Tuesday, May 22, 2018

FANTASTIC New Series Alert - WARRIOR FIGHT CLUB by Laura Kaye!

   


From New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes the first standalone title in her brand, new Warrior Fight Club series, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING. Get your copy of FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING, and join the Warrior Fight Club world today!

   

About FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING (Warrior Fight Club #1, 5/22/18):

Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…

Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.

   

ORDER on Amazon | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads


“The always amazing Kaye is kicking off a terrific new contemporary romance series that centers around a wounded warrior’s fight club. Kaye does a beautiful job exploring the fallout from war and PTSD as various characters struggle to cope in their own ways. The love story between Noah Cortez and his childhood friend Kristina Moore is both compelling and touching, for the obstacles in their way loom large. A truly memorable read!” ~ RT Book Reviews

      EXCERPT: "Noah, are you down here?" Kristina called from the top of the basement steps.
Despite the lack of response, she continued down and crossed the room to the mostly closed door in the back corner--Noah's bedroom since he'd returned just before last Christmas. God, Kristina had thought she'd received the best Christmas present ever--Noah, home from Iraq, safe and sound.
Well, mostly sound, anyway. An IED blast had taken the hearing and most of his vision on his left side, and he'd struggled with bad migraines and equilibrium problems when he'd first returned. But he was home and he was alive, and having him back again had made it feel like she could finally breathe after years of knowing he was in danger every second of every day.
She knocked softly. "Hey Noah, it's me."
All she heard was a long exhale of breath, but it was enough.
Why hadn't he answered her? Her stomach clenched as she pushed open the door far enough to see Noah standing in the dark doorway to his bathroom, his back against the door jamb, his arms crossed, and his head hanging on his big shoulders.
She didn't need to ask if he was okay, because he was radiating not okay loud and clear. Kristina walked right up to him. "What's going on?" she asked. Dim light from the rec room filtered over him, allowing her to just make out the tight clench of his square jaw, the narrowed cast of his dark brown eyes, the harsh set of his beautiful mouth.
Wait. What? Where had that little observation come from?
Noah shook his head, forcing Kristina to drop the ridiculous line of thought.
She stepped closer so that she could look more directly into his eyes. "Come on, Noah. It's me." She ached for him to open up, but what she noticed even more was the low buzz rushing through her body. From how close she stood to all his taut hardness. It wasn't like she was just noticing that Noah was hot, like, dayum hot, but nearly five years in the Marines had matured him and built hard muscle that hadn't been there before. And clearly her body was just noticing, probably because they hadn't had the chance to spend much time together since he'd gotten back.
"Kristina," he said, his voice so low it was nearly a whisper, or a plea. He leaned his forehead against hers. It was such a sweet, needful gesture that Kristina's chest seized.
"First, I'm hugging you. Then we're talking, buddy," she said, wrapping her arms around his big shoulders and planting her cheek against his chest. The embrace wasn't unusual-they'd always been affectionate with each other. She'd lay against him while they watched a movie or he'd sling an arm over her shoulders while they were out together. When things were bad with her dad, he'd hold her when she finally gave into her grief about it and cried. That's how they'd always been.
He embraced her right back and leaned his face against her hair.
After a long moment, Kristina pulled away--
Noah wouldn't let her go. His grip on her tightened, and he held her fast against him. Was he breathing faster? Was he trembling?
Against her belly, he hardened.
Kristina's breath caught in her throat. Noah was aroused...by her? Or just, like, in her general vicinity? Or...? She swallowed hard as her thoughts flew.
As they stood there, suspended in the dark, stolen moment, the air around them flashed hot and closed in, narrowing the world to all the places their bodies touched. His erection grew, pressing against her with more insistence. Heat bloomed over her skin everywhere and she held herself perfectly still. Because this was different. This was not friendly. This was more.
A strange tension wrapped around them, and it scared and attracted Kristina in equal measure. She shuddered out a breath as her body came to life against his. Her breathing quickened, her nipples peaked, her core clenched.
Noah made a noise in the back of his throat like a moan, and his arms tightened around her, pulling their bodies totally flush.
Kristina's breath caught at the hard press of his body and at the shocking arousal it unleashed in her.
This is Noah. This is Noah. This is Noah.
But it didn't seem to matter to her body. The soft cotton of her dress became heavy and irritating against her skin, and all she wanted was for it to be off. So he could be all over her. This sudden, intoxicating need was brand new to her-in general and certainly with Noah. She wasn't a virgin, but she'd never felt with another man the kind of desire rocketing through her just then. And all they'd done was touch.
Why was this happening?
Her hips shifted without her meaning to do it, and it made her belly grind against all that hardness.
Noah hissed in her ear. His fingertips dug into her back...and then wandered, one hand pressing low against her hip, one skimming up her neck into her hair. Holding her tight. Bringing her closer.
She was half sure she was imagining that they were locked inside this raging bubble of attraction, except that his heart thundered beneath where her head rested, his breathing had gone rough, and his skin felt every bit as feverish as hers.
She had to stop this...whatever this was.
Tilting her head back, the words were on the tip of her tongue. Her eyes locked with his, and even in the dimness she could see that they were blazing hot and almost predatory in their directness. It stole her capacity to speak, because she was unequivocally sure he'd never looked at her like that. Need roared off of him and through her, making her heart beat like a bass drum.
Kristina swallowed hard. What would she do if he kissed her? One kissing experiment aside, she'd never had to ask that in regard to him. Another question followed close behind: what would she do if he didn't?  


And don’t miss the second standalone romance in the Warrior Fight Club series coming August 7, 2018, FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS

PRE-ORDER on Amazon | Amazon Paperback | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

 

“Nobody’s tortured alphas destroy me quite so utterly as Laura Kaye’s. Her heroes face heart-wrenching struggles. They have flaws. Kaye presents all of it with unflinching honesty, and I love them—and her!—all the more for it!” ~ USA Today Bestselling Author Samanthe Beck

Now that’s how you start a series! Kaye is at her absolute best, and Fighting For Everything is the perfect combination of steamy romance and the struggle of our wounded warriors.” ~ Scarlett Cole, author of the Love Over Duty Series

        About Laura Kaye: Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.      

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A New Bad Boys Gone Good Book!

I'm soooo excited to announce that it is finally release day for Flynn's story - I mean, Never Been Good! He's the middle Maguire in WITSEC, full of guilt that his brothers gave up everything to keep him safe. But a woman who apparently is also hiding alot might just be the key to turning his new life around. There's even hysterically hot Tiny House sex!


USA Today bestseller Christi Barth returns with another steamy Bad Boys Gone Good novel!
Flynn Maguire isn’t really a bad guy. Sure, he worked for the mob, but he ran a legitimate business—on paper anyway—and it paid enough to keep his brother out of the lifestyle. Until they turned on him. Now he’s stuck in Witness Protection, tending bar in Nowheresville Oregon… and pissed the life he knew is gone. The only bright spot? Fantasizing about his quiet, secretive, beautiful coworker.
Sierra Williams is a woman on the run. All she wants now is to settle into small town life… and ignore the brooding, sexy bartender who can’t seem to take his eyes off her. Flynn’s bad-boy vibe pushes all her buttons, but Sierra fell for the wrong man once already. She can’t afford to let her guard down again. Except Flynn’s tough exterior is slowly melting away to reveal the sweet man beneath and their attraction is too strong to resist.
Sierra and Flynn are falling fast, but they’re both keeping so many secrets. The truth could ruin everything… unless a girl who’s a little bad is perfect for a guy who’s never really been good.

Purchase at:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Kickstart your Monday with a Kick-Ass New Release!

Mondays get a bad rap. But it is universally acknowledged that they require a little extra effort to get through. You know what's even better than going back for that second cup of coffee? Diving into a SMOKING hot new book - just released today! I stayed up waaaaay too late last night finishing it. It is a perfect dive into small town Southern life, with a second chance at love and super duper hot sex. I highly recommend!

Blackmailed into fleeing his small southern town, this resident bad boy is back to open the first bar in a formerly dry county and reignite the spark he had with the daughter of the man who ran him off.

Willow Haven’s content. Okay, that’s a lie, but she has been trying her damndest. Trouble is, it never sticks. Second oldest in a family her town was named after, she’s always felt the pressure. From the townspeople, from her sisters, but most of all from her daddy—the original Good Old Boy and Havenbrook’s reigning mayor. The only time she didn’t feel that stress had been those blissful months spent in the arms of the resident bad boy. The same one who broke her heart beyond repair when he left without a word.

Life hasn’t come easy for Finn Thomas. He’s had to claw and fight for everything he’s ever had—and truth be told, it hasn’t been much. He spent the first eighteen years of his life living so far from the wrong side of the tracks, he couldn’t even see them through his trailer window. The only thing that ever came easy for him and made his sorry ass happy was the one girl he loved with all his heart. And the one thing he had no choice but to leave behind.

When an opportunity arises to return to his tiny, southern hometown and open the first bar in a formerly dry county, he jumps at the chance. That won’t win him points with the mayor, who’s hell bent on making Finn’s life a nightmare for sullying his namesake. But too bad for Mayor Haven, Finn’s got his sights set on more than just the town, and this time he won’t be scared off quite so easily.

Buy links:

Friday, February 23, 2018

February Month of Love Multi-Author Giveaway


Welcome to The Valentine's Day 
Multi-Author Giveaway!!!

Yes, V-Day is over, but you still have a few days to celebrate this month of love by giving yourself a present - books! And when you click on the link, you'll be blown away by how many authors are participating....

Prizes include:
  • 1 - Kindle Fire with Alexa
  • 1 - $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 - $25 Amazon Gift Card

Visit the event:


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

NEW SERIES COVER REVEAL HOTNESS!!!!!!!



I'm thrilled to help Laura Kaye share the amazing cover for her upcoming Fighting for Everything, the first in her Warrior Fight Club series, a new contemporary military romance series about the members of an MMA training club that helps veterans deal with PTSD and transition to civilian life. I got to read it already, and it is full of ALL THE FEELS and all the sexy times. It's coming May 22! Check it out, preorder your copy, and let me know what you think! Here's everything you need to know:

Preorder on Amazon | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

About the book:
Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…
Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.

About Laura Kaye:

Laura Kaye is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of thirty books in contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. A former college history professor, Laura also writes bestselling historical women's fiction as Laura Kamoie. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Connect with Laura on Facebook | Twitter

So what do you think? Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Menage Excerpt Reveal for Laura Kaye's Upcoming Blaphemy Book!

   

Decadent… Sensual… Forbidden…


12 Masters. 12 Desires. 12 Fantasies Come to Life. Meet the Masters of Blasphemy…

   

About THEIRS TO TAKE (Blasphemy #4, 9/26/17):

12 Masters. Infinite fantasies. Welcome to Blasphemy…

She’s the fantasy they’ve always wanted to share…

Best friends Jonathan Allen and Cruz Ramos share almost everything—a history in the Navy, their sailboat building and restoration business, and the desire to dominate a woman together, which they do at Baltimore’s exclusive club, Blasphemy. Now if they could find someone who wants to play for keeps…
All Hartley Farren has in the world is the charter sailing business she inherited from her beloved father. So when a storm damages her boat, she throws herself on the mercy of business acquaintances to do the repairs—stat. She never expected to find herself desiring the sexy, hard-bodied builders, but being around Jonathan and Cruz reminds Hartley of how much she longs for connection. If only she could decide which man she wants to pursue more…
As their attraction flashes hot, Jonathan and Cruz determine to have Hartley for their own. But the men’s erotic world is new and overwhelming, and Hartley’s unsure if she could really submit to being both of theirs to take…forever.
   

A Special Cross-Over Release with Jennifer Probst’s Reveal Me from her Steele Brothers Series!

 

Available On:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads


Hey everyone! I’m so excited to share this sneak peek from my upcoming Theirs to Take, a standalone in my erotic romance Blasphemy series! It’s been a few years since I’ve written a ménage romance, and I’m having so much fun writing charter sailboat captain Hartley Farren’s relationship with Jonathan and Cruz, two business acquaintances who help her when her boat is damaged during a storm—and who are also Masters at Baltimore’s most exclusive play club.

I hope you’ll grab your copy! And try book 1 in the series – Bound to Submit ­– which is free on all retailers! Now, read on:

“What am I going to do?” Hartley asked herself as the office door opened and closed. The office manager, Linda, no doubt.

“Hey, are you okay?”

The voice was deep, male, and definitely not Linda’s. Hartley’s gaze whipped up. And up. To find a tall and incredibly sexy man standing in the doorway to her cubicle. Sun-kissed shoulder-length blond hair framed a ruggedly masculine face and intense gray eyes that were at once inquisitive and observing. Broad shoulders and defined muscles pulled taut a heathered-gray T-shirt with a single word written across the chest: NAVY. His lean forearms and legs beneath a pair of khaki cargo shorts were toned and tanned, as if he spent a lot of time in the sun.

The guy exuded raw sex appeal doing nothing besides standing absolutely still, and his very presence scrambled her brain.

“Uh, hi. Yes. Sorry. I’m kinda in my own world here. Did you need Linda?” Hartley managed as she pushed to her feet. At five-five, she wasn’t exactly short, but his impressive height made her tilt her head back to meet his assessing gaze.

He shook his head. “I was coming by to see if she needed any help around the marina.”

“Oh. Wow. I’m sure she’d appreciate that. She stepped out to a meeting but she should be back soon if you’d like to wait.” Despite his selfless reason for being there, the man made Hartley nervous. She wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was the intensity behind those odd, gray eyes. Or the way he towered over her. Or how freaking good-looking he was.

(Or the way she wanted to climb him like mainmast. Gah.)

“I’ll do that. Thanks.”

“Sure,” she said. But he didn’t leave. “Um, anything else I can do for you?”

His gaze stayed glued to hers, but she had the oddest feeling that he was checking her out nonetheless. He smiled and shook his head. And, man, was his smile a stunner, highlighting the strong angles of his jaw and charming her with the way the right side of his mouth lifted higher than the left. He thumbed over his shoulder. “I’ll just grab a seat.”

And then he disappeared from her little doorway.

Hartley was half tempted to peer around the corner and watch him walk away. Just to see if the rear view was as impressive as the front.

On a sigh, she dropped back into her chair. And even though her thoughts should’ve returned to the huge problem of fixing her boat, they lingered on the sexy Good Samaritan currently making small noises on the other side of the room. Who was he? Hartley had essentially grown up around this marina. Even though she couldn’t say she knew everyone here, she still recognized most of the regulars. And she’d never seen Mr. Tall, Blond, and Ruggedly Handsome before.

Her cell phone buzzed, pulling her from her thoughts.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Mrs. Farren, this is Ed Stark returning your call from Stark Restoration.”

Hope rushed through Hartley. “Hi, Mr. Stark. Thanks for calling back so quickly. And, please, call me Hartley.” Being called missus was almost laughable when she couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone on a date. With rebuilding the charter business after her father’s death and taking care of her grandmother, Hartley didn’t have time to date. Or, at least, she hadn’t made the time. Not that she’d had any prospects motivating her to do so. Shaking the thoughts away, she filled the man in on the damage her boat had sustained and the challenge of her three-week deadline.

“I might be able to get someone out to take a look at your boat by the end of the week, but you’re at least the tenth call I’ve had today. I wouldn’t be able to guarantee a completion date without assessing the damage, and I’ve got a number of other repair jobs ahead of yours at this point.”

It was the same thing all the others had told her. And she got it. She did. It wasn’t anyone else’s problem that she depended on the Windsong for her livelihood. Or that she’d put most of what her father left her into her grandmother’s home and a bigger boat that could carry more passengers two years ago. Or that July had been so rainy that her normal charter business had been halved. Or that she needed the extra income that the sailboat show and Sailing University courses would bring in to make it through the leaner winter months.

Just then, the front door opened again. “Hartley, I’m back. Sorry I was gone so long.” This time, it was definitely Linda. “Oh, Jonathan. How are you? How did you guys make out in the storm?”

“Our shop’s fine, ma’am,” the man said. “Thanks for asking.” Jonathan. Jonathan who apparently had a shop somewhere in the marina? “Do you need any help with anything? Cruz and I are available if you do.”

“Oh, aren’t you a sweetheart?” Linda said. “For the moment, I think we have everything under control, but I will absolutely keep your offer in mind.”

Even more curious about the mystery sex god in her midst, Hartley stepped out of her cubicle and tried not to stare. Or drool. But between those mountainous shoulders, built biceps, and his sun-streaked hair, it was hard not to. (That’s what she said!) Oh, God. Hartley was clearly losing her mind. She forced her gaze to her friend. “Hey, Linda. Everything go okay?”

“Oh, yes. Just little fires everywhere that need put out,” Linda said, dropping a legal pad full of notes onto her desk. “Were you able to find anyone to do the work?”

Hartley’s shoulders fell. “No. No one can even look before Friday.”

Linda frowned, and then her gaze swung to Jonathan. “Have you two met yet?”

That intense gray-eyed gaze landed on Hartley, unleashing a whirl of butterflies in her belly. “Haven’t had the pleasure,” Jonathan said.

It was a simple statement. But something about the word pleasure from that man’s mouth made a tingle run down her spine. It’d clearly been too long since she’d been on a date. Or been kissed. And waaaay too long since she’d last had sex. Embarrassingly long. Like, she didn’t even want to admit to herself how long.

(Fifteen months.)

With that fantastic thought in mind, all Hartley managed to say was, “Uh, hi. Again.” She chuckled to cover how much she wanted to duck back into the cubicle and bang her head against the desk.

He grinned, and it was a grin that could’ve easily been playful or mischievous. Either way, it was sexy as hell. “Hi. Again. I’m Jonathan Allen.”

“Hartley Farren.” Feeling Linda’s amused gaze on her, she cleared her throat. “You have a shop in the marina?”

He nodded. “A&R Builds and Restoration.”

“Jonathan and his partner Cruz own the business that moved into the old Stanton space at the beginning of the summer,” Linda added helpfully.

Hartley’s eyes went wide as her heart kicked into a sprint. “You do builds and restoration?”

He chuckled. “As the name suggests.”

She didn’t even mind the teasing, not when he might be able to help her. “Then you might be my new favorite person.”

“Is that right?”

The office phone rang, and Linda excused herself to answer it.

Hartley stepped closer to Jonathan. Why did that make her feel like she was approaching a usually friendly but sometimes lethal animal? Her stomach did a little flip. “Yes, because I need a huge, huge,gigantic favor.”

He arched a sexy brow. “And if I do this favor, will I officially be your favorite person?”

She grinned, enjoying his playfulness—and the fact that he was entertaining doing her a favor when they barely knew each other. “Without question. I’ll even make you an official certificate. Jonathan Allen. Hartley Farren’s Favorite Person.

That crooked smile emerged again, and hope flooded through her. “Hmm. I don’t know. I mean, a certificate is nice and all, but…”

Was he playing with her? She thought he was, but she didn’t know him well enough to know for sure. Hartley braced her hands on her hips. “Are you teasing me? Because that would be evil, Jonathan, and you don’t strike me as an evil man.” Now she arched a brow.

His chuckle this time was different. Deeper. Grittier. Sexier. With an undercurrent of…something she didn’t understand. “You never know, Hartley.”

“Oh, come on. Can I at least tell you what my favor is?” she asked.

Those gray eyes sparkled with amusement. “Well, I couldn’t help but overhear your phone conversation, so I might have an inkling.”

Wait. He knew what she needed and still hadn’t said no? Hope and anticipation rushed through her, making her feel restless and brave. “Then if my awesome certificate idea isn’t enough, what can I offer to convince you to walk out to my slip and take a look at my catamaran?”

That eyebrow arched again, and Hartley suddenly felt like they’d been playing chess—and her words had just allowed him to put her in checkmate. But still, he didn’t make any claims of her.

She stepped closer. “Jonathan. Mr. Allen. Mr. Allen, My Already Officially Favorite Person, are you going to make me beg? Because that wouldn’t be very nice,” she added playfully.

Those gray eyes flared. She would’ve sworn they did. He bit back a chuckle as he shook his head. And when his words came, they were filled with a deep intensity that made her shiver. “Why don’t you show me your boat, Hartley, and then I’ll answer your questions.”
          

Books in the Blasphemy Series:

Hard to Serve #.5

Bound to Submit #1 – FREE EVERYWHERE!

Mastering Her Senses #2

Eyes on You #3

Theirs to Take #4 (9/26/17)

On His Knees #5 – Coming Winter 2018

     
    About Laura Kaye: Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.      

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp

 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

RWA 2017 - The Good, The Great, & the Awesome - A Recap Full of Writing Tips!

Saying there was a lot to absorb from my week at RWA is like saying I use the word kiss a lot in my books (58 times in newest manuscript!). I took pages of notes, and want to share some hot tips with you. Because that is what romance writers do - we share and lift each other up in a way that surpasses every other genre. WE LOVE ROMANCE! (yeah, I came back pretty pumped - can you tell?)

My life's not glamorous. AT ALL. I write in a tiny office under a blanket. Except for the fun that occurs at RWA. Which I am going to crow about to let aspiring writers know that it is possible. Seven years ago, RWA was at the same hotel. I watched a literary agency host a dinner for all their clients and wished desperately that could be me.

Well, it was this year. Back at the same restaurant - and I got attend BookEnds Literary cocktail party. With my talented chapter mate Mona Shroff who just got signed by them, so double the reason to celebrate! 

What made it super glamorous? Going from there to hop on a shuttle to the Four Seasons (which got lost in the seamy backside of Disney) and the Avon party for all their authors. We're talking oodles of champagne. A cheeseboard to die for (watch the video! Watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom & Epcot simultaneously from the 17th floor terrace. But BEST of all - it was the chance to personally connect. To chat and network and laugh and knit together into a sisterhood of writers. That is priceless.

Then it was time to get on to the business of learning things. Handy tips gleaned:

Promo:
  • Do Instagram stories - they get a much higher view ratio. 3-4 panes, 3-4/week. 
  • Add a newsletter sign-up link to your email signature block
  • Try Buffer instead of HootSuite
  • Try Periscope for live Twitter
Personal Connections:
  • Make 'em. Get out of your comfort zone  and just do it. 
  • I met with both my editor and my agent, and had conversations that were more productive and deeper than anything we'd done over email in the past year.
  • LOVED the PAN keynote speaker, Faith Salie, so I made a point of stopping her in the hallway to compliment her speech. She was warm and we chatted for a while before she took down my name to use in a future episode of Wait Wait on NPR. NEVER miss the chance to connect!
Craft Tips:
  • The 3 things that make a great book: compelling characters, conflict, and emotional triggers. A story about fascinating characters who pursue a worthy goal or face terrible consequences with sympathetic motivation (this is Virginia Kantra's description, and it is TERRIFIC!)
  • 5 points to building emotion: 1) Relatability, points of connectivity, 2) find your purpose, 3) proving yourself, 4) learning to trust, 5) self acceptance. Also, the story is the battlefield where characters defeat the demons of their backstory. A tip of the hat to Kristan Higgins & Sonali Dev for this advice.
  • If you take out the dialogue tags in a scene, can you tell who is talking? If not, you haven't made their personality strong enough. Great advice from HelenKay Dimon!
  • Rather than writing down all the notes, I'll just tell you to go read Story Genius by Lisa Cron for a very different way of looking a plotting a book. It'll jiggle some things loose for you, I promise!

Epcot
  • I really wanted to register some epic Fitbit steps from running around this park, but it was a record breaking heat index day, so I was strategic instead and only hit 18,500. Sadness. 
  • Food & Drink - the chocolate brioche in France was - honestly - the best I've ever had. The rim of black ant salt on my margarita in Mexico - actual ground up ants - did not add any flavor...but I'm sure contributed to the $14.75 price.
  • Take the extra day - wherever the conference ends up being. Do the sights. I won a massage from my awesome publisher and spent the 2nd half of Saturday being rubbed down and then drinking a mai tai by the pool. As a result, I came back only feeling half-dead for a change. #worthit