Category: The Industry


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Your trip to the beach won’t be complete without a little sexy action and adventure courtesy of the Pussycat Death Squad. The latest installment, Pussycat in Peril will be released this Sunday, May 24! Don’t miss out.

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This is another awesome cover from the talented mouse of Whit Holcomb. The hero of this story is Egyptian-American and the heroine is from the mythical country of Laritrea. I took a few liberties with this cover. For one thing, the hero is wearing a keffiyeh. This is a throw-back to those old eighties “sheikh” romances. North African Arabs don’t typically wear this headdress, but I liked the look and the bit of nostalgia. The mosque in the background is actually in Algeria. As the country of Laritrea doesn’t exist, I don’t think using a photo from another country does any damage, as long as I acknowledge it.

Here’s the blurb:

Exiled from her homeland and fearing for her life, Astaria was forced into a marriage of convenience. Now the political situation in her country has worsened and she returns in an effort to save her family.
Kaeden is a Marine who specializes in hostage extraction and now he faces his most difficult mission; rescuing his wife from certain death and even more dangerously, sharing his love for her. Together they face almost insurmountable odds for love and for life.

Remember I’ve having a special, early discounted sale for the members of our Facebook Group, Y’all Better Get You Some. For everyone else, it’ll be released in about a week. https://www.facebook.com/groups/390282744475965/

Y’all Better Get You Some

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Lisa and I have a Facebook group. I know, I know. Some of you are saying, What for? While others are asking, What took you heffas so long? And of course, What’s in it for me? I’ll answer all three questions. The purpose of the group is to keep our fans in the know about upcoming books, and to reward you for your loyalty over the years. And, of course, to sell books. It took us a long time to do this because basically we are the world’s slowest writers and we didn’t want anything to take away from that.

What’s the benefit? The main benefit is that group members will have an opportunity to buy our books at least one week before anyone else. This will be time sensitive, so if you’re not a member you’ll probably miss out. Lisa and I also plan to have other premiums for members like t-shirts and possibly some type of meet and greet in the future. Keep in mind that we’re both introverted as hell so the meet and greet might not happen if we don’t get a lot of people in our group. So tell your family and friends to come on in. We’ll also post snippets from upcoming books, and answer any questions you might have.

Sign up now to get the best seats!!!

Y’all Better Get You Some

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I’ve been working very hard to wrap up Pussycat in Peril. As y’all know, I really love my pussycats and have a lot of fun writing these stories. The covers are fun too. From the start of the series back at Loose Id, I wanted the covers to have a comic book feel to them because in my head these women are superheroes. Larger than life. Able to leap tall buildings, yadda. I remember giving the artist pictures of She-Hulk and other similar comic book heroes, but also pictures of Pam Grier as Coffy. No, I’ve never seen Coffy, or any blaxploitation film. My mama was having none of that, but I have seen the posters and screen captures and they are bad-ass to the extreme. So I wanted me some of that.

The Pussycat book covers, more than any others have a style book. The backdrop must be an international location. The Pussycat books are in a way a tribute to what I loved about romance novels when I was a youngun; they allowed a small town girl like me to travel the world and I thought that was hella cool. So those exotic locales must be incorporated as well. PDS_2x3The heroine has to be an active figure, no damsels in distress, and she has to have a weapon. That hasn’t been a problem thus far, but will be in the next Pussycat book, Diamonds on the River, because she’s a jewel thief and doesn’t do weapons. My son wants one of my books to have a woman with an missile launcher. So I have to keep that in mind. He also wants me to write a book with a boy defeating an evil monster that eats the children in his village. Yeah, this gig is a family affair.

Anyway, back to Pussycat in Peril. I’ve really struggled to come up with a concept for this book cover. I bought a stock photo a while back, and it’s good, but it doesn’t really capture the vibe of the story. For one thing, I really want this heroine to be wearing a hijab. For a lot of reasons, but mainly authenticity. They’re stranded in the mythical North African city of Laritrea under siege by a ISIS type group. It would be normal for her to wear a hijab, and she wears an abaya to conceal her rifle as she’s a sniper. I want him to wear a keffiyeh, though they’re not common in the region, primarily because of all those sheikh books in the 1980s. I hated those books with a passion and made my hero, who is Egyptian Arab as unlike those stories as possible. For one thing, my hero is an American Marine, born and raised in Tennessee. So yeah, you can see my problem. A stock photo, with a man and a woman, she must have a weapon and both must be in traditional clothing. The main problem with her is that in most stock photos when a woman has a gun she’s also half naked. I guess it’s supposed to soften her aggressiveness or something. But having fired a semiautomatic weapon I can tell you, hot shell casings are very much a thing and if you get one of those down your bosom, well, yeah, not fun. Also, if she’s wearing a head cover  it would be ridiculous for her to be half dressed below the neck. The struggle is real.

Since I started self-publishing, nailing down the cover image I want is one of the first steps in writing a book. I keep an idea folder on my computer and I start by storyboarding the cover and sometimes the scenery. I’ve started doing this on Pinterest as well. If you’re interested in this process, check me out on Pinterest. Sometimes we have to make changes when Whit and I don’t agree on the concept, or the image doesn’t work for some reason. He’s very particular about the type of photos he works with and it took me a minute to grasp the technical aspects of cover art. And then there are those times when he just doesn’t like the picture. No technical reason. He just thinks it’s ugly. Given all that, this is the first book I’ve written in a while that didn’t begin with the cover. As I said, I found some stock, but it didn’t really grab me. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally found the pictures I want, with emphasis on pictures. This cover is going to require four, possibly five stock photos. Whit’s going to have to do a lot of meshing. Unfortunately, Whit hates meshing.

In a word folks, this cover is going to be amazing. Watch this space. With any luck it’ll be out before Easter!!!

“Acts of Wars” Excerpt

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Lisa posted this excerpt from Acts of Wars on her blog.

Originally posted on Lisa G. Riley.com:

A little something to commemorate Hump Day. Happy reading!

Gregor Glinka stared through the windowpane at the dark city street outside his home, his long fingers cradling and caressing the bowl of the brandy snifter he held with both pale, narrow hands.

“I hope you are right, my love, and the Abomination returns with the information you need. I do not trust her. One should not trust any of her kind; the how of their existence would naturally make them a faithless group.”

The silky, heavily-accented voice came from behind him, and Gregor turned from the window to look at his lover of fifty years. She was a beautiful woman, and her beauty had been what had attracted him initially, but other qualities beckoned him to her side time after time. Ambitious as she was beautiful and with equal parts vicious and good, she had powerful magic in her and…

View original 4,056 more words

Acts of Wars Cover


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Fresh out of Photoshop. I can’t believe how amazing this cover is. This is the cover for the sequel to Rumors of Wars. Coming this spring.

Photo from The Reed Files

Cover Design Whit Holcomb

Cover Model Kimberly Cherí Graham

50% Rebate at ARe!!!

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Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, All Romance Ebooks (ARe) is having a helluva blowout sale. Customers will pay the full listed price using credit card or Paypal and ARe will give them back 50% of the purchase price in eBook Bucks, their in-store currency. Customers will be able to use those bucks toward future purchases. I love eBook Bucks, which is why I shop almost exclusively at ARe, and this sale will be insanely awesome. If you’ve been wanting to try one of my books, this is the perfect time.

Making Cover Magic

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Book covers are not something I used to spend a lot of time thinking about. I generally buy by author and blurb, so before I started self-publishing, it was well outside my wheelhouse. I’m very fortunate that I have a husband who is a graphic designer by trade and is able to do the magic to make my cover ideas happen. I also adore Taria Reed at The Reed Files for finally giving us the type of beautiful diverse images we need.

This is the most recent cover my husband magicked for me. This the image he started with.

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My character wears her hair in braids. So he had to add them.

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She also has a darker complexion, so that had to be changed also.

My male lead actually has chestnut hair.

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This book takes place in Laritrea, which a fictionalized version of the North African country, Libya. So I wanted a background of some Roman ruins.

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Then he did the comic book style that really fits this story to a tee. I’d say, altogether he put in several hours on this cover. And if I told you what his typical going rate is, you’d faint. I’m just very lucky I get free labor from him!

The process is just so very awesome. And he’ll sit there and patiently tweak it until he gives me exactly what I want. Just awesome. Most of the time, the ideas are all mine, but sometimes, he’ll surprise me, like he did for Buttercream.

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Everything about that cover was his idea. I remember getting so annoyed because I had to find photos of the inside of a bakery. What difference does it make? I whined. And, of course, it makes all the difference in the world.

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My only real contribution to this cover was the font for the title. Y’all don’t want to know how long it took me to find that freaking font. I absolutely adore fonts, and will pay a ridiculous amount of money for them. I had to have that B, nothing else would do.

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This cover took him two whole weeks, mainly because he simply wasn’t feeling it, and actually created another cover that he didn’t want to use. It’s hard sometimes because I’m impatient, but he is an artist and if the groove isn’t there it simply not there. It’s not like on his job where he has to produce whether he’s feeling it or not, and I have to remind myself of that all the time.

My guy is amazing and wonderful in so many ways, but I adore him so much for the way he supports and fulfills my dreams, even when I’m being an absolute nag about it.

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As always, it’s up at Smashwords and ARe first. Will probably be up at Amazon and B&N tomorrow, but you can get your formats at either SW or ARe, if you’d rather not wait. Another fabulous photo by the awesome Taria Reed, and a knock your socks off cover design, by my better half. Y’all better have some.

International Readers

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I’ve been kicking around the idea of having some of my books translated for some time now. Given that it can cost upwards of $5k I doubt it’ll happen, but it’s fun to think about. So, to get an idea of what language I would choose I started looking at the countries of origin for my blog clicks. To my surprise the fourth country after the US, UK and Canada was Bosnia-Herzegovina! What? Then I realized I’ve been talking a lot about trans stuff of late, and that’s probably skewed my results. (Are there a lot of trans folk in Bosnia-Herzegovina? I have no idea.) Anyway, to control for that effect I looked back two years to see my most popular countries. I expected Brazil to rank higher, as Portuguese was one of the top languages I was considering, but Brazil only ranked #10, well after Switzerland and even Korea. I’m assuming that Korea ranks high because of US Service members, but I could be wrong. I’ve been wondering about my appeal to the Swiss for quite some time now. I wish someone from Switzerland would post about the subject. I get a surprising number of hits there. I have to assume they have a high rate of African immigrants, but I don’t know for sure.

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The most interesting factor to me is the fact that I get hits from nearly every country on the globe. Besides Bosnia-Herzegovina, I’m stunned to get so many hits from Saudi Arabia. Of course, I talk about a wide range of subjects here and there’s no way to control for what they clicked on once they came here, but it’s still fascinating to see. I’ll probably still go for Portuguese should I hit the Lotto or something. It has such a large population of black/blackish people, and so many West African countries speak it as well.

What do you think? Should I go for Portuguese, or is there another language you think would be more popular?

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