AUTHOR: D.E. Haggerty
GENRE: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
I’m having the suckiest day ever. First, my father, aka Mr. Grumpy Pants, calls to say his nurse just walked out on him. Likely story. I rush home to pack only to walk in on my husband getting it on with his young, skanky secretary. Unfortunately, my quick weekend trip home to fix Dad’s problems turns into a stay of a few weeks. Luckily, I’ve got Danny, the neighbor boy I had a crush on when I was a dorky, braces-wearing, nose-buried-in-a-book teenager, and a brand-spanking new blog to keep my mind off things. Before I know it, I’m writing product reviews of vibrators and getting questioned by a store rent-a-cop at the world’s worst date ever. All while trying to figure out how to take things with Danny to the next level. Not to complicate things or anything but my boss decides to give me an ultimatum – come back in four weeks or don’t come back at all. How in the world did my life get so complicated?
As the waiters roll out a cart covered in pasta rollers, my nerves kick into high gear. It can’t be that we’re expected to make fresh pasta dough now? Shit! Instead of fantasizing about what Danny’s hiding in his pants, I should have been taking notes. I look down and notice the flour and eggs on the table in front of us. I really should have paid attention.
I lean over and whisper in Danny’s ear. “I hope you were paying attention.”
He chuckles and nods, as if making fresh pasta is no big deal. He’s obviously not spent any time in a kitchen when I’ve been behind the stove. Using a packaged mix to make waffles or pancakes is totally not on the same level as making something from scratch with fresh ingredients.
Danny stands and grabs an apron from the table. He unrolls it and places it over my head. “Turn around, babe.” I turn, and he ties the apron right above the curve of my ass. He ghosts his hands over my ass before leaning in and kissing me right behind my ear. “Don’t worry. It will be fun.” Easy for him to say.
I let Danny mix the flour and eggs, which is a mistake. He pours the dough onto the surface and turns to me. “Your turn.”
“My turn for what?” I squeak.
“Knead the dough.”
I roll my eyes. “Knead the dough,” I mutter. “Sure, no problem.” I start to play with the dough; not having a clue what kneading really means.
Danny stands and comes up behind me. He plasters his front into my back and reaches around to grab my hands. “Like this, baby,” he whispers into my ear and I shiver. Oh yeah, I’ll knead the dough all right. I’ll knead that freaking dough all night.
Once the dough is wrapped into plastic, I head off to the restroom to make room in my bladder for more champagne. I do my business and walk to the sinks to wash my hands. I look up at the mirror and let out a scream. There’s flour streaked across my forehead. Is that dough in my hair? I clean up as best I can as quickly as possible because I’m supposed to be helping Danny make sauce for our pasta instead of having a meltdown in the bathroom.
I march to our table and confront Danny. “You could have told me I had flour all over me,” I grit out between my teeth.
He shrugs. Shrugs! “You looked so cute.” He winks as he says at it. I deflate. How does that man know the right thing to say all the time? “Come on, stop moping and help me with this pasta sauce.”
Danny doesn’t need any help with the sauce. I sip on my sparkling wine as he chops, stirs, and tastes. When he’s satisfied with the flavor, he offers me a taste. Man, that’s good. I moan. He leans forward and whispers into my ear, “I want to hear you make that noise while I’m in your pants.”
I stop breathing for a second. When did Danny go from boy next door to tease extraordinaire? I watch with satisfaction as he reaches down and adjusts himself. He catches me watching, and I raise an eyebrow at him. He just winks again and turns back to the sauce.
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage every once in a while to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. Another job change, this time from lawyer to B&B owner, and I was again fed up and ready to scream I quit, which is incredibly difficult when you own the business. Thus, I shut the B&B during the week and in the off-season and started writing. Several books later I find myself in Istanbul writing full-time.
CATCH MY HEART:
A VALENTINE’S COLLECTION
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
COVER DESIGNER: KS Thomas
The stories found within the pages are outtakes from some of your favorite Lyssa Layne books.
“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn your house down, you can never tell.” -Joan Crawford
Dr. Katy Malone has sworn off love after losing those she loves most in her life including her father, a member of the FDNY. She has decided to spend her time focusing on her medical research. Her ex-fiancée, and fellow doctor, isn’t ready to give up on loving her though.
Firefighter Nick Garrity is on a search for the future Mrs. Garrity. As he pushes thirty, with no prospects in sight, he’s afraid he’ll never find her. A devoted member of FDNY, he loves the thrill of his job and the satisfaction it brings him. He strives to teach the proby firefighter, Patrick Doyle, the ropes and pass on his passion to him.
When Doyle tries to impress the guys on the crew, he ends up in the care of Dr. Katy Malone. One look at Dr. Malone and Nick knows he’s found his future wife but can he convince her to love again?
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
For Dr. Katy Garrity, life is a whirlwind, and the New York Fire Department is the heart of the storm. After claiming so many people she loved, including her own husband, Katy is left adrift, trying to keep up with a busy career, a baby son, and her loving extended family.
Her only anchor is Jesse O’Neil, her late husband’s best friend. The charming former playboy has put his entire life on hold to care for Katy and her son. It’s inevitable that sparks will flare between them, but all of life seems to be conspiring to keep them apart. Especially Katy’s own heart, which shies away from trusting another firefighter.
Will the flames of passion burst into a lifetime of love? Or will secrets burn away their connection, causing Dr. Garrity to be burned again?
Jules Rossi’s world is about to be turned upside down when her big brother, Paulie, announces his engagement. Having been raised by her brother after their parents died, she’s used to him being her knight in shining armor and isn’t ready to share him with anyone else.
Throughout all the wedding festivities, Jules’ path continues to cross with Paulie’s future brother-in-law, Bentley Ladner. Bentley soon begins to take on Paulie’s role in Jules’ life, which neither of the Rossi siblings is too sure about. Can Jules cope with the secrets Bentley is keeping? Or will she lose his support when she finally decides to give love a chance?
In a man’s world, Camila Lemos is one of the top sports agents in the market. The athletes beg for her attention, not just for business, but in the bedroom as well. However, feisty Brazilian beauty Camila is more than meets the eye and refuses to become involved with any of her clients, no exceptions.
Linebacker Evan Purser is the newest man in his family to join the NFL. Guided by his older brother and fellow teammate, he signs with Camila. Once the agent and the linebacker meet, anything but sparks fly.
As the tension rises, so do the feelings for one another, but neither will admit it. Evan can’t let go of the past. Camila’s not sure she can risk her reputation for love. When the walls are broken down, will a touchdown be scored or will it be yet another fumble for both?
On Valentine’s Day, Country Music King Lee Maverick’s life took a drastic turn when his wife, fellow country crooner Miranda Wallen, asked him for a divorce. It’s exactly what both of them wanted but after ten years touring together, Maverick is unsure what his career will be like without Miranda.
Kyle Kelly, or KK as her friends call her, has been waiting for her big break into the country music scene. After another broken heart from a local guitar player, KK decides to give up on her musical aspirations, but her best friend, Brianna Rossi, refuses to let it go that easily.
Thanks to her best friend, KK joins the newly divorced Maverick in his singing endeavors. After spending the first part of the tour fighting their attraction for one another, they finally give in to the inevitable. Both think they’ve found their happiness… until Maverick’s ex wants back in the picture, exactly where she left off.
One year after Jacob “Smitty” Smith is stood up at the altar, his good friend Jules encourages him to redeem his honeymoon package before it expires. Reluctantly, he agrees, and finds himself sitting beside free spirit Sloan Talbott, who is attending her sister’s destination wedding at the same resort. Both have been hurt. Neither is looking for love. Will one week in paradise be a fling to remember or could it possibly lead to something more?
Lyssa Layne is first, and foremost, the proud momma to her precious daughter, AR. In addition to working full-time and being a mommy to AR, she is also an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, a runner, blogger, and an infertility survivor.
Having watched one too many medical dramas and being inspired by author Rachelle Ayala, who introduced her to the world of indie writing, Lyssa decided to try her hand at writing a romance story. Her attempt turned into the Burning Lovesick series. You can find Lyssa’s own interests throughout her stories although all stories are fictional.
Historical 1866: Amanda Stewart promised her dying father to use her education to uplift their race and teach newly-freed slaves. When she arrives in Georgia, blacksmith Virgil Smithson tells her female teachers aren’t welcome. But he has just met a woman whose will is as strong as the iron he fashions. These combatants must put aside their personal feelings to learn God has his own plan that comes from the promises they made to their loved ones.
1866 – Oberlin, Ohio
Devastated by her father’s death days after her triumphant graduation from Oberlin College, Amanda Stewart is all alone in the world. Her father’s unscrupulous business partner offers her an indecent proposal to earn a living. Instead, to fulfill a promise she made to her father, she resolves to start a school to educate and uplift their race. Sorting through her father’s papers, she discovers he had carried on a mysterious correspondence with a plantation in Milford, Georgia. She determines to start her teaching work with the formerly enslaved. However, when she arrives, the mayor tells her to leave. There’s nowhere for her to go.
Virgil Smithson, Milford’s mayor, blacksmith and sometimes preacher man with a gift for fiery oratory, doesn’t want anything to do with a snobby schoolteacher from up North. On top of everything else, the schoolteacher lady has a will hard enough to match the iron he forges. He must organize his fellow formerly enslaved citizens into a new town and raise his young daughter alone. Still, his troubled past haunts him. He cannot forget the promise he made to his daughter’s mother as she died—that their child would learn to read and write. If only he didn’t have secrets that the new schoolteacher seems determined to uncover.
To keep THE PREACHER’S PROMISE, Amanda and Virgil must put aside their enmity, unite for the sake of a newly-created community in a troubling age, and do things they never imagined. In the aftermath of the flood that was the Civil War, God set his bow upon the earth to show love and understanding for humankind. To reflect God’s promise, these combatants must put aside their differences and come together–somehow.
If You Publish It, They Will Come
That may have been true ten, five years ago in indie publishing. It is no longer the case today. Readers have a lot of authors and books to choose from. They don’t know you, so you have to do something to get their attention.
Okay, but what something? After visiting Google, I decided to do my own blog tour. I went to listservs and chat rooms for authors and asked questions. Established authors said a blog tour was a waste of time. But new and indie authors said to go for it. I had nothing to lose, and no money to spend, so I did it myself. Here’s how I did it.
- Build a MEDIA KIT
Honestly, this wasn’t the first thing I did. I realized I needed it as responses started rolling in with bloggers requesting the same materials over and again. But I recommend it be the first thing you do.
A media kit is everything a blogger could possibly want or need in order to host you on their webpage. Include in your Media Kit the following:
Your book blurb. I included different lengths of my blurb, including the full blurb that’s up on Amazon. A shorter three sentence blurb. And a one sentence blurb. My debut book was erotic romance, so I also had to be sure and include a PG version of my blurb for bloggers who also showcased YA books.
Book excerpts. Choose one to two scenes that you feel would get readers engaged in your story. I recommend the excerpt should start somewhere in the middle of the scene and end before the scene is over at a high point of tension. If you choose well, this tactic would naturally lead a reader to push the ‘buy now’ link so they can find out what happens next. Again, make sure you have a PG excerpt for bloggers who showcase YA books.
Guest Posts. I wrote three guests posts for my tour. I found that bloggers liked craft pieces, writing tips, and social commentary. So, I wrote one of each. I also found that some bloggers wanted you to answer their list of questions instead of using your posts. I complied, and then saved each question and answer. I included these Q&A’s in my media kit and made them available to all subsequent bloggers.
Author biography. Be sure to include the bio you’ve written for yourself and posted on your website. I found that some bloggers preferred a one sentence bio, called a tagline. So, I paired my long bio down and included two options in my kit.
Links. Be sure to include your store purchase links, your website url, and all social media links and handles. In my ebook, I have fancy graphic links. I assumed the bloggers would do something graphical with my link, but few did. Instead they just left the entire URL up under my name. I didn’t like that, but I had to realize that many of these bloggers weren’t graphic artists or any more tech savvy than your average person. Moving forward, I’ll need to think of a better way to list these links.
Images. Attach images separately, as well as in the body of the kit. If you have a lot of images, make them available upon request.
That was a lot of information, but I suggest you get started on that before contacting bloggers. Many get back to you straight away and begin making requests.
- Find BLOGGERS
Once your media kit is assembled, you need to start finding blogs to host your amazing information.
I began my search at the Book Blogger Directory: https://bookbloggerdirectory.wordpress.com/
I made certain to check for bloggers who were in my genre.
I also checked their sites to see when their last activity happened. You don’t want to spend time querying a blogger whose last post was in 2013.
- Make CONTACT
Once I had my list of vetted bloggers in my genre, I began to contact them. Be aware that some of these bloggers have handy Google Docs. They’d prefer you use these instead of emailing them directly.
For those I emailed directly, I made a form email, but I sent each blogger an individual email with their name in the salutation. I also tailored the form email to each blogger where possible. For example, if I saw that a blogger was only interested in author interviews, I didn’t mention that I had blog posts and excerpts because I knew they wouldn’t be interested in those items.
Here’s an example of the basic form email that I sent out:
Dear [Book Blogger],
I write erotic romance, paranormal romance, and fairytale retellings under the pen name, Ines Johnson. My newest release, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story, which is a fairytale retelling of the Cinderella story will hit the print and virtual shelves on March 17th.
I’ve planned a book tour throughout the month of March to create some buzz and garner a bigger audience for my book. I’d love to make a stop at your site. I’m happy to do a Q&A, a blog posting, submit my book for your review, or any combination of the three. I’ve prepared three posts for the occasion. If you feel that one of the topics might interest your readers, I would be happy to make it available to you any day during the month of March and April. Attached you’ll find my Media Kit for your convenience.
- Keep RECORDS
It looks bad to contact the same person over and again. Or to forget that you agreed to give this blogger that post on this day. I kept a spreadsheet in Google Docs so that I had access to it at all times.
On the list I listed the blog title, the blog URL, the contact person’s name and email address. In other columns, I placed what each blog looked for from guest bloggers, when I contacted them, if they responded, if they said yes and what they wanted, when the post would be live, and when they needed the information by. You should also note if they want exclusive content, and if they want you to provide them a giveaway.
|Promo||NOTES||CONTACT EMAIL||RESPONSE||DATE Requested|
* a note about giveaways: try where possible to offer your book as a giveaway. I got my highest sales on the days I offered my book as a free giveaway. I didn’t want to offer a gift card, remember I was broke by this time.
- Be SOCIAL
As the blog tour began, I made a fancy banner announcing the tour for my webpage. I linked to each blog that hosted me.
On the day of each tour stop, I tweeted and posted each blog. And I visited each site to try and interact with any commenters and responded where appropriate.
- Send THANK YOU NOTES
But the most important thing I did, was mind my manners. After each post I wrote a personalized thank you note to each blogger. I told them how they affected my sales rank that day. Each one invited me back!
I had phenomenal success with my tour! I was on thirty blogs over the course of my launch week. As soon as those posts went live, my debut novel was launched into the Top 100 where it’s stayed for a week after my launch. I could see the effects in real time. When a tour stop went live, an hour or so later, I’d see sales. I didn’t see much of a blip on social media (ie, my newsletter or Facebook Likes). My twitter followers did see some of an uptick, but mostly from the bloggers themselves as they tweeted about the post.
I repeated these steps fro the When Black Women Fall promo tour. This time I had over 50 bloggers sign up for the tour, many were repeat bloggers who I built a relationship with over the year I’ve been published. To see the other authors on the tour, please visit our site at http://whenblackwomenfall.com!
The educated/nerdy/classy/fashionable/chic/Chubby Black chick has to be one of the most overlooked demographics of women in the country, in regards to L-O-V-E. Speaking from personal experience and seeing the world with my own eyes, we get the short end of the stick more often than not.
Most of us aren’t interested in someone that is quote unquote “hood”, but every time I look up, I got some dude with a full gold grill on his ten-speed shouting out, “Hey Girl?! Hey! Can I get yo number?” More than likely, they see a woman that can take care of them, domestically and financially. A “mothering” type woman that can probably throw down in the kitchen.
Or we get the hick or wannabe “hood” white guys that like thick black girls. Unfortunately, we’re still too classy for that life. I want to be taken to the museum, not the Monster Truck show. I’ve dated one, trust me I know. Nothing like going to a NASCAR event and watch a pickup truck filled with white dudes, flying a Confederate flag. But hey, I was there for the free Goo Goo Dolls concert.
And let’s not forget the old perverted men of ALL races. Yep, we get the horny old lechers that still want someone young but no longer care what people think of the candy on their arm like their young counterparts do. Too bad I’m not into old balls, either.
We’re not necessarily picky people. But can we at least get someone with all of their teeth, not showing their drawers, and isn’t carrying their AARP card? Many of the black men that are similar to us, are only looking outside their race to date. And we all know that the majority of white guys out there are looking for someone slender. And even if they say they like a woman with meat on their bones, they’re talking big boobs and booty with skinny everything else. And that doesn’t even include their fear of dating someone black. Heaven forbid!
To the well-rounded men, we’re placed solidly in the “friend’s zone”. Most of them love and absolutely adore us. They think we’re hilarious. They ask us to help them dress to get the “hot chick”. They come to us for dating advice. Some of them even have sex with us (which ends up grudgingly being the best they’ve ever had), but still can’t see walking with us on their arm in the light of day.
But what these men aren’t understanding is that our demographic is an untapped goldmine of sweet, intelligent, loving, fun and dare I say…sexy, group of women. Many of us just as satisfying, if not more so, than any other woman. Open those pretty eyes, guys! We’re here and we’re amazing!!!
Which is the main reason why I decided to brand my books as Novels with Curves. In the past, I couldn’t find a romance novel with a character that looked anything like me, so I took matters into my own hands. Why can’t the curvy, Black girl get the hot guy? So that’s what I mainly write… Adorably plump and sexy black heroines that snag the hot hero. My latest series Chasing Day, Daylen Daniels, the shy cellist meets Chase McCoy, the popular quarterback. They become unlikely best friends and soon find they have an undeniable attraction that leads to a tumultuous romance that spans 30 years.
All my novels are for the underdog. To give her a voice. If we can’t find ourselves on TV or on the big screen, surely we can at least find characters like us in the most intimate of entertainment…books.
To find more characters like Daylen from Twyla Turner’s “Chasing Day,” visit the When Black Women Fall promo tour at whenblackwomenfall.com!