I'm often told that once I decide on a course of action, I don't do things small. So, of course, the first writer's convention I attended in person was one of the largest in the country. With somewhere around four-thousand-plus attendees, the Romantic Times Booklover's Convention is extremely overwhelming for a newbie and I'm still processing most of what happened last week. Between taking part in my first ever author reading and trekking back to my room with an unbelievable amount of books, I didn't make nearly as many panels as I wanted, but I tried to be fully present wherever I was. Most importantly, I allowed myself time to go to "fun" panels as much as "informative" panels. Some last minute decisions brought me to panels with the best information. Here's what I came away with.
To wrap up, my first writer's convention was as enlightening as it was exhausting. I came away with a renewed sense of optimism and purpose. Take advantage of the above tips from some of the best in the romance business. I know I'm going to.
Getting to my April post just by the skin of my teeth. It's been busy as usual. Living the life of a part-time writer means sometimes the day job has to take precedence. On the plus side, lots of fun projects are on the way.
All this, and next week is the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta. Hoping to come back with some new ideas and lots of news!
March has been super busy, so please forgive the delay in posting. Here's what's been keeping me occupied.
Celebrated Ebook Week at Smashwords earlier in the month and was pleased to see so many people taking advantage of the free and reduced price ebooks.
Ticket to Ride is now at ebook retailers. Just click the link to purchase. It's got a few nice reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, although my favorite so far is this one from reviewer Stuart Hoffman:
So, after the positive response I got for buying my mum the ‘Fifty Shades’ series, I figured I’d get this. So far, it’s a big thumbs up! ;-)
It's hard to beat such an honest and straight forward review. I hope any of you who have picked up the anthology find it similarly to your liking.
I've had to keep quiet for awhile, but I can finally announce that I was asked to participate in an upcoming rock star themed anthology for Sexy Little Pages. Riffs and Licks is still in production, but it's going to feature some of my favorite collaborators from the past, including CM Peters, Anna Sky, Jordan Monroe, and Torrance Sene. My story is about a formerly famous drummer and the woman who mistakes him for someone else. I'll get you updates as soon as I have them.
Marie Piper and I will be at the RT Convention in May and I'm packing up books to be sent to the Goodie Room. Riverdale Avenue Books is putting together a fun, unique romance anthology titled Gone with the Dead to be published, in both print and digital editions. The title will debut at the convention. My story submission has been sent in, and so has Marie's.
Speaking of Marie, it's nothing new that I fangirl over her work. Case in point, I recently read Callie's Embers, the third installment of the Cricket Bend trilogy. I don't usually read westerns, but Marie writes sweet tales with plenty of adventure. If you have some spare time, check it out. Here's my review.
I've been waiting for Callie's story ever since Haven's book came out last year. It certainly didn't disappoint. Callie's Embers takes us right back to Cricket's Bend with the same cast of characters, but all has not been perfect in the far-from-sleepy little town. Without tossing about spoilers, I can say that Matthew and Haven haven't been having the easiest time since the first book in this trilogy. Callie Lee has been hiding news from her friends and trying to raise her son alone. Jasper has been doing some growing up and Sheriff Anderson has had his hands full with a couple of feuding farmers threatening to cause trouble for the town.
All the favorites resurface in Cricket Bend as Piper takes us on a journey filled with unexpected heartbreak, sweet simplicity, and plenty of action. While Marie can write a steamy romance scene, I found myself also enjoying the quiet moments in the book, especially the scenes involving family dinners and how various characters relate to Callie's son. Piper has grown her characters, crafted them in a way that makes them almost solid. Readers can sympathize with the characters in Callie's Embers, really understand the motivations behind certain actions even if they don't agree with what a character does.
As with most of Piper's books, I found Callie's Embers to be a quick, lighthearted read that sprinkled light bits of morality between the escapism. Cricket Bend is a place where women have resolve that matches their imagination, even trouble-makers can prove to be genuinely good, and neighbors take care of each other. I'm going to miss this little town and can only hope Piper decides one day to let us revisit it.
That's all for now. Happy Spring!
So much going on, as usual.
Ticket to Ride is now available for pre-order. Just click the link to purchase. It'll be available on February 16. In the anthology, ten authors take you on a ride with sex on public transport. My story, The Dividing Line, is about a girl who sits in the middle of the bus between two disparate groups of students and finds herself attracted to a man from each group.
Melt (available for purchase here) launched in November. At the end of January, the five authors involved in that project made our first donation to The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (https://bbrfoundation.org/), an international organization committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness. I'm pretty proud of our effort and really excited about our first donation.
A few short stories were turned in last month and my book pitch was accepted for a new anthology for SinCyr Publishing. If you're a writer, check out this Call for Submission to submit a story for the anthology.
In a few short months I'll be making my way to Atlanta for the Romantic Times Convention. Friend and fellow Melt author Marie Piper will be there as well. She's got a spot at the Giant Book Fair and I got a table of goodies along Promo Lane. Stop by and see us if you're at the convention!
This weekend was full of peaceful protests, and I applaud the people who were able to get out there and make a difference. I, myself, was not at the march or able to stand in solidarity. Why? Because I know myself and my anxiety all too well, and I refused to have a panic attack in the middle of such an important protest.
So what was I doing while other people were marching? I was protesting my way. I was writing.
Last year I was invited to take part in a wonderful project that resulted in the novella collection Melt: Five Stories to Get Snowed In With. The best part of the project was when all five authors agreed that our creative efforts should benefit people other than ourselves. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (https://bbrfoundation.org/) is an international organization committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness. Donor contributions are invested in NARSAD Grants that fund research into depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, and bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. This weekend, the authors of Melt were able to make a donation from the book's proceeds. I hope it’s the first of many. In a time of such unease for so many people, I believe that the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's work is more relevant than ever.
So what does any of that have to do with my Saturday writing? Well, I'm back at it, working to pen another short story/novelette for a new charity project. Of course, every story has to go through the drafting, polishing, editing, querying, and possible rejection stages. I am under no illusion that this project will be any easier, but I'm looking at my writing projects in a new way. Last year held some real challenges and setbacks for my writing career. Some of the obstacles made me question why events unfolded the way they did and whether I was doing what I was supposed to be doing as a writer. Now I know that I was exactly where I needed to be to make the contacts I needed to quietly rebel.
I may not be able to stand in a crowd of protesters, but I can work with publishers that support women's rights. I am not always able to donate funds, but I can donate my time and writing for projects that give when I can't. I don't subscribe to any particular political party, but I can be political by writing positive relationships and viewpoints in a relatable manner so readers might think about them. I am part of the quiet rebellion, as are so many others.
It's not hard to do small things that add up to a big difference. As a reader, consider the authors and companies you support. As a writer, consider where you submit your work. As a human, consider that people don't protest in the same way. Many people are doing what they can. Sometimes their voices are just a little softer.
Happy New Year! It's been a busy year with a new novella, editing a new anthology, a few new stories selected for anthologies, and my first ever sci-fi and magazine publication. 2017 is already shaping up to be just as busy, but, for now, I'm celebrating 2016 by raffling off one copy of each ebook I worked on this year. Join in the raffle by using the rafflecopter form beside this post. Have a wonderful and productive new year!
Lots to share. Tomorrow Melt goes on a one day sale. So get it for only $0.99 It's getting some really great reviews. Also, I've had a new story accepted for the Ticket to Ride anthology set to launch mid- February. More about that as it develops. I've been working on a few other projects that are still hush hush. Look for some exciting news in the first couple months of 2017.
Happy Thanksgiving. In preparation for this Friday's launch of Melt, I was interviewed about my inspiration. Check out the interview here.
Happy November! Time to announce Melt: Five Stories to Get Snowed In With. You are going to love this one.
Love of the Game, Launch Day is Tuesday, Oct 18. Join the launch day facebook party by clicking the banner below. Purchase the book in digital or print on Amazon
And that novella I told you about earlier in the year is at the publisher for finalizing.
Harley Easton is a Renaissance woman dabbling in everything life offers. She's worked at a theme park, found expert witnesses, been a guest lecturer at a national museum, and worked with medical students. Putting experience and insanity to good use, she's become an author specializing in erotic, romantic, and speculative fiction.