularly scheduled writing ....

Friday, November 7, 2014

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas by Dawn Marie Hamilton ----- Available for Pre-order

Available for Pre-order at Amazon
$0.99 Introductory Price

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas

A Highland Gardens Novella - Book # 2.5
Release - November 20, 2014

 Pre-order Now

Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?

When the Chief of Clan MacLachlan travels to the stronghold of his feuding neighbors to fetch his betrothed, she is gone. A year later, she is still missing. Making life more vexing, a band of reivers are stealing clan cattle, leaving behind destruction. Archibald MacLachlan determines to capture them and administer harsh punishment.

Though once in love with the man, Isobell Lamont refuses to wed her clan's enemy. After running away, she joins the band of reivers set on revenge.

Can Archibald forgive the raven-haired beauty? Will a journey through time bring them together for a Highland Christmas?

~Dawn Marie