Count Down Day 1 with Nina Croft

Thank you Nina! I am so pleased and honored to have my friend here. We met when she joined our critique group, Passionate Critters. From the get go, I have loved to read her books. Her writing is fabulous and I'm certain, some day down the road, that she'll be at the top of all the best seller lists. [don't blush, Nina. I'll stop, I promise. My starstruckness is going overboard.] My virtual bakery is open! Do you like cake?

NC: I don’t really like cake (except cheesecake, and chocolate mousse cake… hmmm maybe I do like cake after all.) But I love ice cream, any sort, though I’m particularly partial to chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Tell me a little about your latest book. 

NC: My latest book is Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire and it’s also my first contemporary romance. It was released in March  as part of Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence imprint. 

I think one of the reasons we read romance is to be transported to fabulous places and Blackmailed does just that, taking the reader from the English countryside, to sophisticated London, to a dreamy Italian island hideaway. Add to that a gorgeous hero, a strong heroine, and a pretty good reason why they can’t just fall in love and live happily ever after!

When you made that first sale, how did you celebrate?
NC: You know, I can’t remember how I celebrated – which probably means it involved lots of alcohol.  But I do remember getting the email; I think I screamed. That was in August 2009 and it was from Harlequin, for my Nocturne Bites, The Prophecy, which was released in February 2010.

If there was one book [story] you could live, which one would it be?

NC: It’s probably got to be a science fiction set in space. I always wanted ‘to boldly go where no man has gone before’ ever since first watching Star Trek a long, long time ago. So I’d like to live my Blood Hunter series and sign on with the crew of the space cruiser, El Cazador, and have adventures, and fall in love with a vampire or a werewolf or an alien or….

You introduced me to Firefly, and I will be forever grateful!

Are you a plotter or a panster?

NC: Well, I always wanted to be a pantser—one of those people who just sit down and wonderful stories flow from their fingertips. But I’m not. I’m a total plotter. But I’ve come to realize that it’s more complicated than that. I think it’s not so much that I need to plot as that I need to know my characters really, really well before I start to write. I need to think about them, work out what makes them tick, how they react to different circumstances and at some point there’s a magical moment when they start to talk to me. Only then can I begin to write. If I don’t wait for that then it’s a real struggle—every word has to be dragged out of me. 

If you could go anywhere this month, where would it be? 

NC: Am I going to sound boring if I say that this month, I’d like to stay at home? I live in the mountains of southern Spain and June is about my favorite time of year here. I love the sun, and June is perfect—hot but without the stifling heat of mid-summer. So if it’s okay, I’d like to download a whole lot of books onto my kindle and go lie by the pool or under the shade of an almond tree, with my dogs scattered around me and my man at my side.

Aw. Okay. ...Can I join you? Just for the afternoon, I mean. I'll bring a tent! And walk your pig... :D

But on to things writing. What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?

NC: Easy—I get to write. A lot. 

Good point. :P

Can you give me and my readers a hint about what you’re working on for your next books?

NC: I currently have a few projects on the go. I’ve just completed the extended version of my Sci-fi/paranormal romance, Break Out, book one of the Blood Hunter series, which is due to be released in August, and is currently with my editor. I have a second Indulgence coming later in the year, this time with a very sexy Spaniard.
Finally, I’m currently writing the first draft of a paranormal romance which is a sequel to a book I have coming out in September, Bittersweet Blood. 

Nina wants to share a copy of her newest book, Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire, with one lucky commenter. I've read this book. It's a fun, witty yet emotionally satisfying story. Get in line to buy it. I don't think you'll be disappointed. :) 

Don't forget! Tomorrow is the big day. RELEASE DAY! 

Seduction by any means necessary…

Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the imminent loss of her home forces her to embark on a search for her estranged father. Catapulted into a world of criminals and totally out of her depth, Olivia is rescued by the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino.

Luc has never considered himself a knight in shining armor, and if he had been, then Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person he would choose to rescue. But Olivia is the key to finding her father, and Luc is willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and finally put the past behind him.

And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…

Buy Links


Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Nina can be found at:

The Last 30 Days -- SELF PUBLISHING

So, here it comes...
I have to smile when I use the word 'so' in my blogging and/or stories because when I use that word in real life, it immediately puts my husband's guard up. EX. Sooo, are you going to leave that open like that?  :D  Can you hear it?!  I do, and it sounds exactly like what it is, criticism. LOL  It's me, NOT wanting to be critical, but looking for WHY anyway. So softens the blow. Or, at least, it should. But if you hit a dog and say I love you at the same time, they will most likely shy away from the phrase I love you, eh?

Sooo, here it comes. The last thirty days.

As a self-published author, how do you spend those days before your release in order to make the MOST of that release day?

Exposure. I'd say that is the key element. Blogging, guest blogging, interviews, advertisement space, networking..twitter, facebook. I look ahead of me into the month of May, and I see an experiment. The truth is, you could start two or three months ahead of time putting together a marketing strategy. Guest blogging? Not easy to grab a spot on an author friendly blog without waiting. With the market so full of new authors and new books, exposure will require planning. LOTS OF PLANNING.

That's been a lesson for me.

Lucky for me, books will sell, even after the release day.

Budget comes in to play as well, and though I've got money set aside, I'm trying to spend as little as possible on this first book. That forces me to dig a little deeper to find a place to create hype. Who will do reviews? Who will let me guest blog? How many blogs can I visit in hopes of directing traffic BACK to my own blog?

I'm seeing the benefits of a PR department, not to mention marketing!!
Give it to me straight, people.
What efforts have you gone to in order to spread the word about your release day [self-published or not]?

BTW, i'm release day is NOT June 1st. It's June 8th!!!
OMG, I have a release day! :D

I can't wait to show you my cover.

Sunday Summations--Thank You Economy

It's LOOOONG. 61 minutes, but I watched it while making lunch one day. It's fast and absorbing. You won't be board or checking your watch...unless you're uninterested in ecommerce. [includes SWEARING]

I watched this You Tube video, marketing strategy with Gary Vaynerchuk, which--besides make me chuckle and laugh out loud--gave me a lot to think about in regards to this NEW publishing world. We've been talking about the changes for a few or more years. E-publishing has taken over where traditional publishing, and even self publishing, left off. It opened markets for people with unusual story lines and hard to place themes. It changed the business structure for authors--in good ways, mostly.

One point Vaynerchuk talked about was the Thank You Economy. It struck me that even as a traditionally published author, we ARE responsible for the Thank You. Bantam might look at all the advice this guy has and use it. Social media is becoming a huge part of marketing and promotion. But the Thank you economy he speaks of...

That is the author's.
Thanks for buying my book.
Thanks for sending me that note.
Thanks for reviewing my book. [yes, even if the review left you with a one star rating]
Thanks for friending me on Facebook.

I love how he ended his speech. It blew my mind a little and made me want to make my husband watch it... my husband insists that technology and the internet has depersonalized business. He would rather go to the hardware store or to the he can chat the with clerk or the teller. I agree, there's value in his approach that the internet has eliminated. BUT, social media has put us THIS close to our customers, our readers. In fact, the internet has brought us full circle, back to a time when personal interaction will be the winner, the money maker, the ultimate return on our investment.
Nothing new on my writing this week. Just a few words down with hopes of getting a lot more done in the coming week. I'm getting antsy about my submissions... did I mention that last week? If I did, well it's even worse this week. hahaha.

Have a great week.
With Love,

Sunday Summations

I write, manuscripts. Stories, if you will. When exactly does a manuscript become a book? Perhaps when it's assigned an ISBN number? In any case, I don't drone on about my writing here because I don't want to bore people to death. I don't want to rant about the ups and downs of publishing and submitting and story plotting. But, I have stories. And I want people to buy them...eventually.

Whether I sell to a publisher or sell on my own in the new world of epublishing. You just might be my reader. That's intimidating for me. There has to be at least one follower on my blog who read a post one day and thought, "That woman is nuts!" :D Or, even worse, "Booooring!"

But you know me a little if you've been around at all. I'm a romantic. I'm down-to-earth. I might be considered liberal in one circle yet conservative in another. Laid back, I'm more likely to aim for leisure and a good novel than success and the next best how-to book. My laundry gets done once a week because no matter how often I tell myself that doing a load a day would be easier in the long run, I rarely look that far ahead to worry about it.

Sunday Summations is my new way of incorporating some self-promotion. This week, I find myself waiting on two submissions. One full length ms and one novellita [a small novella. I just made that up!]. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I also have a novella that I've sent off to an editor. This one is going up Amazon style [or perhaps Pub It (BN) style] in June. JUNE! Seems so far away, but there's so much to do. Editing to happen. Covers to shop for. Formatting magic [and I do mean magic! or a miracle, God help me.]. Bottom line is... unless I acquire an editor at a publishing company who says, what have you got? I want you. Then I'm taking my novella, Spring Leave, to the stores. That's a little bit exciting, don't you think?

Last but not least, I've been looking for drive.
I keep seeing the stuff out there for kids, like my 12 yo daughter, to read.
And I wonder if I could write something for that audience.
Now there's a challenge. Just something simmering in the back of my mind... I might have to use a pen name, because you can bet your last dollar my 12 yo won't read a book I wrote. :P Maaahumm! <--since when is Mom a three syllable word?

I'll keep you posted.
With Love,
There are two reasons I wanted to show off these books. One, I could win a prize. :D But two, I'm finding a real soft spot for fantasy. My kids have been reading it like crazy for the last year or so, starting with The Spiderwick Books, then into Harry Potter... and we keep finding more and more. There's an appeal in them--excitement, caution, dreams. Don't we all love a good dream?

The links here are for Inez Kelley's print release of Myla by Moonlight, but if you find yourself as taken by her imagination as I do, don't be afraid to find Salome at Sunrise HERE.

Myla by Moonlight is available from Samhain Publishing in PRINT on July 6th.

Buy from amazon

Magic bites... and its name is Myla.

Created at Prince Taric’s birth, Myla is a spell, an enchantment designed to appear and protect him when he needs it most. She has always been content to do her duty…until one night of forbidden passion leaves her longing to experience life—and love—as a mortal woman. Yet the risk is too great. Even if her blood runs as red as his, she can never give him the one thing he needs: a child.

Taric’s blessing—and his curse—is knowing the kingdom’s future depends on his producing an heir to continue the bloodline. His bond with Myla has always been that of protector and protected. When it suddenly becomes something much more, he unwittingly sentences his people to certain death.

An old enemy is plotting to destroy all he holds dear: his lands, his people, his father, and his lover. And this time, even if they fight tooth and blade, their shared magic may not be enough to save them…

Click here to purchase in ebook.