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Monday, October 20, 2014

Author Spotlight--Jim Cangany

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! I have a very special guest this week. IRWA's own kilted Token Dude, Jim Cangany, writes sweet romance, and the final installment in his North Star trilogy, Wish Upon a Star, is now available! He's donating a portion of his royalties from the sale of Wish Upon a Star to the Avon Foundation for Women's Breast Cancer Crusade, so pick up a copy!

Blurb:
She's battling cancer. He's battling demons from the past. How will their love survive?
An unlikely love. An unseen enemy. A lesson in faith.

Annie and E.J. are on top of the world. Her concert world tour as Cassandra Lawrence was a smashing success and they've just announced their engagement to the world. Now that they're settled in at Annie's Northern California estate, it's time to relax and enjoy life. Until E.J. gets a call from her with news that's as devastating as it is unbelievable.
Annie has breast cancer.
Their love is tested in unimaginable ways as chemotherapy robs Annie of her health and her hair, but not hope. She holds on to the hope of beating the cancer and marrying the man she loves. While the key for Annie is to hold onto that hope, their future together may be lost forever unless E.J. can learn to let go. For its not until he can learn to forgive himself and let go of the guilt that haunts him that he can truly move forward and be the man Annie needs him to be.
Will the chemotherapy, mastectomy and radiation be enough to help Annie beat the cancer? Will E.J. face down the demons that haunt his past in time to save their love? Will they ever get that happily ever after Annie so desperately wants? While trust and faith in each other has gotten them this far, they'll need one more thing to make it to their finish line--hope.

Excerpt:
After a brief interview and the routine temperature and blood pressure check, the nurse left. A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door. In the blink of an eye, a razor-wire knot formed in my gut. Here we go.

The door opened and a woman about Annie’s size stepped in. She had shoulder length, brown hair that was streaked with gray. Her hazel eyes glittered when she smiled.

"Ms. Wilson, I’m Dr. Ann Furman. It’s a pleasure to meet you." They shook hands and Annie introduced me. Something about the doctor’s demeanor put me at ease, and I got the sense it was the same for Annie. Maybe it was her warm smile, or the fact that her sweater had little yellow ducks woven into it.

Annie had designated me as her official note taker, so I focused on writing things down while the doctor went through Annie’s medical history. When that was completed, the doctor pulled out two x-rays and hung them from a backlit exam fixture.

She flipped a switch and the x-rays lit up to reveal images of Annie’s breasts. With a pen she pointed out two masses, one very small, the other larger, in her right breast. Each mass was identified with a tiny, bright square.

"These are images from the MRI you had taken. As you can see, there are two tumors. The bright spots are markers that were put in place when the masses were biopsied. The markers can help us identify the locations of the tumors as your treatment progresses."

She pointed to the other image. "In your left breast, there’s a single tumor here. This is where I need to be honest with you. The fact that there are multiple tumors is indicative of a malignant form of breast cancer."

"Form of breast cancer?" Annie’s voice came out uneven.

Dr. Furman nodded. "Yes, there are many forms or types of breast cancer. The name of this type is Invasive Ductile Carcinoma."

Annie steepled her fingers in front of her while I flipped to a new page. "All right, what does that mean?"

"Invasive Ductile Carcinoma is a very common type of cancer that grows rapidly, but is very treatable."

"In what way?"

"The standard course of treatment at this stage would involve chemotherapy, mastectomy, reconstruction, and potentially radiation."

A chill came over me as my pen dug into the paper. This sounded bad.

Really bad.

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N81EVUI
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wish-upon-a-star-14
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wish-upon-a-star/id914651535?mt=11

Bio:
A lifelong resident of the State of Indiana, Jim Cangany is proud to call himself a Hoosier. The youngest of eight children, he grew up in a household full of books and people. Thanks to the influence of his older siblings, Jim gravitated toward fantasy and sci-fi when looking for something to read. He wrote his first story at age fourteen. A school project, The Magic Coin was a fantasy that involved a king, some bad guys, and, not surprisingly, a magical token.

These days, Jim writes romance on the sweet end. If you ask him what is a guy like him is doing writing romance, he'll reply, "Those are the stories in my head." A believer that the world has enough doom and gloom, he likes stories with a happy ending, regardless of genre. He lives in Indianapolis with his wonderful wife Nancy and his two sons, Seamus and Aidan.

Links:
Website: http://jimcangany.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-Cangany-Author/193385657452953
Twitter: @jimcangany
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00DEWZUJM

Congratulations to Jim for his new release and to his wife, Nancy, for five years of being cancer-free!

Be sure to check out the rest of Annie's and E.J.'s journey with Fallen Star and Lucky Star while you're buying Wish Upon a Star!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Adding Images to Books

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Self-publishing offers writers another choice on the road to publication, whether they’re already traditionally published and/or e-press published, or unpublished. Although the author maintains control of the process, she also has a lot of hard work ahead of her. Education about self-publishing and the publishing industry is vital to a good product and creating a professional image.

The content is ready! The book is written, the polished manuscript has been to an editor, critique partners, and beta-readers, the tagline and blurbs are written, a contract for cover art has been signed, ISBNs are purchased, and front and back matter are complete. The e-book and print files are ready to upload.

What about Adding Images to Books?

Cookbooks, children’s books, and many other fiction and nonfiction books have photos, screenshots, and artwork on the interior pages. Even adding a publisher logo to the title page requires the ability to add images to the document.

Writing Tip Wednesday: The Self-Publishing Handbook will be my first attempt at adding pictures to the content of an e-book and print book. I’ve researched the topic of adding images, and, much to my dismay, almost every source gave different instructions and recommended different file types and/or sizes. So, I’ll be experimenting when formatting time comes around.

Three elements of adding images are consistent from every resource I looked at.

1) Use Insert-->Picture-->Photo-->Picture from File to add pictures. Never copy and paste an image into the document. Pictures can be screenshots taken with built-in screenshot software or with SnagIt, a free download. Use Photoshop or another program to crop, adjust color, and change the resolution to 150 pixels per inch.

2) Wrap-around text does not work in self-published book formatting. This means all text must be above or below the inserted picture. No text can be to the left, right, or both.

3) The picture should be centered using the Format-->Paragraph control. Be sure to eliminate any first-line indentation, as this will cause the picture to be slightly off-center.

Are you ready for the conflicting information?

1) Some sources recommend using PNG files, while most others say JPG. Images can be converted to JPG and PNG format from PDF format using the Save As command, or convertmyimage.com is recommended by one resource.

2) Size recommendations vary. The consensus seems to be the picture can’t be larger than the smallest e-reader device’s screen will allow. The numbers range from 400 pixels x 300 pixels to 500 pixels x 600 pixels to 560 pixels x 740 pixels to 600 pixels x 800 pixels. One source suggested limiting to the size of each picture to 127KB. Another recommended limiting the size to 5MB for the complete file. Still another says to make the images smaller using Format Picture-->Size-->Shrink Image (for PC) or Format-->Format Object (for Mac). This source also recommends using webresizer.com/resize to make the image the correct size. Images can also be compressed through the Format Picture/Object command.

3) Some resources say to save the document as Web Page, Filtered and convert it to a zip file for upload to retail outlets.

I’m certain I’ll end up with a headache when I tackle adding screenshots to help guide self-publishers through the process! However, the handbook will have new information based on my experience—minus the cursing that may occur.

If you’re lucky enough to have adding images figured out, check off #7.a. on the to-do list and please share your expertise! What worked? What didn’t work? Does size matter?

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book. 
2) Polish and edit the book. 
3) Write taglines and blurbs. 
4) Create or purchase cover art. 
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book). 
6) Create front and back matter. 
7) Format for e-book and/or print. 
7.a.) Add images. 
7.b.) Create audio book.
8) Update website, blog, and social media.
9) Create metadata list.
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!

Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace, and the writing career series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Abbie Carlisle

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Abbie Carlisle is my guest this week, and she's here to talk about Elijah's Vow, the first book in The Order of the Mist series, and share some insight into her writing process. She's also giving away a copy of Elijah's Vow, so be sure to check out how to enter at the end of the post!

Blurb:
Jasmine Tate, an Editor from New York, relaxes on her first vacation in years until a tall, dark, handsome stranger throws her into a world of power and tantalising passion. She realizes that humans are not the only race in existence. Her life shatters around her as their worlds collide and everything she’s ever believed in is destroyed as her true identity is laid out before her.
Elijah, The Order’s leader, has never known true love. Tormented by his past, he has lived only to protect his race, but when he meets Jasmine his heart is captivated by her beauty and he becomes obsessed with his possession and desire for her.
As a war begins between The Order and the Phoenix League, he must face an enemy that is intent on destroying everything that matters to him, but can he protect the one thing that has become his destiny?

Excerpt:
The echoing sound of the shot made Jasmine jump and she screamed out in terror as the glass from the window shattered and flew into the cabin. She fell against the table as pain seared through her shoulder and cried out Elijah’s name as she hit the floor. The excruciating agony that travelled across her shoulders had her gasping. She tried to focus past the waves of intense pain shooting through her. She could feel herself becoming ice cold as Elijah kicked the table away from her. Blood soaked through the jumper and she held her hand tight on her shoulder, pain throbbing from the impact of her fall. Elijah stared at her in horror. His face was red with fury as he dropped to his knees and gently lifted her into his arms. She was deathly pale as tears streaked down her cheeks.

“I have to see how badly you’re hurt, sweetheart,” Elijah spoke as he pulled the jumper to the side to take a closer look at her shoulder.

Jasmine cried out at as the jumper pulled at the wound.

“Luca,” Elijah shouted, so loud it made Jasmine jump from the drowsiness that was beginning to cloud her mind.

Luca almost took the door off its hinges as he stormed through and into the living area. He stopped dead in his tracks as he stared at the horrific sight before him.

“I need you to help her. Take the pain away and help with the wound. She’s been shot,” Elijah said as Luca ran behind the couch to reach Jasmine.

“I will need to touch her. You okay with that?” Luca asked.

“Do whatever is necessary to take the pain away and help her,” Elijah said, thanking the stars for Luca’s gift.
Luca gently laid his hands on Jasmine’s clammy, shaking body.

Her sobs tore at Elijah as panic slashed through him.

As Luca’s warm hands began to glow gently, Jasmine felt a gentle calm float through her as she felt the pain begin to dissipate and her body gradually begin to relax. She closed her eyes as she savoured the relief until she could no longer feel anything and her mind blacked out.

“What the hell happened, Luca?” Elijah held Jasmine close as Luca continued to heal the wound.

The shot had gone straight through her right shoulder but had luckily not hit any bones. The wound slowly closed as Luca moved his hands over each side of the wound.

“There was a shooter out in the woods. He had a rifle and fired off a shot before I could get to him. I’m so sorry, Elijah,” Luca replied.

“She knew he was there. She felt him,” Elijah stated as he stared at the paleness of her skin. She was so small and fragile and the thought that she may have been killed made his heart cry out.

“Did you kill him?” Elijah asked as Luca moved his hands away, the shimmering glow dissipating.

“I hit him pretty hard but I’m not sure that he’s dead. Bloody hope so, the fucking bastard deserves to be.”

“We need to get the males here now. If more of them arrive then we need to make sure they don’t get a second chance. She’s everything to me and I will not live without her!” Elijah could not imagine a world in which she didn’t exist. He loved her with all his heart.

“I understand. I’ve called Jonah and they are on their way. I need to fix the window, though. She’s cold and that gaping hole will only make her worse. Keep her warm and I’ll go get the duvet from the bedroom and you can wrap her in that.” Luca ran up the stairs two at a time, grabbed the duvet from the bedroom, and returned, handing it to Elijah.

“We have to find out who they are. It’s the only way to keep her safe. Once we know who we’re dealing with then we will go out, find them, and destroy them,” Elijah said. He was struggling, trying to control the anger that was growing out of control as he stared at her long eyelashes that framed her beautiful closed eyes.

Elijah lifted Jasmine and gently laid her on the couch. The blood from her wound soaked his hands as he pulled the duvet over her and placed a cushion under her head. “Go out and make sure that bastard is dead. Then try and find some wood to fix the window. I’ll stay here and make sure she’s warm. Thank you, Luca, for saving her.” He was utterly in debt to the male.

“She’s your female and we would all protect her with our lives. She is part of our world now and one of us,” Luca replied. There had never been a female at the compound and he had liked her from the moment he’d met her. He’d been glad that he’d been able to help her as he smiled at Elijah. He was a lucky man. He turned and walked out of the cabin, closing the door behind him. Maybe one day he would have a female of his own to love and care for. The thought made him smile as he ran into the cold dark forest.

Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elijahs-Order-Siren-Publishing-Classic-ebook/
http://www.amazon.com/Elijahs-Order-Siren-Publishing-Classic-ebook/
http://www.bookstrand.com/elijahs-vow
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Elijah-s-Vow

Interview:
Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
Abbie: After being introduced to Paranormal Erotic Romance by my twin sister, I was hooked on stories of passion and possession. I read books from a range of Authors who inspired me to put my ideas in print. With great support from my family, I was able to fulfil my passion to write my current novel ‘Elijah’s Vow’.

Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Abbie: As I work full time and have a family, I write in any spare time I have. I would love to be able to spend all my time writing and hope in the future to be able to commit to writing full time.

Me: This book is the first in a series Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Abbie: I prefer to write series stories. As I read books from other Authors, I find that I want to know more about the other characters in their books. Writing series allows for you to build a world of exciting characters that can have their own subsequent books, each telling their story and the adversity they face to find and protect the ones they love.

Me: Give us some insight into your main character. What makes him special?
Abbie: The main character in my book is Elijah. He is the leader of The Order and is strong and powerful. He puts his duty to protect other before his own needs and shows respect and honour in all his decisions. As he meets his mate, he learns to love, trust and accept the pain of his past to allow him to have a future. He is brave and is prepared to lay his life down to protect the ones he loves.

Me: How did you come up with the title?
Abbie: I’ve planned to make each book in the series delve into the lives of each male member of The Order. Elijah is the first main character in the series and promises to love and protect his mate. He also vows to The Order to lead them with honour as their King. The title represented the strength and commitment Elijah has to his race.

Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
Abbie: I love to read paranormal romance. Authors such as Laurenn Dohner and Lora Leigh are able to create exciting characters you can relate to. Their books inspired me to want to create a fictional world full of romance and conflict for others to enjoy.

Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Abbie: I can be sitting watching television or lying in bed when ideas suddenly burst into my mind. I always keep a notebook by my bed so I can write them down. Most of my inspiration comes when I talk to my family about settings and plots for my planned books. It’s a surreal feeling when you talk to them about one direction of a character and then you find that you have changed where their story is heading into a completely different direction. Their ideas can be invaluable and inspiring.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Abbie: The current book I am working on is ‘Jonah’s Salvation’. He is a Lord of the Mist and is Elijah’s second in command. His story is full of emotional conflict and Jonah must learn to open his heart to allow himself to love. When faced with a choice to give the one he loves what she most desires, he has to decide whether to put her life in danger to give her what she wants. The choices he makes could destroy his world.

Bio:
Abbie Carlisle lives in Kent, England with her wonderfully understanding husband and 3 children. She spends every spare hour either with her family or, with the immense support from her twin sister, her other passion ‘writing’. For years she had dreamed of writing her own paranormal novel and then her first novel was born. Come visit ‘The Order of the Mist’ at abbiecarlisle.com

Links:
Website: abbiecarlisle.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abbie.carlisle3

Thanks for stopping by! For a chance to win an e-book copy of Elijah’s Vow, like Abbie's Facebook page and comment on Blog post on Facebook with "like" number. Good luck!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Formatting for Print Part 3

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Self-publishing offers writers another choice on the road to publication, whether they’re already traditionally published and/or e-press published, or unpublished. Although the author maintains control of the process, she also has a lot of hard work ahead of her. Education about self-publishing and the publishing industry is vital to a good product and creating a professional image.

The content is ready! The book is written, the polished manuscript has been to an editor, critique partners, and beta-readers, the tagline and blurbs are written, a contract for cover art has been signed, ISBNs are purchased, and front and back matter are complete. The e-book files are ready to upload.

Formatting for Print is one of the most patience-testing part of self-publishing. Break it into smaller tasks to avoid frustration. After completing the page/text formatting and adding title/author headers, page numbers are next. These instructions are for the Mac version of Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Begin by opening the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro. This isn’t automatic, so click the file once to highlight it and use the File drop-down menu to choose the Open With option. Choose Adobe Acrobat Pro.

To view side-by-side pages, go to View-->Page Display-->Two Page View. This will help with odd/even page identification. Even pages are on the left. Odd pages are on the right.

On the right side of the Acrobat window, click Tools. Select Pages-->Header and Footer--> Add Header and Footer.

Even and odd pages require different settings. For the even pages:
1) Choose font, size, and margin. The font and size may or may not match the page-text and/or title/author font and size, depending on preference. Top margin is usually .7 inches and bottom margin is usually .5 inches. Left and right margins are usually .5 inches. Left Header Text should be set as <<1>>. All other header/footer text boxes should be empty.

2) Click Page Number and Date Format. Enter the starting page number. For a book with a title page, copyright page, dedication page, and blank page before the beginning of the first chapter, enter 6. Remember—the first page of each new chapter doesn’t have a page number.

3) Click Page Range Options. Select Pages from and enter the starting page number (6 in the example in #2) and ending page number. Remember—page numbers normally end on the last page of the last chapter. Select Even pages.

4) Click Save Settings. Save the header in case of mistakes that need to be corrected later. To save it as something new, give it a new name and write down the new name. The program will open with it the next time. Or replace old settings by giving the header the same name as an existing setting. Tell the program to replace when it asks.

5) Click OK.

Repeat this process to create a header setting for odd pages. Click Add Header and Footer. Do NOT click the replace option! Click Add New (changes can be made to an existing header here too).
For Step 1), the top margin is usually .7 inches, the bottom margin is usually .5 inches, and the right margin is usually .5 inches—same as the even-page settings. The left margin is usually 1 inch (to allow for the gutter). Right Header Text should be set as <<1>>. All other header/footer text boxes should be empty.
For Step 2), enter the same starting number page as was entered for even pages.
For Step 3), select Odd pages.
For Step 4), the same instructions apply, but give the odd-page header a different name from the even-page header.
For Step 5), click OK.

Step 6) Page numbers have been added to all pages between the start and end page numbers. To remove page numbers from the first page of each chapter or section, go to the Tools window. Select Content-->Edit Document Text. Click on the text and use the Delete key to remove any unwanted page numbers.

Step 7) Save the document. Click the Save icon or go to File-->Save.

Step 8) Open the document in Preview to check for mistakes. Make corrections in Adobe Acrobat Pro and save again.

Check off #7 on the To-Do List, but be prepared for a couple side topics before tackling #8. In addition to page/text formatting, title/author headers, and page numbers, formatting for e-book and print may also include adding images to the internal content. Audio books are another publishing option.

More options?!?!

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book. 
2) Polish and edit the book. 
3) Write taglines and blurbs. 
4) Create or purchase cover art. 
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book). 
6) Create front and back matter. 
7) Format for e-book and/or print. 
8) Update website, blog, and social media.
9) Create metadata list.
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!

Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace, and the writing career series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Author Spotlight--Lea Barrymire

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Lea Barrymire is here to give us a peek at her new Coyote Bluff book, Accidentally Yours! Check out Cammie and Ian's first kiss, read the first chapter for free, and find out what's up next on her to-write list!

Take it away, Lea!

Coyote Bluff is a small, quaint town in the mountains of Virginia. With its diner run by Mama, the police force of one and a single stop light it's much like every other small town in America. Well, until you take a closer look.

Feel free to come visit Coyote Bluff... but keep an eye on the wildlife.

Blurb:
Cammie has had one hell of a night. Her long-time abusive boyfriend pushed her to the limits and then a freaking wolf hit her car. While clutching a bag of frozen peas to her swollen eye she manages to rescue the animal and make it home. But what’s she do with it after that?

Ian can’t believe his luck. After a stupid decision he’s been run out of every shifter territory he’s entered. Hoping Coyote Bluff would be different seems to have been his downfall. After a bunch of coyotes chase him through the night he finds himself being coddled by a tempting woman. His canine half is already in love with her.

Cammie’s ex comes calling, Ian’s found out by the local Alpha and the town seems bent on keeping them apart. Can they fight against everyone at once to find happiness together? Better question would be will Cammie accept Ian once he admits to being the wolf she so readily confided in and nursed back to health?

First kiss:
“Do you want me to kiss you? Is that why you’re staring at me, Cammie?” He shifted slightly on the seat and a zing of lightning shot up her leg when his brushed hers. He breathed his next words across the small distance between them. “I want to kiss you. I want to taste you on my tongue. Will you let me do that?”

Did she want to kiss him? Yes. Should she? That was a completely different question. She knew this was a dream, accepted it as truth. If she woke with a lingering affection for her dream man she’d be a depressed pile of goo for days. Keeping her distance was probably the right thing to do, but she really, really, didn’t want to do the right thing. She wanted to climb into his lap, and dig her fingers into his hair while sucking on his lower lip. She wet her lips in anticipation and almost groaned as the tingling intensified. Screw it, live in the now.

A moment after her tiny nod she was wrapped in strong, warm arms. She hadn’t seen him move, hadn’t felt his body shift, but both must have happened for her to be on his lap, straddling his thighs. Her eyes closed and she tilted her head back in acceptance. She’d force her mind to not dwell on the kiss she was going to get. She could do that, it was her dream, right?

Chapter one--free read: http://www.leabarrymire.com/accidentally-yours-ch-1.html

Buy Links:
E-book:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Accidentally-Yours-Coyote-Bluff-Book-ebook/dp/B00MZ78U9O
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469679
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/accidentally-yours-lea-barrymire/1120206371?ean=2940046123685
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/lv/book/accidentally-yours/id912426253?mt=11
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-accidentallyyours-1612783-142.html
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23109644-accidentally-yours

Print:
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4964721

Interview:
Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Lea: I do. One that I will someday be doing full time. I love writing for the outlet of emotions and creativity, but I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like doing it. My five year plan, which I made three years ago, has me writing full time by year five. I’m still looking at that as the goal. Until then I spend my dayjob hours digging through Excel sheets and being a database queen. :)

Me: Is there a message in your novel you hope to convey to your readers?
Lea: A message? Good question. I guess I always try to show that all of my characters, flawed or not, are redeemable and that love can truly conquer all. Oh, and that love and sex should be fun. Really, really fun.

Me: How did you come up with the title?
Lea: LOL If I tell you that it tends to be a brainstorming session between myself and readers will you laugh? I usually need a title by the time I’m half way through writing. Sometimes it’ll just pop into my head, but other times I have no idea and I ask my author-sister Danica Avet for help.

Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
Lea: I LOVE paranormal and sci-fi. Both to read and to write. I would say paranormal tends to be my favorite to write, but only because alpha shifters are yummy.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Lea: I’m actually working on book 2, “Tempering Steel”, of this series. Connor and Margie are two firecrackers who can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. It should be releasing mid-November. Hopefully. :)

Author Bio:
Lea lives in Western New York with her hubby, three children, and miscellaneous critters. Before the rug rats, she lived a life of adventure, following her husband all over Europe with the US military. She's slept in a car outside Paris, drove six hours just to see tulips in the Netherlands, and knocked ash from her shoes at Pompeii. Now she spends her time in life's adventures at soccer games, PTA meetings and school plays.

Lea has loved reading from a very young age, spending many sleepless nights devouring books. Science fiction and paranormal were her favorite genres to read as a teenager, and that love bled into her adult life. She started writing during a bout of insomnia, to fill time, and found it filled a creative void. Now she communes regularly with the characters in her head and tries not to laugh out loud when they say something funny.

When Lea isn't reading, writing or corralling kids, she enjoys watching movies and sciencey shows, or just kicking back and listening to some music.

Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=573665449341875
Twitter: @leabarrymire
Blog: http://leabarrymire.blogspot.com/
Website: www.LeaBarrymire.com
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Thanks for visiting with me, Lea! And thank you, readers, for stopping by! Be sure to scroll down to the Mix Up Some Romance Blog Hop post below for some great giveaways!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mix Up Some Romance Blog Hop!


Welcome to Out of My Mind, Blog Hoppers!

I'm Mellanie Szereto, author of contemporary and erotic romance. My latest series, Love on the Menu, is a fun mix of foodie romances--hot and extra hot stories with characters who know their way around a kitchen and the bedroom! The first book, Love Served Hot, is a hot contemporary featuring an Irish chef and the acting director of a retirement community.
Blurb:
The way to a woman’s heart...

As acting director of her uncle’s retirement village, Lilith Montgomery must hire a chef for the new restaurant. She’s interviewed several candidates, but instantly decides on the sexy Irishman whose culinary creations give her foodgasms. Her rotten luck with relationships makes her determined to resist her attraction to him, even if it means sneaking into the kitchen at night for a taste of his delectable entrĂ©es.
Flynn Hastings is finally getting his life back on track after a year of anger and guilt over his sister’s death. He’s returned home to be near his family and has found the perfect job—with one small problem. His boss makes him want to cook in more than the kitchen. Putting aside his hard and fast rule about mixing business with pleasure, he sets his sights on Lilith, hoping their budding friendship turns out to be more than a flash in the pan.
Links:
CreateSpace (print)
Amazon (print)
Amazon (ebook)
Barnes & Noble (ebook)
All Romance eBooks (ebook)

Up next in the series is Just Desserts, an erotic contemporary about second chances. Here's a first peek! The cover is coming very soon!
Blurb:
Chances are...he’ll get exactly what he deserves.

After fifteen years, librarian Meg Graham returns to her hometown to appease her family and reopen the local library. First, the neighbor’s dog steals her underwear. Then its owner, the boy who stole her heart in high school, shows up on her doorstep and does his best to woo her with baked delights. She has no intention of falling for the pie-baking Casanova again, no matter how sweet his desserts or how hot the fire raging between them.

Aidan Rourke’s uncle has promised him ownership of the family bakery if Aidan marries before his 34th birthday. When the only woman he ever truly loved—the one who got away—moves back to town, he pulls out all the stops to recapture her heart. He has only three weeks to convince her of his love and march her down the aisle before she discovers the truth about his uncle’s blackmail scheme.

Release date is October 17!

**Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Love Served Hot or Just Desserts on release day!**

In the meantime, try out this super easy recipe.
Black Bean Burgers
30 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten

Combine well-drained black beans, olive oil, and garlic in a food processor. Process on "pulse" eight times. In a medium bowl, add processed bean mixture to remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Tear seven 6-inch wide pieces of plastic wrap and lay flat on countertop. Divide bean mixture into seven equal parts. Form into balls. Hand press into patties and wrap in plastic. Freeze for a minimum of 30 minutes or place in freezer bag and store in freezer for up to four months.
To cook, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in iron skillet over medium heat. Add black bean burgers and cover. Brown on each side. Top with cheese, if desired. Serve on a toasted bun with your favorite toppings.
Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the other authors in the Mix Up Some Romance Blog Hop!

AND enter to win a KitchenAid mixer with the Rafflecopter widget below! Value $300. Note: Mixer can only be shipped to a US winner. In the event the winner lives outside the US, a $100 Amazon gift card will be awarded instead.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Formatting for Print Part 2

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Self-publishing offers writers another choice on the road to publication, whether they’re already traditionally published and/or e-press published, or unpublished. Although the author maintains control of the process, she also has a lot of hard work ahead of her. Education about self-publishing and the publishing industry is vital to a good product and creating a professional image.

The content is ready! The book is written, the polished manuscript has been to an editor, critique partners, and beta-readers, the tagline and blurbs are written, a contract for cover art has been signed, ISBNs are purchased, and front and back matter are complete. The e-book files are ready to upload.

After completing the page and text formatting for print, the headers are next. This step can be especially frustrating. Be sure each box is correctly checked or unchecked in the header/footer tab. Make an extra copy of the page and text formatted document for starting over, if necessary, and SAVE after each step!

Title/Author Headers:

The title is typically on even pages (the left side of the book, but the right side of the Word document) and author’s name is on odd pages (the right side of the book, but the left side of the Word document) of print books, beginning on the second page of the first chapter. The headers usually end on the last page of the last chapter. Pages with the chapter title/number do not have author/title headers.

Step 1 – Title page: View->Header/Footer, go to the Header/Footer formatting tab, and click the boxes for Different First Page and Different Odd & Even Pages.

Step 2 – Copyright page: View->Header/Footer, go to the Header/Footer formatting tab, and click the boxes for Different First Page, Different Odd & Even Pages, and Link to Previous boxes should all be checked.

Step 3 – All other pages prior to the first chapter should have only Different First Page and Different Odd & Even Pages boxes checked.

Step 4 – Go to the last pages of the document (About the Author and Other Books by Author). Only the Different Odd & Even pages should be checked.

Step 5 – Go to the first page of the last chapter. The Different First Page and Different Odd & Even Pages boxes should be checked.

Step 6 – Go to the second and third pages of the last chapter. The Different First Page, Different Odd & Even Pages, and Link to Previous boxes should all be checked.

Step 7 – Repeat with each chapter, working toward the beginning of the document, making sure the Different First Page and Different Odd & Even Pages boxes are checked on each first page and the Different First Page, Different Odd & Even Pages, and Link to Previous boxes are checked on the second and third pages.

Step 8 – At the last pages of the first chapter, be sure the Link to Previous box is unchecked.

Step 9 – On the second page of the first chapter, add either the title (even pages) or author name (odd pages) to the header. Use 12-point size in italics, if desired. Use the format paragraph function to center the title and author name in the header.

Step 10 – Repeat on the third page of the first chapter, adding either the title (even pages) or author name (odd pages) to the header. Use 12-point size in italics, if desired. Use the format paragraph function to center the title and author name in the header.

Step 11 – Save.

Step 12 – Check each page for the proper header content. Correct if necessary. Save.

Step 13 – Recheck each page to be sure the gutters and headers are correct. Save.

Step 14 – SAVE!

Step 15 – Use Save As to save the document as a PDF. In my experience, the addition of page numbers in only the required places doesn’t work consistently and/or correctly in a Word document.

Next up on the agenda is page numbers. Adobe Acrobat Pro is the recommended software for that step!

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book. 
2) Polish and edit the book. 
3) Write taglines and blurbs. 
4) Create or purchase cover art. 
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book). 
6) Create front and back matter. 
7) Format for e-book and/or print.
8) Update website, blog, and social media.
9) Create metadata list.
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!


Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace, and the writing career series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!