I’m a mountain girl. Something about alpine vistas makes me breathe deep while my heart quivers. That’s why I’ve yearned for Colorado since my first visit 20-odd years ago, and why I now live on the top of a mountain in the Rockies. (My short story Flirting with the Fireman riffs from a real-life experience shortly after I moved here, heehee.)
My honey and I (currently known as Dr. 4×4, and no, he’s not a fireman ) were able to take a couple of quick getaways in my adopted home state. Colorado is delish.
I’ll post a few photos of Southern Colorado now—especially from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison—and more photos of Colorado’s mountainous beauty in the future. Alas, I’m no professional photographer, and in some of these I was still trying to figure out the camera on my new phone, heh—but they’ll give you a taste.
Oh, and keep your eyes out for a new release announcement soon.
I’ve been wandering around my gorgeous adopted state and will have pics of its wonders up soon.
Oh, and news about new releases. Stay tuned!
WOOHOO, it’s time for RomCon in Denver! I’ll be at the booksigning on Friday evening (6/20) with goodies to give away. I’ll also be participating in the Hot Heroes (Saturday morning) and Magical Firsts (Sunday morning) events, as well as the first half of Mimosa Madness (since Hot Heroes takes place during the second half, darn it).
FASHION NOTE: During the author events on Thursday I’ll be sporting my usual ‘do, but Friday through Sunday I’ll likely be wearing garb characteristic of my stories’ fantasy worlds, including a long wig (either purple or red, or possibly different on different days) and a fantasy tiara!
If you spot me, mention you read this post to get fun swag and magic dust.
See you soon!
Tidbits in this post:
- ► Lirael’s Candle, a new FREE short story!
- Special 99-cent sale on books from multiple fantasy authors
- $200 in gift cards and prizes—woohoo!
News about a big SALE coming up, but first:
FREEBIE SHORT STORY
My Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/CateRowan.AuthorPage) has a brand-new goodie for those who click to “Like” the page. Look for the “Free Short Story” button just beneath the top banner! Lirael’s Candle is a short and sweet fantasy romance in a time of war. Let it put some love and sugar into your day. ❤
I finished a new fantasy romance novella during November’s National Novel Writing Month. I’m rewriting it now and it wouldn’t surprise me if it grows back into a novel after revisions. It’s going to be part of a genie trilogy. Here’s a series teaser:
Centuries ago three brothers were cursed to be djinn,
slaves forever caged
in a golden lamp, a silver mirror and a bronze ring—
until true love frees them.
Three unsuspecting Texas women with rotten Man Luck
are about to get the surprise of their lives.
I’ll keep you posted when they release!
There are two new interviews of me on the web. Check out my “Ruby Tuesday” interview from yesterday (we talk about dream vacations, mountain goodness, favorite books, and offensively orange Broncos headwear) and an interview and review of my novel The Source of Magic by YA Fantasy author Ashley L. Knight. Stop by!
MULTI-AUTHOR SALE AND GIVEAWAY
Get your goodies now.
This is the engrossing royal romance that The Romance Reviews proclaimed “A must-read for all fantasy romance lovers” and Smexy Books called “a magical, exhilarating, sensual delight. Lush exotic world building, riveting storyline, and strong personable characters set the stage for a rich and captivating story.” Kismet’s Kiss was a two-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Finalist.
I don’t do sales often, so grab it from one of the four stores below while you can!
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords (all formats, all countries—use coupon NA69Y
to get the discount)
Already have Kismet’s Kiss? GREAT! Forward this post to your friends so they can grab copies, too. And check out the other authors below…
Other fantasy authors participating in the sale:
plus our sponsor, I Read Fantasy.
For more info on the books in the 99-cent sale, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/193422784183987/!
Last, but not least:
$200 IN PRIZES
We have $200 in prize money up for grabs: $100, $50, $30, $20 in gift cards. Winners can choose between Amazon or Barnes & Noble! Here’s the direct link to enter:
This weekend I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold 2013 conference. It was wonderful to spend time with old friends and make new ones!
I gave a workshop for published authors and other advanced writers that I’d titled “The Road Map to a Successful E-Pub Career Shift”. I focused on self-publishing (a.k.a. being an indie author). I’m always a bit nervous before speaking in public, but it seemed to go very well and several attendees thanked me afterward for creating an organized presentation that really helped them know the steps they needed to take.
One of the attendees asked that I put my PowerPoint slides on the web. This morning I tried uploading the slides to a slide-sharing site, but I’m still waiting, four hours later, for the darned thing to “convert”. Then I used PowerPoint to save the slides as a movie. Should work, right? Turns out the movie file is too big too upload here. D’oh! I did send the slides to the person in charge of the RMFW website as well, so I’ll update this post if/when I’ve gotten the slides up somewhere, LOL. *SEE UPDATE BELOW
Joyco Multimedia made a recording and I got a copy on CD, but their website doesn’t seem to have anything later than the 2009 conference available, so I am stumped there.
Meanwhile, here’s the PDF handout: “Additional Resources and Helpful Stuff”
UPDATE: Slideshare finally got things working (woohoo!), so here’s the PowerPoint presentation I did. It doesn’t include all the little transitions and it doesn’t have all the info I talked about, but at least it’s something.
The sea is often a lovely and very romantic place. I’ve had some wonderful experiences on the ocean, like a pod of dolphins just outside my ship’s cabin window swimming and jumping alongside the ship for an hour. One of the fantasy romance novels I have in the hopper (working title: The Ocean Between Us) has me thinking about the ocean and all the life within it. Seeing the dolphins play alongside the giant cruise ship was quite a gift.
I recently came across a blog from Princess Cruises with some happy-making stories of love beginning at sea. Here’s a recent and romantic favorite of mine:
Anyone have any favorite sea (or love at sea) stories?
Book cover art can be evocative, intriguing, and delightful—or confusing, dull, and even off-putting. I’ve had covers on both ends of the spectrum. (Live and learn, fortunately.)
Here was my very first book cover, from the fall of 2010.
Looking at it now, nearly three years later, I still love the idea of it—the beautiful blues, the arched window, the exotic city outline, the streaks across the sky that lead the eye into the story. But I never loved the font. I tried a ton of them and couldn’t find ones that I loved. So I decided to commission someone to do a new cover, and found some stock art people I wanted to use. The result was one of my very favorite covers, even though I’ve since replaced it:
This cover delighted me…the graphic artist did a wonderful job with the color scheme, the stars, the doorway and the city outline, and they all matched the idea in my head and meshed together. I got a lot of compliments on that cover, at a time when a lot of indie covers were getting roundly booed.
And then I finished revising Kismet’s Kiss‘s prequel, The Source of Magic. I had a vision for that one, too, and wanted to see if I could do it myself. Here was the result:
The text still bothered me a bit, so after a few months I did some tweaking:
I loved #2. Flat-out loved it, if I do say so myself. And I got a lot of compliments on that cover, which made me very proud since it was homegrown. Yay!
Hmm, Cate, you say. If you loved Kiss #2 and Source #2, why did you change them?
I reeeeally wanted to keep them. In fact, I did for a long time. But take a look at them again… you’d never guess those two covers belong to the books in the same series, would you?
I knew there was a problem, but I was in denial.
Next I finished a prequel to Source and Kiss called Swords and Scimitars. I thought I knew what I was doing when I made that cover, but in hindsight…
This cover is boring. Yeah, hindsight can be blunt. I still love the deep red, and the cover model looks just like I imagine Kismet did just before he left his mortal life behind. Even so, it’s blah.
So I hired a talented cover artist to do a new one:
No question that it’s a huge improvement. But…I didn’t like the direction the artist and I were going with the mockups for the Swords and Scimitars sequel, Sword and Lute. And I couldn’t figure out a way to visually connect either of those covers to The Source of Magic and the Kismet’s Kiss covers, either.
Ugh, back to Square One.
And that’s when, after much frustration and brainstorming, I figured out a cover style I felt could work for all of the Alaia Chronicles series covers. I wanted something that would connect the books in the series and could be easily changed for each book, both with different bold colors and with an image particular to each book.
Here’s what I did for Kismet’s Kiss and The Source of Magic:
I kept my favorite pieces of the original cover for each one. For Kismet’s Kiss, it was the romantic couple, because these two people look exactly like the Kuramos and Varene in my head—plus they’re in a very characteristic pose for that book, with Kuramos wanting Varene and being his sexy and tantalizing self, and Varene yearning for him too, but doing her stubborn best to resist.
For The Source of Magic, I kept the hands reaching for each other, just like Jilian and Varene reached for each other across the worlds between them.
I like those two current covers for sure, but I can’t lie—Kiss #2 and Source #2 are still my favorites. But series branding rules the day.
The fun part was that as I kept writing, I got to add new covers that matched:
Since Swords and Scimitars had two brothers at odds and was more romantic fantasy than fantasy romance, the crossed scimitars seemed to fit well. (I had a heckuva time finding scimitars I liked, and ended up doing a lot of work in my graphics program to make the image. Again, live and learn…)
For Sword and Lute, I ended up slogging through a LOT of stock photo sites for just the right people. I am very picky about the people on my book covers. If they don’t look like the ones in my head, it’s a no-go. Fortunately, these two were a great match. I love how they fit into the heart, too.
Next came Kiss That Frog and Flirting with the Fireman. I wanted a different look for them, since they are standalone fantasy romance stories that aren’t part of the Alaia Chronicles series. White seemed like a fun change, although getting the dark borders to show up in some posts and at Amazon has been quite a thorn in my side.
So here we are, with these final six covers being the ones I’m keeping.
For now, anyway.
Wahoo! At long last, all of my audiobooks are available, thanks in large part to my fantastic narrators.
See/hear these audiobooks at
or click the covers below to see them at Amazon!
The narrators who’ve translated these stories into audio have done an amazing job, and you can listen to a five-minute sample of each book at Amazon. (Click on the story’s cover to go to its page at Amazon, then look for the “Sample” button just below the cover.)
My fabulous narrator for Kismet’s Kiss and Sword and Lute is Marie Hélène. She set up a cool audio sample of Kismet’s Kiss at Soundcloud. (NOTE: The audio starts playing as soon as you visit the link, so make sure your volume isn’t set to “11″. )
By the way, Amazon owns Audible, so if you’re new to audiobooks and want to give them a go, you can sign in to Audible with your Amazon account and get my audiobooks at a special price (or even free!) for new members. Hooray!
I wanted to get this announcement out sooner, but didn’t for two reasons—one bad and one good.
Bad reason: A nasty computer crash from which it took several weeks to recover. (I’m an overcautious type and had lots of backups, but restoring them became a fiasco on its own. Now I also have a hard drive clone that’s updated daily!)
Good reason: I’m enjoying my own real-life romance with a rural emergency room doctor who’d make a great romance novel hero. (Hmm! Oh the possibilities…)
I wish you a summer full of love and romance—both fictional and real.
Hey peeps, I joined up with 99 authors to offer books at 99 cents each at Amazon today—AND we’re giving away $990 worth of prizes. Sweeeeeeet!
These prices are available on Amazon only.
For a listing of books offered and to enter to win, click here!!
The Source of Magic is my 99-cent contribution. (It’s listed in the SF/Fantasy section.) Have it already? No worries—Amazon lets you e-gift to other people.
There are many amazing authors and books included in this deal, and many genres represented. Go check it out!
Yes, I’ve probably earned that nickname. It’s not that I hate the holidays—it’s more like I’ve been indifferent to them. I’m self-employed, which just means I have freedom to work all the time. (No, it’s not always a good thing.) Weekends are often much like weekdays to me, and coming as I did from a small and not-that-religious family, holidays weren’t a big deal to me. So I wasn’t planning to do any of the usual rah-rah this time of year.
And then, pretty much by accident, I inherited a Christmas tree. Of sorts.
My neighbors were moving, and as they were doing their final cleanup, they asked if I wanted this sad little evergreen in a pot.
I have a black thumb, mind you, and cats that have always managed to eat and/or destroy plants, so it’s usually best if I stay away from green things. But the little tree reminds me of the pathetic one in the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special. (Did you know you could buy a Charlie Brown tree at Amazon? Heehee!)
Anyway, to my great surprise, I told the neighbors I’d take the itty bitty evergreen.
I’m surrounded by full-grown ones up here on the mountain, so this little guy has a long way to go—but he gets to stay outside on my deck (which foils the cats) and I pretty much just need to water him every now and then. Or just let the snow fall on him. I figure he and I will do pretty well for a while, until he needs a bigger pot. At which point I’ll probably just find a good place to plant him.
My tree got me thinking about celebrations in my fantasy romance novels. The celebrations in those worlds are decidedly…well, non-religious. The gods and goddesses in my books tend to be benign, with a few key exceptions—although they pay more attention to mortal affairs than the mortals might think.
And one thing that even the gods can agree on is love.
Sword and Lute is my latest fantasy romance. It’s a novelette about how true love leads a musician who’s chasing her dreams to a dying god—and to their second chance at life. There are no holidays in it, save the one new lovers make for themselves. Ahem.
So here’s my question for you: What’s YOUR favorite kind of celebration?
I’m participating in Carrie Ann Ryan’s Alpha Male Blog Hop, so a lucky commenter from Dec. 14-17 will win a $5 gift card at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Starbucks, winner’s choice—AND all commenters will be eligible for grand prizes like this:
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
(International commenters: YES, you are eligible for Grand Prizes #1 & #2! Unfortunately, due to shipping costs, #3 is limited to those in the U.S.A.)
To be eligible for the Blog Hop’s grand prizes, you must include your email address IN THE COMMENT ITSELF so the overall Hop administrators can contact you. GOOD LUCK!
Click here to return to the main Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop site.