Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review Corner

I'm starting up a new monthly post on books that focus on helping authors sell their books. Here's the first one. Enjoy!




Although a little dated, the basic information on promoting your book is sound and is a good basis to begin you marketing plan. The ideas are geared toward mass market or hard cover books through NY publishers. There is a dearth of information on electronic promotions, even the newsletter section is about printed and snail mailed items.

What it will help you with is:
What to include in your press kit.
Items to include in your newsletter.
Aggregators to get your website high in the rankings.
Hints for book signings (and etiquette, too).
Niche marketing.


I was disappointed that there wasn't more for indie writers and electronic marketing, but the above items are a solid foundation to begin your marketing plan.

Until next month!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Historical Research and World Building, By Kathryne Kennedy

It often surprises me how my historical research will add to or completely jell with the fantasy aspects of my novels. In THE ELVEN LORDS series, the stories are based in the eighteenth century, so I spent over a month researching the Georgian era, including the political environment, with special emphasis on daily life and--since my books are first and foremost romances--the clothing and housing of the aristocracy.
                       
When I read that white wigs were prevalent in the era, it made perfect sense that the true reasons for wearing the wigs were to imitate the ivory-haired elven lords of my fantasy world. All I needed to do was to add a crushed silver stone to the wigs, which the aristocracy uses to imitate the silver sparkle of my lords. For my readers to identify with the history of the era, I felt that it was important to keep a king on the throne, but since the elven broke through the barrier between worlds and conquered England, dividing it into seven sovereignties that each ruled, I couldn’t be sure of the role he would play.


Then I read that the true power behind the throne at that time lay with Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister of England. So, with an apology to King George, I made him nothing more than a trophy for the elven lords to wage their wars--wars that used humans as chess pieces in games of entertainment similar to the Roman gladiatorial games, but on a much broader scale. Sir Robert (and following Prime Ministers) became the leaders of the Rebellion, the underground movement of humans and half-elven who fight for England’s freedom and the restoration of their king to true power. As with actual history, the court set the precedence for clothing and style, but since the king of my fantasy world held influence only in that limited aspect, it became an obsession with him and his court.


My seven mad elven lords each had possession of a scepter, and the master of a particular power. As I researched the landscape and the development of England’s resources, I used that knowledge to divide the sovereignties. Since Bath and its famous healing waters were located in the southwest, it fell naturally into place that the elven lord Breden, master of the blue scepter of sea and sky, controlled that area, becoming the sovereignty of Dewhame, revealed in the novel THE LADY OF THE STORM. South central England, where London is located, is a politically important part of England and became Firehame, the sovereignty of Lord Mor'ded and his black scepter over the mastery of fire, a powerful realm that is explored in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER. Agricultural eastern England became Verdanthame, with Mi'cal ruling with the green scepter of forest and plant. Northeastern England, extending upward into York and known for its roadways, became the sovereignty of Terrahame, and the elven lady Annanor and her brown scepter of earth. North central England, dominated by mining and hilly country, became the sovereignty of Bladehame and the silver scepter of Lan'dor, who masters metal. The northwest became Stonehame, where the elven lady La'laylia called up quartz from the depths to enchant with her violet scepter. And the west became Dreamhame, butting up against the craggy mountains of Wales, the sovereignty of Roden of the golden scepter, with his spells of glamour and illusion, fully revealed in the novel THE LORD OF ILLUSION.


Arranged marriages were common in the era, often devised for political gain, and it fell naturally into place that the elven lords would use them to their own advantage. My hero in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, General Dominic Raikes, is a half-breed who has inherited his father’s magical gift of fire, and because of it, is a General of Firehame’s army. My heroine, Lady Cassandra Brydges, has the bloodlines to produce a new champion for the elven lord’s war games…and is secretly trained as an assassin by the Rebellion.


In my novelette, The ASSASSIN’S LOVER, we get a glimpse of the sovereignty of Stonehame, and the capital city that glows with jewel-fire even in starlight. We meet a lady of that city, Minerva Overon, whose home falls within the shadow of Stonehame Palace, which is crafted by the elven lady from one large piece of amethyst. But my heroine lives in one of the few mansions created of black jet, which aids the young assassin (another of history’s ruthless characters) sent to kill her…although he gets more than he bargained for.

And so did I, as I researched eighteen-century England, and found some surprising developments for my stories along the way.

My Magical Best,
Kathryne
http://www.KathryneKennedy.com 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Every Author has Something Unique to Say, By Kathryne Kennedy


I have been clearing out some room by reading my husband’s books—even those that involve battles and political intrigue, which aren’t my usual cup of tea, but which my DH adores. If I don’t do this periodically, my house would be covered in books…literally. I only keep those books that I plan to read over and over again. But all books are treasures, of course, so I don’t throw any of them away: they go into a box to donate to my local library. And regardless of the genre, a book won’t leave my home until I have a chance to read it.

So in the last few months I have read over a dozen fantasy and science fiction books, most of them with just a little romance tossed in as a minor subplot (which is one reason why I started writing fantasy romance). Often, there’s lots of agony, blood, guts and the political intrigue, and I focus on the romance more in my head than what’s written on the page. Regardless, I find most of the books fantastic, and many just darn good. I have yet to find a book that I haven’t learned something from, or isn’t praise-worthy in some way.

And so I came across a book of the type of fantasy I love. (Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff) A hero from our modern world travels back in time and can do magic. He rescues a princess, and is attracted to her. He meets a dragon who doesn’t fit in with his own kind, and they become friends. They meet a dark enchantress, who lures men into her castle for pleasures of the flesh, and our hero defeats her magic, and she loses her powers…and is taken to a priest to be shriven. And said priest turns out to be a werewolf, and has passions of the human flesh, so he has evil in his soul.

And then it starts to get all about religion, as our hero has a long dream about hell and the devil and the evil in his own heart. He must overcome this evil, overcome his ‘lust’ for the princess. Now, my books are all about lust, and how it leads to love. So this black and white thinking now has me puzzled. So I read the bio in the back of the book.

The author realized that many fantasies are medieval, and in medieval times, people saw God in everything—and the devil waiting to pounce at the first hint of sin. And so he set about writing a ‘realistic’ fantasy. Hence, writing a story that delved into the author’s own questions about faith.

This was the author’s own quest, in a way. No one else could have written this book quite the way he did. And although the hero does ask the princess to marry him in the end, it’s in a rather (unique) way. Sort of like an argument between the two of them.
                   
My point is, no matter how many thousands of books are printed each year, no matter that they carry similar concepts (for fantasy, we usually have dragons, trolls, and the ultimate evil are demons), every author tells their story in a different way, from their own perspective. With perhaps similar themes, but never exactly the same.

It doesn’t matter whether critics, awards, or bestselling status lauds a book. Each is a work of art, unique in the hand of the author who writes his story with broad strokes of a brush. And in my humble opinion, there is no book that is published that doesn’t deserve the honor of that praise.

My Magical Best,
Kathryne
http://www.KathryneKennedy.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

To all my Readers, Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! From Kathryne Kennedy

In a couple of days, we can stuff ourselves and not feel guilty. Only happens once a year, so I hope you all enjoy. I am especially grateful to my dedicated readers who have let me know how much they loved THE ASSASSIN'S LOVER. Now that some family situations have been resolved, I hope to get back to writing shortly. I have brainstormed the story in THE ELVEN LORDS series about the theft of the lavender scepter, which takes place in Stonehame, the same geographical area in England within THE ASSASSIN'S LOVER. This is Samson's and Jocelyn's love story, which also has a great deal to do with the dragon, Midaz, and the dominatrix elven lady, La'laylia. I just recently received the inspiration for her character, and why she is as cruel to her subjects as she is to her lovers, and although Samson has escaped the dire 'pleasures' of her bed, his mental scars will be harder to heal than his physical ones. But this is a story of redemption, a realization of the true meaning of love, as always. When I have the first three chapters written, and the cover design, I will then post it for pre-order. I will announce it here and have the pre-order links on my website, so stay tuned!
Again, Happy Thanksgiving!
My Magical Best,
Kathryne

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Contest Alert!

Chance to win a $25 Amazon card! Just sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win - www.booksbytina.com. If you already signed up you are still eligible. You can receive an extra chance to win by "Liking" my Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/authorTinaMcCright and leaving me a comment letting me know you did so.

A random drawing will be held on December 19th. The gift card will be delivered by email.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Introducing Euphoria Lane



How far will one person go to stop the HOA?
Andi Stevenson knew her life would never be same after purchasing her new condo on Euphoria Lane. On day one, she finds the body of the Homeowners Association president. Day two, she discovers the property manager is her former fiancé. Day three, the new president begins his campaign of violation letters to force her to move. Day four, her sister, the owner of a detective agency, needs her help with the investigation of the murder. And day five, a full scale neighborhood war!

Available on Amazon.

Website
http://www.BooksByTina.com

Facebook Author Page
http://www.authorTinaMcCright

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Booklist names TWO of Kathryne Kennedy's books as Best Romance Novels of the last Ten Years!

If you haven't already seen the list, two books in THE ELVEN LORDS series, THE LADY OF THE STORM and THE LORD OF ILLUSION, were included in Booklist's 101 Best Romance Novels of the Last Ten Years.


Yes, the past decade! Did your favorite author make the list? You can view it here:
http://bit.ly/1i0AnfA

Why did Booklist call THE ELVEN LORDS series 'superb'? You can try out this amazing magical world for just 99 Cents with the latest short novelette THE ASSASSIN'S LOVER, available at your favorite on-line retailer: