Dare to Love cover art

DARE TO LOVE – on sale for $1.99

Dare to Love cover artGet it while it’s hot!

Dare to Love, my regency romance novel is on sale for a limited time. It has earned 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so don’t even think it’s being “put in the back on the discount rack, like another can of beans” (thank you Billy Joel).

Nope. It’s a charming, amusing, challenging novel featuring Lord Dare Landis, a handsome heartless rake, and Nivea Horsham, the sweet plump sister of Landis’ best friend. She has worshiped him since she was a young girl, but he knows better than to trifle with an innocent. Especially since the Horshams are the closest thing Dare has to family.

Much like Johnny Depp in The Libertine, you will not like Dare Landis in the beginning. He is a right bastard, cold and arrogant toward everyone–friend or foe. But there’s a reason.

And once Nivea discovers that reason, she is even more determined to win his love.

Don’t be concerned that Nivea is nothing but a wilting wallflower. She is surprisingly strong, secure in her own beliefs. Her only weak spot, being the unattainable Lord Landis. Unattainable, that is, until the fateful trip to her family’s country estate.

Please take a peek and let me know what you think. Reviews are always appreciated!

Thank you to Lyrical Press/Kensington Publication for believing in me. While this was my first romance novel, it will not be my last!

Novelrank – another cool author’s tool

untitled“So, how’s your book selling?”

Any author will tell you, that sentence can drive you crazy. Know why?

Because we have no bloody idea how it’s selling. At least I didn’t. My book came out December 1 and my publisher said I wouldn’t get initial sales figures until February.

FEBRUARY! That means over two months of uncertainty, panic, self-doubt and frustration. I begged and pleaded but they wouldn’t give me so much as a hint. As a data-fiend, this was unacceptable to me. During one of my rants, a writer friend told me about Novelrank.com. I signed up immediately.

You click on the link, register your book, and voila! They show how many books you’ve sold on Amazon in US, CA and UK. It also provides sales rank and reviews. I have no idea how accurate their data is (I won’t be able to tell until I get actual sales figures…in FEBRUARY), but it’s nice to have some gauge.

The downside is, they only track from the date you register. Since I didn’t learn about Novelrank until a few weeks after my book launched, I couldn’t track my initial figures. And they only track Amazon, not Barnes & Noble, iBooks or anyone else. But still.

Super cool. Thanks Novelrank!


Update (March 23, 2015):

I was finally able to get a rough estimate on my book sales from my publisher…on March 20!

It turns out, Dare to Love has been selling pretty well.

While I expected to strong-arm about 100 copies to friends and family, my publisher said I’ve sold around 650 (all book channels, Dec. 1 – Jan 31). Novel Rank credited me with about 300 sales (Amazon only, Dec. 16 – Jan 31). So, I’m thinking it’s a pretty good tool.Screenshot (5)

Fifty Shades of Great Entertainment

220px-50ShadesofGreyCoverArtI’ll admit it. I am one of the millions of women who tore through the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy like a bride at Filene’s Basement. They were silly, redundant, romantic and shocking…not to mention a lot of fun (not good, clean fun, but definitely fun).

It is now five days away from the movie’s opening day and I am giddy with anticipation. (UPDATE: It’s now only one day away…24 hours to be exact! I wish I had a countdown thingie like the Irish bars do for St. Pat’s Day) Will they be able to capture the intriguing allure of Christian, accurately portraying the torrid, tormented soul that both attracts and repels the innocent Ana? It’s a tall order.

To be honest, I don’t expect it to live up to the hype. But a girl can hope, right?

Follow up 

As you can tell, by my second post “5 reasons why the movie was better than the book,” I was not disappointed. I wouldn’t give it 5 stars, but it was not the soul-crushing, society-destroying, domestic violence promoting, women’s rights bashing, end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it travesty that seemingly EVERY reviewer is proclaiming.

So, to support those few brave reporters who watched the movie and took it for was it was–a fictional/romantic/sexy/fantasy/love story–I’m going to post your reviews here. Thank you.

If you’re as obsessed as I am…finding yourself watching trailers over and over, even clicking on the Lego video just to get your fix, let me offer you an alternative.

**Shameless self-promotion alert** My romance novel, Dare to Love is what I call “Thirty Shades of Regency.” While he’s not quite as damaged as Mr. Grey, Lord Landis is a handsome, heartless rake who goes to great lengths to hide the scars of his childhood. Nivea Horsham is a sweet, spinsterly wallflower who has loved him since she was a child.

Can Nivea shatter Dare’s carefully crafted facade and show him how to love? Just click here and you can find out!

Now available through Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters make millions

A lesson for writers…from the guy who sold $10 million in ugly sports sweaters

Ugly sports sweaters

Sorry Tom, my fav Patriot, but this sweater would make even you look ugly.

I read an article in Inc. magazine that began, “Thirteen months ago, Michael Lewis, founder and CEO of Forever Collectibles, didn’t even know that ugly sweaters were a thing. A concept. A fun, dorky theme for holiday parties.”

Yet this year he sold $10 million in sports-themed holiday sweaters. And yes, they are U.G.L.Y.

What struck me most about this article wasn’t his success, but rather his wise, yet incredibly simple marketing philosophy.

See, he’s in the sports collectables business. He started out selling plush teddy bears ($10 each), decked out in officially licensed MLB gear. But when bobbleheads hit the market, he quickly realized that there were more lucrative licensing opportunities…and he just had to be nimble and creative enough to adjust to changing markets.

Here’s the quote that prompted me to write this blog:

At the All-Star Game in Seattle, Lewis, who never went to business school, realized Forever Collectibles was not necessarily in the business of making plush bears. “We’re in the business,” he says, “of making emotionally connected products for people tied to sports.”

Lewis realized people were so invested in their sports teams, they would want to invite them into their holiday celebrations. Make them part of the family, so to speak.

That’s the lesson every single person in business should learn and remember. Whether you’re an author sitting in your tiny office/closet/bedroom, CEO of a company, or president of a university, you need to figure out who your customer is, what they want–emotionally–and how you can adapt your product to give that to them.

Your customers have to want your product…crave it…ache for it. Otherwise, they will fill that need somewhere else.

If you’re an author, you may think that’s too commercial a viewpoint. You want to write whatever speaks to you, and if people want to buy it (and of course they will, because you’re awesome!) then you’ll be successful. But if you’re a novelist, you need to make your characters so compelling that your readers feel their emotions–cry for them, cheer for them, worry over them–that’s why they buy books. To feel, on a visceral level, what is happening in a story.

Margie Lawson offers an entire writing seminar on writing viscerally, helping authors create three dimensions characters. I’m not promoting her specifically, I just know that she provides great tips. Note the difference in this ‘before and after passage’ from my Dare to Love manuscript:

1. Nivea was too shocked to speak

2. Nivea crumpled onto the bench, her head bowed. He’d shocked her well and good. She didn’t move until the sun ducked behind a cloud and she shivered, breaking the spell.

Can’t you picture her sitting there, bereft, physically paralyzed by his revelation? (Sorry, no spoilers. You’ll have to read the book to find out his secret.)

That’s the emotional connection. That’s what you need to strive for in your writing. Good luck!  May the muse be with you!

Happy holidays!


I Love Amazon’s Author Central

Amazon has added a new feature to their website, called Author Central.

It allows authors (duh) to create a bio page and other services to help them connect with their reading audience. But even better, it posts rankings, showing how well an author’s book is selling compared to all other Amazon authors, and authors of similar genres. So, I can see how well my book (Dare to Love–in case you’ve been hiding under a rock) is selling compared to other Romance authors on Kindle.

They create a fun little graph, that is updated hourly, so I can obsessively chart my progress over time. So, I now know that my overall Amazon bestseller rank today is #19,610 – an all-time high!

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 2.15.37 PM

I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm, because, while this may mean I’m selling more books (increased numerator), it may also mean that other writers are selling fewer (decreased denominator). See, math is fun and useful!

I can access another chart that indicates I was the #957 best selling author of historical romance ebooks last week. Sadly, I’m now down to #1,738, but it’s been climbing for the past day or two.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.09.20 PM

AND according to Amazon, as of 12/11, I’m the #52 best selling author of Kindle ebooks in the category of fiction/historical fiction/British. Sure, if you add enough qualifiers, I’d eventually find myself in the top #100 of something, but I think this is a fairly substantial category.

Thanks, Amazon, for creating this feature. It’s like watching my own private stock market game.

Even more importantly, thank you to everyone who has bought my book. It is an amazing thrill to find people are interested in reading what I’ve written. And…AND…some of them have actually enjoyed it. Look at all the positive reviews!

Life is sweet.

FINALLY! After 11 months or 7 years…

Dare to Love cover artSeven years ago, I started my romance novel “Dare to Love.” I’d never written, let alone published, a novel before and I have no idea why I thought I could do it. I mean, how many people have the time, the commitment, and the patience  to go through with it?

For some reason, I did. It took me five years to write and two years to find a publisher. Then, almost a year ago, in November 2013, Lyrical Press gave me the green light. They wanted to publish my regency romance novel about Lord Dare Landis, a handsome heartless rake who treated women as interchangeable playthings. The novel takes place during a visit to the country home of his oldest friend, Lord Horsham, accompanied by Horsham’s younger sister Nivea. While there he learns that women, or more accurately the right woman does not lead to betrayal. Now Lord Landis must answer this question–does he dare to love?

I signed the contract with Lyrical (now owned by Kensington Press) in January and, 11 months later, it will finally be published as an ebook. Tomorrow. December 1, 2014. Unbelievable, really.

Now, I just have to wait to see if anyone buys it. I hope so. Because I have about five more book ideas swirling around in my head and I’d love to give each of the couples the opportunity to come to life.

Fingers crossed.

Kindle   Nook    Kensington


Blog Hopping

bunny-reading bookI was asked to participate in my first “Blog Hop.” Authors post information about their book on a blog and then provide links to other websites, so readers can ‘hop’ from blog to blog. If you’re joining me from Jackson D’Lynne’s page, thanks for hopping over.  If you just stumbled across my site by accident, welcome!

Instead of answering questions myself, I’m allowing the hero from my book, “Dare to Love” to speak. Please welcome Lord Landis.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he fictional or a historic person? 
My name is Adair Landis–Dare, to my friends–and I am most assuredly an historic person. Perhaps infamous would be more accurate, as I am known among the ton as a handsome heartless rake who answers to no one.
Although, I now answer to Nivea, which is as big a shock to me as it is to the rest of the world.
2) When and where is the story set? 
My story takes place in 1800 England–the center of the civilized universe. My colleague, Ms. Burrows was kind enough to document my exploits during a visit to the country home of my good friend William Horsham. He insisted I escort his sister Nivea on a carriage ride up from London, which turned out to be a much less dismal endeavor than I anticipated. Then, after a good bit of time, and some shameful behavior on my part, I returned to London, where my tale comes to its surprising and delightful conclusion.
3) What should we know about him? 
I’m a right bastard. Or at least I was until I met the right woman. That’s not to say that I didn’t have my reasons for behaving as I did. Damn good ones, if truth be told. But I’m good at keeping secrets, so if you want to learn more, you’ll have to buy the book. Ms. Burrows assures me that this can be accomplished by pressing letters on the strange window box she calls a computer. If you tap her name into this device, you’ll see a photo of me and my beloved Nivea in flagrant delicti, above the words “Dare to Love.” That is the story of me and Nivea, the woman who shattered my carefully crafted facade and showed me how to love. (I  showed her a few rather enjoyable things.)
4) When will the book be published? 
You will be able to purchase Dare to Love on December 1, through Kensington Publisher. This amuses me, since I maintained a house in Kensington for a number of years. If those walls could talk…the stories they would tell…
That will need to wait for another time. I’m catching a whiff of vanilla, my favorite scent.
Muffled Hello, my Luv. Yes, I was just finishing up. A carriage ride, you say? That sounds like a marvelous idea.” The sound of seductive chuckles, kissing, the whisper of fingers across fabric, and a sudden throat clearing.
Oh, you’re still here. Well, I’m afraid an urgent matter has come to my attention. Please excuse me.
Remember to purchase Ms. Burrows book–December 1. 
 On October 9, I’ll post a link to our next stop on the tour. Stay tuned

Becoming an Author

It’s funny. Being a writer is easy. You get an idea, you write it down, you edit it a few times and voila! You’re a writer. If you’re lucky, and mildly talented, you can get someone to pay you to write–newsletters, brochures, websites, etc. I’ve had that good fortune for over 15 years.

But being an author? That’s a LOT of work.

First you get an idea for a book–that’s the easy part.

Then you start to write, realize you don’t know what you’re doing, talk to other writers, and maybe join a club or go to a conference. Over time, you manage to craft a pretty good story and you’re ready to “Become an Author.” Da da da dum.

That’s when things get tricky. Here are steps 1 through 397 (or so it seems):

  1. Write a synopsis of your novel (it’s very tricky to squeeze a 300 page novel into a 3 page summary: Boy meets Girl, Boy likes Girl, Girl gets mad at Boy, Girl wallows, Boy gets angry, Boy admits he’s wrong and they live happily ever after)
  2. Find someone to pitch to. This can be done by searching online for publishers, making contacts at conferences, entering contests–winning–and being referred to a publisher, or just dumb luck (a friend of a friend? Score!)

Here were the rest of my steps–your reality may vary:

  • Get rejected
  • Re-write pitch, summary and first 3 chapters about five times
  • Give the right pitch to the right publisher and submit your manuscript
  • Get accepted! And get a contract
  • Find someone who knows what they’re doing to review your contract.
  • Develop a bio, get a professional photo, submit cover art outline, write your book blurb, get your manuscript copyrighted and all the other boring administrative stuff.
  • Start the editing process. YIKES! You thought you had a book good enough to get published and then all your appallingly bad writing flaws are brought to your attention–page after page of corrections, comments, notes, insertions and deletions.
  • THEN you have to start thinking about marketing. Set up a website, twitter account, facebook, pinterest, whatever you think you can keep up with, whatever you have time to learn.

That’s where I am now. I’ve finished my edits, created a website and started a twitter feed(@alleighburrows). I look forward to the next 43 steps I’m sure are coming. That should be the inspiration for my next blog.