|Front & Back Cover
I'm proofing my book! Digitally for now. I have an actual paperback coming in the mail. I'm going to have to push back publication of the print version, but I'd rather do that than risk selling a book that doesn't look the best it can possibly look.
I already see a few things I'm going to fix. Still, this is exciting. Usually I have to wait and wait and wait and wait for my paperbacks to release. Now, I have full control over this.
I may even start releasing the ebook and paperback at the same time!
I just finished formatting my first indie paperback. Whew! Feels like I had a workout. It's so nice to wait for the box of books to come in the mail from the publisher! LOL!
A few things that I had to consider that I hadn't thought of before:
1. Book Size - You'll notice the ebook is about 314 pages. When doing the print version, the larger the book, the more expensive it is for readers to buy. So, the challenge here was for me to get the page count down without sacrificing the book's readability. I'm going to get a print copy sent to me so I can see exactly how the finished product will look. You can see files online, but for something like this, I need to hold the paperback in my hand before I start charging people for it.
2. Cover Art formatting. Syneca at Original Syn creates my cover art and she's brilliant. She sends me all the files I need for ebook & print. That doesn't mean I'll have the common sense to use the correct file!
First, I uploaded a cover without consideration that there wasn't a back cover with it. So readers would have purchased the book and gotten a paperback with a fancy front cover and a plain white back cover. No art, no book blurb, nothing. LOL Not good!
Second, I didn't think about the book spine. Size the book incorrectly, and the book spine will not print properly.
Third, CreateSpace requires PDF cover uploads. Not JPEG. I'm so used to every image I work with being a JPEG that I mentally warred against the PDF requirement. Fortunately, Syneca is smart enough to combat the ridiculous things new indie writers do.
3. Glossy cover or Matte cover? Go online to research and nobody agrees. But the arguments I heard in favor of matte covers were more convincing than the ones for glossy. Plus, most of the books in my own personal library have matte covers.
4. Book size!!! Ack!!! I hadn't anticipated this. I thought this would be a sort of, once size fits all deal. Nope! So I went with the recommended, 6x9 cover. By the way, there's also much disagreement about this online.
The author basically gets to decide exactly how her book will look. It's very freeing, but a lot of work. The thing that took the longest was trying to get my page count down low enough so the price would be affordable. I should note here that while the author is able to decide how much to charge, CreateSpace gives them a minimum price based on the book size. So the author cannot go below that price.
It's been a great, two day adventure! I've learned much and won't be surprised if there are still changes to be made in the print version of Zoe Matthews, the Undead Ghost, and the Demon. But I'm learning and I'll be better prepared for my next paperback.
During the day I work as a Business Analyst. Last week we had our birthday lunch for the month. I'm new to the team so many don't know I write fiction. One of my co-workers asked what I write, I said paranormal mysteries and paranormal romance. At paranormal romance, she burst out laughing. She'd never heard of that sub-genre before, until recently. She wasn't rude at all, but I thought, I'm glad I didn't mention the paranormal erotic romance!
Luna Bay is a book I originally published back in 2007. I haven't read it since I approved the final proof of it, and to be honest, I'm pretty scared of reading it. Angela, a friend I used to work with, read it a while back and assured me it isn't crap, but I'm still afraid. I wrote that book while my marriage was falling apart. My marriage ended within weeks of me turning in the final to my editor. I was also about two months overdue. It was the worst possible time to be writing a book. I remember thinking, as I struggled to finish it, "if I'm ever able to finish this book it will be my greatest triumph!"
Well, I did finish it. And it received some good reviews. But now that I've resurrected Adrienne Kama--so to speak--and am re-releasing many of those books, I thought it would be a great time to re-release Luna Bay and give it the TLC I was unable to give it a few years ago.
I didn't release this one with Ellora's Cave, so I'm not sure how many people even know it exists.
Now, when I read the blurb, I'm amazed at how subconsciously I wrote things from my own life into this book. For Belle, the man she loved fell out of love with her. She tried to win his love back, and in the process, ended up wasting many years of her life. So she wished for a new one. Literally. Up at the top of the book it says - and I love this - "BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT!" For Belle, she got A LOT more than she bargained for.
After eighteen years of marriage to an emotionally cruel husband, Belle Harris realizes she has wasted nearly two decades of her life with a man who does not love her. Newly divorced and forty-three, Belle wants another chance at happiness. An unexpected encounter with an eccentric book seller who claims to have a magical fix for her problems may be the solution. With nothing to lose, Belle speaks enchanted words that send her eighteen years into the past to relive her life. Unfortunately for Belle, the eccentric book seller not only sends her back in time, he sends her to an alternate universe teeming with supernatural beings, malevolent warlocks, and sexy as sin lycan. Belle is not prepared to face the challenges that await her in this new world. Neither is she prepared for her body s immediate response to the sensual lycan warlord, Anwar.
Anwar Thomas has sworn allegiance to the ruling family of his wolfpack, and until recently, peace has reigned among his people. The emergence of the sinister lycan, Derq, and his bid for control has divided the inhabitants of Luna Bay. Making matters worse, the body of a lycan male is found in town. The last thing Anwar needs is distractions. But once he sets eyes on the sultry beauty, Belle, he s hard pressed to control his desire for her.
Sexy Excerpt - WARNING - This excerpt contains adult language and imagery
Belle walked past the second floor bathroom and paused in front of Kevin’s door. The music wasn’t coming from there. There was another room in the opposite direction, but Belle didn’t bother going back that way to investigate. The music was coming from in front of her, not from behind. She’d thought there were only three bedrooms on the second floor. Somehow she’d missed the fourth room. Now that she was in the hall looking, she could see the door to the fourth bedroom at the end of the hall, and from the noise coming from the other side, she figured she’d found the source of the music.
She crossed the hall, listened at the door for a few seconds, and then knocked. The door swung gently open, but not onto another room as she’d expected, but onto a wide, outdoor walkway. The moment she stepped outside she could feel the cool night breeze rising off of the sea and smell the fragrant scent of the ocean. The moon was a large crescent in the sky, shining brilliantly from above.
Apparently, this house was even larger than she’d realized.
Various, overstuffed lawn chairs and lounges were positioned around a large table. Candles were set on tall stands and upon the walkway wall, but none were lit.
On the other side of the walkway was an open door. Loud music blared from within. By now she could tell it was hard rock of some sort. The singer was squealing about something or other, trying to be heard over dueling guitars and drums.
More curious than before, she walked to the door, intending only to pull it shut, then go down and let the dog in. Maybe she’d get a little peak inside, but just a peak, nothing more.
She stepped into the doorway, bent inside to clasp the doorknob, then gasped.
A man. A man unlike any she’d ever seen, was in a corner of a sea blue bedroom doing pull-ups. And he was naked. As naked as the day he was born. But as far as she could see, his body didn’t have an ounce of baby fat on it.
His shoulders were wide and such a creamy shade of milk-chocolate that she had to crush a sudden desire to walk to him, press her lips to his hot flesh and run her tongue along his succulent curves.
Muscles rippled as he worked, every complete circuit was accompanied by a low, masculine grunt that made Belle’s insides roll. His skin was slick with sweat. Beads of moisture glided over his shoulders, down his spine and into the crevice between his butt cheeks. Watching that slow, seductive trail of dampness trickle over his body made Belle a little light-headed. Her heart raced, she began to pant, and she couldn’t pull her eyes away from the delicious tableau for all the tea in china.
She could see his face in the full-length mirror set into the wall in front of him, and his face was as perfect as the rest of him. Deep brown eyes were narrowed with concentration, and his dark brows were furrowed. Save a light dusting of stubble on his chin, his skin was smooth and unblemished. He had a wide mouth, and temptingly full lips. Lips she suddenly wanted to taste.
His chest was as muscled as his back and tapered down to narrow hips. He was as perfect as the man in her dream had been.
She had to swallow before she let her eyes dip lower, before she found out just how perfect this stranger really was.
Her eyes slid down, past his hips to his strong thighs, over his hairy skin to his flaccid penis. She bit her lower lip as she stared, feeling dazed. Her body was rousing as it hadn’t in years. Desire, pure and unfiltered, had her nipples hardening into tight buds.
Even at rest his size was impressive. His shaft lay against a thatch of curly dark hair. From where she was standing, she could see it was thick, with skin that looked silken and soft. She wondered what a man like the one in this room, who was so well endowed, could do to a woman like her; a woman who had gone without the attention of a man for more years than she could remember. How fantastic could he make her feel? Would he be a selfish lover like Stan, or one who sought to see that she took as much pleasure in sex as he did. Like the man she’d dreamt about that first night after she’d made her wish. That perfect, beautiful, imaginary man who’d made love to her.
Biting her lip harder, she refocused on the tender flesh bobbing between his legs. The engorged cockhead, the thickening shaft, his…
She blinked, got another look at the body part in question. It wasn’t lying docilely against the man’s thigh anymore but hard and swollen.
Her jaw sagged. She forced her eyes up, past the reflection of his tight abs, beyond his nipples, his wide shoulders, and to his face. “Oh,” she chirped in a high, panicky voice.
Get a glass of wine, put on Kim Waters, and get ready for some good reads!
I'm a huge fan of paranormal mysteries/urban fantasies, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite authors here for anyone who is looking for a great, paranormal read.
Kim Harrison - http://www.kimharrison.net/
She writes urban fantasy about a witch who solves murder mysteries. Great Series!
Juliet Blackwell - http://www.julietblackwell.net/
She writes paranormal mysteries, also about a witch who solves murder mysteries. Her reads are a little lighter in tone, but just as excellent. Juliet Blackwell is one of my favorites!
Heather Blake - http://www.heatherblakebooks.com/
She writes paranormal mysteries. Ha! I didn't realize this until now, but her series also features a witch. Guess what she does? She solves murder mysteries. Awesome series. Her books have a cozy mystery feel.
I just discovered Patricia Briggs this week. She's been a bestselling author of urban fantasy for years, but she's new to me. Her heroine is not a witch, but a walker. She can shift into a coyote. The world building is excellent. It features walkers, werewolves, fae, and more! http://www.patriciabriggs.com/
Any paranormal authors you'd like to share? Please feel free.
A question I get asked a lot is, why I choose to indie publish despite having written for traditional publishers.
There's nothing wrong with traditional publishing. In fact, there are many awesome perks.
I may traditional publish again. But right now, I'm enjoying being the captain of my ship.
Writing for a publishing house often feels like I'm writing solely for my editor instead of for my readers. Editors and readers are concerned with totally different things.
Readers care about:
Editors care about:
Paranormal Mystery (new cover coming soon)
I could go on.
Writing a good story isn't always enough. For me, I got tired of submitting my story to editors and hearing back how much they enjoyed the book, the characters, the plot, but didn't think they could sell speculative fiction with a Black heroine. I heard that A LOT. And it's very frustrating to put months into a book, have people think you've told a good story, but to still have it rejected by publishers because the race of your lead character isn't "right."
I don't think publishers/editors realize ethnic women read genres other than romance. There's a lot of multi-cultural, speculative fiction out there, but it's hard to find. When I discovered Tananarive Due and how easy her books are to get, I was so excited! And I spread the word! You don't have to be Black to enjoy her books, you just have to enjoy a good book. She tells a scary story like nobody else!
So, by publishing my books myself, I never have to be told again how enjoyable my stories are, but the race of my lead character is wrong. I don't worry about that. I get to focus on the story now.
Things I've learned since I began indie publishing:
There are lots of great resources out there if you're thinking of indie publishing. Some of my favorites are:
It's here! Zoe Matthews, the Undead Ghost, and the Demon is here! I'm so excited.
This book is close to my heart. Well, all of my books are close to my heart, but this one is especially close. It's a mystery, it takes place in my home town, and I was able to incorporate some of my favorite things into this story. Close friendships, a budding relationship, and lots of scares. I hope everyone enjoys it!
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Matthews-Undead-Ghost-Bridgeport-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00TM9J1BY/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
You can also read the first chapter before you buy it. Go to: http://heatherelizabethking.com/excerpts
These are two genres that seem completely different. On the one hand you have some supernatural force strutting it's diabolical stuff all over town and wreaking havoc, on the other, there's a very real & human threat going around town killing people. One is designed to scare you, the other is designed to make you feel like you're visiting old friends (assuming you can get past the rising body count). But these two genres have something in common.
In many of Stephen King's books, the town where the events take place is as much a character as the people who populate his books. In a cozy mystery, this is always the case.
What is it about the location that speaks to so many people? I can't answer that question for anyone else, but I've compiled a list of five things I like about my current location.
5. The Community Market (the image if from my town's community market). When the time comes that I move away from my small town, I'll have to move someplace with a thriving community market. It's become one of my Saturday morning habits to stock up on vegetables for the week by hitting the market. How many books feature community markets?
4. The pace is much slower than it is up north, because of this, it's always easier for me to get to know people in my small town than it is when I'm in Maryland or New York.
3. The sense of community. This is critical in these types of books. Either they'll be living in a busy metro area where everyone is too busy being successful or trying to be successful to take time out to talk to a stranger. Or they'll be in a small town where everyone knows everyone and strangers love talking to strangers! These qualities all have an impact on character development and plot. What if a small town girl is living in a metro area and finds a body in an alley? If she tries to handle things as though she were still in a small town, what kind of conflict will this create?
2. The slower pace. People strive for success in my small town, but not like they do up north. Who knows, in a few years number two may be on a top five lists of why I'm moving back north. But for right now, I enjoy the slower pace. I like not having to be so aggressive when I'm driving or speaking to people. I like not having to put on my game face (a.k.a. my don't fuck with me face -- yes, I do have one and every now and again have to break it out in the small town) that often.
1. The cost of living!
So when I'm writing something scary or a mystery, the location of events is as important as my plot and character development. A story changes dramatically based on location, because in these genres, location is a character.
It’s All About the Research
Authors of erotic romance often get teased about what kind of research they might delve into for the sake of their books – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it…**snicker, giggle, knowing wink.**
The research my husband and I engaged in for this spicy romantic suspense is a little different – some might say, it’s been our entire lives. We’ve both taught at universities (that’s where we met) and we know the academic life from the inside. The choices and struggles faced by our professorial hero, Anthropologist Matt Bayfield, are more familiar than we might like to admit.
Hubs is a sociologist with a specialty in criminology. I promise he’s drawn on this background immensely in creating our spunky female undercover cop, Nancy Appleby, in plotting the trajectory of the crimes and the mystery of solving it, and especially in understanding our truly creepy villain (who I won’t name, of course – that would spoil everything!).
We’ve both immersed ourselves in understand Celtic culture and history for years – long before we envisioned this novel. Hubs has Welsh roots, and mine are Scotch-Irish on one side, so we feel an ancestral pull to that era and its understanding of seasons and cycles. It was easy to hand that passion over to our ersatz professor. We won’t say more about how it’s woven into the plot, but we think readers will like it.
We had a close call researching the technology we’ve handed our resourceful cop – hubs found himself on a website requesting security clearance for more information. Backed right out of that one! But found what we needed to know without tripping any more alarms.
The North Woods, where we’ve set the novel? A place we’ve lived and loved, and left, when the winters grew too much for us to handle. But while we lived there, we threw ourselves with a passion into the cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and crisp winter outings Nancy enjoys so much. Writing those scenes was like watching snippets from our own life on the screen.
The Unmasking was originally released in 2008 under a different pen name; rights reverted to us when the contract ran out, and we’ve decided to re-issue it as “ourselves.” We’ve thoroughly re-edited the book and incorporated helpful feedback from our beta readers
Our tag line is Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Most of our published work has focused on the “three or more” side of the equation. We’re happy to offer a book focused on the “two” element, and we think readers will find the sex is no less sizzling. And no, we’re not going to share any research we might have indulged in to write those scenes.
February 15, 2014
ISBN 978-0-9894693-6-4; ASIN B00IDVB6KQ
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: Four flames
Whose mask will crumble first—
the enigmatic professor of Celtic Studies,
the undercover cop masquerading as a co-ed,
or the campus stalker,
biding his time to strike again?
Is anthropology professor Matt Bayfield the Blackthorn College rapist, or a potential ally? Aloof and unapproachable, Matt has academic ambitions. He can’t escape Blackthorn College soon enough, and he doesn’t want any entanglements to slow down his exit.
Nancy Appleby would like nothing more than to solve the string of campus rape cases before Thanksgiving so she can go home. The last thing she wants is a relationship to complicate her life—but she’ll settle for a fling, especially when the sex sizzles.
The stalker has his own carefully crafted timetable, with a special date just for Nancy. Can Matt and Nancy force him out of his hidey-hole before it’s too late?
Four and a half stars at Romance Junkies: From beginning to end, THE UNMASKING is a fascinating tale…I was intrigued at how the writing team is able to intertwine a love story with such horrifying circumstances in startling clarity. One of the many things I adored about this story is that the main characters are flawed. They both make judgment errors and their mistakes and assumptions lead to some emotionally trying scenes that had me eagerly reading to find out how they were going to solve their conflicts - or at several points if they even would be able to remain together. If you enjoy romantic suspense novels then I can definitely recommend THE UNMASKING. Chrissy D.
Five Stars at Amazon: One of the best stories ever written by Adriana Kraft…a truly great read. Could not put it down until I finished it. Amy B.
Five Stars at Goodreads: The suspense is so well done you don't know who the bad guy is until it's revealed in the book. The action is fast paced and kept my interest to the very end. Could not put the book down. Donna H.
Who will be the next victim?
Nancy Appleby scanned the co-eds in the small lecture hall. Each could be his next prey. Each looked much younger than she remembered being as a full-time student. Each woman hung on Professor Bayfield’s well crafted words.
Was it the topic, Celtic Myths and Rituals, or was it the aloofness of the tall, dark-haired lecturer with the strong protruding chin that mesmerized? He did command attention. Although his tone was mild, Bayfield played with his audience like a polished actor. Clearly he was in control. Though he gestured but rarely, he moved like an athlete, comfortable in his body.
Nancy jotted notes on a yellow pad pretending to be no different than anyone else in the room. She glanced up at Bayfield, whose eyes had settled on her; they were piercing and inquisitive. Then he shifted his gaze, but he’d noticed her, was thinking about her. Why? She’d done everything she could to blend in. He hadn’t seemed particularly troubled by her presence, just curious.
Nancy redirected her attention to the individuals sitting in front of her. She’d arrived early to claim an aisle seat in the back row. The raised auditorium layout provided an advantageous observation post. About sixty women and twenty men were in attendance, no doubt a decent turnout. Blackthorn College had a student body of less than two thousand.
Nancy scribbled more notes and then focused on the men in the room.
Was he in the lecture hall? Would he strike again, tonight? Or would the rapist stay in his hole, biding his time?
ABOUT ADRIANA KRAFT
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a husband/wife team writing Erotic Romance for Two, Three or More. The award-winning pair has published over thirty erotic romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. Romantic pairings include straight m/f, lesbian, bisexual, ménage and polyamory, in both contemporary and paranormal settings.
ADRIANA KRAFT ON THE WEB
One thing about writing, when you're writing a fantasy in a word entirely of your creation, places in the book look exactly how you want them to look. No questions asked because you've created that world and everything in it. But when you're writing in another genre and using a location that exists, you have to get your location facts straight. This means, if a scene happens at night, it's a good idea to know what the location of that scene looks like at night. Get a feel for it.
It was this that led me out of doors after 11p.m. on a Monday night. People have been messaging me lots of great location ideas. I love that. There are also the places I visited with my sister the other day. But I needed to see the good prospects at night so I could decide once and for all:1. Is this book happening in Baltimore or Lynchburg2. If it's in Lynchburg, what location will work best So I made sure I had my cell phone (because I needed the camera) and head out to downtown. I drove up and down a few streets, snapping pictures of places people had mentioned and some that caught my eye. For the worriers out there, I never got out of my car, my doors were locked, and my windows were shut. It was so disturbingly empty out there that I also thought it prudent to turn off The Good House (by Tananarive Due), the excellent haunted house book I was listening to, and put on some music.
The result of my outing, I think I've answered both questions. I'll be sure in the morning after I've had a good night of sleep. One thing I'm sure of now, downtown Lynchburg is creepy at night! At 11 there's absolutely nobody around, which is perfect for my book. The quietness and emptiness of downtown would make my first chapter believable.
See for yourself:
You're a published author and you're at a writer's conference, mingling with your peers when someone asks the question, "So what do you write?" You say erotic romance, and receive a look that makes you feel like you've just admitted to a pastime of killing babies. Among certain groups, admitting to writing horror isn't much better. As a matter of fact, admitting you write commercial fiction is often perceived as tantamount to selling your soul to the prince of darkness. The people staring down their noses at you are writers of "literary" fiction.
Any time I've had one of these experiences I've often wondered where the disgust comes from. Yeah, I write commercial fiction, yeah, I write about sex and I'm awfully good at it, why do you have a problem with what I do? Is there really one type of fiction that is better than another type of fiction? There are millions upon millions of readers out there, all searching for a great book that will take them on a journey. And they don't all enjoy reading the same genre.
For years I wrote under the pseudonym of Adrienne Kama and I did well. I had a bestselling series, then sold to Ellora's Cave, one of the top publishers of erotic fiction. But Author Shame was something that dogged me. For obvious reasons my friends with kids couldn't have any of my books out in the open--they had to be hidden in closets. I couldn't tell anyone at church what I wrote. What would they think of me? What would my co-workers think? Author Shame was something I battled. Back in 2006 an editor from NAL contacted me (yes, contacted ME) about writing a book that consisted of a series of erotic romance novellas, but by that time my Author Shame was so bad I couldn't adequately focus on the project...and I lost the deal. Stupid mistake.
Today, I write novels the way they need to be written. As my mom says, I'm not writing Heather Elizabeth King's story, but the story of my characters. Sometimes they swear (I don't swear so this was something I had to make peace with long ago, too! lol), sometimes they murder, and sometimes they have sex. I realize that if I'm going to be a writer I have to be fearless when it comes to telling a story. I have to be genuine. I have to kick Author Shame to the curb. I'm accountable to God, nobody else.
If there's something that you enjoy doing (and it doesn't hurt anyone) and you do it well, don't let anyone shame you out of doing it. This is your life. You only get one. Don't be afraid to live!
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