Favorite Friday – Guest Amy Denim!

I have such a treat for you all today! To celebrate my first ever Favorite Friday blog, I’ve invited Amy Denim – romance author, blogger, and internet hunter of all things awesome! Read on and you’ll find she’s got the dirt for us today on some prime sites for free eBooks. Welcome, Amy and take it away!

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My Favorite Resources for Free e-books

  by Amy Denim

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… No, no, no. Stop, wait.
Damp flowers aren’t number one on my favorite things list and I’m not actually a fan of cats, so Julie Andrews infamous song doesn’t really do it for me. Although I do like schnitzel with noodles.

I like my version of the song better-

Free books on Kindles and authors with contests,
The Gutenberg project, some lady called Princess
Libraries well stocked with e-books and more
These things all make me feel l’m not so poor

For being a monetarily challenged starving artist, I have quite the coveted collection of somewhere around 6000 e-books, maybe ten or so that I paid for.

Ow, ow, ouch. Put away your DRM broadsword and your author’s rights musket. Before you accuse me of being a pirate and make me walk the SOPA plank let me share my free e-book booty with you.

 

Free books on Kindles (or Nooks or Sony PRS, I have all three- Yay, Christmas!)

Amazon, B&N, AllRomanceEbooks, BoB (Books on Board, not your uncle) Smashwords and more all have tons of free e-books available for legal download every day. They aren’t all classics either. A lot of them are Indie authors, which can be good or bad. 2012, along with dire Mayan predictions, is being touted the year of the indie author. The publishing world is being taken for a wild ride and readers are getting the benefit.  Authors no longer have to wait to get THE CALL from the fancy pants Big Six acquiring editor if they don’t want to. They can publish and sell their books right now on a variety of platforms. Amazon being the biggest one. Indie writers who put in the time (and money) to get a great cover, well written blurb, good pre-sale reviews, and most importantly a professionally critiqued, edited and well written book are putting out literature just as good, and sometimes even better than NY Times best-selling authors. Admittedly you do have to wade through some slag to find them, but the gems are there, and thanks to Amazon’s KDP program are promoting their books with get-it-for-FREE days.

But it’s not only Indie authors who take advantage of the Free sales rollercoaster; traditional publishers are doing it too. I had a fantastic bloggy conversation with the entrepreneur behind Sourcebooks last month. I asked her why Sourcebooks Casablanca (their Romance imprint) was offering two of their successful and well-known authors’ books for free. (Which I immediately one-clicked) Even big publishers see a spike in sales of other books in the line during the promotion as well as an increase in paid for sales once the free promo is finished.

Keep an eagle eye out and you’ll get some great reads for free.

Don’t want to spend hours searching Amazon for free reads? My crack-dealer source sends me an email everyday (often several times a day) with the new books Amazon is offering for free. No, she’s not a secret sneaky spy, her name is Princess. Well, that’s the handle she uses on the Amazon Discussion boards. She’s set up a doozy of a program that searches Amazon for all their new free kindle books then sends out an email with a link to a site where you can peruse only those titles. I love her.

Just go to http://us.kinlib.com/ and click subscribe to start getting your crack daily email.

 

Authors with Contests
Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Book Blogs and Blog Hops are great places to get free books. I once won an entire box of Clan of the Cave Bear paperbacks by Jean M. Auel in a contest I found on twitter. Just by following book bloggers and authors on social media I’ve won books by Courtney Milan, Ann Aguirre, Jenn LeBlanc, LeeAnn Sontheimer Murphy and Dan Dewitt. Some print and some e-books.

Goodreads has a whole section of their website dedicated to giveaways. You can enter to win books to your heart’s content at http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

Authors love to promote their books through the blogosphere. Book bloggers often have a copy of new releases or even ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) available when they do interviews or reviews. But how do you find all these book blogs?

I’m a Reader, Not a Writer has blog hops every week, where hundreds of bloggers (including me) sign up, promise to giveaway a book related prize and get put on her linky. It’s a great way to discover book bloggers (and win some swag.) Readers hop from blog to blog checking them out and entering their contests. I won some children’s software for writing books on the Christmas blog hop. I gave away copies of The Rake and the Recluse on my blog during the Reader Love Blog Hop. A lot of bloggers offer gift certs for Amazon or The Book Depository.

Hop on over to her website to check out her latest linky list, she has one pretty much every week. http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/  

 

Project Gutenberg –
A smarty smart pants named Michael Hart invented the first E-book when he typed the Declaration of Independence and transmitted it to others in his own format in 1971. From there he started the brilliant Project Gutenberg, the longest standing online literary project. Zillions (okay, like 12) volunteers scan, edit and make available for free over 38,000 e-books. They are mostly classics, but any book whose copyright has expired is eligible to be included in the Project. You can download them or read them online at http://www.gutenberg.org/. I recommend starting with their top 100 which includes fun like the Kama Sutra, an 1811 dictionary of vulgar words, Pride and Prejudice, and Peter Pan.

Obviously I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet. But if you’re into reality not cyberspace, try my all-time favorite resource for free e-books…

 

Your local library -
“But I don’t want clunky hard covers, I want free E-books,” you whine.

Yeah, the library has those too, I swear. It’s all available online so you don’t even have to go there if you don’t want to (well, you might just to get the library card. Come on, crawl out of your cave, get a little sunshine and go socialize with the hot librarians.)

A majority of libraries in America today have gotten their budgets cut for like the eleventeenth year in a row. That’s what grants are for. And a lot of the money out there floating around in Grantland is for technology. So your local library probably snagged some of that cash along the way and has a whole library universe you didn’t even know existed of e-books.

My awesome library is called Anythink, and they are one of the most progressive and talked about library systems in the world. They don’t shhh you, they have a café, a Wii, and they have Overdrive (<- the library e-book nirvana.) You can check out e-books of the latest and greatest best sellers and not pay a single penny. You don’t even have to worry about overdue charges (Anythink doesn’t even have fines) because after 3 weeks or however long you opted to check the book out for it expires and becomes available for the next person to check out.

You may have to wait for the latest Stephen King book (I’m currently 49th in line for 11/22/63) ‘cause these Carnegian institutions don’t have unlimited copies of these books. Often they just have one or two. Publishers charge libraries a buttload more for their digital books than the average Jane, so they probably can’t afford a thousand copies of bestsellers like The Help. But hey, I’m gonna get to read it for free and my To Be Read pile is like the size of Mount St. Helens, so I’m content to wait.

Also you don’t get to keep it forever and ever (but with DRM rules and Amazon’s sticky fingers you won’t likely get to keep any of your other e-books much beyond ten years anyway).

Get on down to the library, or hit the library’s website to get all kinds of free e-books.
If you live in the Denver Metro Area you can belong to Anythink Library system. Here’s their website.

http://www.anythinklibraries.org/

Explore their awesomeness then click on 24/7 library to peruse Overdrive.

I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve for getting free e-books, like how to get free ARCs from the publisher and other blogs to follow for free e-book recommendations.

Check out my blog Amy Denim’s 365 days, 365 Free E-books at http://amydenim.blogspot.com for my picks of the week in free books and other resources.

Free Stuff!

To celebrate being Lori’s first Favorite Things guest blogger I’m giving away some FREE books. Remember that box of Clan of the Cave Bear books I told you I won? I still have twenty left, so anyone who comments on today’s blog will get a paperback copy. (Open to US residents only)  It won’t fit on your e-book reader, but it is free!

Wicked Wednesday – Voices in Your Head

Now, most people think that having voices in your head is something you might want to have a professional check out. I mean, you’ve got these people talking to you and they’re sharing intimate details about their lives. Geez – I can understand overhearing details like that on a subway in New York City, but in your car on your way to work?

Most of my author readers out there are probably nodding their heads about now. They’ve heard them – they know. These same authors also say they write because they have to.

Yeah – to clear the voices outta your head!

I don’t know – for me it just seemed freaky to be having characters talk to me – in my head – at any time of the day or night. Even though I’ve always wanted to write, I’ve never had those requisite voices in my head. Sometimes I’d have a wild thought and I’d follow it along its meandering path until I caught it, but that wasn’t characters talking to me, was it? Besides, did you really need them to succeed? Couldn’t I just find out information about my characters the old fashioned way – by putting my brain in thumbscrews and squeezing the information out?

I decided that maybe I was that different author that wouldn’t have voices in her head.

But then one rather Wickedly Good day it happened to me. I was in the car on my way to work and Dom, my hero in Fire Season started to talk to me. He was at the scene of a fire, and he was telling me what was going on. I could actually hear the man’s voice – not so much with my ears, but with my imagination – my creative side!

It was a good thing traffic was backed up!

You see, I’d been struggling a bit with how my hero should sound. I wanted it to be authentic without being too technical. I’d even talked the previous night with my brother, who is an active duty Lieutenant at a metro area Fire Protection District, about how my hero should sound. He gave me some ideas, and I guess they percolated pretty well through the night! In any case – out they came – in Dom’s voice.

He just kept talking, and talking, and talking. He talked about how much he loved his job – and how it was being on the scene of a fire. He told me how he worked with his crew to outsmart the flames, and that the safety of those under his command was his first priority. Then he talked about Alexandra, the hot doctor he wanted to get to know VERY well.

Thankfully – I wasn’t too far from work. As soon as I got there, I put it in park and pulled out the trusty notebook that I carry with me at all times and started to scribble. Five pages later I put the pen and paper away. It has finally happened. My character talked to me. I learned right there that when your characters start to talk – you need to stop, listen and type – or write – as fast as you can!

Speaking of characters talking, ‘Bas, the hero in my latest work in progress (wip) is waiting patiently for me to finish my blog so he and I can talk. He’s new to the project, so I’m as yet unfamiliar with his voice and I have a lot to learn about him.

He knows I’m telling you all about him now, and his eyes are narrowing a bit. Ah, he just crossed his arms over his chest, highlighting his impressive pecs. I’m sure glad his shirt is buttoned…this time. I need to pay him some attention now.  Since he and I will be spending much time together very soon, he’s definitely worth taking a *few* minutes getting to know, don’t you think?

Enjoy!

Lori

Wicked Wednesday – Guest Jenn LeBlanc!

Welcome to my first ever post on Wicked Wednesday!

Today I have a special treat for everyone. The ever fabulous Jenn LeBlanc is visiting! She’s celebrating the February 14th release of the fifth installment of her series, “The Rake and The Recluse.” She’s sharing all sorts of scrumptious details on the books and the muse that helped make the serial redux of her ground-breaking illustrated romance novel possible. Now that’s wicked good! Take it away, Jenn!

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Derek Hutchins photo

Lori invited me by her blog today for Wicked Wednesday to talk about my real-life muse, Mr. Derek Hutchins. Derek and I have worked together for a little over two years now, and to be perfectly honest, without him, my book THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE, would never have happened the way it did.

Hiring models can be a crap shoot. You never know what is going to walk through the door, and some guys are…well. Others are fabulous, awesome, wonderful, fantastic. Then a very, VERY few of them are Derek. I can’t say enough about him, he is so very talented, honest and genuine.

Beyond that we connect on an artistic level that really surprises me at times.

The first time we worked together was a bit nerve wracking, but I think we both acknowledged that there was something else going on. I decided to illustrate the book instead of just shooting a cover package to attract attention. He was game. We moved forward.

Derek Hutchins photo

The more we work together the better it gets. Derek also studied photography and is aware of the light. He moves and finds it without me having to say anything. Sometimes it’s like he reads my mind. We’ve also got this silent communication that we use, hand signals, head movement, and apparently sounds. I don’t know what kind…he says he can tell when I like what he’s doing so…whatever works right?

Beyond the work, we’ve become close friends. We have so much fun together, it really never seems like work at all. We’ve dealt with a lot in the past couple years. He’s there for me when I panic about my new release, and he calls me in the middle of the night a few days later when my book goes on sale and the awesome reviews start going up. Mostly so he can laugh at me and say “I told you so!” But it’s all good, and worth every minute.

Derek Hutchins photoWe are drawn by the same beauty and light, the same form and function in things. It’s surprising to me how much we have in common, and we end up looking for and finding the same things.

We have a few projects coming up this year, he is going with me to New Orleans and we are touring the Gulf when I go down to attend AAD. We’ll also be shooting around LA and down the coast when I travel to RWA in Anaheim. I’m also planning a trip to NYC at some point and he’ll be here for RomCon as well. Anytime we can shoot, is good.

Derek is… Derek. We talk practically every day, if we aren’t talking we’re texting or tweeting. You really just have to meet him to understand the kind of person he is. He is a real sweetie. And my hero. Two times over.

 

Derek Hutchins and Jenn LeBlanc photo

This is D and I on Garrapata Beach in California last August while we were shooting for his Lookbook. He was cold. Something about ZERO body fat.

You can check D out on the web at DerekHutchins.com and on his Facebook page. The work we did last year for his portfolio has been compiled in a digital Lookbook available exclusively on Amazon.

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Lori said she was going to give away part of TRATR to a couple commenters, so I am going to up the ante and give away two copies of Derek’s Lookbook on top of that to two commenters.

So tell us now, do you have a muse?

Derek Hutchins photo

 

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Where to find me: Twitter | Facebook | Author Site | Blog | Tumblr (NSFW)
And please come find me! I LOVE to chat with readers!

And what follows is a bit about the books:

Trailer:  http://youtu.be/RSW_LyFR5To

Blurb:
A woman out of time.

A man stifled by propriety.

A nemesis determined to take her away.

A brother to the rescue.

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How will a powerful Duke deal with a woman who doesn’t know her place? How will a woman used to the 21st century survive in time where she is considered property?

 Francine Larrabee woke up on the wrong side of the century. She was fairly certain she went to sleep in her own comfy bed, but she doesn’t quite seem to be there now. Only adding to her problems is that she has no voice, is constantly being glowered at by a large, stunning man who is obsessed with propriety, and she is apparently betrothed to another horrid little man, determined to ruin her, and any other girls that get in his way.

How does she find herself in the past, when she couldn’t even find herself in her present? How does a self sufficient businesswoman survive in a time when women were still considered property for the whole of their lives and what is she going to do with this man who draws her to him so fiercely.

~ ~ ~

Where to get the books:

THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE

FREEDOM: Part one brings Francine to the world of the Duke of Roxleigh, clashing worlds in first installment of the completely revised novel, with all new material.
The Rake and The Recluse, Part One
Available now from these ebook retailers:
Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance eBooks

iBookstore for iThingys

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FOUND: Part two finds Francine in the world of the Duke of Roxleigh. The clashing of worlds in first installment of the completely revised novel continues as Francine finds her footing, discovers secrets about her elusive host, and learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.  
The Rake and The Recluse, Part Two
Available now from these ebook retailers:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance eBooks

iBookstore for iThingys

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TAKEN: Part three brings Francine and Gideon closer than they ever imagined possible, until the unimaginable tears them apart. What will Gideon do if he loses her, this time, forever?
The Rake and The Recluse, Part Three
Available now from these ebook retailers:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance eBooks

Goodreads

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RUINATION: Part four is full of revelations, celebrations, protestations and one surprise that will have you holding your breath for the final chapters. What has Perry done?The Rake and The Recluse, Part Four

Available now from these ebook retailers:
Amazon

Banes and Noble

All Romance eBooks

Goodreads

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SUBMISSION: In part five, Perry leaves Roxleigh House without a backward glance only to be tossed headlong into one of the most difficult trials of his life. How will he protect the very thing he is dedicated to pursuing? How will a man dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure survive a woman who refuses to relent, when he knows he cannot have her.

Available now from these ebook retailers:The Rake and The Recluse, Part Five
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance Ebooks

Goodreads

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RETRIBUTION: In part six, Perry must find the woman who has managed to capture his heart, then he must find a way to keep her. Someone else is on the hunt, someone from her past who doesn’t appreciate that she still lives and breaths.

Coming February 28, 2012

 

 

 

Manic Monday – Muses

Welcome to my first ever posting for Manic Monday! Today I’m going to talk about a new manic trend – one that I find pretty amazing.

Male Models + Romance Authors = A New Muse Frontier!

Is it just me, or is there a fabulous new muse(ical) relationship forming between romance authors and male cover models?

Now, I personally need to see a visual of my characters before I can write about them. I comb magazines for snapshots and ads. Yeah, I actually subscribe to People and Star, but I only read them for the pictures…

If a face, or a dress, or a pose strikes my fancy – I tear out that page and add it to my ever growing pile of “character” clippings. I do the same thing if a story appeals to me in some way. It’s a great way of finding characters and ideas.

But needing to have a picture to look at before I can access my muse and effectively write is just me. I’m a very visual person – as are most writers.  For me, looking at something inspires my writing – making it much more detailed and expressive. It’s my muse kicking in. If I’m writing about a knight, I need to see a man outfitted in armor, astride a horse. If I’m writing about a Regency lady, I need to see her decked out in a ball gown, waltzing with a handsome Lord. So I’ll look for pictures of a strong man, an ingenue heroine, a suit of armor, a ballroom awash in candlelight, and a horse.

These pictures help me to describe to my readers what I’m seeing. It’s me working my muse. I think that’s probably true for most writers.

Now, can you imagine having that inspiration be alive and standing right in front of you? You could talk to him. You could have him pose with a lovely lady in a ball gown. You could have him holding a sword and showing a fierce look. You won’t have to go chasing your muse. Instead, you could have him standing in front of you, his ruffled shirt open to the waist showing his 6-pack abs.

Whew! I don’t know about you, but having that available would absolutely take my inspiration to a whole new level!!!

Jenn LeBlanc, photographer extraordinaire and author of the illustrated time travel romance, “The Rake and the Recluse” seems to do just that with her muse, Derek Hutchins. Derek, btw, is the model for Lord Peregrine Trumbull, Viscount Roxleigh and is featured in the recently reduxed 6-part eBook series of “The Rake and the Recluse.”

I’ve seen Jenn and Derek in action twice, once at the Denver Lady Jane Salon just a few days ago on February 7th, and once at RomCon in August of 2011. I also followed their amazing photo shoot that occurred in California this last summer.

When you’re in the same room with them, you can see their special relationship. They feed off each other in such a positive way. I can see how he inspires Jenn. He’s such an entrancing chameleon, becoming just what she needs at that moment. The costumes. The poses. The look. And he’s such an amazing guy. He and I talked for quite awhile at the Salon, about California, acting, modeling, and other things too… *wink*

BTW – don’t forget to check back here in two days on the 15th of February for my first Wicked Wednesday entry when Jenn will be blogging about…wicked good things!

Another exceptionally creative team with this same type of relationship is Kimberly Killion and her muse, Brooks Johnson. Kim writes about highlanders – very hot highlanders! One of her latest “Caribbean Scot” features Brooks on the cover. He’s a very convincing highlander. BTW – he looks amazing in a kilt, with or without a ruffled shirt open to the waist! I had the pleasure of meeting up with these two at RomCon in August of 2011, so I definitely know what I’m talking about! I look forward to seeing them again in Denver when my RWA chapter, Colorado Romance Writers, hosts them for a workshop in August of 2012.

Kim designs amazing book covers (as well as websites, banners, book marks, etc.) and she’s worked with Brooks on a good many of them. In fact, Brooks is the famous “Torso Man” on the front cover of my anthology, “Finding Ms. Wright – Three Tales of Extraordinary Love” with M.L. Guida and Hillary Seidl, published by 5 Prince Publishing.  So when you see my book cover, you’re witnessing Kim’s expertise and Brooks’ pecs and abs in action. Nice combination, yes? See, the art that these two create together makes the covers for romantic fiction a much more magical place to be.  *grin*

Meeting these ladies and their gentlemen is an amazing experience. The air is thick with creativity. I’m thinking Jenn and Derek and Kim and Brooks have really tapped into to something – they found their muse in another person. Together, they each can go to levels and find successes they likely couldn’t have accomplished without the other. It’s like a romance complete with a happily ever after – only with platonic love.

All my best!

Lori Corsentino
02/13/12

About Jenn LeBlanc’s The Rake and The Recluse:

You can purchase the eBook for the first five in the series right now at Amazon and Barnes & Nobel. The fifth eBook in the series will be officially released and available for download on Tuesday, February 14th, and the sixth and final eBook in the series on Tuesday, February 28th.

My Manic, Wicked, Favorites!!!

Update! My comments are now commenting! This is all just such magic sometimes… So – be sure to click on that comment bubble and leave me one and get a chance to win a fun prize in your FAVORITE color!

Ciao!

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Oh bother! My silly commenting functionality is not working right now – as you’ve probably experienced if you tried to leave me a comment. I’ll be working on fixing that later today, so check back later tonight if you want to leave a comment! Thanks for visiting!

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OK – so I decided it’s about time to start blogging…for real. Not once a quarter because I feel guilty, or a couple three times a year because I’m releasing a new book. Nope — I’m gonna do this every week. There’s lots going on with this thing I call my fledgling romance novelist career, and some of you just might be interested in hearing about it!

And another great reason to blog is I’m taking an awesome class taught by LaTessa Montgomery, and she’s teaching us all about blogging right now. So – here’s my homework!  *grin*

BTW – that little piece about releasing three books a year is not EXACTLY true…but one can hope (and plot, and plan, and plot some more…)   *very big grin*

So — I’m going to bite the bullet and start blogging at least once a week on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. If I really start to get the hang of it, I might even try blogging twice a week. Here’s a taste of what you can expect!

Manic Monday – this is a good day to tell you all about the things that make me, and probably others, crazy. Now this crazy can be a good crazy, a bad crazy, or a really, truly manic crazy. Hmmm… I’m liking this idea.

Wicked Wednesday – The title says it all. Get ready for a virtual smorgasbord of wickedness of all kinds…good AND bad.  *wink*

Fav Friday – I don’t know about you, but Friday is definitely my favorite day of the week. This will be a good day to share some of my favorite things with everyone.

Be looking for some new stuff from me starting on a nicely manic date – Monday the 13th of February!

To help launch my baby blog, the wickedly fabulous Jenn LeBlanc has graciously agreed to be my first featured author to visit. Jenn, who is both a photographer and author, is famous for her illustrated historical romance series “The Rake And The Recluse.”

So be sure to check back on Wicked Wednesday, February 15th to visit with Jenn and have a chance to win a digital copy of her upcoming release, SUBMISSION!

Until then – all my best to you and have a great Friday-eve!!! (aka Thursday)

Lori

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