Tag Archives: Courtney Cole

Friday Freebie: Free books by Cole and Schmidt

I have another great free book to share with you guys. From the author of the Bloodstone Saga, Courtney Cole, comes the first book in an exciting new YA paranormal series, Soul Kissed!

wpid-soulkissedbycourtneycoleyaparanormalseries-2012-02-10-08-48.jpg

Question: When your mother is a powerful witch and your father is a soul-sucking vampire, what does that make you?
Answer: Cursed.

With all the beauty and charm of a Siren, but cursed as a blood-sucking succubus, Empusa longs for love and a normal life. Neither of these can ever be hers, because the only thing she brings to anyone she loves is death.

Em lingers in the mortal world, hiding from her father and existing in a lonely life. Until she meets Brennan. With golden hair and a radiant smile, he captures her heart and awakens it from slumber.

But Brennan is more than he seems. And in a relationship where life itself hangs in the balance, is love ever really enough?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Another free book has been brought to my attention. This one is by Cheri Schmidt, the first book in her Fateful series. It’s a YA vampire love story. It looks like something that might appeal to fans of Twilight.

wpid-fatefulbycherischmidtyaparanormalseries-2012-02-10-08-48.jpg

A huge fan of Jane Austen, Danielle hopes to find her own Mr. Darcy when she leaves Colorado to attend art school in London. Of course she knows it’s silly to wish for that, naive even. But she’s met enough males who lacked respect for women, a growing trend it seemed. And at nineteen…well…. However, on only her second night there she gets lost and is threatened by a stalker who proves to be immune to her martial arts training. Before she is completely overpowered, she is then saved by Ethan Deveroux.

While Danielle does find the romance she seeks in Ethan, he’s no Mr. Darcy. Her hero is held by a spell which fractures their chance at a happy ending. During the day Ethan is closer to mortal than immortal and can date her like any other man. Yet, as the sun sets, the powerful magic of an ancient curse returns and the evil of that spell is revealed. When that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends because Ethan Deveroux is a vampire.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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Courtney Cole’s Fabulous Fated Book Tour

Welcome to the 3rd day of Courtney Cole’s Fabulous Fated Book Tour! (TM me just now, yo!)

Today it’s my turn to host Courtney on my blog and ask her a set of questions that hopefully uncover new and interesting things about her. (Full disclosure: I found several of these questions online when I found myself drawing a blank for interesting questions that hadn’t been done to death already.)

You can get the full details about the other stops on the blog tour and learn more about winning the awesome prize here. You can read my review of Fated here. And if you decide you absolutely MUST purchase Fated right now (which clearly you will because it’s a good book and Court is a total sweetheart) you can get it at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Now onto the interview!

1. If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would you want to have seen? 

 

Hmm.  This is a good one!   Maybe the toppling of the Berlin wall.  That had to be exciting.  Or the first space shuttle launch– everyone was just so filled with hope and wonder.  That would have been awesome.  We’re all kind of jaded nowadays, I think.

2. If you could live in any era in the entirety of human history, which one would you choose?

 

Now. I would love to visit many other eras for a day… ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Egypt… but I’d prefer to live in the now… I like modern dental and medical care. 

3. What famous person do other people tell you that you most resemble?

I used to get Julia Roberts a lot… back when I was wearing my hair red.  Now, I think I just look like me. 

4. Would you enjoy spending a month of solitude in a beautiful natural setting? Food and shelter would be provided but you would not see another person. 

 

Um.  A whole month?  Probably not.  A few days would be AWESOME.  But to not talk to anyone else for a month?  I might die. Literally.  Girl, please.  You know how I am with email…

5. Death is a reoccurring theme in Every Last Kiss and Fated. So let’s find out how you feel about it. You can choose your method of dying and the place in which you will die. Where would you like to die and how? 

 

Okay.  This is my new strangest interview question.  Actually, though, I think that life is a more recurring theme in my books than death- because everyone lives over and over again.  Death actually scares me.  A lot.   But if I had to choose… I would prefer to die painlessly in my sleep when I’m 102. I’ll have a box of Ghiradelli chocolate in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other.

6. If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose?

How I Met Your Mother…  Because I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone killing me like I would in some of my other fave shows and it’s just a cute show.  And no, I totally wouldn’t sleep with Barney. 

7. If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else currently living, would you do so? Whom would you pick? 

 

No. I wouldn’t. The devil you know is always safer than the devil you don’t… so I’d choose my own issues over someone else’s. And I’ve grown accustomed to my freakishly large feet so… I’ll just keep them.

8. If you could be any age again for one week, what age would you be?

Um…. maybe 29.  I’m 35 now, and it would be nice to be able to say that I was a 20-something again.  Although, I’m perfectly comfortable just staying 35.  But I’m not getting any older though.  Just letting you know right now.   

9. In what ways does your husband resemble Hasani/Cadmus?

My husband has the same cocky swagger as Hasani- the same witty humor.  He’s got that confident sexiness going on, too. Physically, my husband has dark hair and eyes (not quite as dark as Hasani’s, though, the hubbs’ eyes are kind of hazelish where Hasani’s are almost black), he’s tall (6’4", like Hasani) and he has the same chiseled jaw line.  They’re both sexy as all get out.  Sigh. 

10.Mystery question: Because this is my new favorite thing to do (Don’t tell the neighbors or the kids, please!) I want to know: Have you ever went skinny dipping?

Try to predict Courtney’s answer to this question in the comments for your chance to win the prize.

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Fated- a book review

For fans of Every Last Kiss, Courtney Cole’s debut novel, you’ll be thrilled to know that the sequel, Fated, is now available. ELK is rated 5/5 stars on Amazon by 13 reviewers and consistently spends time in the low 1,000s in ranking. Let me tell you, there’s a reason for this.

Fated picks up where Every Last Kiss leaves off. School is in swing after Macy spent her summer in an intense relationship with her soulmate, Hasani- now known in this life as Gavin. Things are going great and she’s looking forward to enjoying a peaceful school year with her rediscovered love and her best friends. That is until she runs into the soul who was formerly known as Cleopatra.

As in every other life, Macy and her ward, known as her Daedal, have an instant connection, but there’s something weird about Jade. The Moirae, a shadowy trio of sisters, have clearly noticed as well because their interest in how events unfold in this lifetime can only be described as intense.

The storyline which explored ancient Egypt in sensual detail tackles Greek mythology this time around with the same level of attention that I’ve come to expect from a Courtney Cole novel. She seamlessly blends traditionally accepted folklore with her own unique creations to invent a distinct new world, the Spiritlands, where a huge portion of the narrative takes place.

I don’t want to give too much away because much of the pleasure of the book comes from trying to guess where the story might head next, but suffice it to say I was really pleased with the direction the story went and I’m dying for book 3 to see how things are resolved and how Macy will reconcile her knowledge of her true identity with her current life.

I’d recommend this story to fans of Every Last Kiss and those who are interested in Greek mythology.

Don’t forget that Courtney is having a blog tour this week with a chance to win some great new books. Monday she visited Patti’s blog, today she’s spending time with M. Leighton and tomorrow you can catch her interview here in the Nest.

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Courtney Cole’s blog tour

For those of you who read Courtney Cole’s debut novel Every Last Kiss, you’ll be excited to know that the sequel went live early. Fated is now available for purchase. Unlike me, she’s actually pretty good at self promotion and she has a plan to celebrate this event.

Starting on Monday, Court is going to answer interviews at a different blog every day. You can get the details here, but I’ll go ahead and sum up the blog line up:

There will be a chance to win a pretty cool prize pack:

  • An autographed copy of Meant To Be by Tiffany King, along with bookmarks and some miscellaneous signed Tiffany King swag.
  • An autographed copy of The Understorey by Fisher Amelie and a bookmark.
  • Autographed copies of Every Last Kiss and Fated by Courtney, with bookmarks. 
  • An e-copy of Blood Like Poison: Destined for a Vampire by M. Leighton
  • An e-copy of I Wish by Wren Emerson
  • An e-copy of Curiosities, Inc. by Patti Larsen
  • An e-copy of Violet Midnight by Allie Burke
  • An e-copy of Princess, by Courtney
  • And I’m going to throw in a set of 4 collaged postcards for funsies.

I’ll post reminders so you know where we’re at on the tour. It should be fun and the chance to win some of the hottest indie YA paranormal is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick any day.

Speaking of Courtney, I’ve been trying to convince her to give collage a try. Buy a couple of tubes of cheap acrylic craft paint (around $.50-$1), a pair of scissors, and some glue and you’re literally ready to start. Well, except for the best part, of course.

I’ve been saving magazines, books, and other found papers for years. I have an awesome used bookstore in town that sells all kinds of amazing books. It’ll probably be the only thing I miss when I move. I can find foreign language books, sheet music, and some of the most fantastic illustrated books.

To say I have a collage stash is probably understating quite a bit. So naturally I packed Court a nice fat package full of a bunch of different kinds of fun papers.

collage papers 5

collage papers 1

collage papers 2

collage papers 3

Because I have so many cool papers in my stash, I thought I would make them available to anyone who’d like one. You can buy a package of assorted found papers here. It’s a great way to get started without a amassing a huge collection the way I have.

ICAD:

icad jun 22 11

Not a lot to say about this one. I just grabbed some scraps and created a quick and dirty collage.

icad jun 23 11

Someone’s been reading John Locke’s book… Ok, it’s me. I get the impression that he’s a salesman first and an author as an afterthought. I’m not so sure how well his methods would work for me.

icad jun 24 11

What a crooked scan. Ah well, that’s how it turns out sometimes, I have no idea why. The house is made from some painted papers I have laying around. The roof looks awfully washed out, but it’s actually got some subtle texture and some green going on. The journaling is from a song lyric. I’m not digging the background at all. But again, oh well. My ICADS are usually put together in about 15 minutes or less. No time for perfection.

Art Journal Every Day:

AJED Jun 22 11

Someone made a comment to me on a blog that I felt was critical at best and quite possibly a personal attack (they didn’t bother to use any kind of a “real” name. They just called themselves something like “Wren, you’re totally wrong”. Heavy paraphrasing on my part, but still it was close).

Anyway, I found the dog and really wanted to use it because, c’mon, adorable! And I realized it was perfect as a focal image for my frustration about trying not to be a total dick online even when that’s exactly what I feel like acting like. So I gave my saintly, tongue biting pug a set of angelic (sort of) wings because let’s be real, that shit is hard to do. Get down with your bad self, Dog!

AJED Jun 23 11

Ah, my page about my terrible habit of putting life off until some arbitrary goals are met. Everything is going to be better for me… someday. It’s just a little reminder to myself that time is slipping by lightning fast and I’m missing out on a lot of great opportunities by waiting for some distant future that will probably never happen.

I have a page for today, but my pictures ended up unacceptably blurry. Since you’ve seen the quality of the pictures I take, you KNOW it’s gotta be bad. I’ll post it tomorrow or with the next big batch of photos I put up.

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Trying a new experiment

I decided to try a pricing experiment this month. As I mentioned yesterday, my total income for all of the last week was only $7. While I’m grateful for every copy I sell, the profit I see on a $.99 is only $.35. I doubt very much I’ll ever be able to be able to make a living at that pace. Those same 20 sales would have netted me $40 at the $2.99 price point. Still not ready to retire on it, but it’d at least fill my gas tank.

So for the next month or until the sequel of I Wish… comes out, I’m pricing at the higher point and seeing what it does to sales. I’d hate to take a hit on sales, but the higher profit might make it worthwhile. As always, I’ll report my numbers openly at the end.

One more bit of book related news. I logged onto my page today and was delighted to see this:

june 16 amazon ranking

I’m not sure when this happened, but today is the first time I’ve ever seen it on my page. I’ll admit, I get thrilled by the little things so you can imagine how excited I got about it. So there’s another reason to read I Wish… if you haven’t so far. It’s the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

Now for my artsy stuff of the day.

icad jun 16 11

This background might look a little familiar. I made about 5 cards at the same time using the same paints. I’d say that’s my biggest time saving tip. Work on 4 or 5 cards every time you have your paints out.

AJED Jun 16 11

This is the background I was working on for Art Journal Every Day. I’m not sure where I’m going with it, but that yellow is pretty bright. I might tone it down with another layer of color. At the very least a more muted shade of yellow.

I don’t think I’ll be finishing this page just yet though. I told Courtney that I’d attempt to take some step by step photos of how I work in my journal for her. Of course, the helpfulness of such a gesture is questionable given the quality of my photos, but it seems like an interesting challenge so I’ll give it a shot.

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Filed under I wish, ICAD & Art Journal Every Day, indie publishing

5 1/2 reasons why short stories are great for promoting

Before I get to the main point of this post, I thought I’d share a fun story. I think most of you have seen me post about Courtney Cole on the blog or talk about her on Twitter. It’s no secret that she’s my crit partner (and author of Every Last Kiss, a time travel story with a cool twist. It’s only $.99. You should do yourself a favor and check it out, it has amazing reviews). But I’m not sure anyone knows how we know each other.

Back in early February I posted an ad on Natalie Whipple’s blog looking for a crit partner or two. I had a few responses and we exchanged pleasantries, but things didn’t work out for one reason or another. But I started talking to this crazy girl, Court. We hit it off right away and I knew that we were destined to be friends. (editor’s note: Courtney is not actually crazy.)

We exchanged a bunch of emails (that hasn’t changed, I think our daily email average is around 12 and that doesn’t include texts) and during the small talk I mentioned I was from a tiny town in Kansas. “No way”, she said, “I’m from a tiny town in Kansas too! Where is it?”

I assured her that there’s no way she’s ever heard of it. It’s got a population of like 30 people, but I told her the name of the town and she responded, “No way!!!!!!!! I’m from there too!!!!!!” At this point I was confused because I couldn’t place the name so my first thought was that she was probably like 60 years old or something, LOL! (editor’s note: Courtney is not actually 60.)

Well, as it happened she *was* a couple of years older and married now, durr. We compared people we knew and it turned out that I was in class with her younger sister and she was in classes with my older cousin and the girl who used to live in my house before we moved there. We marveled over the odds of the two of us coming from a tiny town like that and becoming writers who just happened to find each other randomly on the internet and further happened to write the same genre. If ever there was a friendship meant to be, this is it.

I was thinking about that this morning when I had the idea to blog about short stories being awesome promotional tools. She’s been organizing a short story anthology between us and a few other YA paranormal writers. When she brought up the idea, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Let me tell you why.

1) Short stories are a relatively short time commitment. You can write several in the amount of time it takes to write a full novel.

2) They are really handy to have around. Once you’ve written a short story or two you can use them for all kinds of things. They pad your backlist numbers, can be included in an anthology with other authors, or given away for free.

I’m actually thinking that I’d like to have a short story I’m working on right now printed up into mini booklets that I can sign and give away free at promotional events. It’s a collectible and it serves a real use as an introduction to my writing. I’m also thinking that when I release the Witches of Desire trilogy as an omnibus, I might throw in a couple of unpublished short stories set in that world to sweeten the pot a little bit.

3) Putting a short story into an anthology with other authors is a fantastic way to gain new readers. People who love Courtney will buy our anthology for her story and might decide they liked mine enough to give I Wish… a try. And, of course, the same for my fans finding  her. We both win and so do the readers.

4a) You can explore different aspects of the world and characters that there’s no room for in the novels. I have plans to delve into the back stories of a few non-Thistle characters soon and I think that my universe will only be stronger for that.

4b) You can share all that awesome world building without an info dump in your novels. This is actually a lot like the last one. Serious world builders know what I’m talking about though. I have spent hours making up rules about the magic my characters use and how their politics work. And I got to share maybe a quarter of that. Sharing any more was running the risk of slowing down the story to molasses. So you bet I’m going to jump on any chance to write more about that.

5) It’s such an unintimidating way for a new reader to connect with you. Short stories are generally priced really cheap and the word count is really small. It’s maybe an hour or two of commitment at most. Most people will give you that much time, especially if the story is free or tucked in an anthology.

So here’s what I suggest.

Write short stories. Write lots of them. Publish them on their own and gather them into collections and sell them that way too. Submit to every anthology you come across (provided you think you’ll be a good fit).

Start your own anthologies. Find a friend or ten that write in a similar genre as you do, pick a theme and a word count and write for that. You don’t even have to do any extra promotion. Every time a reader buys that book, they are being exposed to all the other authors and people WILL buy it if you write about your popular series.

See, that’s the real key to success, I think. I’d strongly recommend having the stories you write tie in with a series you already write. They might like your story no matter what you write about, but it won’t drive them to your series the way it would if they loved your short story about one of the characters.

Do you have any tips to add? Any success stories about how short stories helped your sales? Please share with us!

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How does Freshly Pressed affect sales?

Surely anybody who knows my policy on transparent numbers knew this was coming. Yesterday I was featured on WordPress.com for my post on how I outline (with pictures!) and so I thought I’d tell everyone how that went.

Before yesterday the most hits I’d ever had on my site was less than 300. Something like 285, I think. I was afraid I’d probably never top that day. Then I was “Freshly Pressed” and now the bar has been set ridiculously high. I got 3,497 views yesterday and another 1,024 this morning as of writing this post. Even cooler is that I now have over 60 subscribers (hi, new friends!). I don’t feel so much like I’m talking to myself anymore. But I’m more excited because I feel like now the authors I interview for my Monday Interview and an Excerpt feature will be able to reach a lot more people. Did you guy’s read Courtney’s interview yet? There is a lot of great information coming up in the interviews to come too.

Now for the $64,000 question: Did being featured on WordPress help my sales? Not even a little bit. I sold 1 copy yesterday and I think maybe 2 today. I did, however, get 2 separate hits from people looking for a free copy of my book. My thought is that I’ve got my first pirates. Which I find to be extremely flattering (people care enough to try to steal it? Awww.), but also annoying because seriously, you’d work that hard to find a free copy, but you aren’t willing to just pony up a buck? That $1 won’t buy you much, and if we’re being honest, it certainly won’t change my life since I’ll only see $.35 of it, but it WOULD help my Amazon ranking and give me a shot at being noticed by more people.

If you still can’t be convinced to pay for the book, then at the very least shoot me an email directly. I’ll happily give you a free copy in the hopes that you’ll repay me with a review. Obviously, I can’t force you to pay up, but breaking kneecaps isn’t my style. I have faith that given the opportunity, most people will make good on their word.  So go ahead and tell your friends; Wren Emerson gives out free copies of her book in exchange for reviews. A review is almost as good as a sale.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts about all of this? Let me know. I’d love to open a dialog about this.

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Filed under I wish, indie publishing