Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about a promotional idea, one that I and another writer are trying out, even as you read this.

Most readers have a preference of subgenres, and some will not dare to dangle even a toe into the other genre pond.  Romantic suspense readers might easily pick up books with contemporary, edgy covers while passing on books with Jane Austen type gowns gracing the cover. Historical readers might go for the stories featuring a hero in a kilt or with a sword. I, myself, pick up a British historical romance before a contemporary military or western romance. I know what to expect in the English and Scottish settings and language, especially when reading my favorite authors. The stories are comfortable and the “ride” I take to reach the end of the journey is as familiar, fun and wonderful as usual.

Untamed_Hearts_500The Perfect Hostage












So when my publicist recommended that I do a joint blog tour with an author who writes contemporary romantic suspense, I wasn’t sure it would work. My novella, UNTAMED HEARTS (Buy Link Untamed Hearts) is a 16th century romance that follows a pirate into the Scottish Highlands. The other author, Misty Evans, was releasing a romantic suspense novella, THE PERFECT HOSTAGE (Buy Link Perfect Hostage) featuring a Spec Ops hero from her Super Agent Series. Completely different settings with a completely different readership.

As Misty and I discussed our two seemingly opposite novellas, we realized that both involve characters taking a large risk. Our heroines take a “walk on the wild side” and try something new. And in both cases, the payoff is hugely gratifying.

That got us thinking about the benefits of taking risks, stepping out of the box and diving into something completely different. Aha! This was something we could suggest to readers. So I did a little easy research on the benefits of stepping outside the box and trying new things.

The following quotes are from The Franklin Institute of Science and discuss our brain health.

“Mental stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline…”

“Throughout life, your neural networks reorganize and reinforce themselves in response to new stimuli and learning experiences.”

“Consider your brain a muscle, and find opportunities to flex it. ‘Read, read, read,’ says Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland.”

The article gives various ways to improve cognitive strength throughout our lives.  It recommends physical activity, learning a new language, as well as using your non-dominant hand for tasks like brushing teeth or moving a computer mouse. Basically doing something new or trying to do something familiar in a different way.

All reading stimulates the brain and reading something outside a person’s area of familiarity could add even more stimulus. So we’ve asked our readers to “take a walk on the wild side” and try out a different subgenre of romance. If they usually thrill at a man packing a semi-automatic and riding a motorcycle, we’ve asked them to take a look at my swashbuckling pirate stuck in the Scottish Highlands. If their hearts thump wildly while reading about a man in a kilt brandishing a lethal claymore, we’ve asked them to give a Special Ops agent, snowbound in a chalet, a chance. Our books are novellas so the time and monetary commitment is small (Both novellas are only $0.99 right now). And who knows, maybe after wading in the other pond a reader might decide to plunge into the other subgenre altogether.

I don’t know if it will work and I don’t think we can track numbers on it, but it is something new to try. The more we can promote each other and other subgenres, the more opportunity we create for readers to expand their reading preferences. And that will help all of us. So if you are contemplating a joint endeavor to promote, don’t rule out authors who write in completely different subgenres than you. Taking a “walk on the wild side” might be a perfectly fun way to broaden your readership.

Has anyone else tried something like this before, and did it work?

Do you have any suggestions for “outside the box” promotion?


More information about Heather McCollum can be found here on her web site: She can also be found on Twitter at and on FB at

More information about Misty Evans can be found here on her web site: . She can also be found on Twitter at and on FB at .

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Coming Soon on the Blog

  • April 25, 2014
    Building a Believable World
  • April 28, 2014
    Writing Lessons from MT
  • April 29, 2014
    Ruby Tuesday: Anne Marie Becker
  • April 30, 2014
  • May 13, 2014
    Ruby Tuesday: Rita Henuber
  • May 27, 2014
    Ruby Tuesday: Diana Layne
  • June 10, 2014
    Something Old, Something New: Jaguar’s Kiss Release Day

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Find the Rubies

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Since the GH Call in 2009...

  • Vivi Andrews: Vivi has written over a dozen paranormal romances for Samhain. Her new release is the paranormal romantic comedy Naughty Karma which was named a TOP PICK and nominated for  Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Bookreviews!
  • Vanessa Barneveld: Vanessa’s debut paranormal YA novel, THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, will be published by Bloomsbury Spark in Fall, 2014. HarperCollins Australia published an anthology in 2012 featuring Vanessa’s short story, THE TWEETEST THING, which was inspired by a Duran Duran concert.
  • Anne Barton: Anne’s Golden Heart-winning debut novel, WHEN SHE WAS WICKED, released earlier this year, and she has two more sexy Regency romances coming out in the fall: TO ALL THE RAKES I’VE LOVED BEFORE and ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED. Visit her at
  • Anne Marie Becker: Anne Marie writes romantic suspense, including the Mindhunters series. ONLY FEAR, AVENGING ANGEL, and DEADLY BONDS are available now. DARK DEEDS releases 3/17, and ACCEPTABLE RISK 5/5. Find out more at
  • Tina Joyce Beckett: After her 2009 Golden Heart final, Tina went on to double final in the same contest in 2010. Since then she has sold ten books to Harlequin Medical romance and one romantic suspense to Carina Press. Her latest book for Harlequin, Her Hard to Resist Husband is out in January 2014.
  • Liz Bemis: Since the 2009 GH, Liz finaled in the 2010 GH, filed and WON in the 2012 GH, completed manuscript #17 and has developed more than 75 websites as the creative director of Bemis Promotions. She also got married, had a baby and is currently desperately looking for five minutes in which to write!
  • Shea Berkley: Shea Berkley has sold her 2010 Golden Heart finaling manuscript, Shattered, to Entangled Publishing in a three book deal.  The Marked Son (aka Shattered) is available in stores now and the second in the series is due to hit stores June 2013. She sold her Epic Fantasy story, Torrein: Age of Fear, to Variance Publishing, which is available at your favorite bookstore. Go to for more details.
  • Jennifer Bray-Weber: Jennifer has published her 2009 Golden Heart manuscript now titled Blood and Treasure on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The second novel  of her Romancing the Pirate series, A Kiss in the Wind, was released by Carina Press in March 2012. Her third novel, The Siren’s Song, is scheduled to be released through Carina Press in May 2012.
  • Shoshana Brown: Shoshana has sold two short romance stories to Woman’s World magazine.  She’s also a finalist in the YA category of the 2011 Golden Heart with UNDERHANDED.
  • Shelley Coriell: After six consecutive Golden Heart finals, Shelley sold her debut young adult novel, Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe (May 2012, Amulet Books) and Goodbye, Rebel Blue (Fall 2013, Amulet Books). She also inked a three-book deal with Grand Central Forever for The Apostles, a dark romantic suspense series about an elite but maverick FBI team coming in Spring, 2014.
  • Sharon Fisher: Since she was named a finalist in 2009, Sharon has sold her finalist manuscript GHOST PLANET and two others (THE OPHELIA PROPHECY and ECHO 8) to Tor/Macmillan. She has been named a Golden Heart finalist three times, and in 2013 GHOST PLANET was nominated for an RWA RITA Award.
  • Addison Fox: In addition to writing about her Zodiac warriors (her Taurus, Quinn, is going to get his comeuppance come May of 2011!), Addison is hard at work on a new contemporary trilogy for NAL set in Alaska. The first book - BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE - will be out in November 2011.
  • Rita Henuber: Her 2009 Golden Heart nominated book, Guardian Angel, was published by Carina Press with a new title, UNDER FIRE, and released August 22, 2011 in ebook and audio format. The second book, Under Fire:The Admiral, about another extraordinary woman and the man she loves  is currently available.
  • Tamara Hogan: Author of the award-winning Underbelly Chronicles paranormal romance series, Tamara published TOUCH ME, an Underbelly Chronicles novella, and TEMPT ME, Bailey and Rafe’s full-length story, in  2013. Book #4, ENTHRALL ME, is scheduled for a late 2014 release.
  • Darynda Jones: In addition to the Charley Davidson series, Darynda also has a YA series out with St. Martin’s Press called the Darklight Trilogy. She has won numerous awards for her books including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier.
  • Autumn Jordon: Autumn Jordon kills people for the right reason, and only on paper. She writes both award-winning romantic suspense and contemporary romance.  Her new romantic series (C.U.F.F.) featuring yummy US Marshals debut in July 2012 with the release of Seized By Darkness.  It’s available on Amazon and B&N. Follow her on FB and on tweeter as ajordon.
  • Cynthia Justlin: Since 2009, Cynthia has published three romantic suspense books: Her Own Best Enemy, Intrusion, and Separation Anxiety (a novella). Her latest release, a dark romantic thriller, Edge of Light, is available from Carina Press.
  • Diane Kelly: Sold 4 more books in the Death & Taxes series to St. Martin’s Press!
  • Elizabeth Langston: Elizabeth’s debut YA novel, Whisper Falls, will be available from Spencer Hill Press in Nov 2013.  Books 2 and 3 in the Whisper Falls trilogy will release in 2014.
  • Kim Law: Signed with an agent, and accepted a two-book offer from Amazon Montlake. Debut novel was released Oct 2012, SUGAR SPRINGS (her 2009 GH book) was released Dec 2012, and has published 3 other books and one novella since. Currently has her Sugar Springs and Turtle Island series ongoing.
  • Diana Layne: Diana Layne made her first sale to The Wild Rose Press.  Pirate’s Proposal is the first book in the Tales of The Scrimshaw Doll, a series created by the collaborative effort of a group of OKRWA writers (although Diana is a Texan, she loves her fellow OK Outlaws.) Diana’s book The Good Daughter, a Mafia suspense story, received a TOP PICK from RT Book Reviews!
  • Gwynlyn MacKenzie: Since 2009, Gwyn has become a Mom-mom–twice–finaled in the 2011 and 2014 GH, and is currently hard at work on the third manuscript in her Merlin’s Prophecy Series.
  • Heather McCollum: My latest Historical Paranormal Romance, TANGLED HEARTS, released at the end of January 2014. TH is a cross between The Tudors and The Pirates of the Caribbean. And I’m very excited about my first YA Contemporary Paranormal Romance, SIREN’S SONG, coming out in March 2014!
  • Kate Parker: Kate finaled in the 2011 Golden Heart in historical romance again, and then switched to cozy historical mysteries with a dash of romance. Signed with Jill Marsal of the MarsalLyon Literary Agency. Her first Victorian Bookshop Mystery, The Vanishing Thief, will come out December 2013 from Berkley Prime Crime. The second in the series, The Counterfeit Lady, will hit the shelves August 2014.
  • Bev Pettersen: –Since 2009, five of Bev’s books have hit the shelves: JOCKEYS AND JEWELS, COLOR MY HORSE, FILLIES AND FEMALES,  THOROUGHBREDS AND TRAILER TRASH, and HORSES AND HEROIN. She is a three-time nominee in the National Readers Choice Award including Jockeys and Jewels for Best First Book.
  • Hope Ramsay: In February 2010 I made my first sale to Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance in a four-book deal.  The first book, Welcome to Last Chance will be released on March 1, 2011.  The Second Book, Home at Last Chance will be a September 2011 release.  Last Chance Beauty Queen will be released in April 2012 and Christmas in Last Chance will be released in October 2012.
  • Sara Ramsey: Sara Ramsey’s latest book, THE MARQUESS WHO LOVED ME, came out in February 2013. She’s currently working on the fourth book in the Muses of Mayfair series (THE EARL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE). You can find Sara in San Francisco, alternating between writing and drink fabulous wine/eating even more fabulous food.
  • Cate Rowan: Her critically acclaimed fantasy romance Kismet’s Kiss (a two-time Golden Heart® finalist) received a Best Fantasy and Best Debut of 2010 nomination from The Romance Reviews. She expanded the Alaia Chronicles series with The Source of MagicSwords and Scimitars and Sword and Lute and then published the standalone short story Flirting with the Fireman and the time travel novella Kiss That Frog. Another Alaia Chronicles novel, The Soul of Magic, is on the way, and she is “BIC-HOK-TAM” at her Colorado mountaintop abode.
  • Joan Swan: FEVER, Kensington Brava, April, 2012 BLAZE, Kensington Brava, TBD, 2012
  • Liz Talley: Since finaling in the Golden Heart, Liz Talley has sold sixteen books to Harlequin Superromance, including her upcoming series The Boys of Bayou Bridge which is about a central Louisiana family where the delicious Dufrene brothers find a  sister they thought to be dead very much alive. Liz is excited to write about shrimp creole, Mardi Gras and LSU football…some of her favorite things. All three books plus another Christmas book will be out in 2012, starting with Waters Run Deep, May 2012
  • Dani Wade: In August 2012, Dani Wade received the much anticipated “Call” from Harlequin Desire! Her first Harlequin release is scheduled for August of 2013. Until then, she has stepped into the Indie publishing arena with her first sexy suspense novella, Snow Bound, debuting in November of 2012.
  • See where we were one year after the GH!

From Twitter

  • Time for check-in #2 of the Winter Writing Festival! Share your progress to be eligible for prizes! 3 months ago
  • On using language to paint a vivid picture: 3 months ago
  • Time to check in for the Winter Writing Festival! How did you do? Let us know! We’ve got prizes! 3 months ago
  • What is the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood? Check out this blog post to learn more about who we are and how we came to be! 3 months ago
  • Haven’t trued our writing sprints? Now’s the time to come out of lurkdom & jump in! A quick guide to get started: 3 months ago