Anatomy of A World of Gothic: House at the Edge (Greece) by MM Jaye

Introduction

My participation in the A World of Gothic series was my proudest moment as an author last year. Talented, award-wining authors penning suspenseful stories with a definite Gothic vibe, each set in a different location around the world, all taking place in a remote, awe-inspiring mansion. As a number of amazing titles have been available since the series launched last April, I felt I should bring them to your attention again, from a different angle this time. So, each week, I’ll invite one of the series’ authors here, spotlight her book and focus on the heroine, the hero, and the backbone of any good Gothic story, the house/castle/mansion that tends to hold the key to solving the mysteries piling up.

This week, it’s my turn. I published House at the Edge last May, and although the setting is again Alonissos, my favorite Greek island, the ambiance is a complete one-eighty from my usual summery scenery. Read on for a complete breakdown of House at the Edge.

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House at the Edge

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, mystery romance
Purchase links: Amazon US / Amazon UK / iTunes / Kobo / B&N 

Description

He wants her out of his house. The house agrees…

After losing everything—her family, her home, her sense of self—former heiress, Daphne Alesi, has no choice but to start anew. Broke, unwanted, and suffering from a rare condition that makes defining her emotions mind-numbingly difficult, the only thing she has left is a strong will to survive.

Starting over on a remote Greek island, in the dead of winter, just because it was her grandmother’s birthplace might be a foolish plan, but staying in England is not an option.

The people of Alonissos are far from welcoming, not least the brooding recluse whose home she literally invades. The infamous House at the Edge is rumored to host a ghost—the soul of the enigmatic owner’s deceased wife. But it will take more than an angry spirit to send Daphne fleeing.

Being emotionally detached has some benefits, after all.

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I’ve done a Q&A with the other authors in the series, but it would be weird to answer my own questions, so I’ll just segmentize the anatomy.

What writing a Gothic means to me.

This was a challenge. But although I live a consciously drama-free life, since it threw my way enough challenges to make me not seek out more, writing-wise I’m a thrill-seeker. When Alicia Dean called for submissions for the A World of Gothic series, I jumped in without even thinking it through. I had no clue about the story I’d write. And the mystery suspenses I’d read were books published in the mid-twentieth century, not exactly fresh stuff. All I knew was that my heroine had to be stranded in a remote place, the setting should be the exact opposite of warm and fuzzy, and the hero had to be mysterious and aloof, casting a shadow of danger. Oh, and a ghost should be lurking somewhere. Cakewalk. Not. But a delicious challenge it was.

My female lead: Daphne Alesi

I love writing complex characters, and I don’t limit this only to my male heroes. I needed a plausible reason for Daphne to go to a remote Greek island in the dead of winter and stay there despite everyone’s negativity. Also, the biggest driver for me to write romance is the healing power of love to damaged characters, and their denial both that they are damaged and that they need healing. So Daphne had to be immune to everyone’s logic. The islanders efforts to chase her off shouldn’t scare her. But that would only be true if she wouldn’t emote. As in suffering from an emotional disorder. Once I reached that conclusion, it was easy to research and decide she’d suffer from alexithymia–inability to decipher emotions and react accordingly. On the other hand, since she’d lost everything back in England and was desperate to find her roots in the island her great-grandmother gave birth to her grandmother, deciding to move to that island and then stick mulishly to her decision despite looming dangers made more sense.

My male lead: Manos Varnezis

Owner of a remote mansion? Check. Ruggedly handsome and aloof? Check. A reclusive widower with a traumatic past? Check. Okay, good stuff for the Gothic vibe this story needed, but he sounded kind of cliche. I dislike standard romantic heroes whose wealth is a static thing, and they do nothing but sulk. Manos had to do something constructive with his life. So I made him a certified speech therapist, working with kids with learning or speech difficulties online. The power of the internet gave that recluse the ability to do something useful with his life and made him a more developed character for my book.

The chemistry between the two? It was a slow build, but a fire that erupted out of nowhere (hello, ghost!) made it burn hotter than the flames. Daphne imposed herself in Manos’ residence as the cook he didn’t know he needed, and she gradually reminded him that he actually needed human interaction as well. Love bloomed, but the house wasn’t down with that. Then things turned ugly.

Wearing the casting director hat

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Oh, Jamie. Disclaimer: I’m not a 50 Shades fan. At all. But Jamie would make the perfect Manos. The scruff, the piercing gaze, the baritone voice. It’s all there. In spades. And Zooey Deschanel would be the ideal Daphne. Quirky yet strong and determined with a skewed self-image, thanks to her ex-model, gorgeous mom who she hasn’t taken after, Daphne finds herself with nothing but fights to earn her right to happiness. They’d make a beautiful couple. I actually had Zooey in mind when looking for stock photo models for the book cover, and I think I nailed it 🙂

 

The antagonist: the House at the Edge (from the book)

The rain was falling in sheets, forcing me to squint, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the house. The ground floor was dressed in dark natural stone, while the upper level’s façade bore the signs of neglect with streaks of brown, angry scars on a once pristine white surface. Shafts of gray granite lined the domed windows, and if the metal arched mullions weren’t a Gothic nod, the thick turrets pointing to the pewter sky made me think I had entered a portal to a different world—one miles away from a Greek island.

A dazzling white streak of lightning slashed between the beckoning lightning rods perched on the tips of the turrets, pulling me from my trance. I let the bike drop onto the brown slush and ran up the wide marble steps. Somewhat protected under the portico, I stood and stared at the dragon-shaped metal door knocker.

The thought that I was in over my head evaporated with the rumbling thunder, crashing behind me. No, there was no going back.

The greater setting: the island of Alonissos

The stereotypic image of a Greek island makes an unlikely setting for a Gothic mystery romance. But the Greek isles, removed from the throngs of tourists and frequent ship routes, can be quite inhospitable in the winter. Alonissos is no exception. It’s small with a population of just over two thousand, fighting recession like every other part of Greece. So an ignorant English-speaking girl who suddenly lands there, demanding to find employment when the island can’t feed its own would certainly not be welcome. And if she catches the attention of the island’s most eligible bachelor, hostility can turn to danger.

That’s it from me, today. Tune in next week for another awesome Q&A!

For more on the A World of Gothic series, visit our Facebook page

 

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Fate Awakened is LIVE (99c for a limited time)

Fate Awakened, the second (standalone) book in the Greek Tycoons series is LIVE on all Amazon stores. I’ve set the price at 99 cents for a limited time only. The regular price for this full-length novel will be at $2.99. Also, if you’ve missed Fate Captured (Book One in the series) now is your chance to dive into this Aegean-drenched, award-winning story since you can get it for FREE until Sunday! Both books are available in two heat versions: Clean and Spicy. All books guarantee an epic HEA. No cliffhanger. Scroll down to see some teasers and read an entire scene of Fate Awakened.

Fate Awakened (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Awakened (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Awakened combined

Book Description

He’s in a gilded prison.

Alex Argiros looks like he owns the board room, yet he’d trade his bespoke suits for scrubs in the blink of an eye. But he’ll be damned if he plays into the hands of his nemesis before securing his late father’s legacy. About to seal the deal that will finally set him free, the last thing he needs is a new, fresh-out-of-college PA. Especially one that feeds his associates with home-made pies and his mind with wild, wicked thoughts.

She’s on a mission.

Monica Mitchell has come to Athens, Greece, with a single goal: to prove to her childhood crush that her adult self has grown out of the habit of flashing her underwear and looking like a zombie flick castoff…in public.

The catch? She has to hide who she is.

Easy as pie. The demure PA looks nothing like the red-haired disaster magnet Alex once knew. Still, their explosive chemistry soon leads to bone-melting passion. But when her family pulls the rug from under Alex’s feet again, she knows she has to come clean or face his devastating wrath.

She knows but needs just a little longer to savor his searing kisses…

 

__________________

Teasers

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Excerpt

Of course, he would be here, Monica thought as she slowly rose to her feet, holding his piercing gaze. It wasn’t twelve o’clock yet. The day wasn’t over. In the next hour, she could see him turn into a frog and still not bat an eyelid.

No, that’s two different fairy tales.

Alex just stood there and stared at her. “Did you send those faxes?” he grated.

Monica rolled her eyes. Him and his faxes. “I did send the faxes,” she said in carefully spaced words. “And who uses faxes nowadays, anyway?” She took a swig from her bottle, her eyes on him.

His frown was so deep, his brows almost touched.

Oh, this is fun.

On her way there, her anger had dissipated. Things had been moving too fast. She’d been working for him for just two weeks. How could she expect him to sort out his feelings when in just a couple of hours, she turned from the prim PA to a naked tease? Okay, she hadn’t done it on purpose, but still…

Without warning, Alex took hold of her arm and dragged her to a corner where the din from the street was not so loud.

“Listen, Monica,” he rasped, “I was with a woman just before.”

Patience, she reminded herself, squelching the flutter of disappointment that dared mess with the good place she was in. She arched her brows expectantly as she did when she took dictation from him.

“I see.”

He yanked her arm. “Dammit, didn’t you hear me? I was with a woman.

Extracting her arm from his grip, she gave him a sweet smile. “How can I help you with that?”

“You helped a great deal,” he hissed, “with your antics in the swimming pool and … after.”

“I’m sorry, I see no connection.”

Alex’s eyes darted to the street and he leaned closer. “I intended to be with that woman, tonight, but I … couldn’t, thanks to you.”

Goosebumps covered her as a strong feeling of possessiveness took over her.

Monica, one; other woman, zero.

“Should I feel sorry about that?”

Alex’s dark gaze lost some of its fire. “No, of course not. In fact, I’m the one who should apologize…” He run his hand over his hair. “However, it can’t happen between us.”

Although prepared, her heart sank.

“Dammit, not as long as you work for me.” His eyes softened and his hard grip on her shoulder became an intimate squeeze. “But if the deal with Roe is sealed, I will leave the company and then…” Raising his hands, he ran his fingers through her hair, fanning it out.

Monica’s breath caught in her throat. What was he saying? Was he actually admitting that he wanted them to be together?

His face hardened again, and he let his hands fall to his sides. “But until then, I’m your boss and you’re my assistant. No more … getting naked in my pool.”

Monica nodded and bit her lower lip, trying not to smile. He had all but said it. Well, that was as close an admittance as she would get for the time being. Because when the deal was sealed…

“Tomorrow, I’ll fly to London. I might as well be there, since Roe might come up with all sorts of delays again. And I can’t afford to have any more delays.” With a sigh, he cupped her chin and his thumb caressed her lower lip.

“I could always send him some of my orgasmic pie—” she ventured, aware that it was her beer-boosted nerve speaking.

Alex’s eyes darkened, and she could see the juggler’s fire reflected in their depths. Leaning down, he brought his lips a hairbreadth away from hers.

“Let me go home, little siren,” he said, his hot whiskey-smelling breath warming her already flushed face. “Otherwise, you’ll tempt me to follow you and then, believe me, I’ll show you what orgasmic truly means.” He snatched the beer bottle from her, took a long swig, handed it back and took off.

Monica swayed. She didn’t dare turn to watch him leave. She just stared at the bottle in her hand. Slowly, she brought it to her lips and licked its rim. That would be the last of Alex’s delicious DNA she’d sample for at least a week.

Oh, if pies could make Donald Roe sign the damn deal quicker, she would roll out enough phyllo to pave the road to London.

___________________________

If you enjoyed that, here are those links again:

Fate Awakened (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Awakened (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Spicy romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

Fate Captured (Clean romance): Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

 

 

 

House at the Edge – A World of Gothic: Greece

I’ve done it, and I deserve a pat on my back. I’ve written my first Gothic mystery romance, formatted on my own and uploaded not only on Amazon but on iTunes, Kobo and B&N as well. (Still waiting for that B&N link, though.) This is a 38K-word novella, and it’s priced at only $0.99.

House at the Edge is the second novella in the “A World of Gothic” series of mystery romances written by authors from around the world. Last month, Marie Treanor presented her Ghost in the Rain, a gripping story set in the Scottish Highlands. This month, the Gothic tour stops on a remote Greek island, but unlike my contemporary summery romances, this time, the setting is in the dead of winter, and my heroine is almost dead inside. Who’s better to deal with a rumored haunted mansion? Read on for the blurb, an excerpt and how you can read the story for free.

HouseOnEdge_CVR

House at the Edge

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, mystery romance
Purchase links: Amazon US / Amazon UK / iTunes / Kobo / B&N (coming soon)

Synopsis

He wants her out of his house. The house agrees…

After losing everything—her family, her home, her sense of self—former heiress, Daphne Alesi, has no choice but to start anew. Broke, unwanted, and suffering from a rare condition that makes defining her emotions mind-numbingly difficult, the only thing she has left is a strong will to survive.

Starting over on a remote Greek island, in the dead of winter, just because it was her grandmother’s birthplace might be a foolish plan, but staying in England is not an option.

The people of Alonissos are far from welcoming, not least the brooding recluse whose home she literally invades. The infamous House at the Edge is rumored to host a ghost—the soul of the enigmatic owner’s deceased wife. But it will take more than an angry spirit to send Daphne fleeing.

Being emotionally detached has some benefits, after all.

HouseE Barren FB

House at the Edge – Excerpt

Darkness fell swiftly yet anything but silently. The vicious wind whipped my hair, its low keening whistle torturing my ears. Rain lashed my skin, my clothes quickly becoming a drenched straitjacket. I’d been pounding at the door for what seemed like hours, but the continuous rumble of the thunder that echoed long after it had clapped drowned any noise my fist managed to produce.

The question was burning me up. Who had pushed me out? Because I’d been pushed, there was no doubt about it. It had been neither my imagination nor a strong gust of wind. Hands. Human hands had shoved me out. I could still feel their imprint on my shoulder blades.

Clutching my sides, I trotted down the steps and peered at the top floor windows, dragging my sopping hair out of the way with one hand. Lightning slashed the sky, and that’s when I saw it. A fuzzy outline against a dimly lit backdrop, its head hidden behind a black cloak.

“Open the door,” I yelled at the top of my lungs, but the violence of the storm swallowed my voice. I scanned the ground for a stone. There was one near the barrel. I hurtled it toward the window. I missed. I couldn’t spot more loose stones around me, only half-buried rocks. Grasping a jagged edge, I pulled and pulled, but even though the ground was slushy, it wouldn’t give. Using my nails, I dug around the rock and freed it. Tears of frustration mingled with the rain in my eyes. It was too heavy. I could barely lift it, let alone throw it far.

Exhausted, I lifted my eyes to the window, high above me. Rain pelted down on me, but I knew what I saw.

The cloaked figure shook its head.

Then the light went out, and the window turned into a black hole.

___________________________________

The next book in the “A World of Gothic” series will come out soon. This time, it’s Alicia Dean’s turn. Alicia conceived the idea of assembling authors from around the world to write Gothic mystery romances, and she also edits our books. In other words, everything that comes out of this endeavor we owe to her.

Keep an eye out for Alicia’s “Devil’s Promenade” – A World of Gothic: USA, out on June 30.

For updates on new releases, offers and giveaways, follow us on our Facebook page.

We need reviews, so if you’re interested in receiving a free copy in exchange for an honest review, please contact me at mmjayeauthor@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

How I wrote 28K words in two days – Guest post by Ivy Sinclair

I got you there, didn’t I? I can picture those of you who know me doing a double-take. It famously took me four years to write my first book, but I’ve been hanging out with a crowd that really really pumps out words, and their attitude towards writing has rubbed off on me.

Ivy Sinclair is the author of shifter suspense and paranormal thriller novels. She published this post of how she churned out 28K words in two days in one of the author groups I follow, and I just had to ask for it. Read through and get inspired. Duplicating her feat sounds next to impossible, but her attitude and determination have inspired me into quadrupling my daily output. Ivy, take it from here:

How I Wrote 28,000 Words in Two Days

by Ivy Sinclair

Greyelf

This post isn’t intended to be a braggery kind of post, but hopefully offer up some helpful tips for any writer who wants to write faster and get a ton of words down on the page. The way I do this isn’t for the faint of heart and isn’t something I just woke up one morning and said “I’m going to be a crazy ass writing fool today.” I write fast- and this just tells you how fast and how much I can write when I’m properly motivated.

Even if you have no desire to ever try any of this kind of lunacy (much like I enjoy running well enough to do a 5K, but I have no desire to run a marathon), you might find a tip or trick here in any case.

Prior to this particular 2-day writing marathon, my personal best for 2 solid days of writing was in the 20-22K word range. I had done that several times, and I honestly thought this marathon was going to be the same. Turns out, because I needed to get to “THE END” no matter what- I needed to go longer than I anticipated. Luckily, I had set myself up to do it and out popped the necessary 6,000 more words.

Let’s dig in.

deadline

The first piece of the puzzle involved the dreaded “D” word: DEADLINE

Whether self-imposed or put on you by someone else (I’m looking at you, Amazon- stupid 10-day pre-order window deadline), having a deadline creates a sensation of what I’ll call positive anxiety. Your deadline should be publically announced somehow- tell your family or friends, tell your fans. Absolutely, write it down. Put a note in your calendar. Make sure it’s visible there in front of you all the time.

In my case, I’d written half of my novel already but had slacked off a bit. When I was 10 days away from the promised publishing date that I’d given my fans, I knew I was quickly approaching the point of no return. It was disappoint my fans or get the manuscript done. That deadline set the fire under my ass.

prepareThe second piece of the puzzle is SCHEDULE.

You have your deadline. You (hopefully) know enough about yourself and your writing process to know how long you realistically need to accomplish your goal, and you know what you have going on in the rest of your life around that time. Strategically pick days/times that work best for you to focus exclusively and wholeheartedly on your story.

That means you might have to have some tough conversations with the people around you to tell them to leave you the heck alone—of course, I’d soften that by sharing with them the importance of what you’re trying to do and how they can best support you. Get their buy-in and make them your cheerleaders. Promise them updates in-person (if you live with them) or via text or social media. Having a cheering squad is kind of fun— and also serves the purpose of keeping them out of your face.

I picked a weekend where I had no commitments on Sat/Sun, and the kids were with my husband’s ex. Quiet house. I encouraged my husband to rev up his Xbox One and have at it for the weekend. Win-win.

outlineThe third piece of the puzzle is PREPARATION.

Now, this is the point in the post where I expect to lose the pantsers, so I’ve got to say something brilliant. How about, I’ll give you some thoughts on how to make a tiny, little, minimal outlining task fun? (I promise—practically painless.)

I was scarred for life by the horrible outlining requirements for school papers back in junior high/high school. If I never have to look at main bullet + 3 required sub-bullets format again in my life, it’ll be too soon. I vehemently opposed doing any kind of plotting ahead of time with my books, and I did okay with that for a long time.

Then I started interviewing other authors earlier this year, and these were people who were seriously killing it in terms of sales and building a rabid fan base. Almost without exception, every one of them plotted their books out in advance. Some of them went far more in-depth than others, and everybody’s process seemed a bit different. That’s when I realized that I could make plotting what I wanted it to be in a way that worked for ME. Suddenly, my opposition to the idea waned.

Here’s what I do. (This is the FUN part.) I put a big whiteboard up on the wall of my office. I separated it into the 3-act story structure. (That’s a whole other post, but that has completely changed the dynamic of my writing.) Then I bought a stack of brightly colored post-it notes. On each one, I wrote one sentence describing a scene in my story. (In black sharpie, so the sentences aren’t that long.) Then I stuck the post-it up on the board where it fit in the story.

When you have that done for every scene (or chapter), you have a lovely visual diagram of your story. You can move bits around if something doesn’t make sense or add something in if you see a gap. This whole process can take me anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the story length.

Then I open up my pre-formatted Word document and align chapter headings to my storyboard. I type in my one sentence summary for each chapter/scene. I take a break. Later, I come back and flesh out the chapter summaries a bit more- usually 200-250 words per chapter.

That’s it. That’s the extent of my outline, and I made it as painless as possible.

Now, if I’m doing a preorder, that’s what I use for my drat file upload. I know some folks will probably flip about that, but I’ve used this process over half a dozen times, and it works for me. I’ve never missed a deadline, and I don’t plan on it. I put a warning note at the top that if they’re seeing that message to contact Amazon because they got the wrong file (in case Amazon messes up the draft vs. final file for some reason.)

Now we are really for the crucial piece of the puzzle: SPRINTS.

You’ve scheduled your time and cleared your calendar. You’ve committed publically and to yourself you’re going to do this thing. You have your outline (however bony or robust it is) ready and raring to go.

It’s time to strap your butt to your chair and get the job done. I haven’t found a more effective way to do this than Pomodoro sprints. 25-minute writing sessions following by a 5-min break before starting again. After having used sprints for a couple of years, I know that I average 1250 words in a single sprint. I realize that not everyone is going to hit that, but if you know what you’re going to write (see PREPARATION above), and you keep practicing, you will get faster than you are right now.

When you know your average wordcount per sprint, you can divide that by the number of words you need to get in, and that’ll tell you how many sprints you need to do in the time you have allocated. During my massive wordcount days, I usually plan on 10K words per day. That’s 8 sprints of 1250 each.

I break it down like this: 4 sprints in the morning while I’m fresh. 2 sprints in the afternoon because that’s when my energy is low, and my attention span has a tendency to wander. 2 final sprints in the evening before I give myself the reward of having a glass of wine and watching one of my favorite TV shows or movies.

Honestly, when I do it like this I still have time to have proper sitdown meals with my husband, putter a bit on the internet, and go to the gym or run errands. Or sit my lazy butt on the couch and stare off into space. It doesn’t feel that strenuous. The thing is, you can’t let yourself get distracted so much that you don’t come back and do the work. (Very important!!)

I’d recommend changing the scenery up throughout the day too. I usually write those first 4 sprints at my local Starbucks. Then I do the afternoon/evening sprints in different places in my house. I listen to either baroque or early jazz music with headphones during my sprints (also effective for giving my husband a clue that I am busy…) and that is the only time I listen to those genres of music. That’s a productivity brain hack I read years ago to help train my brain to focus on writing. Do whatever you need to do to fight any kind of desire to be distracted.

When I had my 28,000 word weekend, I wrote 10K words on my first day and realized that if I did the same on the 2nd day, I still had too much runaway left on the story to finish it out. My whole goal was to get to the end of the story. So I did more sprints to fill-in during the afternoon and evening. I wrote “THE END” on the manuscript about 11pm that 2nd day, and I had done 15 sprints. (Some were a bit shorter because I got interrupted btw.)

My eyes were blurry. My brain was mush. But it was done.

Don’t miss the final step of the puzzle: CELEBRATE

My favorite way to celebrate completing the first draft of a manuscript is to open a bottle of champagne and have a toast with my husband. Know that if you attempt anything like this, the day after you’re done your body will probably be sore, and your brain pretty fuzzy. What tempers it is the giddy feeling of kicking ass and taking names for a job well done. 🙂

I’d recommend taking the day off work completely and being kind to yourself. Sleep in. Get a massage. Take a long walk. Go shopping. Take a nap. Veg in front of the TV. Whatever strikes your fancy but recognize that it is important to do that if you ever think you’d do it again.

So that’s it. How I wrote 28,000 words in two days and some thoughts on how you could do the same. Happy Writing!

Recommended Resources: 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron for rapid writing, 5,000 WPH app from Chris Fox for timing sprints and tracking wordcounts

So what do you think about that, folks? Outworldly? Impossible? Doable? Whatever you think, let’s all give Ivy a round of applause because a feat it is. Bravo, Ivy!

About the Author

Ivy Sinclair is the author of the Greyelf Grizzlies bear shifter suspense series as well as the necromancer and demon paranormal thriller serial, Protect Her. She is a firm believer in true love, a happily ever after ending, and the medicinal use of chocolate to cure any ailment of the heart. Ivy’s guilty pleasures include sushi, endless Starbucks lattes, and wine. Connect with Ivy on Twitter @Author_Ivy or on Facebook.

Blurb Thursday #3 (Blurb critique): Bossy by Kim Linwood

This week, I’ll present a blurb that takes top marks. Writing a blurb can be a royal pain, but the number one rule is to, first, think about your audience and then about your book.

Kim Linwood writes naughty, sexy stepbrother romances. As not all of you are familiar with this sub-genre let me make clear that the hero and heroine are not blood related; their parents hitch, but the chemistry between the siblings is too much to resist. Bossy
is Kim’s second full-length novel, and it’s shooting up the Kindle charts as we speak—it’s already No.1 in Action & Adventure, No. 2 in New Adult & College and No. 3 in Romantic Comedy. Note that the author offers her previous book, Rebel, together with Bossy (two in one).

Bossy: A Stepbrother Romance: (With bonus novel Rebel!)

by Kim Linwood
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Purchase link: Amazon

Blurb

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do him.

One night only. No promises, no regrets. He was rich, ripped, inked up, and gone in the morning.

I didn’t even know his name. Not until I read it off the door on my first day at work.

See, I don’t do bad boys, I don’t do troublemakers and I sure as heck didn’t graduate college with a 3.9 GPA by screwing around.

I was never supposed to see him again, but now he’s my new boss, as sexy in a suit as he was between my sheets.

And my new stepbrother.

Having him was a slice of Heaven. Working for him could mean selling my soul. But if the devil looks like Declan Riordan, Hell might be worth the burn.

My take

Bossy 1

The title? Indispensable. The audience of New Adult contemporary romances have the attention span of sugar-deprived child in a loaded candy shop. If you don’t grab their attention in the first sentence, they’re off to the next half-naked-guy cover—and trust me, there are a lot! It is a crowded sub-genre. Here, Kim uses a pun that shows that the story will get down and dirty—no sweet-talking those readers!

Bossy 2

After the reader knows that the book means business, she’s got to know what kind of hero she’s dealing with. Gorgeous, tattooed with commitment issues fits the bad-boy bill.

Bossy 3

Next step is to define the hero and heroine’s relationship. The first complication is their forced professional relationship. Kim here “shows” it instead of telling it.

Bossy 4

Now, the conflict has to be founded. The conflict initially stems from the heroine’s personality which has to be at odds with that of the hero for the explosive relationship dynamics to work. Here, our heroine is a good girl, a good student who stays out of trouble apart from that one fated night—but she won’t mince her words.

Bossy 5

Conflict fully presented. Not only is the relationship professional, it’s personal as well. And there’s also emotional conflict as the heroine’s heart and logic go their separate ways.

Bossy 6

This type of blurb has to end with a bang. In this case, the big dilemma. Kim does an awesome job with heaven and hell puns–good girl vs bad boy–that work like a charm. The good girl is seriously considering allowing herself to burn in the bad boy’s hell.

There’s absolutely no way readers of this sub-genre won’t one-click this title—and its success after just two weeks since it was published proves it.

Kudos to Kim Linwood for a blurb job awesomely done.

MM Jaye

A visual tour of Alonissos (the setting of Fate Captured)

The culmination of the story of Fate Captured, Book 1 in my Greek Tycoons series, takes place in the beautiful island of Alonissos. Having just returned from my annual visit, it’s only fair I pay tribute with a post choked in stunning visuals.

Location

Alonissos belongs to the cluster of the Northern Sporades along with Skiathos and Skopelos. But, unlike these two larger islands that attract throngs of tourists, Alonissos retains the breath-taking natural beauty of the North Aegean islands without the noise, the clutter and the sometimes offputting touristy feel.

Map image – http://www.greeka.com

To me, the island of Alonissos holds emotional value as it is the place where my husband proposed back in 2002. What’s more, it’s the place that inspired me to start penning my Aegean Lovers series. It was only fair that I chose that setting. And, luckily, it’s an ongoing affair. I visit it every summer as my in-laws have a summer house there. Want to take a tour?

The Beaches

Alonissos has sixteen beaches one can access by car and countless bays accessible only by boat. Here are the most popular.

Agios Dimitrios

Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

Leftos Yialos

Leftos

Tzortzi Yialos

Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

Megalos Mourtias

Meg. Mourtias

Kokkinokastro

Image via e-thessalia.gr

Votsi

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Chrissi Milia

Chrissi

Milia

Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

Alonissos in Mythology

The island’s ancient name was Ikos, and its first inhabitant was Stafylos (meaning “grape”) the son of Dionysus and Ariadne. Its second name “Achilliodromia” references Achilles whose father, Pileas, is said to have been buried there. Variances of that name are still seen as names of inns or restaurants: Liadromia, Hiliodromia. The Achaeans sailed from here to reclaim Helen of Troy and also Jason set off from Alonissos for his quest for the Golden Fleece.

The Old Village

Image via Sightseeing in Alonissos

Offering a magnificent view of the Aegean, Hora (as the locals call the Old Village) bears the trademark windy-street/steep-stairs combo of the Greek islands. More artsy than touristy, the little shops and cafes offer quality products, full of local charm.

Image via Sightseeing in Alonissos

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Patitiri

Image from Sightseeing in Alonissos

The picturesque central port of Alonissos is also the current capital of the island. Its name means “wine-press” in Greek.

Agii Anargiri

The chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries (Agii Anargiri) is tucked in a verdant slope at the edge of a cliff with breath-stealing views of emerald waters. It’s the place that I just have to visit each and every year. I also chose this as the location for a wedding that takes place in Fate Accompli.

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The lilac

Alonissos pushes the envelope forward where colors are concerned. Instead of the traditional white and blue of the Aegean, here you see lots of lilac (my favorite color) as a main color or in trimmings.

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Image via http://www.wondergreece.gr

The Marine Park

The National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades is the first marine park established in Greece and a member of the Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. Mostly known for its efforts to protect the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus Monachus) it is also the natural reserve for hundreds of plants and animals.

I captured a picture of a Monachus Monachus seal back in 2008, and it’s one of my most treasured pictures.

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How to get there

From Athens, you can take a flight to the island of Skiathos and then a flying dolphin or a catamaran to Alonissos. Alternatively, you can use the passenger bus service to reach the port of Agios Konstantinos (100 miles from Athens – one and a half hours drive) and then take a flying dolphin, ferry or catamaran for a three-hour trip to Alonissos. There are also direct flights to Skiathos from various European cities.

With such beauty how can I not be inspired to write my love stories in this setting?

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For a sensual romance story set on this breath-taking island, pick up Fate Captured, free through Kindle Unlimited.

Useful KENP Tips

Those of you who interact with me often know that I’ve been revising Fate Accompli, my one published book, after attending online writing courses. During this time, I haven’t been promoting the book at all. After shedding 8,000 words, I re-uploaded the spicy version manuscript and started tweeting about it effectively, but that’s material for a subsequent post.

After promoting for a single day on Twitter, I saw a 14 and then a 438 KENP hit on my KDP Reports’ blue graph.

UK_market_KENP

Naturally, I was thrilled, but when I got a big fat zero the next couple of days, you can guess the questions running in my mind:

  1. what percentage of my book does 438 represent?
  2. can I find how many KENP pages Amazon has my book down for?
  3. did 10 people borrow the book and read 43 pages each, hated it and dropped it, or
  4. did one person devour the entire book in one day?

I found the answer to the first two questions in Molly Greene’s latest blog, which I recommend you read in its entirety as it sheds more light onto the KENP business. (Actually, follow her blog as all of Molly’s posts are totally worth your time.)

How to find each book’s KENP count

Bookshelf

  • Go to your Bookshelf
  • Click on the Promote and Advertise tab next to the title you want to check

KENP_Count

  • Scroll down and check the Earn Royalties box (on the left). The last line shows your book’s count.

Fate Accompli’s spicy version has a 508 KENP count. The story itself has to be a bit over 450 pages, as I have a rather lengthy first chapter of the next book in the Aegean Lovers series added at the end. Establishing that fact, I was even more curious about the high KENP hit I had, so I used the market filters on the Reports’ page. Guess what? The 14 plus 438 (total 452) KENP came from the UK.

Not having seen any mobility in that market for ages, aren’t I legit to conclude that it was one UK-based person who borrowed the book and finished it in two days rather than a bunch of British readers who all decided to borrow on that day (when no American did) read some and dropped the book?

Now, after some more days of tweeting effectively (I’m stressing that as I have to pitch my upcoming post), that’s what my all-markets’ blue graph looks like:

All_markets_KENP

The 205 plus 271 (total 476) KENP hits came from the US market, again in consecutive days, which again makes me think that it’s more likely a single person read the entire book (they add to the book’s total KENP count and the next day was silent) *doing the happy dance*.

Update: I should mention the formula to calculate your profits from KENP reads. This is:

KENP x 0.0058

(or 0.006 according to some)

Thank you Effrosyni Moschoudi for pointing this out in the comments!

My conclusions

  • If I get consecutive KENP hits, adding up to the book’s KENP count, most likely that means a reader went through the entire book.
  • Twitter being my only promotional tool, it seems I have found a way to “clickable” tweets.
  • My aim is “clickable” tweets not a large number of retweets. I’ve been having plenty of those all this time (and I’m grateful to my loyal writer friends/tweeps) but they didn’t lead to sales or borrows.
  • The link I’ve used when tweeting was that of the book’s landing page, not its Amazon page. It seems to be working better.
  • If a person starts reading Fate Accompli, it’s quite likely she’ll finish it very soon *still happy dancing*
  • Use all market and title filters available on your Reports’ page for more solid conclusions on KENP results.

What’s your experience with KENP so far? Has it given you more insight into your audience or promo efforts?

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Fate Accompli - Clean Version

Fate Accompli is available in two heat versions: Clean & Spicy

GIF Friday: Beat It #5 (Kristen Stewart)

The winner of Beat It #4 with Matt Bomer is Karli Rush, author of dark, paranormal romance. The post on her upcoming release, Let Your Heart Drive, will be published on May 11.

You can’t know me well enough if you’re not aware of my ongoing Kristen Stewart fanship. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to her. It’s a wonder I didn’t start this meme with her, but this week is all about the Queen of brooding chic.

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Don’t you sometimes struggle to add the right body language description (beat) to amp up your dialog? One that conjures just the right image, is not cliché and sounds fresh?

Then this meme-type exercise is for you. Read on for a quick how-to.

Kristen poster
Kristen Stewart @Jean_Nelson (depositphotos.com)
  • Take a good look at the GIF below.
  • Using the scene set up I give you, describe the body language you see just as you’d do if you were writing out the scene yourself.
  • Post your “beat” until Wednesday as a comment here, blog it, post on Facebook, wherever.
  • If you don’t post here, leave a comment with a link to where you posted, so I can find you.

I will then update this page to include all offerings I gather with links to participants’ sites or social media.

No judging, no winners. My aim is to gather lots of different body language beats describing a visual action/reaction for my readers (and yours) to read and maybe learn. An added perk: each week, I’ll choose a random participant who will get FREE book promo on my promo blog mmjayepresents.com.

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GIF Friday #5 starring Kristen Stewart

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With a weird military salute her clingy friends leave. Finally. I’ve been nursing my empty coffee mug for half an hour.

She stayed behind. That must be a good sign, right?

I try to ignore the flutter in my heart. I have set myself up for rejection, and I’m not used to that. But she’s different. I might be the school’s baseball star, but she’s the one who serves mean curveballs.

That land right onto my stomach.

Wiping my hands on my jeans, I stand and go to her. “You’ve had over half an hour to think it over.” I sit on the chair next to her. “Eight o’ clock. Orchard Tri Cinemas. You and me. No friends this time. Are you in or out?”

(insert beat)

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So what it’ll be? Will she say ‘yes’ this time or not? End this story the way you want. Remember to add a workable link in your comment so that I can credit you properly.