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Back in 2011, when I was newly published with only three titles out, I needed to find a way to be found. I took a hard look at reality: with well over a million new ISBNs generated every year, the pool of available books is literally getting deeper by the minute. I’m standing in the midst of it all, treading water, waving my hands, and shouting my own name ~ but who can hear me?
Everyone says that the best promo is good word of mouth. So I made a decision: I would create my own romance reader event ~ Arizona’s only one, by the way ~ and bring the readers to me. Why not? And, because I strongly believe in helping others along the way, I tapped two dozen relatively new romance authors, and pulled them in with me.
The concept was simple: I bring four of my fans, you bring four of yours, and we cross-pollinate. I linked arms with a couple gals who understood what needed to be done. Though much smaller than we hoped, the very first Arizona Dreamin’ was, nonetheless, a huge hit.
Along the way, I knew that just helping other authors wasn’t enough, we needed to make some sort of impact on the world outside of ourselves. We needed a charity.
I was in line at a Starbucks when I said that out loud. The woman in front of me turned around and said, “No one ever picks my charity.”
“What charity?” I asked.
“Huntington’s Disease Society of America.”
I grinned at her. “Give me the contact information. That will be our charity.” Just like that, it was done.
I felt bad, then, when our inaugural event was so sparsely attended. Even so, we raised $350. I sent the check the next week. What happened next, really surprised me. I received two emails from the HDSA headquarters in Los Angeles, thanking me profusely for the donation.
Really? It was only $350. For someone like Susan G. Komen, that wouldn’t even buy the staff coffee for the week. But these women were truly grateful. And I was truly glad to have helped. In Arizona Dreamin’s second year, our attendance grew and we raised $550. Our third annual event grew in attendance again, and our 2013 donation was $735!
As for the authors, there are no egos here, but a genuine understanding that the best way to help ourselves is to help others. In fact, this year we added an aspiring-writer sister event, Buildin’ the Dream, whose subtitle is “Authors Helping Authors.”
Might you join us next year? We are doing good ~ and having a blast!
Buildin’ the Dream: May 29-30, 2014 (BuildinTheDream.com) $59
Arizona Dreamin’: May 30-Jun 1, 2014 (ArizonaDreaminEvent.com) $89
****If you are a fan of the Hansen series, click HERE to find out how to get a FREE, LIMITED EDITION, SIGNED NOVELLA tying up “Loving the Norseman” and “Loving the Knight”!****
Tags: crime, epublishing, fiction, historical, historical romance, suspense, United Kingdom
David returned the favor… http://pillingswritingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/ :)
(This sounds so interesting ~ Enjoy!)
Kris has very kindly given me a guest spot to talk about my new historical novel, “The Half-Hanged Man”. This is a tale of high adventure and romance set during the Hundred Years War between England and France.
I’ve wanted to write about the latter half of the 14th century for a long time. Even by medieval standards, this was a brutal and bloody era, with much of Europe plunged into dynastic wars. England under her warrior-king, Edward III, was at war with France and Scotland, and Spain and Italy were riven by internal conflicts. The constant fighting and general chaos offered rich pickings to savvy mercenary captains such as Sir John Hawkwood, Bertrand du Guesclin, Hugh Calveley and Robert Knolles, all of whom succeeded in making a fat profit while Christendom burned.
The Half-Hanged Man is the story of one such captain, though a fictional one. Like many of his peers, Thomas Page is a commoner, destined to rise to brief greatness by virtue of wielding a nifty sword. The book also follows the story of the Spanish courtesan known as the Raven of Toledo, and of Hugh Calveley, a particularly ruthless soldier and black-armoured giant with flaming red hair and incisors he had specially sharpened to terrify the French!
Throw into the mix are any number of battles and sieges, including the Battle of Auray (see pic above) in 1364, where the Franco-Bretons and Anglo-Breton armies hammered the life out of each other for possession of the Duchy of Brittany.
Below is an excerpt of Hugh Calveley’s memories of the epic Battle of Najéra…
“I led my portion of the rearguard across the open ground to the right of the prince’s battalion, and surged into the first company of Castilian reinforcements as they tried to arrange into a defensive line. They were well-equipped foot with steel helms and leather jacks, glaives and axes, but demoralised and unwilling to stand against a charge of heavy horse. I skewered a serjeant in the front rank with my lance and rode over him as the men behind him scattered, yelling in fear and hurling their banners away as they ran.
If all the Castilians had behaved in such a manner, we would have had an easy time of it, but now Enrique flung his household knights into the fray. It had started to rain heavily, sheets of water blown by strong winds across the battlefield, and a phalanx of Castilian lancers on destriers came plunging out of the murk, smashing into the front rank of my division. A lance shattered against my cuisse, almost knocking me from the saddle, but I kept my seat and slashed at the knight with my broadsword as he hurtled past, chopping an iron leaf from the chaplet encircling his basinet, but doing no other damage.
My men held together under the Castilian charge, and soon there was a fine swirling mêlée in progress. I was surrounded by visored helms and glittering blades, men yelling and horses screaming, and glimpsed my standard bearer ahead of me, shouting and fending off two Castilians with the butt of his lance. Another Englishman rode in to help him, throwing his arms around one of the Castilians and heaving him out of the saddle with sheer brute strength, and then a fresh wave of steel and horseflesh, thrown up by the violent, shifting eddies of battle, closed over them and shut off my view.
I couldn’t bear to lose my banner again, and charged into the mass of fighting men, clearing a path with the sword’s edge. A mace or similar hammered against my back-plate, sending bolts of agony shooting up my spine, and my foot slipped out of the stirrup as I leaned drunkenly in the saddle, black spots reeling before my eyes.”
Tags: Alica McKenna Johnson, Deena Remiel, Morgan Kearns, Tami Vinson
Thanks, Alica www.alicamckennajohnson.com for the tag! Here are my answers to the round of questions:
1- What is the title of your book? “A Discreet Gentleman of Consequence” – Book three in my Discreet Gentleman series from Desert Breeze Publishing – releases on December 11!
2- Where did the idea for the book come from? A couple years back I decided to write about a DEAF hero in the 1700s. I didn’t realize at first how awesome he was going to be and now he has his own series.
3- What genre does your book fall under? Historical Suspense – he is a private investigator. But there is a wife at the end of the first book, so it’s a romantic series as well. She turned out to be quite headstrong, as my readers know!
4- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I can write a book in about 3 months, and I aim for 100,000 words per novel.
5- What other books would you compare your story to within this genre? Hmm… maybe Jennifer Ashley’s “The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie” because her hero has Asperger syndrome. I don’t know of other historical authors who write heroes with disbilities.
6- Who or what inspired you to write this book? A comment in the Romance Writer Report a few years ago that said women are attracted to men who look at them like they are the only thing in the room. I thought, who does that? A deaf man.
7- What else about your book might pique the readers interest? He’s the hero in a series of historical crime dramas set in Norway. He uses his deafness and lip-reading skills to solve crimes because, as he gestures: When people find out I’m deaf, they forget I’m in the room.
Tag, you’re it! Answer the questions and pass on the tags!