Today’s Featured Author: DP Denman

Today I have author DP Denman on my blog sharing an excerpt from her book, Dancer’s Heart.

Excerpt

Drew stood a few feet from the stage, arms folded across his chest watching the rehearsal of the act that made Glitters famous. They were the hottest drag club in town and that routine had a lot to do with it. However, his attention wasn’t on the choreography. It was on the man at the center of it. Simon Leander had the sort of beauty hours in the gym couldn’t manufacture. Dark blonde hair flowed to the shoulders of a wiry, toned body that came with dancing for a living. Sparkling blue eyes held something sweet and almost innocent and then there was his smile. He wanted to kiss that smile. He watched the other men on the stage pass Simon from hand to hand with graceful gestures as they simulated thrusting against him. Hands slid across his body that looked almost naked in the flesh-tone costume petting him, folding him, bending him as they pretended to take him in time to the music. The act was both hot and disturbing and he scowled at the display. He knew it was just an act but it bothered him anyway. Simon deserved better. He could imagine the way it should have looked, tender kisses and gentle caresses, loving that body the way Simon deserved. He jerked the fantasy to a halt and shifted his attention somewhere else. That wasn’t going to do him any good. “Hold it. Just stop!” Marshall bellowed over the music, waving his arms to get the attention of the kid running the sound. An instant later, the song died in mid note and movement on the stage ground to a halt as Marshall stalked up the steps. “What the hell are you people doing up here? Positions are wrong. Steps are late. Is everybody on their period or are you all just hung over?” “We’re hitting our marks,” one of the dancers argued as he puffed for air, a hand on his hip. “Oh really? Because from out there,” Marshall jabbed a finger to the almost empty room, “you look like a bunch of buffalos doing the goddamn nutcracker!” Marshall liked to yell and it didn’t take new dancers long to figure that out. They had all learned not to take the volume too seriously but that day he had a valid reason to scream. The last rehearsal before a performance shouldn’t look that rough. “Simon, honey, you and Val are fine. You three,” he turned a scathing glare on the others, “are going to do it again and again and again and if we have to stay here all night we will.” He waved in the air, confident the sound guy would see it. “Again,” he demanded. The music started and the dancing continued from where they’d left off with Marshall screaming and clapping out the beats all the way through it, focusing his attention on the newest dancer in the group. It was his first attempt performing in the show’s pre-eminent act and it wasn’t going well. “Stop!” Marshall waved at the sound kid again and the music cut off. “Alright, that’s it. Out.” He pointed off the stage. “What?” The dancer panted. “Out. Off the stage. Out the door. Go find another club.” “I’ll get it,” he insisted. “I just need a little more time, an hour.” “You’ve had the same amount of time as everyone else. Get off my stage and go find something that requires a bit less talent,” Marshall huffed. The kid huffed right back at him and stalked off the stage, snatching his bag from a spot near the wall and bursting out the door. “Will someone go after the drama queen and get the costume back?” Marshall said with a put upon sigh and one of the other dancers milling around the room dashed out the door after him. Drew cast a glance at the owner where she stood at the back of the room and watched Dinah drop her gaze to the floor, shaking her head. If she had any objections to the decision, she didn’t say so. It wasn’t the first time Marshall had fired someone during a rehearsal, not even the last dress rehearsal before the live performance. Glitters wasn’t an average drag club and neither Dinah nor Marshall put up with average performances. They wanted quality and in a city with an immense talent pool there was no reason to settle for less. Not even in a drag show. Every open audition saw a hundred people lined up at their door. Marshall could take his pick and the performers knew it. They either kept up or they were out on the street looking for a new job and someone else was wearing their costume at the next show. The music started again and they did the routine beginning to end making adjustments for the missing dancer, this time with a lot less screaming. One more time his gaze floated to Simon. “Drew, honey, can you fix this? It’s coming loose,” Jared invaded his thoughts and he welcomed the interruption. He wasn’t supposed to be mesmerized. He was supposed to be watching the routines to make sure the costumes worked with the lighting. Besides, he was done with relationships and making an exception for Simon would be a mistake. Rumor had it he was already taken and falling for someone else’s man was a bad idea. Falling for anyone was a bad idea. “What’s the matter?” “Nothing,” he shook his head and shoved the annoyance away. “One of the costumes needs adjusting.” It was only half a lie. Simon’s costume really did need adjusting. “What’s coming loose?” He turned his attention to Jared. “This little thing right here.” Jared brushed fingers against a piece of fringe that had come undone on one side. Drew plucked a needle and thread out of his box and sewed it back in place while the act finished.

Book Description

Dancer's Heart Cover 640x960Simon Leander is living a lie. He hides the truth from his partner in a relationship he’s determined to tolerate…jealousy, rants and all. Michael was supposed to be the love of his life and he’s not ready to let go of that dream even though the romantic has turned tyrant. When Drew appears, Simon’s determination begins to waver. Drew is everything Michael used to be but isn’t anymore. Drew also knows his secret. When the truth he works so hard to hide bursts from the shadows he must decide whether he can trust Drew and if love deserves a second chance.

About the Author

DP Denman is an M/M (gay) contemporary romance author from the soggy splendor of the Pacific Northwest. She is an eclectic reader, obsessed writer, and determined LGBT rights activist who lives with her fur babies and a pair of hyper-caffeinated muses. 25% of royalties for all books go to LGBT charities. You can follow DP on Twitter or check out her blog or website. You can purchase Dancer’s Heart on Amazon.

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Tips to improve your author website

Every author should have either a website or a blog to promote themselves. (Check out – Author website or blog: Do you need one, both or neither?)

Here are some tips for those of you who choose to set up an author website.

  • Don’t put a blog on your website if you are never (or rarely) going to update it. If you want to blog about something other than the books that you have written or are working on, you might consider setting up a separate blog.
  • Comic Characters uid 824458Make it easy to buy your book. Readers should not have to hunt around your website to find out what books you have written or how to purchase them. If you don’t have a shopping cart/purchase program on your site, be sure to provide direct buy links to your books at other internet retailers.
  • Make sure to name the site after your author name and not your book or series. This way you can focus on a site that incorporates all your books in one location.
  • Make sure you incorporate social media buttons (widgets) so readers can find you on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads and any other group you are involved in.
  • Don’t talk too much about yourself. Yes, this is a site to promote yourself but as with an author bio, keep information about yourself brief and relevant to what type of book you write. A few interesting facts about yourself are fine but paragraph after paragraph about yourself and every award you won is too much.
  • Make sure you have a place for readers to submit questions or comments. You do after all want to connect with your readers.
  • Do not use too many images – simple is better. A lot of images will increase load time. But then again you don’t want to go overboard with text. You want to find a balance.
  • Make sure you update your site! And this means not just with your information and latest book but to occasionally change the layout or design colors/style.

Your main goal with an author website is to provide information to not just fans but potential readers. Make it exciting, interesting and some place that will want to visit again.

My friend’s cancer returns

In January of 2013, I wrote a blog about my friend Patty being diagnosed with breast cancer and having to talk to my kids about cancer and chemo. I am glad to say that everything went well. Patty had an awesome “I can beat this” attitude. She took everything in stride – even having a head-shaving party before her hair fell out due to the chemo.

My kids also took everything in stride – the hair loss, the occasional extra visits by their friends, and that they saw Patty less. (Of course seeing her less is easy when you typically only see her briefly 2-3 times a week.) Patty finished her chemo, had a mastectomy on one side and then did radiation. Everything went well and in September, she was declared cancer free. Her family celebrated by going to Disney World in October.

cancer2Then after Christmas, Patty began having really bad headaches. A trip to doctor didn’t help and was followed up by a trip to the ER and a visit to the neurologist. Both her CT scan and MRI showed nothing. Finally, on a second trip to the ER, they did a spinal tap to check for meningitis. While that is what they first said it was, Patty (by then admitted to the hospital) wasn’t feeling any better. They tested her spinal fluid and found cancer cells.

I looked up cancer cells in the spinal fluid on the Internet. I found only a few references to it, and none of the information was good. Patty and her husband (who hopefully didn’t research this on the Internet) are worried. Gone now is that “we can beat it” attitude. The day after the discovery of the cancer cells, Patty had a port put in her head and began chemo.

Right now, they are planning on doing chemo treatments for the next 4-6 months. The good news is that the cancer cells are all they found. There are no tumors. Whether this is significantly better or not, I don’t know.

I am worried about so many things. I am worried that Patty may not recover this time from cancer. It would be devastating for her kids. I can’t even imagine what would happen to the family with the loss of Patty and all the changes that would have to happen. I worry about them and of course, my own kids. This would be the first death my kids have had to experience and while they don’t see Patty often, they do see her husband, Bruce, and the twins all the time. I also worry about how Patty’s family is going to survive with Patty not working this month. She is the main bread winner of the family. Bruce stays home with the kids and has a part-time (under 25 hours a week) job doing inventory for one of the big-box stores. They can’t last long without her income. (Bruce has been missing a lot of work too.)

I guess only time will reveal what will happen next. If anyone knows anything about cancer cells in the spinal fluid – good or bad news – I would like to hear it. I would like to understand what is happening and what the chance of Patty pulling through this are. Until then, I will just pray for them and try to help out any way they will allow me to help. And I will be thankful that I am only having the cancer talk (again) with the kids so far.

Today’s Featured Author: Dianne Harman

Today I have author Dianne Harman on my site for a quick Q&A session about her latest book Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Tacoma, Washington, grew up in Kansas City and have called Huntington Beach, California my home for many years.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I have always been a reader, really from the time I had a library card before kindergarten! I was an English major in college many years ago. Never thought I had the necessary credentials to write – hadn’t attended workshops, critique groups, etc. My husband gave me a copy of Stephen King’s book, On Writing. He more or less says, “Just Do It” and so I did.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I don’t think you can be a writer of contemporary fiction and not have some of your thoughts and experiences in them. In Blue Coyote Motel, I write of a character who treks to Nepal to attend the Mani Rimdu Festival in the Himalayas. I did. In Tea Party Teddy I write of a political wife who has a woman come up to her when she’s sitting at the head table of the Boys & Girls Club Dinner and tell her it’s wonderful to see a politician not married to a “trophy wife” and who is even wearing the same outfit she wore to the event last years. Swell. That happened to me!

Please tell us about your current release.

My fourth book, published this month, is a novella, a sequel to Tea Party Teddy. The name is Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy. I never planned on writing a sequel, but so many people asked what happened to Nina and Bob, characters from Tea Party Teddy, that it demanded being written. It’s a short political thriller exposing greed and hunger for power in the political world.

What inspired you to write this book?

My husband was a California State Senator and I spent most of the twelve years he was in office in Sacramento, California entertaining Governors, Congressmen and politicians from both parties. I was “an insider” and had first-hand knowledge of just how much greed and corruption there is in politics

How did you come up with the title?

It’s the sequel to Tea Party Teddy, really the legacy he leaves. There’s a strong element of  romance and family life in the book as well as Teddy’s legacy of greed and corruption.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Love Bob and Nina. Can’t stand the reverend. My favorite character in probably all of my books is the PI, Slade Kelly. He’s a reprobate, but I find him irresistible.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

Sure. It will probably be easier if I just quote a few lines from the back of the book: “Will Bob and Nina be able to hold their family together? Will Slade Kelly, the well-known private investigator, be able to protect the Silva family from the reverend’s criminal plans? And just where do those babies come from that the reverend ‘places’ with families? And why is every television station in California and across the nation featuring Bob Silva as their lead story on the evening news?”

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I spent some time in a small cottage in a small village in Provence very similar to where Elena lives in my book, Coyote in Provence. I loved the little cottage, the countryside, and the people.

Book Description

TPTL WED BELINDA KINDLE

The Sequel to Tea Party Teddy…

What happens when Bob Silva, who is married to the ex-wife of Tea Party Teddy, decides to run for the California State Assembly against the Reverend Jim Thurston, a devout Tea Party member? Will Reverend Jim seek revenge for the death of his friend, Tea Party Teddy? Will the Dear Reverend resort to criminal acts to try and win the election?

About the Author 

dianne harmonDianne Harman draws her stories and characters from a diverse business and personal background. She owned a national antique and art appraisal business for many years, leaving that industry and opening two yoga centers where she taught yoga and certified yoga instructors. Dianne has traveled extensively throughout the world, most recently dividing her time between Huntington Beach, California and Sacramento, California, where her husband was a Senator. A gourmet cook, she has entertained Governors, Congressmen and numerous other political figures in her homes. An avid reader, Dianne brings the richness of her life experiences to her novels, Blue Coyote Motel, Tea Party Teddy, Coyote in Provence, and Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy.

You can find out more about Dianne on her website or her blog. You can purchase Tea Party Teddy Legacy and all of Dianne’s books on Amazon.

Most authors won’t earn a living as an author (at least right away)

When I first self-published my fantasy novel, Summoned, I had no delusions that it would be an immediate “best seller.” Heck, I knew from the start that it would be hard to find readers when there are so many other books vying for their attention. It is a daunting task for any new indie author and one that I think many are unprepared for.

moneyAs authors, we all have dreams of writing a book that hits the best-seller list. We want our novels read and as much as we love writing, we would like to make some money off of our hard work. But is it realistic to expect your novel to “take off” or for you to earn your living as an author?

Back when I entered the self-published world, I read a blog from an indie author who said she didn’t really start earning a consistent income until her eleventh book. It took her that long to develop a fan base and to figure out which marketing strategies worked for her.

Now I am not saying it is going to take that long for everyone but I also don’t want new indie authors to be fooled by looking at the success of indie authors such as Amanda Hocking or E.L. James or even those first timers that go through a publishing house like J.K. Rowling. We can’t all expect that type of success from the start.

But many would-be writers are under the belief that they can just write a book, post it on Amazon and expect word-of-mouth to sell their books. Not so. I don’t think most would-be authors realize how much marketing of not only their books but of themselves they will need to do to be successful.

Publishing a novel takes work. I don’t know how accurate it is but I have heard it is about 20% writing and 80% marketing. Of course for new authors, sometimes the best advice is to just keep writing rather than spending their time on social networking sites as being an “established” writer adds more credence than any marketing.

I have seen several posts about a self-published author survey done in 2011. The survey of 1100 indie authors showed that the average amount they made was $10,000. More than half of the authors in the survey made less than $500 a year. (And in case you are wondering, romance authors made the most and those who used professional services such as copy editing or cover design made more than average.)

It was only after the release of my short story, The Search, (a prequel to my trilogy) did my sales start to take off. I would not say I make a “decent” amount at this time and certainly not enough to live off of. But with each month I am hopefully building up a fan base who will purchase my next book.

I don’t want to discourage anyone but to make the aspiring author – or any author – realize that writing one book will not take care of you for the rest of your life. That is a myth. Many authors will never attain the success they dream of and those who do will likely release ten to twenty books by the time they are a “success.”

I read it somewhere that many authors can make a decent living off the sales of their books, but many aren’t going to make a decent enough living doing nothing but writing.

Well until then…I will just keep writing.