Monday, May 30, 2011

First Look at Blood Like Poison book 2

Alright, y'all, my author friend Courtney Cole read an advanced copy of Blood Like Poison: Destined for a Vampire and has just posted her thoughts on the book on her blog.  She also posted an excerpt (a little taste of Bo for those of us who need a fix before Friday) and she will be hosting a giveaway of the first two BLP books as a set, so you should totally go to her blog and sign up.  Like right now!  HERE'S the link.  It's so totally Courtney that it's fun to read, as all her posts are.  Go ahead on over there and give her some love, y'all:)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cover Reveal

Alright, y'all.  I'm in the final stages of editing my sequel, book 2 of BLP.  It's called Blood Like Poison:  Destined for a Vampire.  This is the cover.  It will make more sense once you read the book.  Hope you like it.  The book, too!  It will be available Friday, June 3, 2011 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Apple.  Give it some love and spread the word:)  And thanks in advance.  You guys are totally, unequivocally the most awesome readers EVER!


Ridley Heller thought that all her problems would be over if she could have Bo back—back from the dead.  But what Ridley didn’t know was that her wish would come at a price. 

Bo survived a condition that would have killed a lesser vampire, or any vampire for that matter.  The only reason he didn’t die is because of who he is, someone Ridley doesn’t know at all.  Someone Bo himself doesn’t know at all.

As Ridley gets closer to finding out Bo’s true identity, she discovers that loving him could also come at a price, a price much higher than she ever could have imagined.  The question is:  is there any such thing as a price too high to pay for Bo?  For his love, for his safety, for eternity in his arms?


Raise your hand if you love Bo:)  Woohoo!

Blogger Hates Me

Alright, y'all.  For some reason, I still can't comment on your comments to my blog posts.  I think that Blogger secretly (or at this point not so secretly) hates me and is endeavoring to steal what's left of my sanity.  Soooo, in light of this conspiracy, if you have a question to which you'd like an answer (the nature of most questions, right?), please e-mail me at m.leighton.books@gmail.com.  Enjoy Memorial Day.  YAY troops- past, present and future!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop

I have decided, since I'm such a huge fan of summer and all things beachy, to participate in the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop.  My giveaway is to get your summer started with my YA eBook collection--The Reaping, Wiccan and Blood Like Poison.    The winner will be drawn at midnight on May 31st and notified June 1st.  I'll post the announcement of the winner here as well.

To enter:
  • "Follow" my blog
  • Leave a comment with your e-mail address
  • +1 if you follow me on Twitter
  • +1 if you tweet my blog address
After you enter here, hop on over to some of the other blogs and enter there, too.

"Hop List"

Enjoy the hop!  Let the giveaways begin...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview with Catie and a note

Catie over at Forbidden Passions Interviews posted her interview with me today.  You can check it out HERE.  Go by and give her new blog some love.  She reviews books over at Coffee Times Romance.  Now she's branched out, doing interviews with *cough cough, wink, wink* fascinating people :D

On another note, I cannot seem to post a comment to any of my blogs, so I'd like to answer @Dani's question here.  Yes, I have every intention of revamping (no pun intended) the 2 completed manuscripts that I have here.  I've always loved the storyline, especially of the first one.  They are both vampire novels, though, so I'd like to space them a good bit away from BLP.  Dani, I always love to hear from you, so when I get those suckers fixed up nice and pretty, I'll give you copies of both, on the house.  Deal??  Thanks so much for all your encouraging comments.  Very often, they make my day:)

And, again, for all those who haven't heard me say it and a double dose for all those who have, THANK YOU to every single person out there who reads my book(s).  I'm humbled and thrilled and eternally grateful.

My first blog hop starts tomorrow, so y'all come back and bring some friends (and get them to buy a book while they're here).  Just kidding.  Well, not really.

Megan's Interview and Giveaway

Megan McDade is a newcomer to the YA Sisterhood and she's posted an interview with me followed by a giveaway copy of BLP on her blog HERE.  Stop by and show her blog some love, and while you're there, sign up for a free copy of BLP if you haven't already read it.  If you have, sign up anyway and have your winning copy sent to a friend.  Nothing like a random act of kindness to brighten someone's day:)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Mystery of Amazon Ranks

Most writers, especially those of the self-published variety, watch their Amazon ranks as they fluctuate from day to day, hour to hour with some degree of frustration and puzzlement.  I think a common misconception is that rank is directly tied to X number of sales.  That is true to a certain extent, but it is a very fluid tie.  On Monday you may sell 10 books in one hour and that might bring your rank down to # 4,500 for that hour, but then, the next hour you might sell 15 books and your rank will take an unwanted dive to # 5,100.  What can we possibly glean from that?  Can we look at any author's rank and tell exactly how many books they've sold to achieve that rank?  No!  No, no, no! 

Amazon's ranks are simultaneously indicative of how many copies of your book sold in the previous hour AS WELL AS how many of your competitors' books sold during that same hour.  If you are lucky enough to have been one of only a few who sold 10 copies in that first hour, then your rank will shoot up.  If you sold 10, but someone else managed to sell 25 in that same hour, your rank will likely drop as a result.  The rank is not just a measure of your sales, but a measure of your sales in comparison to other books' sales. 

I know a very popular and wildly successful author once posted that in order to achieve X low rank she sold Y number of books in Z period of time.  It's unlikely that that would ever happen again, for in order for that to be the case, every single component of that time period would have to be repeated identically.  You see what I mean?  Good ranks on any given day, at any given hour are the result of the perfect storm of great sales on your part and similar or not-so-good sales on the part of your competitors. 

Some days you might sell 2 books and see a 10K rise in rank, depending on how high or low your rank is to begin with.  Another thing I've discovered is that the lower your rank, the harder it is to make a significant move forward.  The lower you get, the higher your sales.  And the higher your sales, the greater your competition.  When you drop below #1000, you are competing with some pretty heavy hitters.  That's even more the case when you drop below #500.  Needless to say, when you drop below #100, you're in the shark tank.  You're in the company of such authors as James Patterson, John Locke, Amanda Hocking, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Michael Connelly and Nora Roberts.  Rank fluctuations in those esteemed positions tend to be very tight.  They're also very hard to maintain.  You have to be raking in some serious sales to hang with those guys.  But can it be done?  Absolutely!  It's just a frustrating, nail-biting, hair-pulling ride to get there.

All in all, when you look at a rank, it doesn't really start painting a very telling picture until you get pretty low.  It's safe to assume that when you see someone in the low hundreds or, even better, below #100, they're really selling some books.  Around #200-300, you can expect that they're selling hundreds per day, a thousand or better per week.  But when you get even lower, like below #100, those lucky people are selling possibly thousands per day.  Those are the ones I look at and say, "Wow!"  Take John Locke for instance.  Though he has 9 books, he sells a copy every 7 seconds.  That's roughly 9 per minute, 540 per hour, 12,960 per day, 90,720 per week, 362,880 per month and roughly 4.5 million per year, give or take a few thousand.

I think, armed with that knowledge, we have to congratulate all the authors who see the low ranks on Amazon for their amazing success.  The hard work that got them there is nothing to sneeze at and neither are the results.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Fabulous Bo

To get in the mood, I think first a little exercise is in order.  For those of us who have read Blood Like Poison, let's take a moment to just think about Bo.  Close your eyes.  Go on, close 'em.  Well, maybe not, because then you can't read this.  DUH, Michelle:)  Well, anyway, do your best.  Ok, now picture Bo.  Maybe he's standing in front of your bedroom window, looking at you.  The moonlight's pouring through the glass, bathing half his naked chest in silver.  Picture his liquid brown eyes, eyes that you'd swear could see into your very soul, eyes that paint a vivid picture of the passion that he's feeling, passion that's all for you.  Picture his silky black hair brushing his strong neck, his square jaw, his perfect mouth.  Picture his super wide shoulders and trim waist, his tight, flat stomach.  Now breathe him in--that tangy, clean scent that's all Bo.  Savor it.  Savor him.  Ahhh!

Now, if you had to pick a song that best described him, what would it be?  Right off the top of your head, what did you think of?  Before I write, sometimes I like to listen to songs that remind me of scenes in my book, the ones I'm about to write.  They sort of set the mood for me, if you will.

For scenes that are heavily Bo-laden, I tend to lean toward sultry songs, like Bloodstream by Stateless.  Damon got me hooked on that one:)  It's a phenomenal song, though, and now I can't help but think of Bo. 



Another is Feelin' Love by Paula Cole



Maybe something more...classic rock, something Bo might like?  I'm curious what you guys think, how he makes you feel, what he inspires in you.  Post a comment, e-mail me, tweet me.  Tell me your thoughts.  I'd love to hear them...

Happy Manic Monday!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How to Support an Indie

Wren Emerson stumbled across a great post by fellow Indie Karen McQuestion where she discusses some things that you--as readers or other writers--can do to help an Indie's career.  Wren put into list form, so here it is, an awesome list of awesomeness:

So you read one of my books and you loved it. How can you help my Indie writing career and show your support of my book? Let me give you a list of ways.
  • Word of mouth- The best thing you can do for any product you love is tell your friends. Tell them in forums, on your blog, Twitter, in person. Any way you can communicate your love for something works great.
  • Write a review- Reviews are like currency for indie writers. It lets other potential readers know that people are reading and enjoying the book and makes it easier for them to decide to buy the book. You can post a review on your blog, the book seller’s site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc…), and reading sites like GoodReads. Or, you can cross post your review on all of them. It’s an awesome gesture and so, so, SO helpful.
  • Rate, tag, and like my book on Amazon- Amazon has a bizarre way of ranking books that nobody seems to really understand, but doing things like tagging or rating a book only takes a second of your time, but helps get the book into the hands of the people who will most enjoy that type of book.
  • Give me feedback- If the book doesn’t work for you and you don’t want to hurt my sales with negative feedback, but you don’t feel like you can give honest positive feedback, please know that I’m open to hearing whatever it is that you want to say about it. I want to know what’s working and what's not. I am not the temperamental artist type so don’t fear my crazy wrath. And if you have nothing but good things to say, feel free to let me know that too. I’ll never turn down a little feel good.
  • Offer to host me on your blog- If you really love the book and you feel like I might be a good fit for your blog readership, ask me to do a guest post or an interview. I won’t say no and we both get something from the partnership- I get access to your readers and it’s a day that you don’t have to come up with a post of your own. Wins all around! Yay!
  • Put an excerpt of my book in the back of yours- Have a new book coming out and think that the first scene or two of one of my books would appeal to your readers? Shoot me a note and we’ll work something out.
  • Recommend the book- This goes along with the whole word of mouth thing from way up the list, but it bears repeating. If you see an opportunity to recommend any (or all) of my books to someone who will enjoy it, it would help get the word out. Book bloggers, reading groups, friends and family members. A sincere recommendation can sell a book to almost anyone.
  • Read books by other Indie authors- If you like my book then buy books by other Indie authors. We’re all in the same boat as we struggle to promote our books. Buying a book from an indie not only helps them pay the bills, but it gives them a sense of validation to know that someone wants to read what they’ve taken the time to write. Buying Indie helps to support our little community and without my Indie writing friends, I might not have even heard about Indie publishing.
  • Buy the book- If you truly loved the book and want to show support, buying the book would help out a lot. Of course there is the money that I’ll see from your purchase, which is awesome and appreciated, but buying the book has the additional benefit of raising my rankings on the site where you buy it, which will increase my visibility to other buyers.
  • Gift the book to your friends and family- Gifting the book not only counts as a sale (which benefits me as stated above), but it also introduces my book to a new potential fan who can then do all the things in this list.
A special thanks to every single reader who has taken a chance on an Indie and then gone on to do great things, like show how the power of one can move mountains. 

Y'all ROCK!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

BESTSELLERS

Y'all, I'm so excited to announce that today, for the first time since I published them, all four of my books are ranked on 3 BESTSELLER LISTS with Amazon.  Each!  At the same time!  I know that might be, like, "same ol', same ol'" for some authors, but to me that is HUGE beyond huge.  Amazing.  Exciting. Humbling. 

Which brings me to you--readers--the ones who buy my books.  The ones who support my work.  The ones who dare to help a girl make a dream come true.  You can't possibly imagine, won't ever know, how much this means to me.  Thank you.  From the depths of my heart and soul, THANK YOU! 

Now, let's celebrate!  Virtual chocolate and diamonds for everyone!!  I'm still just starting out, after all.  Virtual is all I can afford:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Giveaway copy of Blood Like Poison

Oh, YAY!  Thanks to Claire over at YA Bookie Monster for hosting a giveaway for Blood Like Poison.  If you'd like to enter to win, skip on over there*.

*skipping is optional and may be substituted for running, flying, leaping, crawling, moseying, jumping, walking, sidling, scooting, shimmying, sashaying, flouncing, moving, ambling, strutting, prancing or gliding.

Happy Hump Day!  WOOHOO!!  We're halfway home:)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time to Buckle Down

Alright, so life had been determined to get in the way of the sequel to Blood Like Poison.  Last week, I typed a grand total of, like, 250 words.  At that pace, I'll be done by...NEVER!  So, this week I'm tightening my belt and buckling down.  If I keep my nose to the grindstone, I still have every hope of publishing the sequel by the first of June.  What I'm really shooting for is the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend.  That way, any and everybody who wants to download it before they go vacate will be able to.  Nothing like reading a good book by the lake / ocean with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.  Ahhh!  I can almost smell the water...

So, I'll keep you posted as to my progress.  Some parts go faster than others.  I'm thinking I can probably pound out a good 5K words today if I stay off the internet:)

On a related note, I'll be including the first chapter of Courtney Cole's Every Last Kiss at the end of this next book, so those of you who haven't checked it out yet will be able to.  YAY!


Alrighty then, have a wonderful Tuesday everyone:)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interview with Author Courtney Cole

I have a special treat for everyone this morning.  New Indie author of YA Paranormal Romance, Courtney Cole, has stopped by to tell me a little bit more about herself and her book, Every Last Kiss.  I thought I'd share what I learned about this amazing writer with you.

ABOUT EVERY LAST KISS

What would you do if you held Fate in your hands?How awesome is that cover?? 
17-year old Macy Lockhart has the weight of the world on her shoulders.  For thousands of years, she has been a Keeper in the ancient organization, the Order of the Moirae… and she literally holds fate in her hands.
But this is something that she forgets because her memories are wiped clean in every life until it is time for her cycle to start again.  For the last two thousand years, this has never been a problem.   Until now.  And now…Fate, the very thing that Macy was born to keep, is being challenged and she has only one choice:  To return to a previous life to fix it; a life where she was Cleopatra’s handmaiden, Charmian.

And that’s not all.  Unless she interferes with the fabric of time, the very thing she has returned to repair, her soul mate will die leading Marc Antony’s forces against Rome.  Can she really stand aside and allow the love of her life to die all over again? 



ABOUT COURTNEY COLE

Courtney is a novelist who, given the choice, would rather write than eat chocolate (although she seriously hopes that she is never forced to choose).  

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Indiana Wesleyan University, she discovered that no amount of working in the corporate world could quell her urge to write.  Every Last Kiss is her debut novel, followed closely in January 2012 by the second book in the series.
Courtney lives in Mishawaka, Indiana with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.  Learn more about Courtney and her books at www.courtneycolewrites.com


Q&A With COURTNEY

M:  In one short sentence, tell us about your book.

CC:  Yikes.  I always hate this question.  It’s so hard to fit it into one sentence.  But then, that might be because I talk too much.  Okay, here goes:  Every Last Kiss is a fast-paced paranormal romance based around the idea that the Fates are real… and that they have an active hand in determining the outcome of mortal lives.  

M:  What inspired your story?

CC:  Well, I was pondering fate one day and thinking about tragic people who might change their own fates if they could.  That led me down the path of thinking about Cleopatra… and from there, my idea just developed a life of its own.

M:  If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you cast to play your main characters?

CC:  Hmm.  You know, I think I would like unknown actors to play in it. I always hate it when I go to the movies and I’m distracted because I associate those actors with other movies.

M:  When did you first begin writing?

CC:  When I was just a kid.  I read stacks and stacks of books… and if I didn’t like an ending to one, I just wrote my own. 

M:  What has been the biggest influence to your career as a writer? 

CC:  Well, I was lucky enough to really start getting serious about writing after J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer blazed the way for fantasy and paranormal writers.  After they wrote their blockbusters, people really started to understand that anything can happen in fiction.  We’re not limited to the constraints of reality. 

M:  What made you choose this genre?

CC:  I chose Paranormal Romance as my genre of choice because of that very reason…. We’re not limited to the constraints of reality.  If you can dream it up, you can write it down.   I mean, we all live fairly ordinary lives (unless say, you’re Lady Gaga or someone).  When we read, don’t we want to get taken to fantasy worlds?  I know that I do.

M:  What is your favorite book? 

CC:  My all-time fave book is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.  I love that little book for a hundred reasons… and everything Mitch Albom touches is magic.

M:  Who is your favorite author and why? 

CC:  I have tons of favorite authors—in several different genres.  I’ve added you to my list, btw.  And Richelle Mead and Mitch Albom are on there.  My friend Wren Emerson has a series coming out soon that is phen-om-enal.  I’ve been lucky enough to read it before it’s released.  So, she’s on my list now.  My list is long.  J   

M:  If there was one thing in life that you could go back and do differently, what would it be?

CC:  Oh, like everyone else, there a hundred things I would change if I could. But I try to remind myself that I can’t.  And every road that I’ve ever been on has led me to this moment—and I kind of like it here. 

M:  Favorite food?

CC:  Mexican.  Hands down, every day of the week, if I could.   (Extra cheese and calories, please!)

M:  Favorite saying?

CC:  Saying?  Hmm.   I’m a realist, so I try not to get all worked up about daily drama.  I mean, we’re all going to have drama at some point, so there is no reason to get high blood pressure over it, right?   I tend to say, “It is what it is,” a lot. 

And when I’m going through a rough patch, I always remind myself that “This too shall pass,” which is something that my grandma used to tell me.  And you know what?  She was right.  It always does. 

You can read more about Courtney in this article that was printed in a newspaper local to her.  You can also find her on her blog, on FB or on Twitter @CourtwritesYA. 



I would like to thank Courtney for agreeing to let me interview her.  I've begun her book and will be posting a review in the future.  But until then, y'all go out and buy it!   You can find it at Amazon, B&N, and at Smashwords.

Thanks to everyone out there who supports Indie authors by buying our books and then spreading the word.  So many dreams couldn't come true without you.

Happy Manic Monday everybody!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Turn About is Fair Play

I have had the privilege of meeting and becoming acquainted with the new YA up-and-comer Courtney Cole.  I will be featuring her on Monday, posting a Q&A with her as well as an article that was done by a newspaper local to Courtney.  Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, go check out her blog and the neat questions she asked me.  Of course, my answers are goofy.  I'm a terrible interviewee.  Come to think of it, I'm probably a terrible interviewer, too:)  Luckily, I write novels rather than report for E.T.  *wink wink*

Now, time to get back to Bo and Ridley...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mosey on over...

...to Electrifying Reviews where you can enter to win a copy of my new book, Blood Like Poison.  I'm working on the sequel now, though I'm not as far along as I'd like.  I still hope to be finished by the end of next week and have it published by the end of May or early June.  All y'all that have "that question"--you know, the one about Bo at the very end--you'll just have to wait a little bit longer and read the next book to find out.  Aren't I mean?  Muah-ha-ha-ha  :)

FYI:  for those who don't believe that "mosey" is an actual word, for those who think it was just something John Wayne made up, I took the time to confirm it.  To mosey is to walk or move in a leisurely manner.  That's what I'm going to be doing today:  moseying.  It's the weekend, y'all!  It's no time to hurry.  That can wait until Manic Monday.

TGIF everybody! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Worthy Cause

I have recently been befriended by a lovely lady by the name of Lora.  I am going to be the feature author on her blog for the month of May.  The post that includes an interview and giveaway should be up later today at the link in the next paragraph.

In the course of our conversation, among the other wonderful things I learned about her, I found out that she is involved in fighting illiteracy.  Through her blog and her organization READ FOR YOUR FUTURE, Lora collects books to stock for underprivileged children who don't otherwise have access to books.  Chances are, if you know who I am, you read, or else you probably wouldn't be here.  Imagine your world if you either couldn't read or didn't have access to any books even if you could.  Think of all the wonderful imagery you get from reading a good book, all the places to which you can travel without ever leaving your home.  Think of all the people you get to meet and all the things you get to do, all from the comfort of your favorite chair.  The least we can do after getting to spend a few hours in the exciting life of someone else is to share the joy. 

If you are an author who would like to donate a set of your books to Lora's cause or if you're an avid reader and your bookshelf is overflowing, get in touch with her and send her some books.  You'd be helping to feed the hungry minds of our youth as well as enriching the lives of the masses.

Ok, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now:)  Happy Thursday everyone.  I'm off to get Bo and Ridley out of their latest mess...