Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Release - Three Tiers for Win

If anyone has read and enjoyed Wedding Gown Girl, my debut novel that came out last year, you may enjoy Three Tiers for Win. I enjoyed the secondary character, Elaine, in Wedding Gown Girl so much that I had to write her story.

I think Three Tiers for Win was such fun to write. I love to watch the Olympics even though it only comes out every four years. Last year, for the London 2012 Olympics, my country did very well in swimming and one of our swimmers received a gold medal - Chad le Clos. Because Elaine is a real softy girl, I thought a nice alpha guy would be perfect for her. Professional swimmer, Winston Harper (Win) was created.

Like Kienna in Wedding Gown Girl, Elaine is also into weddings. Her wedding cake business is just taking off at the beginning of the book when she meets the handsome and kind athlete, Winston. Her overprotective brother, who is also a professional swimmer, creates a great barrier to their relationship. Kienna doesn't approve of him either. Elaine's rebellious streak makes the whole situation that more fun.

I enjoyed writing a book with a bit of intrigue and adventure. It's not a suspense, but there's some drama and nail-biting bits in the races.

Win, although alpha, is seriously flawed and broken. I think he was my absolute favourite hero of all my books. I love a hero with wounds who hides them with ambition or independence. Elaine is perfect to break through them but there is one hurt from his past, he isn't even willing to let Elaine heal. This causes the greatest conflict of the novel. I'm not going to share any more.

I'm offering three PDF copies of my book in the Rafflecopter giveaway below from 12h00 American time today until Tuesday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Partial Conclusion

I promised some of my writing friends that I would write a post on the difference between organising my own blog tour and paying an official blog tour company to do one for me. For Dragonfly Moments, I was unable to organise a paid tour within the near future and knew that the publisher wanted me to do one soon so I went ahead and did my own. I thought it would be good experience, too. Tasty Book Tours approached me about doing a tour for Cosmetic Heart because Lisa, the manager, loved the look of my book. I couldn't resist the offer. So, that's how I ended up having two blog tours on at the same time. Hectic, but a wonderful way to compare which way works best for promo.

Here is my partial conclusion. I can't say fully yet how it's resulted with regards to book sales, but these are my findings:

Pro's of Own Blog Tour

  1. It's fun.
  2. You get to see how awesome your writer friends are in helping you out.
  3. You can control the when's and where's i.e. what dates to set your tour for and where you will be featured.
  4. You get to control how much you spend on your blog tour.

Pro's of Bought Blog Tour

  1. You reach a much higher audience.
  2. You mostly reach people who don't know about you and your books yet.
  3. You get to feature on official review and tour blogs as opposed to just friends' blogs which sometimes have more traffic. Or rather they have the traffic of people who are specifically following the blog because they want to look for good books to read.
  4. It's much less work. The only work is to send your blurb details, etc. to the tour host and to pay them, then reply to comments along the way.
  5. The tour organiser made a banner specifically for my tour which I could advertise with.
  6. She promoted my tour on her website.
  7. I had an exponential amount more entries for the rafflecopter competition. 1230 as opposed to about 90. The bought tour was only five days long whereas my own one was about seven days long.
  8. The tour organisers organised about three stops a day as opposed to my only one stop per day - she had all the contacts.
  9. I obtained dozens of Twitter follows and Author Page likes.

Cons of Own Blog Tour

  1. Surprisingly, I can't say it was cheaper. I had to still buy the Amazon gift card and the swag bags, and postage came to about the same as paying the tour host. Of course, I may not always offer swag bags. That was just my choice. In the end, I think it ended up being more expensive.
  2. It was hard work organising people to post on their blogs and work out the right dates to suit everyone's schedule. I had to make sure the blog posts went up every day and their rafflecopter links were working.

Cons of Bought Tour

  1. Some of the people didn't post my blog on their allotted day because of internet problems but that could have happened on my own blog tour. The organiser informed me all along the way when there were problems. But they were strangers to me and not as invested in getting the blog post up in time as your friends. One host posted quite late without a valid reason as far as I know.
  2. Honestly, it is a little expensive for those of us who live in SA and have to pay a lot for dollars. I wouldn't be able to do one often but maybe one per book.

I had a sneak peak at my sales on Amazon for both books. Cosmetic Heart was significantly higher than Dragonfly Moments on rating. This is by no means conclusive and I have to wait for my royalty reports.

So in conclusion, I think to save tons of work on promo and to have more time to do what we really want to do - write, it's worth it to pay a blog tour organiser - a good one of course. I would definitely recommend Tasty Book Tours. But, I'm not totally put off organising my own tour and may do it again some time.

Tasty Book Tours

Friday, September 13, 2013

We Have a Winner (Six actually)

I am thrilled to announce the winners of my Dragonfly Moments Blog Tour Giveaway:

The winner of the $10 Amazon gift card is ...

Empi Darko (well done, Empi)

The five winners of the South African dragonfly gift bags are ...

Anne Lange
Donna Feyen
Gayle Pace
Donna Wharton
Lee Todd

Congratulations! Thank you so much for taking part.

I've sent all the winners an email already so check your inbox.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The End of a Journey

The last stop of my first blog tour for Dragonfly Moments today! I can't believe I got through this unscathed. When I first considered doing my own blog tour, I have to be honest, I put it off for a while. I was petrified. I didn't know how to use Rafflecopter and thought it quite daunting. I didn't know how to prepare a swag bag. I'm still not sure about that one but I think the key is to make it uniquely you. Heather, the owner of Decadent Publishing, suggested I put in a few things about my country so I have. Many readers are from the USA and would love to learn a bit more about the unusual setting of my book.

Well, let me first share a few of the ups and downs of this journey which started last week. Rafflecopter was great. I had more entries for my giveaway than I've ever had before. But there were some glitches. The code didn't always work on my friends' blogs. I discovered that Wordpress doesn't have the ability to put up the Rafflecopter table at the bottom of the blog post. You have to put in the link to the Rafflecopter website. Blogspot can be tricky, too, and it didn't work for all my very kind friends and fellow writers who hosted me on their blogs. In the end, the problems were ironed out.

The highlight of the tour was the wonderful comments from people on the posts. People who I have never met, saying they would love to read my book! I'm terribly insecure about the excerpts I choose for my books. I'm so worried they will put people off and sound so stupid, so to hear that people want to read my book after reading my excerpt, boosts my confidence and gives me that lovely warm fuzzy feeling.

I can't wait to see who won my $10 Amazon gift card and the 5 swag bags. I've been collecting the items for my bags over the last few weeks and making one of the items furiously after much trial and error. I can't wait to pack them up and post them to these people. I will get the result from Rafflecopter tomorrow and post the winners' names on my blog, Twitter and Facebook page.

Thank you so much to my really, really kind and friendly writer friends for allowing me to be on your blogs. You are awesome!

For those who haven't been following the blog tour up to now, you can have a last chance to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dragonfly Moments Blog Tour

Guess what? I've taken the plunge and organised my own blog tour with Rafflecopter and swag. Swag? I know, I didn't even know what that word meant over a month ago. Swag is a giveaway bag containing fun items usually related to your book. So, I've been furiously making dragonflies out of beads and have put together a booklet with South African recipes. I'm also giving away one grand prize of a $10 Amazon kindle gift voucher so if you're keen, please take part and comment or tweet at my different stops.

Below is the schedule of the stops I'll be making, starting today:

Wednesday, 4 September - Rebecca Crowley
Thursday, 5 September - Eva Lefoy
Friday, 6 September - Inge Saunders
Saturday, 7 September - Louise Rose-Innes
Monday, 9 September - April Vine
Tuesday, 10 September - Rae Rivers
Wednesday, 11 September - Cate Peace
Thursday, 12 September - Last stop - my blog.

I hope you enjoy the journey and get to meet some other writers, too.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Guest Author Interview - Empi Baryeh

Today, I have another African writer on my blog. She hails from Ghana and writes tender, passionate romance (something I'm very fond of.) She's talking about her book, Chancing Faith, which is a multicultural/multiracial romance. I have a fascination with multicultural/multiracial romances as I like anything that breaks tradition and the constraints of society. Book 2 of The Creators which I'm working on now is a multicultural/multiracial romance. I've wanted to write one for years. Anyway, I'm digressing from Empi.

Here's Empi's very interesting interview:

What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
Goodness. Where to start … I guess the simple answer is this: as a writer, I see a story in most things, which makes life a little more interesting, I think. My mind is always creating scenarios even when I don’t grab a paper and pen (read: laptop) the moment an idea hits, so I’m almost never bored with my own company.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
As a pantser, I find it tough to sit down daily (as I’ve recently resolved) and write. Now that I’m published, that’s the hardest thing about being a writer, because I feel it’s more important than ever to keep writing and to keep publishing.

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write multicultural and interracial romance, but I do have some mainstream material in the pipeline as well (even though those have strong elements of romance). My stories are set in Ghana, but one of my WIPs moves my hero and heroine from Ghana to Sun City, South Africa. I’m very excited about that. My most recent book, Chancing Faith, is an interracial romance, though I have to say it is more of a cultural journey than a racial one.

What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
Keep reading and learning more about writing … and that if I want to make a career out of writing, I must write every single day – i.e. treat writing like a career rather than a hobby (hence the above-mentioned) resolution. This is a tough call for me, since I’m used to writing when the mood hits.

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
To be honest, my favourite heroine is usually the one I’m writing about, so for now, it’s Patricia from my current WIP, Expecting Ty’s Baby. This is the book that comes after Chancing Faith. Patricia is a strong character and she’s a stubborn woman, which is a little different from what I normally do, and I’m having lots of fun writing about her.

What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I like all kinds of heroes, but I do find alpha males exciting. I love the things you can make an alpha say and get away with. They are just soooo scandalous. I think every man in the world should have some alpha qualities – or fake it. LOL. However, my heart lies with beta males in an alpha suit. Those are the heroes that make me think: I would totally fall for this guy if he were real. Those ones stay with me long after I’ve finished reading the book. I think I’d love to try an alpha male in a beta suit just for the fun of it…

Tell us about your journey in writing your latest book.
My most recent book is Chancing Faith and it was a long, but wonderful journey. As I mentioned earlier, I tend to write when the mood hits, so it took a long time to complete my first draft. The good thing was that because I’d been editing along the way, most of the original story made it to the published book.

It started back in 2004 with the idea that I wanted to write an interracial romance which wasn’t about colour, but it wasn’t until I saw a writing prompt, asking aspiring authors to write a first kiss scene that I actually wrote something. I got really excited about the prompt (if you’ve read any of my interviews, you know I love first kisses). I liked the scene I came up with and the story kind of grew from there.

It took four years of on an off writing to complete the first draft. In 2011, I entered it in an editor pitch competition and got a request for a full manuscript. And the rest is history :-)

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
I like to make up words. (the latest being “Foremental” (the e is silent) – which combines forethought & good sense; works as an antonym of 'foreboding')
I think buses are sexy
Tea with lemon and honey is my cure-all – except, maybe, for a broken heart.

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
Music. Definitely. Aside from that, I usually read over the last page or two to immerse myself in the story and soak up the mood before I start any new material.

Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
Ooh. Tough one. I write African romance – i.e. African settings and African heroes/heroines, which is uncommon. African readers can easily relate to my characters, and for non-African readers my stories provide a cultural adventure. Most importantly, I write about people like you and me, stories that could happen to us…
And remember I mentioned I like to invent words? Yea, I always try to get away with slipping one of those in or at least finding a creative use for regular words. (insert evil grin)

What book would you like to work on next?
I’m actually working on the book after Chancing Faith, which is currently titled, “Expecting Ty’s Baby”.

Like its prequel, Expecting Ty’s Baby is a mixing of cultures, this time between an African-American hero and an African heroine. And it’s not smooth sailing. Throw in a secret baby and things get complicated.

I’m really excited about this story. Oh, and it’s definitely spicier than its prequel. *wink wink*

Give us a blurb of your book and if you want, a short excerpt.


American ad exec, Thane Aleksander, doesn’t date co-workers either—until business takes him to Ghana, West Africa, and he meets Naaki. Now he’s at risk of breaking all the rules. Can he stop this headlong fall before it’s too late?
Naaki Tabika has a burning need to prove, to herself and others, that she’s more than wife and mother material. To do so, she’s prepared to give up everything for her job. Meeting Thane, however, makes her want to get personal. But falling for her boss could destroy her career. Will she be willing to risk it all for the one thing that can make her truly happy?
Two divergent cultures, two different races, two career-driven professionals, only one chance at true love—will they find the faith to take it, or will their hearts be sacrificed on the altar of financial success?

Thane knew he was in for it now. He could hardly believe he’d really done it...

He’d kissed Naaki. Kissed her! What the hell was he thinking? Thane tossed his jacket aside and yanked off his tie. Of all the stupid—

Raking his fingers through his hair, he muttered a curse. The urge to hit something assaulted him with a force that should have surprised him. The perfect punching bag would have been his own body, since it was apparent that he needed to pound some sense into his skull. Right now, the only thing pounding was his heart as it threatened to burst out of his chest, throbbing partly out of anger but mostly from his pulsing desire.

Damned if he didn’t still want her in his arms. She made him feel like a teenager—and not in a good way. Vulnerable wasn’t a desired state of mind as far as he was concerned. He sat down with the adjoining door in full view, still unable to comprehend how he’d dropped his guard. How he seemed so willing to let down his defenses around her.

He’d panicked in the elevator, allowed himself to be captivated. He’d worried about her, touched her as if he cared. She’d kissed him back, moaned against his lips and his knees had gone weak. He could have made love to her right there in the lobby. He could care about her, and caring was the last thing he could afford to do.

Dammit. Naaki wasn’t a woman you got involved with on a whim. He needed, at all cost, to avoid her—the woman who’d so easily brought him to his knees, who’d caused his body to come alive and made him want—

Just want.

Empi's book, Chancing Faith, can be bought here:
Black Opal Books
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks

You can connect with Empi online at:
Her blog