Posts tagged with: book release

Anniversaries – Powerful in Life, Powerful in Books

We all experience anniversaries, dates that come around every year. In fact, we are born with one! Our birthday. Anniversaries fall into two main categories: celebratory and remembrance.

Celebratory anniversaries are easy to spot: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, adoption days, first kiss date, day your book releases…

Remembrance anniversaries are trickier. We’ve all had days we don’t want to ever relive, and yet we don’t necessarily want to forget them.

When I was diagnosed with cancer on April 4th, 2011, the date became very important to me. Mentally, I split every picture that I see of me and my family in the past into “before” and “after” the diagnosis. Each year I celebrate the day I found out I had a battle to fight, because each year I am thrilled to tears that I’m still alive to love my family. I go through my box of hundreds of cards I received over 15 months of chemo. I sit quietly to honor the time when I couldn’t walk with all the meds battling within me. I hug my kids longer, loving the fact that the farther away from the year I was diagnosed, the easier it is for my kids to forget that awful time.

The Battling McCollums

So, remembrance anniversaries swing both ways, happy and sad. The initial event is full of shock, sorrow, and even devastation. But as the years go by, flowers can grow up through the cracks of our shattered lives. We must still honor those anniversaries, but also embrace the happy memories and positive things that grow out of them.

This not only works in our lives, but also in our characters’ lives. In my book, A PROTECTOR IN THE HIGHLANDS, which releases TODAY (woot!), the heroine, Scarlet Worthington, has survived a terrible event that occurred on St. Valentine’s Day. In the following book in the series (which I just turned into my editor), King Charles II has been buried on St. Valentine’s Day, which is true to history. Although it is not spelled out for my readers, the anniversary significance will not be lost on Scarlet.

Anniversaries are powerful. In real life, we should honor them, even if they are not celebratory, even if we do it alone in hushed reflection. Our unconscious will likely mourn even if we try to forget, so I find it better psychologically to acknowledge the event and remember any positiveness that came from it. It’s a good day to cuddle up with those we love, eat our favorite comfort foods, and watch happy movies.

In our books, anniversaries can also create powerful motivation, conflict, and character growth. Whether it’s a one-month anniversary of a kiss, a five-year anniversary of a divorce, or a fortieth anniversary of a psycho killer named Michael stalking and killing all their friends, anniversaries will affect your characters in powerful ways. Keep them in mind when creating your characters to give them depth.

BTW – today is not only my book birthday, but it is also my 24th wedding anniversary!

26 November 1994

Releasing 26 November 2018


Do you have any anniversaries coming up?


How to Set up & Run a Facebook Release Party

Today is book release day for the first book in my new Highland Roses School series! Welcome to the world, A ROSE IN THE HIGHLANDS!

To celebrate my new Scottish Historical romance, I am hosting my first Facebook party, starting later today at 4PM ET. So today on the Ruby blog, I am going to share with you how to set up a Facebook party. It can seem intimidating, but so far, it’s been fairly easy.

1. Choose a date and time. Take into account your audience. Even though I am having a release day tea party, which might be more authentic mid-morning or midafternoon, many of my readers work. So, I stretched the party into the evening. I kept the date as my release date.

2. Decide your budget for a grand prize. Since this is the first book in a new series, I chose a larger gift card of $50. If the party is beneficial to several authors (all of them releasing books together) who can each put in some money, the grand prize can be truly grand! Each individual author can also give a book or prize away.

3. Ask other authors to take part by hosting a thirty-minute time slot. My publicist helped me out by making a google doc where authors could sign up to take a time slot, and she sent it out to the historical writers at my publishing house. I also asked a few authors to help host, whom I know personally.

4. Create an Event graphic. I used Canva to create a free graphic showing the date, time, attending authors and grand prize. Make sure to create the graphic in the correct size. In Canva, there is a size for Facebook Event Cover under Social Media & E-mail Headers.

5. Create an Event on Facebook. While on your Author page, click on Events on the left-hand side of the screen. There is an option to Create Event. Then you enter the graphic you made, all the specifics, and a brief description of the event. If you have multiple hosts, add them as co-hosts.

6. Invite attendees. Invite your friends on FB. The event will automatically be posted on your page, but you can share it to any other pages you might have. Post a link to the event on Twitter and Instagram, and consider buying an ad on Facebook to spread the word about the party.

7. Keep your fellow hosting authors in the loop. For my tea party, I’ve asked each of the hosting authors to post a picture or do a live stream of them wearing a tea party hat and holding a cup of tea at the beginning of their time slot. I’ve also given them some graphics and the link to use for advertising the party.

8. Write up your posts ahead of time. Write your introduction, your prize description, and your goodbye. Select excerpts or blurbs you want to share. Find fun pictures to post, and organize them in a folder, so you don’t have to hunt during your time slot. If doing a live stream, figure out your script, props and location. My house is nearly always a catastrophe, so I pay particular attention to the location where I will film and clean up beforehand (and bar the kids from the area).

9. Be ready to spend the whole time at the party. Yes, Facebook parties take time, but I am the moderator and the party is happening “at my house”, for my book release. So, I’m planning to be there the whole time, just like an in-person party. Try not to plan a party during a time when you know you could be stuck in the office, running around with kids, or making dinner. If one of your hosting authors can’t attend at the last minute, be prepared to jump in to fill the time slot. Plus, you’ll want to respond to comments and play along with the hosting authors, as well as thanking them for hosting.

10. At the end of the party, after the last host is finished, sum up, be thankful, and explain when the grand prize will be announced. Make sure to follow through and post the winner on the event page.

11. Send a thank you to the hosting authors. Hopefully everyone has gotten exposure out of the party and it was fun. But a thank you is still warranted. It can be individual or to the group, electronic or on paper, heartfelt or hilarious – but it should be within a day or two after the party.

I’ve participated in numerous Facebook parties, but this is the first time I’ve run one myself. Hopefully, this list will help you when you run your own party! For those who are vastly more experienced with these things than I, have I missed anything?

For those who would like to attend and see what type of questions and fun the hosting authors post, or you’d like to help me celebrate my new release, and maybe win a $50 gift card, stop by today between 4 – 9 PM ET! Release Tea Party FB Link

May you have a fabulous, perfect-cup-of-tea kind of day! Heather


1684, Scottish Highlands

Englishwoman Evelyn Worthington is resolved to build a school for ladies in her brother’s newly purchased Scottish castle. But when she arrives, not only does she find the castle scorched by fire, but a brawny Highlander bars her entry.

 Clan chief Grey Campbell would rather die than see his family home, Finlarig Castle, fall into English hands, so Grey must win the battle of wills with the beautiful Sassenach who flashes a bill of sale before him.

When the war between Evelyn and Grey escalates, passions flare. But outsiders have their own plans for Finlarig. After secrets are revealed, and muskets are lit, the fates of the Campbell Clan, the school, and a possible future for Grey and Evelyn are in as much jeopardy as their lives.




My Low-Key Book Release Plan

Those who read my blog post on redefining success realize I’m not necessarily apt to follow conventional publishing wisdom because I don’t publish frequently enough for conventional wisdom to apply. That said, on October 9 I’m releasing my first book in four years.

Allow me to introduce Tia and Wyland!

They say that opposites attract, but this is ridiculous…

Vampire journalist Tia Quinn is young (by vamp standards), curious (even by reporter standards) and sitting on some information that could threaten civilization as she knows it. She’s honor-bound to share it with the Underworld Council’s chilly Vampire Second, an ancient vampire more powerful than she can imagine…and who’s hotter than hell. He’s also burdened by duty and taciturn to the point of grimness but when a stalker breaks into her house, Wyland insists on keeping Tia close until the perpetrator is caught.  

Wyland’s life is exactly the way he likes it — solitary, calm, predictable. Then Tia moves in, turns his staid bachelor household upside down, and wakes his libido from its hundred-year nap. She’s too alluring, too damn young, and hell on his self-control—especially when she cheerfully informs him the attraction is mutual. But the last time he let his heart overrule his head, his people paid the price. He can’t make the same mistake again.    

As they work together to neutralize the threat, Tia and Wyland soon realize that not only do opposites attract, but that the end result can be positively magnetic… 


After four years spent sitting on the bench, my primary goal with this book is simply to get in the game again. To reintroduce myself to readers who might have forgotten I exist. So, here is my low-key book release plan!

PHASE ONE: The Underbelly Chronicles “goes wide”

Earlier this month, I re-released the existing books in the series, TASTE ME, CHASE ME, TOUCH ME, and TEMPT ME, at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo in addition to Amazon (Kindle/paperback).

PHASE TWO: Outsourcing Decisions for ENTHRALL ME

Though I have a software development background and have been known to hack out my own HTML on occasion, I am unable to produce professional-looking graphics. Kim Killion to the rescue!

Kim designed all the covers for my re-issued Underbelly Chronicles series – the ENTHRALL ME cover was literally “one and done” – so when it came time to outsource other graphics work, The Killion Group was a natural choice. 

First, marketing/PR materials.  Kim developed the following graphic based upon a ratty-looking sketch I made. I’m using it for bookmarks, social media headers, social media posts, and a print ad you’ll see in the Oct. 2017 RWR. (Thanks again for the blurb, Darynda!)

Second, reviews. Though I’ll contact some bloggers directly, I’m giving The Killion Group’s Book Blast PR service a try. With this service, a member of Kim’s team sends my press kit and a review request to a curated group of book-loving romance reviewers and bloggers, inviting them to help celebrate ENTHRALL ME during its release week, Oct. 9-13, 2017 by posting a review. We have a couple of requests so far. Stay tuned!

Third, I booked a NetGalley Co-op slot through The Killion Group. In the interest of simplicity, the co-op is scheduled for October, my release month, so people can post their reviews immediately rather than having to wait for the book’s “Pre-Order” status to change.

I’m not putting a lot of time, effort, or resources into building pre-release buzz for this book. Sales are sales; I don’t care when they come. Hitting a list isn’t on my radar. Nudging this book into the world is.  


As Ruby Sis Heather McCollum mentioned in her awesome release planning post a couple of weeks ago, I too used Canva to whip up some simple promo pieces to use on social media. An example:

I’m still tweaking the Canva graphics. Personally, I think the text is still too small. Opinions?

I don’t plan to do a blog tour, but closer to release time you’ll see me at a few blogs, and on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll probably break down and produce a newsletter, if only to let my long-suffering subscribers know why I dropped off the face of the earth for four years…

On Monday, Oct. 9, Ruby Sis Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane will host a release day Q&A with me here at the blog. Thanks, Vivi/Lizzie! 

A thousand thanks to Spark Creative Partners’ April Reed, who finished my website updates lickety-split….including posting an excerpt from a scene where Tia and Wyland visit the Minnesota State Fair. 🙂    

For those so inclined, here are some ENTHRALL ME pre-order links!!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

(Paperback available soon, all * gulp * 480 pages of it…) 

Rubies and readers, thank you so much for keeping me sane during the last four years! To celebrate sanity and sisterhood, today I’ll give an ENTHRALL ME eARC (Mobi, EPub, or PDF) to one randomly-selected commenter.

Today’s question is a simple one: What are you reading right now? Give an author some love.


Tamara Hogan is the award-winning author of The Underbelly Chronicles paranormal romance series. An English major by education and a software and process engineer by trade, she recently stopped telecommuting to Silicon Valley to teach, edit, and write full-time. Tamara loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her husband and two naughty cats.
Her debut, TASTE ME, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense, was nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award®, and won Prism Awards for Best Dark Paranormal, Best First Book, and Best of the Best.

Release Craziness! A List of Book Release Steps

Hello, everyone! I have a book coming out next week. Yay! And I’ve been busy <pant, pant, hands on knees>, very busy trying to get everything in order for the big day.

First of all, for those of you who do all the release work on your own because you’re self-publishing – I don’t know how you do it! There’s a huge amount to be done. I’m definitely not a marketer or publicist, but luckily, I have a publicist and marketing team at Entangled Publishing who help me. Still, there’s a ton that I need to give them. Below is a quick breakdown of the tasks that we have done to prepare for my release.

Two months or more prior to release:

Brainstorm: I brainstormed about ways to promote my upcoming release and talked to my publicist. I also started thinking about the type of gifts I could give away, which had something to do with my Scottish historical (gift wrapped Highlander, anyone?!).

Cover quote: I asked a fellow author, who writes Scottish historical romance, if she could please read my ARC and give me a quote for my cover. She said yes! Once I obtained the quote (which was wonderful!), I sent it on to my publicist and cover coordinator (I don’t think that’s his title, but he takes care of all the details).


A month prior to release:

Pre-Orders – My publicist set up pre-orders for my book on the major book sites. We added any Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) reviews obtained. I sent out ARCs to people who have loved my books and will give me a review.

Cover Reveal – I lured in possible new newsletter subscribers by saying on social media that I would be revealing my cover in my newsletter (with links to sign up). A couple days later, I sent out the newsletter. Two days later I revealed the cover on social media.

Releasing August 14th! Only 99 cents right now!

Little Pep Talk – I struggle with telling people about my upcoming releases and covers, etc. Why would they want to go to the trouble to join my newsletter just to see my new cover? Well, some do! Act like everyone wants to be the first to see it. I do this because my publicist tells me to, and she knows what she’s doing. Ok – back to the list.

Create Bookmarks or Postcards – I used Canva to create a bookmark and uploaded the file to Print Runner. I ordered 200 bookmarks (color on both sides, 2X7 inches) for $48.

Create FB/Twitter Posts – I used Canva to create some posts about my upcoming release with either a short excerpt, a review, or a blurb. Make it eye catching with your cover. Start working the posts into your regular FB/Twitter posts. Don’t bombard everyone constantly, and make sure to continue your other posts of cute kittens or snarky memes. Make sure to put the link to the pre-sale page in the post (not in the Canva picture).

Created in Canva to advertise the sale of Bk #1

Blog Posts – My publicist and marketing team asked me to write some blog posts for the Entangled Publishing blog and the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. I also wrote some guest posts on other book review sites (on top of writing my normal blog posts for this fabulous Ruby blog). I think I’ve written six so far with two more to go, plus any others they ask me to do. I always say yes even though they take time. I’ve learned to just start writing, and they usually roll on out (whew – it’s a good think I like writing!).

Street Team – I started a street team called the Highland Roses (watch out, we’re lovely but have sharp thorns!). I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and my publicist gave me the little shove I needed. I only have a few Roses signed up at present, but I plan to grow it. I started by finding graphics to represent the team, formed a closed FB group, created a google questionnaire for perspective Roses, and asked a couple very supportive readers if they’d like to join.

Book Bub Ad – My publicity team made the first book in my series 99 cents and submitted the deal to Book Bub for a Feature Ad. Praise the Heavens, it was accepted! The ad just ran, a week before the third in the series comes out. I’m hoping that the push of book #1, with the sale and ad, will trickle down to book #2 and the new book. I also made sure that my upcoming release was listed under my name on Book Bub. Anyone can start an author account on Book Bub for free. If people follow you there, they will get a notice of your new release.


Two Weeks Prior to Release:

To Build More Excitement – My publicist sent me a countdown widget, and my web designer added it to the front page of my web site. Wonderful publicist also sent me Teaser Tuesday social media designs for me to post, but I also made some in Canva.

Newsletters – I sent one out for my cover reveal, but I will also send one out announcing a contest to celebrate the release. I might make it only for newsletter subscribers because I’m trying to lure more in (so I’ll send out the announcement about the newsletter contest on social media two days before). I will also send out a newsletter on release day with the blurb, buy links and some 4 & 5 star reviews in it. (If you’d like to join my newsletter, just sign up on my web site landing page) –

Reach Out – I contacted another author (I should do a couple more) who writes in a similar sub-genre, and we are going to feature each other in our newsletters and give each other books to use in a giveaway.

One week prior:

Postcards – I didn’t order postcards this time, but if you do, you’d want to mail them now to your snail mail list.

Release Day FB Ad – I might put together a FB ad with Canva to send out on release day. I haven’t decided yet, because I haven’t seen any return on my FB investment. However, I don’t spend very much to begin with.

Release Day Graphics & Social Media Posts – I will create some teaser graphics in Canva to use on and around release day with tags like #newrelease #historical #romance. I’ve read that people are more interested Twitter and FB posts about a book if the type of book is listed. Ex. Do u love Tudor Period romance w/ Highlanders & feisty heroines? Just released! (with a link and picture of your book cover). I don’t usually waste space on the title if the cover is right there. Then there is more room for tags and teaser quotes or short reviews.

Day of Release:

Celebrate – Send out celebration notices and giveaway opportunities. I use rafflecopter to set up some giveaways. Since my upcoming release is the third book in a series, I will give away the first two books to a lucky winner, along with some Highlander swag. Keep in mind that sending swag through US mail can be expensive. If you are just mailing a book, then it can go “media mail” – much cheaper. Sometimes it is better to mail the book separate and then mail the gifts.

Respond – Be ready to respond to all your posts about your release. Readers want to connect with you. Be peppy, happy, and thankful for the support.

Go Clean Your House – I mean go enjoy a bottle of wine while having your feet rubbed and a facial because we writers live such a glamorous life <snort>. Really, though, I know my house is a mess when my writing world is crazy, but we should all remember to celebrate the beautiful birth of our books. Go out to dinner, eat cake, or watch a movie. The toilets can wait until tomorrow, and then you can start writing the next book!

There are lots of ways to launch a book. What other steps could I take to make my release a success? I’m sure I’ve missed some!

For more information about me, here are all the places you can find me.


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Ruby Release: The Sweetest September by Liz Talley

Amy_SweetWelcome, friends, to the party I’m throwing for myself. Presumptuous of me, huh?

But, oh well, today is a great day to celebrate, Friday and all that, so I figured why not throw a release party and invite all of you?

The Sweetest September is my 13th book, and I’m banking on it being lucky ’cause I’m positive that way. And not only am I celebrating another book released into the wild, but I’m celebrating a new me. Yeah. A new Liz Talley.

Once upon a time….a long time ago (aka, when the fab Liz Bemis set up a website design and promotions business) I put myself out there as Liz Talley, Romance Through the Seasons. Liz and I thought long and hard about what I wrote and she came up with a really cool idea based off some images I gave her. She’d asked me to think about my writing and what I wanted to represent to potential readers. I immediately hit upon the seasons idea because at that point, I liked to chose a different season in which to set my books. And the image that I finally settled on was a tree. I liked the imagery – the growth, renewal, and, well, trees are pretty awesome. So she came up with a website in which there was a tree and it changed with the season. It was very cool. Really.

And then I got a few more books under my belt, and Liz said, “Maybe we need to freshen your look” and so we did. She created an fantastic set of seasons that changed accordingly.

And it was good.

But this spring, I attended RT in New Orleans where I received the Reviewers Choice Award for Best Superromance (humor my bragging – I’ve never won anything before). At the book signing I sat next to the energetic, sexy Damon Suede (I say sexy because I don’t have a chance with him…and he’s totally cute).  Anyway, over the course of me taking pictures of him with his fans and assisting him with marking his books with stickers, we talked about the business. At one point, he leaned over and said, “I love your bookmarks.” To which I said, “Oh, thanks.” And then he said something quite transforming -“But they don’t really tell me much about who you are as an author.” Well, I sort sat back (not physically…but in my mind, I totally fell back, mouth open.) I took a deep breath and asked, “Huh?” And because Damon is a kind person, he broke it to me quite gently that I needed a brand that said something about my writing and what I brought to the reader, and while bucolic scenery is nice, it says nothing. I left the book signing hot (it was a bazillion degrees in there), flustered (those lines!) and confused about who I was.

The next day while lunching with my fabulous Rubies, I brought this up and guess what? They AGREED with Damon.

Set me on my ear, I tell ya.

But with my faithful sisters’ aid, I began to really think about what kind of books I write….and what I wanted the reader to expect when he/she first made contact with me.

So I took suggestions – magnolia, Southern, sassy, modern, small town, mint julep, porch swings, cotton fields, plantation houses – and I contacted Wizard Liz Bemis (Yeah, that’s her moniker around here – magic behind the curtain). And she started tossing those suggestions into her vat of creativity. And she came up with this:

I think it’s the perfect combination of modern and country. It’s bright, sassy, slightly nostalgic and fresh. It’s what I hope people associate with my stories. And since I’m no longer limiting myself to romance, it still fits my overall writing tone and style.

So as I launch this new book, the first in a series set in fictional Magnolia Bend, I happy to say I feel renewed, energetic and optimistic about who I am. Which sounds weird, but y’all know what I mean. We all need a little spit and polish at times, a little fresh coat of paint. Feels good. Gives us a little oomph. So if you haven’t thought about branding and who you are as an author. If you haven’t looked critically at what you’re portraying through your website and promotional items, maybe it’s time you do.

It worked for me….and I’m really hoping I get to sit next to Damon again sometime. Maybe whatever he comes up with next time will land me on a list or lead to a six figure deal. He’s genius…which is why his branding is a light bulb.

So tell me today who you are as an author? Have you every changed your vision?

Oh, and since this is a party of sorts, we need a gift. And cake. Man, I wish I could share some cake with you. But I can give away a present. How about a lucky commenter (Rubies included) wins a $10.00 Amazon card and a copy of any of my books? Oh, and here’s the link to the book on Amazon in case you want to take a peek,. Happy Friday, friends!



The Latest Comments

  • Elizabeth Langston: You’re right–and it is a powerful lingering impression as the last phrase....
  • Darynda Jones: I like what you did here, Beth. I also like the first one. I like the line “determined to...
  • Elizabeth Langston: So I said to lead with city-keeper, and I didn’t do that. Let me take another stab....
  • Darynda Jones: Great pitch, Jenn! I love what you did with it, Beth. This stuff is so hard. LOL
  • Elizabeth Langston: I think this pitch is in good shape. But if I could try anything, I’d want to lead with the...