Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Mom Syndrome & Best Book Title Contest Launches!

This photo image looks a lot like me these days! Managing one hubby, two jobs, and three children can be a little overwhelming. Did I mention that's in addition to the 12 books I'm either writing, editing, or promoting?

Nonetheless, family and health have to come first. So, I had to take a few days off from blogging here at the Boost! I missed seeing everyone but I'm back with a few updates, prize winners, and a new contest! So, here we go...

1. DEADLINE: Today is the last day to post comments on my 3 Journey to the Call blog posts. If you haven't read them and left a comment or question, please do so today to be eligible for the HUGE author prize pack that I have up for grabs! You can check out the posts here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

2. WINNERS: I'm way behind on posting winners for the blog's last couple of guest authors. If I list your name below, please contact me at to claim your prize! Thanks for participating & CONGRATS!
3. CONTEST: Today launches the BEST BOOK TITLE CONTEST here at the Book Boost Blog.

Please enter your book title either published or unpublished (or even WIP) titles are acceptable. One entry per author and please include your e-mail address with your entry. Send your book title entry with "Best Book Title Contest" in the subject line to

Entries accepted until Wednesday April 7th at 11:59 p.m. (CDT). Voting details will post here at the blog shortly thereafter & winning title will receive 1 free month of promotion at the Book Boost AND 20% off a custom designed book trailer (if purchased within 6 months of contest win)!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guest Blogger: Sandra Cox

Click the cover to pick up your copy today!

Please help me welcome the amazing YA author Sandra Cox to the Book Boost Blog today! She's here to discuss "The Trouble with Genies" in honor of her new release Grounded (now available from Class Act Books)!

Before we hear from Sandra, let me remind you to check out her website for details on how to enter her fantastic monthly contest! Here's the link:

Also, stay tuned below to view her book trailer for Grounded!

Sandra...take it away...

Have you ever noticed on a Make a Wish list nothing is ever clear cut? Somehow the wishes go awry. You wish for a new home. Poof, you've got a million dollar mansion but can't afford the taxes. You wish for a Jaguar. Poof, you get this sexy car then you get grounded or lose your license and can't drive it. You wish to be the prettiest girl at the promo. Poof, you're beautiful, but your date bales and you have to go alone.

I think genies one and all are believers in the adage 'nothings free' and 'you can't get something for nothing'. Just because they have to grant wishes doesn't mean they have to like it. And since they don't like it, they include nasty little codicils. When you think about it, who’d want to be someone’s beck and call genie and have their own wishes completely disregarded.

In GROUNDED, I believe when the genie explained to Gillian's great, great, great grams that a) she would be stuck in a marble statue from dawn to dusk. b) As soon as she had her first girl child she would die and her daughter would inherit the wish spell that he either muttered it under his breath where she couldn't hear or the poor thing was so caught up in the fantasy of unimaginable wealth and beauty she totally ignored the warning. Personally, I think he whispered. Whatever the reason, Gillian--through no fault of her own--got the short end of the stick. But you play the hand you’re dealt.

So what's your thoughts? Why aren't the wishes genies grant straightforward and simple?


Gillian’s best friend is a cat, that’s also caught up in her wish spell. If you’re in touch with your feline side and like to help your four-legged friends, there is a rescue group devoted solely to blind kitties. If you’d like more info on a very worthwhile cause visit their site at Kudos to this group.

Thanks for hanging with us today, Sandra! AND NOW...the trailer for Grounded...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Journey to the Call~~~Part Three

How to get on the Write path?

So, after all those classes about improving my craft and all that research about queries and pitches and how to sell your manuscript...what ultimately worked for me?

In the end...all my writing successes can be attributed to 3 key elements:

1. Finding your routine.

For me, this consists of sitting my bootie on the sofa with my laptop (behind a desk never inspired me) and just writing. Never stopping to consider what I'm writing, just getting it down on the screen. If I want to really rock and roll, I set a timer and write until the time is up. Typically in 15 minute intervals. You'd be surprised how many words you can get through.

I don't go back and reread what I've written or start doing re-writes or edits until I have a complete first draft. No joke. This will only slow you down. You could literally spend forever rewriting the same first three chapters (and some folks do just that).

I'm definitely a "pantser" rather than a plotter. I've tried just about every single writing software on the market to help me outline my book and "get organized". What I've found happen with these great products is that I spend so much time typing my information and character specifics into the program that I have no time left to write. Once I get my whole book set up, I don't feel like writing it any longer. I've wasted countless hours doing this. For some, it is the ticket but for me it was a time drain that led me to nowhere.

The important thing to remember here is to find what works for you. You might need the organization of a neatly planned computer program. You might need music playing in the background (I prefer eating SweetTarts by the box full). You might need to write the ending first and then start the story from the beginning after that. I ALWAYS name my book before I write it. I've written entire novels based on the title alone! (Of course, don't get too attached to the title because publishers always have the right to change it for marketing purposes!)

Decide on your plan of action and just do it.

2. Chapters & Networking.

After joining RWA, over 5 years ago...I considered myself "serious" about getting published. I also joined the closest local chapter that I could find but at the time it was several hours away from me. So, as much as I wanted to attend monthly meetings and absorb all that knowledge--I rarely made it there. If you do have a local chapter and you can get deeply involved with them, I highly recommend it.

BUT...what if you can't do that...for whatever reason?

It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I discovered special interest chapters. They are listed on the RWA website and they are as numerous as the many genres of books we write. At one time I belonged to about 7 of them simultaneously. I've belonged to one for erotica writers, historical writers, Celtic writers, paranormal writers, suspense writers, and just about everything in between.

What I've found about chapters is...when you find the one that is right for is an absolute blessing. They will not all be the right fit for you. You have to find the right group of people who want to support you and help you with your journey.

I can tell you that my Celtic Hearts Romance Writers chapter is like a real family to me. They've been there every step of the way. Through the good and the bad and the multitude of rejections they've "had my back". When it comes time to celebrate you'd better believe they're there to join in on the happy dance as well. You will never meet a finer group of writers and women than this one.

Meanwhile, my Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal chapter has done more to help me further my writing career than any of my other chapters. They are extremely proactive in helping writers achieve their PRO status with RWA and in setting up exclusive pitch sessions with both agents and editors! You cannot beat a chapter that will do any or all of these things for you. They've been indispensable and might I add...we've had many many chapter members getting "the call" recently. That speaks for itself.

If you've joined RWA and have not joined a chapter...I recommend doing so ASAP. They are always a great networking source for advice, comfort, support, help with finding critique partners, and a fabulous resource for industry news. Hands of the major reasons I'm published today!

3. Contests.

Now, let's chat a minute about CONTESTS!

There are chapter contests (where you pay a fee and enter part of your manuscript) which are usually judged in two rounds. The first round is judged by anyone from readers to unpublished authors to published authors who narrow the field on entrants down to three finalists per category (genre). Then, if you make it to the'll get your work in front of either an agent or an editor. In my opinion, that is by far the biggest benefit to these type of contests. have to make it the top three in your category. The competition is fierce and judging is highly subjective as there are usually so many entries that the first round is judged by a wide variety of judges.

I've never had much luck with these contests. While some folks have gone on to get an agent and/or get published due to them. I think they are a great experience and you can usually get some good critiques back from the judges. They can be costly and you should pay special attention to the entry requirements. Again, some contests will work more to your benefit than others (just like some chapters will be a better fit for you than others).

The other type of contests are those run by websites, publishers, blogs, etc... It is these type of contests (all were totally free of charge) that have done the most for my career. They can be contests for votes (by the public), best first line contests on blogs (often judged by published authors and/or editors), or even pitch contests (judged by agents or editors).

Take a look at what is being offered up and sometimes it is something as small as a critique of your first three chapters or as large as a publishing contract. The point is...can this contest get your name out there or your work read/noticed by the industry?

If the answer is 'yes' to either of those questions, I recommending entering as many of these type of contests as possible.

The first publisher sponsored contest that I ever entered won me my first e-book contract for Miss Taken. The largest publisher sponsored contest I ever entered won me the "notice" of an editor at Dorchester and even though I didn't win the contest it garnered me the ever elusive "call".

In fact, an interesting tidbit on both of these sales (my first e-book sale and my first BIG NY sale) is that I placed 3rd in both of those contests! Lucky number 3?

Honestly, I truly believe that I finally got the call because I was hardheaded and stubborn. I simply refused to take "no" for a final answer. If one person doesn't like it--the very next person might love it.

If you give up now, you'll never know what could have been. If one project has gone cold--start something new.

If you've hit a wall of writer's block--take a look around and see what publishers are looking for in their submission calls. Never thought you could write both erotic historicals and paranormal inspirationals? I'm here to tell you that you can--I sure did.

Is your muse failing to communicate? Try genre hopping. Pick a genre that is as far from what you consider to be your niche as possible and just give it a go. You might just write your first bestseller.

The bottom line? I love to write and it is something that I simply must do. If you feel the same way--you're on the right path--or maybe you're on the write path..

Today I’m adding the final prizes to the "Journey to the Call" prize pack which already includes the following prizes:
  • A book entitled: How to Write Attention Grabbing Query & Cover Letters;
  • (1) free critique of your query letter;
  • (1) free copy of my first published book entitled Miss Taken;
  • (1) free online writer workshop (details to be provided);
  • (1) free critique of the first 3 chapters of your manuscript; and
  • (1) free copy of my award winning romance novella entitled The Saucy Celt

The third set of prizes to be added to the bundle are as follows:

  • (1) Entire month of personal mentorship including unlimited e-mail contact for 1 month exclusively for you! Need help with your pitch? Want to talk over your manuscript submission or a contest entry? I'll be there for you.
  • (1) Personalized writing plan (We'll develop your future goals in a time line plan!)
  • (1) Personally autographed copy of my newest release in PRINT Cross Check My Heart now available from Eternal Press!

In order to be eligible to win the prize pack, you must follow my 3 part blog post journey (every Monday for 3 weeks) here at the Book Boost Blog. You’ll gain entry to the prize pack drawing only if you post a comment or question each week for each week of the post. If you missed week one or week two, there is still time to comment! Contest is closed for new comments on 03/31/2010 and winner will be announced here at the blog shortly thereafter.

The entire prize pack bundle is designed to help “pre-published” authors who are still seeking that elusive “call”.

For this week, tell me about your writing routine or about contest experiences you've had. I enjoy hearing from each of you and if you've left a prior week's comment--I've responded to each of you.

Always remember matter what journey you take or what destination you reach...NEVER give up on your dreams.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WINNER Best First Line Contest Announced!

Wow! The Best First Line contest brought in tons of votes and the Top 3 were only 2 votes apart for each of the first 3 places! I want to recognize all of the Top 3 because it shows just what a diverse group of authors and voters we have.

From the mysterious to the wickedly are the Top 3:

1st Place (with 18.8% of the vote): "I open the door to find a body at my feet." --CJ Ellisson from Vampire Vacation

2nd Place (with 16.8% of the vote): "Who pooped and didn't flush it?" --Boone Brux from Grim Reality

3rd Place (with 14.9% of the vote): “Oh, boy! I can increase my erection by twenty percent.” --Arianna Skye from Wings of Desire

CJ, I'll be in touch with you about your prize.

CONGRATS to all and thanks to everyone for participating!


Don't forget to enter the Best Tag Line Contest by Friday 3/19. Click here for details.

Please Note: Voting will now start on Sunday (3/21) instead of Saturday. I'll post a message with the voting links and contact the participants on Sunday with the details.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Author Interview: Eliza Knight

Click the book cover to pick up your copy!

The Book Boost is proud to welcome...
Our featured author Eliza Knight!

Welcome, Eliza! Thanks for joining us this week at the Book Boost Blog.

TBB: First up, tell us more about Her Captain Surrenders.


Captain Nathaniel Cruise always puts duty first. But a beautiful woman tempts him from his duties to pursue more...pleasurable diversions. Beyond her physical charms, Lady Blackburn has wit and intelligence. He'll have to stay one step ahead of the seductive widow to keep from falling under her spell.

Lady Juliette Blackburn knows what she wants and she wants Captain Cruise. A wealthy widow in her own right, she decides to take her love life into her own hands. However, at every turn, the man of her dreams runs away from her. She’ll have to keep up a subtle chase to discreetly reel him in.

Despite their mutual attraction, something darker pulls them together, threatening both their lives. Together they’ll fight the villain and perhaps along the way, Juliette’s captain will surrender… to love.

TBB: That sounds awesome. How about a short excerpt to tease the readers?


“Captain Cruise.” His hostess Lady Challedon came up behind him. “May I introduce to you to a dear friend?”

Nathaniel swallowed his distaste at meeting another groom hunter, and turned to gaze into the most stunning pair of lavender eyes, made all the more brilliant by a frame of thick, curling black lashes. Lady Blackburn.

For a moment he was struck dumb. They’d never been formally introduced, yet he’d seen her everywhere, the park, ballrooms, Covent Garden, and dinner parties. And she had seen him. More than once, he’d looked up to find her eyes on him but he’d been too preoccupied helping Captain Montgomery, the Earl of Stafford, to beg an introduction. He’d managed to find out her name, that she was a widow, and little else.

“My pleasure, ladies.”

He bowed. She curtsied. Nathaniel let his gaze fall to where full breasts pushed the limits of her silvery gown. His gaze lingered on her breasts a scant moment longer before traveling the length of her narrow waist and rounded hips. The curves of her figure promised to be a lush experience for any man. His body stirred to life with the thought.

Perhaps he could persuade her to enjoy a night with him.

He caught his bearings and managed a polite, “Lady Blackburn, would you care to honor me with a dance?”

“I should like that very much.”

Deep golden blonde hair, with hints of coral red, bobbed atop her delicate head as she nodded. She slipped her arm into the crook of his elbow, and gazed up at him. Her touch sent a shocking hunger racing through his veins. He’d never reacted this way to a woman before.

Get a hold of yourself, Nathaniel! He felt like an adolescent rather than the two and thirty years he was.

“Captain Cruise, I seem to be running into you quite often. Are you enjoying the Season?”

He paused a moment before answering. He couldn’t tell her he would rather chew off his own arm than attend another ball. He should let her know he didn’t intend to tarry long in London. The sea called his name, begged him to return, and he planned to answer as soon as he possibly could.

“’Tis a most fascinating way to distract myself until I return to my ship.” Nathaniel glanced at the lady to gage her reaction.

The corners of her mouth curved into a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She looked away, as if trying to hide her disappointment.

“What is the name of your ship, Captain?” Her voice held a note of pique. Was she a saucy lady then?

TBB: All right, folks. I don't need much more convincing. Get out there and pick up your copy today. Just click the book cover at the top of this post to reach the direct buy link.

Now, what have you been up to lately, Eliza?

EK: My latest news is that I signed a contract with Ellora's Cave for my next Highlander erotic time-travel novella, Take It Off, Warrior. It's a sexy, sizzling, humorous romp with a happily ever after ending. Release date be sure to sign up for my newsletter for up to date information. (See below for link to Eliza's newsletter).

TBB: Oh, my! Take it Off, Warrior? You had me at the mention of another Highlander book. Congrats on the new contract!

I know you teach a lot of writing workshops. What would be your advice to other aspiring authors out there?

EK: Don't ever stop. Keep going. Hone your craft. Write, write, write. The more you write the better you'll get. Read, read, read. The more you read the better you'll get at knowing the market and what publishers are looking for. I'm a big promoter of the three P's: Persistence, Patience and Perseverance. Without these three things, you will burn out quickly. Writing is a long journey and it can be lonely too. Make friends with other writers, go to conferences, attend workshops, and let others look at your work. Get yourself out there.

TBB: Sound advice and I couldn't agree more. Now for some fun stuff. Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

EK: Hmmm...that I sit with my back hunched over, feet propped up under my desk, looking extremely perplexed when I write? LOL Or maybe that I like to brew a giant pot of coffee when I write, but my coffee cup is lucky if I actually pour any of the steaming caramel confection into it? (I just love the smell of brewing coffee!!!)

TBB: I have a bit of a super sniffer myself. I like the smell of the clothes dryer sheets (clean cotton/linens). Go figure.

So, if they made a movie of your life...what actress would play you?

EK: This is a fun question!!! It's a toss up between Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow. Although, I must say I use a lot of lines from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion...WOO!!!

TBB: LOL I can so see you as Kate Hudson, though. You're adorable just like her. :-)

Eliza, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us today. I know you're the mother of 3 (just like myself) and that leaves virtually no time for extra events such as these. I really appreciate it.

Any final words for our readers?

EK: I'm all over the place! Readers can visit me at or blog with me regularly at or! Don't forget to sign up for my newletter (click here).

I'd also love to give away an e-book copy of Her Captain Surrenders to one lucky commenter today.

TBB: That's great, Eliza! Okay, folks you'll have from today until Friday at noon (CDT) to enter a comment for a chance to win. Winner announced on Friday's blog post here at the Boost and you must check back to see if you've won!

Also, don't forget to check out Eliza's Book of the Week feature at!

Thanks for joining us, my Celtic sister. xoxo

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Journey to the Call---Part II

Welcome back to my journey to the call! If you haven't read last week's Part I of my journey then click here to read from the beginning. Journey to the Call...Part1.

I'll pick up where I left a sea of rejections...

After enough rejections to create my own personalized roll of toilet paper, I decided that I needed more education on both the publication market itself and on the craft of writing in general.

So, I started taking classes on how to break into the industry. That was when I discovered an amazing and startling factoid. I learned that romance book sales make up around 70% of all book sales!

This little tid bit of information changed my views entirely. I had planned to be a legal thriller/mystery author but when I read this statistic I immediately considered a genre change. Perhaps I could incorporate my love of the law into a romance book?

I'd always been a fan of romance books but I'd never considered writing one. I decided then to not only start writing a new book but I started searching for classes to attend both live and online.

I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to educate yourself. The craft of writing is much more complex that just putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I recommend the following resources (although there are way too many to list here--these were extremely helpful to me, personally):

*Click the titles for direct links to purchase these resources!*

In addition to that, I started attending book signings for my fave authors so that I could chat with romance fans and find out what they liked to read. I attended several reader luncheons in the area hosted by local RWA chapters. Of course, I didn’t know what RWA was back then but I soon found out.

For those of you who don't know...RWA (Romance Writers of America) is the national organization that helps educate and support romance authors. I highly recommend joining as it opens up a whole new world of resources, eduction, and contacts that would not otherwise be available to you.

I didn't join right away but once I joined I learned about chapters and their contests. I have a lot of experience with contests and I'll delve into that in my Journey Part III (next Monday). Be sure to come back for my exciting conclusion!

Today I’m adding to the "Journey to the Call" prize pack which already includes the following prizes:
  • A book entitled: How to Write Attention Grabbing Query & Cover Letters;
  • (1) free critique of your query letter; and
  • (1) free copy of my first published book entitled Miss Taken
The second set of prizes to be added to the bundle are as follows:
  • (1) free online writer workshop (details to be provided);
  • (1) free critique of the first 3 chapters of your manuscript; and
  • (1) free copy of my award winning romance novella entitled The Saucy Celt

In order to be eligible to win the prize pack, you must follow my 3 part blog post journey (every Monday for 3 weeks) here at the Book Boost Blog. You’ll gain entry to the prize pack drawing only if you post a comment or question each week for each week of the post. If you missed week one, there is still time to comment!

The entire prize pack bundle is designed to help “pre-published” authors who are still seeking that elusive “call”.

Next week, I’ll wrap up my journey and announce the third and final set of prizes to be added to the prize pack bundle.

In the meantime, share with me questions about writer education or tell me about writing classes you've taken in the past! I look forward to hearing from you!

BEST Tag Line Contest Kicks Off

**This Contest has been Canceled! Thanks to all who entered. Stay tuned for more contests at the Book Boost Blog...coming soon!**

All you authors out there...
let's hear your fabulous Tag Lines!

What is a tag line? Well, some folks refer to it as the "hook for your book". What catchy one sentence description of your book makes a reader want to read more?

Here are some samples of tag lines for my books:

From Miss Taken:
Some mistakes are worth making.

From Surviving Truth:
Sometimes living a lie is the only way to survive the truth.

From Vegan Moon:
When a vegetarian werewolf falls for a celebrity chef, will his appetite for her cause him to stray from his vegan ways?

Starting today, entries are accepted via comment to this blog post for your best Tag Line. Only one entry per author is allowed and your entry must include your e-mail address for your entry to be valid. Entries accepted from 03/14/10 through 03/19/10 (midnight CDT).

Voting will commence on 03/20/10 and run through 03/26/10. The tag line with the most votes will win a Free Month of promotion for the author at the Book!


Last chance to vote in the Best First Line Contest! Click here for voting links!

Check back Monday for Part 2 in my Journey to the Call and find out what new prizes I'm adding to the huge prize pack bundle. If you missed Part 1, click here to get caught up.

Don't forget to check back next Friday to see if you're a Winner from last week's giveaways here at the blog!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Blogger: Martina Mercer

Today's Contest & Freebie Friday has been replaced by a special Guest Blogger!

Please help me welcome Martina Mercer to the Book Boost Blog! She's here to chat about publicity & one lucky commenter will receive a free copy of her book The Ghost's Daughter (winner announced NEXT Friday so you have all week to post a comment/question!)

Martina...take it away...

Is there really no such thing as bad publicity?

I have been asked this question four times over the past month, and as ambitious and relentless as I am in pressing my dream as a bestselling author, I've had to answer no. Not for me, is there any such thing as bad publicity, my mother meanwhile would disagree.

Early last week I was invited to the BBc studios to talk about the topics of the day and give an opportunity to plug a) my new book, and b) the BBC sitcom I created that's in production. With every interview my confidence is growing a little, however, I'm still quite a private person. Preferring to reveal feelings through my characters, behind a mask if you will.

So as the lovely Ms Ellie Florentinie chats to me off air, we have a real connection, particularly regarding my years as a Serial First Dater. (The subject of the sitcom). I relax for the first time, and really do behave as if I'm having a cup round a friends house.

So when she asks about my father's early life, I talk as candidly as I would to one of my girlfriends.

When she asks about his gangster lifestyle and the Strip Clubs he owned, I begin to realise we're heading in a different direction to a simple plug about my latest work. My late father may be the main character in my new book, however late he is, and not here to defend himself. Myself, I only have half the story, there's still a lot of questions I may never find answers to.

As she relentlessly probes for more and more scandalous information, I have little option but to make light of the subject, to laugh and portray our life growing up in the best possible light I can, because, regardless of the reporters opinion, our childhood was quite idyllic.

However, when she asks if my mother met my father at one of his clubs, whilst implying she may not have have been fully clothed when she did so, I have to call an end, and request an on air apology for my mother.

I've absolutely no doubt that this created interest in the sitcom, that my books may have sold a little faster with the information, but that's a big price to pay in exchange for my mother's trust and loyalty, she's only just exited from hiding, although she is enjoying the wolf whistles everywhere she goes!

So, no, for me, there is no such thing as bad publicity, however for the innocent people who haven't asked to be part of the madness, and have no books to sell, or TV programs to promote, there definitely is!

The next interviewer has asked if I'd talk about my husband as being childhood sweethearts, we married after 17 years apart, I just hope my husbands ready for it!

Thanks for joining us, Martina! To learn more about this author, please visit her website here.

Martina Mercer's website