Friday, October 26, 2012


It's my pleasure to again have Bestselling author, Terry Spear, visiting with the first book in her new series about Jaguars! Savage Hunger made me purr in contentment. I'm looking forward to book 2, Jaguar Fever.

Have you ever been somewhere really different that you couldn't see enough of because you just didn't have the time, but you would have liked to have just sat down and soaked up the essence of the place? Every sensory detail from the way it looked, to smelled, the feel of the place, the sounds there, even the way the air tastes?

I’m so excited to take you to the jungle, where I set this month’s release, Savage Hunger and some of the next story, Jaguar Fever (Aug 2013)!

I used to live across from one—not called a jungle on the map, but what do mapmakers know when you live across the street from one and can find all the neat jungle-like stuff right there!

The heat, the humidity, the giant mosquitoes, the poisonous snakes—water moccasins, rattlesnakes, alligators, no-see-ums, snapping turtles, feral pigs, tortoises, you name it, we had it. We explored the jungle-like swamps when I was a kid seeking adventure and making up worlds as I went.

I never imagined I’d write about the Amazon or the rainforest in Belize and draw on some of those “feelings” I’d experienced while living in Florida. I read where one visitor to the Amazon said he never saw as many venomous or harmless snakes in the Amazon as he did in Central Florida!

But no monkeys where I lived. Bears, yes. No cats, though in the Everglades, the panther roams the swamps.

My jungle was filled with the raucous sound of insects and of birds calling to one another, the same as in the jungle in South and Central America. One year, we had a flock of colorful parrots land in our tree! Just as though we were living in the South American jungle. They rested there for a few minutes, and then took off again on their migratory flight to somewhere else.

I've been to Busch Gardens in Florida. I've seen the parrot shows, which are remarkable, and floated down a river on a glass bottom boat filled with alligator, the boat moving under low hanging branches, one with a snake coiled around a sturdy limb. The boatman brought us close so we could see the massive snake. The branch was dripping with Spanish moss and I worried to death the snake would fall off into the boat and we’d all have to jump into the alligator-filled river. I made reference to such an idea when Kat, the heroine of Savage Hunger, was thinking about what would happen if she shifted into a jaguar on a river boat and all the people made a hasty retreat into the caiman-filled water. See where I get my ideas from? Real life!

It was NOT a Disney excursion either where the snakes, and alligators, and pirates are pretend.

Oh, sure, you say—but did you ever see a water moccasin or a rattlesnake where you lived? My father once pulled a minnow bucket from our canal, intending to go fishing with his buddies. No minnows were inside, but he did one cottonmouth with venomous fangs curled up inside the bucket. Cottonmouth is another name for water moccasin. And a rattlesnake? A couple of boys came pounding on our door, showed us the five-foot long rattlesnake they’d killed in our front yard and asked if they could keep it.

I guess they figured since it was on our property, it was ours. We figured they’d killed it, it was THEIRS, and by all means, take it AWAY!

Those are just a few experiences from my “jungle” growing up. 

  • What about you? Are you prepared to take a wild trip to the jungle?

Thanks so much, Sia, for having me here today, and one lucky person that answers my question will have a chance to win a copy of Savage Hunger.US/Canada Addresses Only.


As a jaguar he is graceful and gorgeous...

Speedy and stealthy...
Fierce, independent, and wild...

As a man he is passionate and powerful...

Willful and wonderful...
And he'll stop at nothing to protect what's his...

The Amazon jungle holds many dangers, as Kathleen McKnight well knows after her mission to bring down a drug cartel goes horribly wrong, leaving her the only survivor on her team. Determined to find the mysterious man who saved her, she returns to the jungle a year later only to find it holds more secrets than she could have ever imagined. 

Since saving Kathleen, jaguar shifter Connor Anderson hasn't been able to get her out of his mind. When she returns to the jungle to seek him out, he only knows one thing: that he must claim her for his own. 

USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has captured hearts worldwide by wrapping the realities of nature into the glorious romance of the wild. Now, she turns her award—winning imagination from the sexy werewolf hunt to the intense sizzle of jaguar shape-shifters.

Terry Spear has written a couple of dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance and continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars. For more information, please visit, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at .

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


My apologies, Lori Foster was to be my guest Wednesday, with her fabulous book, Run The Risk, but due to circumstances beyond my control we will have that interview at a later date. 

This is not due to anything on Lori's part but mine. 

See, we had a bit of an accident...

We're entering the most dangerous month when it comes to deer-vehicle accidents due to deer migration along with mating season. 

Drivers usually have a very short span of time to react when a deer darts out in front of our car—as was the case with my husband at dusk Tuesday. He barely caught a flash of fur in his peripheral and although he reacted by braking and moving towards the shoulder of the road, the deer still hit the front left of the Jeep. The others in the herd missed him or he missed them. 

If he hadn't seen the flash the deer would have ended up on the hood and probably through the windshield and who knows where the Jeep would have ended up. 

He’s banged up, the deer walked/limped away with the rest of the group, and the Jeep? Well, it didn't fare as well. Front end doesn't look good, radiator’s shot, he lost two belts when the radiator caved, and the left front tire is damaged. 


And another car bites the dust.

Friday, my guest will be Terry Spear, with her new Jaguar series.

Monday, October 22, 2012


How do you get new readers to not only discover you, but also plunk down their hard-earned money to read your stories?

You want to give them something provocative to keep them interested for longer than three seconds (according to marketing research) so they’ll consider buying the book.

I'm a very visual person. One of my pet peeves, as any who have known me the past five years will attest, is shoddy cover art. I feel strongly about it and have written articles about the importance of professional and competitive looking cover artespecially self published authors. You want your cover to catch the eye and induce the reader to pick up your book.  If one goes through all the time it takes to write a good story, have it properly edited both for story content and grammar/typos, WHY would they slap a crappy(and obvious) photoshop picture on the front and call it a cover? 
Earlier this month, Kat Sheridan shared an interview with L.B. Beckett, author of Guild of Spies. The cover art was imaginative and eye catching. It's beautiful. It doesn't scream *amateur* or self-published. Judi Fennell, Formatting 4 U, designed the cover and I asked her to share the process of such a project and the importance of cover art from a marketing standpoint. 

One of the biggest start-to-finish projects I've worked on recently was L.B. Beckett’s Guild of Spies. This story is an epic steampunk-speculative fiction-action/adventure-thriller with some romance. As you can see, it doesn't fall into any specific genre, so when it came to doing the cover, we were dealing with a wide-open frontier.

But this also allowed us to combine the genres. L.B. Beckett wanted to have an Asian influence, as that is prevalent in the story. Looking at the back cover copy, reading through some of the chapters, and my own knowledge of online marketing (finalist spots in 3 American Idol-like competitions based on vote-getting) and branding, I started looking around for a steampunk feel.

A lot of cover generation is hours of sifting through images. Now, I can do that for a client, but my time is money, or a client can do that for themselves (with direction from me toward a few websites I like to use) and save themselves some cash outlay, though giving up that much time isn't always what people want to do when they could be writing. Up to the client.

To add to the scope of this project, because the book is so long (184,000 words), the author wanted to offer the book as either a full-length novel at one price, or two shorter novels at a lower price. Oh, and we were doing a print book as well. That’s four different cover steps.

We had to look at it from both a branding viewpoint and a marketing one because we didn't want reader to feel that there were three different stories in this series. It’s one story, just delivered in different reading options. Therefore, we wanted continuity across the books, but with a noticeable difference.

I found three different backgrounds all in the same color scheme and feel, so that was one hurdle overcome. I utilized the title and author name graphics across all of the books, and took that Asian element—the phoenix—and kept it, but moved it around. We could also add the Book 1 and 2 titles in a consistent place so readers would be able to identify which book they’d already read.

We had a tag line, too, something that summed up the story:

In a country of secrets, even a spy has her limits…

I tried putting that on the cover, but with all the gears and gadgets and words, it was too much. This was a tough decision from a marketing standpoint because you want to give readers that hook. You want to give them something provocative to keep them interested for longer than three seconds so they’ll consider buying the book. At least, that’s the though process for traditional publishing. But we’re in a new business model and what’s worked in the past doesn't necessarily work now.

Branding was a bigger focus for this story. Keeping those books identifiable for the readers. So we put the tagline on the back. Now, on the digital versions you won’t see it. That is, you won’t see it on the cover. You will, however, see it in the interior. So we've got our hook and it’s included in the online description.

When it came to marketing, we made sure to include “Book 1 of 2” for the half books. We looked at price point—what would encourage a reader to buy a bigger book at a bigger price when they could “sample” the first part of the story for a lesser one? We also included excerpts to the other half of the story at the end and a link to find out where to buy that other half. So now, if a reader finishes Book 1, The Open Hand of Tem, he/she can read what happens in Book 2, The Hand of Tem Closes, and then have a link to buy the book. One stop shopping made simple.

As you can see, there’s a lot involved in getting a book to the readership. But you know what? It’s the same thing for a print book traditionally published. Discoverability has always been a hot button—how do you get new readers to not only discover you, but also plunk down their hard-earned money to read your stories? And how do you keep them coming back?

$2.99 is the price point at which authors will earn 70% royalties. A lot of authors are using that price point to start out to see what happens with sales; I’m going to ask you to consider price point carefully. If everyone is putting something up for $2.99, where’s the differentiation in the marketplace?

More and more I’m finding my clients raising their prices as a symbol of quality. I've experimented with pricing and I can honestly say that my sales have increased with the price point. 

Perception is nine/tenths of reality.