I'm preparing for my 9th release of my werewolf stories and who ever would have thought I'd have sold 13 books in the series so far after that first sale of Heart of the Wolf. Fans fondly call the series the Heart of the Wolf series, even though it has no real series name, and now, well it does! So when I began to promote the first of the jaguar shifter stories due out in October, Savage Hunger, a fan/reviewer asked what is the name of the series? I asked my editor and Heart of the Jaguar was born.
Now, when you have a new release, how do you promote it? Sometimes you need to go beyond your comfort zone.
Even with guest blogs and interviews I've done, I have fun, share my sense of humor, it's not all business, Miss Super Professional, because that's not me. Sure I'm super professional, but I'm also more laid back and so I show that part of my personality in guest blogs and interviews too. I didn't use to. My first blogs when the first book came out were very stiff and informative. I was afraid to let my hair down at all. But that's not me. So when a couple of interviewers read my blogs and got to know me better, they really began to have fun with me on interviews and that changed my whole outlook. Our guest blogs should entertain fans, not just promote our current release. :)
But when I had an opportunity to speak before a Christian writers' group about promoting your work and self-publishing, with all that I've got on my plate, working full time, a conference coming up in New Orleans next weekend, two workshops to present, one on Happy Hookers and the other on Conflict! Conflict! Conflict!, my daughter and SIL's visit this weekend, catching up on student lessons in three different online workshops I'm teaching at night, and writing deadlines, and this huge blog tour and all the guest blogs and interviews I have to do....well, I said no.
Part of the reason was it was in the middle of the week, still half the work week left, at night, in another city outside our city, and I get lost easily, but also it's not my target market. All the other speakers were heavily Christian writers. I write about werewolves and romance. :)
So I said maybe, then I emailed because of all my other obligations and said no and was really proud of myself, and then the lady came to the library and strong-armed me and I said yes.
Another lady from the church IS a fan of my books and she not only picked me up so I wouldn't lose my way in the dark and a chocolate milkshake so I wouldn't keel over from being famished. She was a Godsend!
Then I had to wait for the other lady to quit speaking who sounded so professional and Texas like--all about the oral history of Texas and I'm thinking, OMG, I'm really not going to win this audience over when I begin to talk about werewolves and vampires and romance, oh my!
I got up and began to speak about the difference between vanity press and self-publishing. One you pay for, the other you don't. How some were successfully vanity pressed, and picked up by New York publishers. How some of our famous authors were first published by small presses. How some of our self-published authors have been picked up by New York publishers. How to promote for free. How to brand yourself. What helps the sale of your first book the most.
And the crowd loved it! It didn't matter that I wrote about werewolves or vampires or a fae teen series, or romance, oh no! Several asked questions and after I finished talking, a whole bunch of the ladies asked me lots more questions and told me my presentation was the best of all of the ones offered the last three weeks and the most informative.
Why? I had fun! I shared funny instances of success stories. I didn't read from notes. I just winged it and shared so much that somehow the whole hour passed before I knew it and I could have shared even more. But I also gave everyone enough information to look into promoting and self-publishing on their own.
The moral of the story? If you have an opportunity to speak, be yourself, don't worry so much about the target audience as long as you have a subject that you're pretty much an expert on. Make it fun. I had the audience laughing several times. Shared the true stories and the successes of other authors, and the failures of some.
When I talked about the werewolves, I mentioned how I did a lot of research and was asked to write informative articles on wolves twice now, one for a wolf magazine, one for B&N, and also incorporated about werewolf trials in a couple of my books. Did the audience know that werewolves had been on trial in Europe in the Middle Ages? Most didn't.
One time I gave a talk about my Highlander romance to a book group and their spouses. Several were college professors, but I hadn't known that. I shared with them a lot of funny historical details I'd researched while writing my books, and one professor said if he'd had me for a teacher when he was in college, he'd have loved history. LOL
Okay, so I wasn't through with working OUTSIDE my comfort zone. My publisher wanted me to make an author video where I'm talking about my jaguar shifter and next Highland wolf story, and I'm trying to remember how to even record from my camera.
First, I had to clean up the room. The plant sitting next to where I planned to set up had a number of dead leaves. I get distracted. Is the plant not getting enough water or too much?
Then I have to consider the mirror behind me. What else is it capturing in the video? Clean more of the room.
Lighting. Sun in eyes, good for lighting, bad for eyes. Try not to squint.
Script. Too small. Print bigger, hang below camera.
Look at camera, but read script too and try not to lose place when looking back at camera.
Smile. OMG, I thought I was smiling! I wasn't.
Don't sit in front of the sign that says Happily Ever After Begins Here...that has an arrow pointing to books.
Smile. Don't lose place. Don't mumble. Don't stumble. Don't squint. Smile.
Remember to turn on the video. (I really smiled that time!)
After 7 takes, I had it, tried in another room but it was too dark and made the video really grainy. Tried to email the video. Wouldn't work.
Sent as flashdrive and cd.
Done. And definitely not in my comfort zone. Yet I had fun trying something new and it definitely was worth giving it my best shot.
Next up, teaching two workshops at New Orleans, having a book signing, and going on a vampire tour. And from the 1st of March and for the rest of the month, I'll be talking about A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing.
But no matter what you attempt to do, it's important to have fun!!! I haven't done tv or radio talk shows, but I want to. Someday.
US Navy SEALs are hot! Just as Rangers and Special Forces men I met in the Army were. But what happens when they're also a lot WOLF?
Hunter Greymere's SEAL team comes to mind.
When I wrote that Hunter was a US Navy SEAL in book 3, To Tempt the Wolf, I hadn't thought of him as being a part of a whole wolfish SEAL team. That was our editor, Deb Werksman's gem of an idea! And that was the beginning of my thinking of how I could come back to the pack someday and write another story about another member of the wolf SEAL team.
Now fans also helped because many wanted me to write Hunter's sister's story. In the original Oregon coast wolf pack story, Meara was looking for a mate. And fans wanted her to find one!!!
So in A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing, book 9, she's at it again.
The she-wolf will play when the alpha male is away. That's Hunter, the pack leader, not her mate. Wolves mate for life, so she's just thrilled he's off on a honeymoon with his mate Tessa, and Meara's got free reign of the cabin resort rentals. So what does she do? Packs them with alpha males, one of which might just be the mate for her.
Until Finn Emerson comes along and spoils her whole plan! He's one of Hunter's SEAL team members and there to protect Hunter and Meara from a threat. But the threat is to the team, not her! So, to her way of thinking, Finn is bringing the trouble to her doorstep, not keeping her safe. But most of all he is NOT on her list of prospective mates and is totally in the way.
Finn Emerson is way over qualified to babysit one sexy she-wolf, but protect her he will. It's either that, or she stays with her brother on his honeymoon, and she's not about to do that. But first, her planned mate-hunting show is over and she's not happy about it at all.
When a shooter fires into her house and Finn tackles her to the floor to protect that sexy body of hers, he loses the towel he's wearing, and why he's "dressed" like that is a whole other story.
He really isn't interested in settling down right now, though Meara's definitely making him rethink his lifestyle. Maybe it's the notion he doesn't believe ANY alpha male would be right for her. Not that he's on the mate mart. But still...
Here's what one reviewer said:
Why Readers Will Love A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing
- The Humor - Terry Spear has a unique talent for infusing her novels with wit and humor that is all her own. Specific scenes could cause a rare laugh-out-loud moment and if they don't do that they will at least put a grin right on your face. I personally loved the scene in which Finn is checking Meara over for listening 'bugs' and the two begin playing out a love scene for anyone who 'may' be listening. There is also the fantastic scene in which Meara comes home to find a very unexpected naked SEAL in her bedroom, the reactions are priceless.
- Pack Loyalty - I am one of those readers who gets all gooey inside when a group of people come together for the sake of one. Werewolves, in most books, are usually like that but throw in a team of SEAL's and you have people literally willing to face a bullet for one another. That kind of loyalty always makes for some dramatic, heartfelt scenes, but in this crew that sort of connection also provides a strong base for a lot of the humorous moments.
- An Exciting Storyline - The book begins with Finn bugging Meara's place because an unknown assassin is after her brother's SEAL team. He seeks to protect her while Hunter is away, doing whatever it takes, even going so far as to pretend to be her lover. Hilarity ensues, which is expected when you put such larger than life characters together and high-action drama follows the two as they avoid killers and their own emotions.
- Love, Lust and Everything in Between - Meara and Finn are beautiful together; their chemistry is sizzling and their reactions to one another are instant and explosive. The automatic physical attraction between the two is intense right from the beginning and their animosity only a sign of their hidden feelings. The characters really play upon each others personality, bringing out the softer side of their hard-edged persona. The author writes sensual scenes for the characters to explore their emotions in, without taking them too far too soon, making that climactic moment all the more anticipated. Read more at Suite101: Book Review of A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing | Suite101.com http://jessicahastings.suite101.com/book-review-of-a-seal-in-wolfs-clothing-a402755#ixzz1lkVOwsgJ
~~Romance Fiction, Suite 101, Jennifer Hastings
So you see, A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing definitely could be a mate, even if he doesn't think so.
I have to say that when I edit my books, I do have particular favorite scenes I LOVE to edit a lot. I mean, I'm not really editing as much as REREADING them a lot. :) One is the opening where, like Ms. Hastings said, Meara finds Finn naked in her bedroom, which is his plan to let a renter/prospective mate know he's a little too late in arriving, and the scene where Finn is checking Meara over for bugs. Not that I didn't have fun revising to make the scenes all that more memorable while I reread them, but I have to admit, I reread them a lot more than I revised them.
There's also a scene between the first renter and Finn where he shows him just what he thinks of the "renter," who breaks into the safe house and makes himself a cup of coffee while Finn and Meara are sleeping. And the scene where Anna, an undercover operative, takes Finn to task over his dealings with Meara. He tells her to not say a word about his relationship with Meara, but does she listen?
I have to say that I just had plain fun writing the book. The humor was just there between the characters from the get-go. Mystery, adventure, hot and sexy alpha males and females and prerequisite getting rid of bad guys are all part of the story. But returning to the Oregon coast wolf pack was a lot of fun!
Next up is a hunky jaguar shifter in Savage Hunger. And Howl for the Wolf, the next in the Highland wolf series, this one about Duncan, who is off to get their money back in the Grand Cayman Islands. His name means dark warrior, and that's his whole persona...
But when he arrives at the island and sees a lone she-wolf at the airport, he's more than a little distracted in his mission. Going to the island wasn't meant to be fun. But all that changes when the man who's stolen the clan's money hits on the female wolf, and Duncan is all wolfish warrior and more.
I'm currently working on his older brother, Cearnach's story as readers will get to return to the Highland wolf pack again in their native Scotland, in A Highland Wolf Wedding.
But back to this month's release!!!
All month long Sourcebooks will be giving away 2 copies of A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing. Here's the schedule!
Guest Blog Schedule for A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing for March and Beyond
3/1 You Gotta Read Reviews & Love Romance Passion
3/2 Book Savvy Babe
3/3 Weekend No Blogs--Teaching Workshops New Orleans
3/4 No Blogs/book signing New Orleans
3/5 No Blogs
3/6 Rom Fan Reviews
3/7 Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee
3/8 Night Owl Reviews & Literal Addiction
3/9 Urban Girl Reader
3/12 SOS Aloha
3/14 Sizzling Hot Books
3/15 Speculative Salon
3/16 Fresh Fiction & 7 Scribes
3/19 Reading Between the Wines
3/20 Cindy Loves to Read
3/22 Reviews by Molly
3/23 Book Boost
3/26 Star-Crossed Romance
3/28 Mrs Papillion's Bookworm Reviews
3/29 Long and Short Reviews
July 4: Petit Fours and Hot Tamales
I have to say that when I mentioned the title of this book, I had people raising their brows. She's flipped out! She's writing about seal shifters that mate with wolf shifters?
Until I explain I'm writing about US NAVY SEALs, who are wolf shifters. LOL
What about you? Are you ready for a wolfish kind of SEAL? Or if not and you're a writer, ready to work OUTSIDE your comfort zone to promote your great book?
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality."