Sending Some Dolce Vita Your Way

It’s cover reveal day for book 4 in the Vivienne Series. In Voyage Vivienne travels to Italy to begin her new job. After so much DRAMA with Jack she is ready for some sweet life. Check out the beautiful new cover then follow the link to pre-order your copy for only 99c. The price will go up on publication day, March 23rd. (Click here to get your copy.)

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La Dolce Vita awaits Vivienne in Italy—the job of her dreams, glamorous new friends, fantastic food, and (finally) some absolutely delizioso sex. But Viv is a woman who gives the term uptight American a whole new meaning. She may be super smart and over organized but she’ll need new expertise and a whole lot of courage to succeed at her new job. You’ll tear through this story cheering for Vivienne to find the daring, drive and dolce she needs to sweet talk the rich and famous into ordering an eighty-million-dollar jet from her.

Voyage is the fourth book in The Vivienne Series–seven hilariously fierce and flirty chick lit novellas. If you like inspiring stories filled with relatable sexy, smart women then you’ll love this glass-ceiling smashing, worldwide journey by feminist fiction author, Karen Gordon.

One click your copy now to begin your captivating high-flying adventure and #LiveLikeViv.

Fearless Flying Cover Reveal

Ok, you can go ahead and judge my book by its cover. Because today I revealed this absolutely beautiful cover created by the lovely, talented and ever-so-patient Rebecca Berto of Berto Designs. It took Rebecca and I several tries to find a look that said chick-lit and had the right energy AND could be translated into six more covers for the rest of the series. I admit, I also had some help from Whitney G, an author who definitely knows a thing or two about great covers. In the end we created a look that not only fits in the chick lit genre but is also warm and inviting and shows the determination of Vivienne, the main character, to take off on her life’s adventure.

So, without further ado…I present…Fearless Flying.

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New & Improved Burnouts Series

They’re the same unique, sweet contemporary new adult love stories but with a whole new look.

I hoping to bring them to a whole new group of readers so I took a new direction in the packaging. I wanted covers that better expressed that these are definitely romance books, full of all the great feels you want when you read a romance. But I also wanted the highlight the things that make them unique in the romance category. The heroes in both books are different. No “bad boys” here. These are really nice guys who genuinely like women. These are the guys you cheer for because you like them. They are multi dimensional, real people with hopes and fears and faults and dreams.

And my heroines are truly strong, sexy, fun girls–never apologizing for their smarts, love life or the choices they make.

The stories are a little more gritty, but all my reviews thus far have mentioned how much they are like what high school was really like–the heart aches, silliness, mistakes and awkwardness of falling in love for the first time.

Here’s a sample from “Suburban Love Song”

Carrie sat down with a fork and dug into the rest of the cake. She looked up into Ben’s disapproving eyes. “Wha?” she said through her mouthful, “it’s not like anyone else is going to eat it.” She shoved another forkful in to spite him, then chewed with a smile on her face, her cheeks full.

“So where is MG?” Ben was referring to her best friend who was grounded, at least for today.

Carrie thought about answering him and letting the cake fall out of her mouth, but she was enjoying his company and didn’t want to razz him too much. She held up a finger till she swallowed then said, “grounded.”

“She got caught going out with a 22-year old guy.” Ben didn’t need that information, but it was always fun to shock him a little. Carrie’s own sometimes boyfriend, Chuck, was 21; another fact that Ben would, no doubt, not approve of.  But Ben didn’t seem fazed, or really interested.  Why did she always feel the need to press his buttons? Because you are a mean girl, her mother’s voice in her head chimed in.

Carrie put down her fork as she felt the storm clouds of guilt rain on her little birthday parade. Focus on the other person, don’t always talk about you, said the mom-tape running in her head. “So, are you still going out with Joelle?” Carrie knew he was. Ben and Joelle always walked around school holding hands. Joelle proudly displaying her purity ring between their clenched fingers. People in Carrie’s group, the druggies, would gag and make retching noises when they walked by.

His answer was a strangely weak, “yeah.”

“What?”

“Nothing.” Ben filled his mouth with cake so he wouldn’t have to talk then focused on giving Christopher another bite. Carrie kept watching him, looking for more details than his lukewarm answer. Finally after swallowing Ben said, “You don’t like her much, do you?”

Carrie wondered if her feelings about Joelle showed on her face. She hoped they didn’t because she was going to lie to be nice to Ben, “She’s alright,” she said with a shrug. Ben wasn’t buying it. “OK, no, I don’t like her much, but I think the feeling is mutual.”

That seemed to get his attention, “What are you talking about?” You could hear his shock that Joelle Welker, purity ring-wearing President of the Right to Life club and outspoken Christian would have anything bad to say about anyone. Carrie knew better.

“She talks about us, about me, and MG.”Carrie paused to read his reaction, so far neutral. “More than once I overheard her and her friends calling us whores.  She calls my friends drug-addicts.”

Ben raised his eyebrows, “Aren’t they?”

Now it was Carrie’s turn to get defensive. “Some of them do drugs, but not all. Most just dress different, ‘cause they’re creative. So people judge them, people like Joelle.”

Ben carried Christopher into the living room and dropped him on the couch. Two-fer giggled. Ben picked up the remote and turned the TV to cartoons, distracting him from their conversation. “Is that why you hang around with them?” he asked as he walked back into the kitchen, “because you’re creative?”

 

“Yeah, I guess so, and they’re nice. They don’t judge.” She raised her eyebrows, challenging him.

“You’re kidding, right?” Carrie knew he was referring to them gagging when Ben and Joelle walked by.

“They only give it back to those who dish it out.”

Silence. Damn it. They were getting along ‘til she had to bring up this mine-field of a topic.

“Do you want some more cake?” Christopher popped up and looked over the back of the couch, “cate?” They both laughed.

“Not you Two-fer. I asked Ben if he wanted more because some little monster ate all his cake.” Christopher laughed and said, “meee.” Then he turned and plopped back down to watch TV. The uncomfortable tension between Ben and Carrie was still there.

Ben picked up his plate and fork, took them to the sink and rinsed them off.  Carrie was surprised he didn’t load them in the dishwasher. “Thanks for the cake.  It was really good.” He walked over and stood directly in front of her, crowding her space. “I’m sorry I forgot your birthday,” he almost whispered.

Carrie backed up into the counter. She didn’t want him to be nice, it was too real, too honest, too much. Joking and teasing she could take, distance was good too. “Why would you remember my birthday?” she smirked. She was too raw for this today.

“Because I went to every one of your parties since we were 6,” he said as if he was pointing out the obvious. Ben was looking down at her, studying her.

“What?” she said, exasperated and irritated by his scrutiny.  There was pity in his eyes, and it was rattling her cage.

“Was this your only party? For your sweet 16?”

Oh, a swift kick to the heart. She couldn’t let him see how much it all hurt.  “Yeah, well, I’m not so sweet.” She tried to diffuse the tension.

Ben was standing over her, trying to look into her eyes, like he had something important to tell her, something he wanted to make sure she heard. “You deserve better than this.”

Shit he was direct. That last hit was her undoing. A tear she fought all afternoon while she made her cake ran down her cheek. She looked away from him and tried to turn away in the small space between two stools, the counter, and Ben.

But he didn’t move. He stayed in her space, blocking her in, witnessing her humiliation. Carrie worked to shut down her pain and turn it into anger. She was about to shove Ben out of the way or say something rude when he crushed her thin defense. He reached out and hugged her.

“I’m sorry.” He spoke quietly into her hair. “I just say stuff. I think just because it’s true, I should say it.”

Carrie’s body tensed. Her brain spun trying to make sense, trying to process, trying to find a reference for his comfort. She felt a small warm spot in the pit of her stomach, and it felt amazingly good and god-awful strange at the same time. She tentatively bent her arms and touched his waist.

“I’m sorry I made you cry.” He said over the top of her head.

Carrie tried to respond but couldn’t talk past the ball of emotion caught in her throat. She was about to tease him about wanting to hug her because that’s all he and Joelle did, but she fought the urge to make him angry. It felt too good. He was tall, and warm; there was so much Ben surrounding her. And his jacket smelled like fresh air and laundry detergent and fabric softener. She felt the lump in her throat melt and the breath it had been blocking all day eased out of her.

***

I hope you liked it. If you did you can pick up an kindle copy of Suburban Love Song for just 99c for the next 5 days.

 

Why I’m Changing the Covers & Titles of My First Two Books

The short answer is that as an indie author and entrepreneur I’m still learning, and that’s a good thing. The longer answer is that although I’ve had fantastic reviews I haven’t had much in the way of sales. It’s been frustrating, but in a way it was a good thing because it caused me to learn a very valuable lesson:

Tweet: In indie book marketing–your past books are never dead.

We all have our gripes about Amazon but one of the absolutely beautiful things about the mega sales site is that they allow you to tweek and change your product until you get it right. Unlike a retail store where once the product is on the shelf it will either sell or die, we have the opportunity to make changes then bring a book back to the market. Not only is this a product developer’s dream but it also allows those of us who are making tons of rookie mistakes to fix them.

I love the covers that I have right now. They are very cool, but they don’t work. When I worked with my first designer I just wanted a cool cover (and I got one), I didn’t understand that sometimes cool doesn’t translate for readers. What my covers didn’t do was announce that my books are romance novels. My titles didn’t help either. In my quest to be unique I uniqued myself out of what readers were looking for. Fortunately I met the amazing Whitney G. , a business-savvy indie author with a super-generous soul (and hella good writer, check out her books here). In a three hour meeting over coffee she opened my eyes to the problem. She straight out told me that if she were skimming Amazon, looking for a romance book, she wouldn’t know that either or mine were in that category or have a clue what they were about.

Now I could have gotten all offended and shut down in a huff. She was talking about my babies, my first two novels. But I want to be a successful writer more than I want to be seen as some creative genius. I have 100% faith in the stories inside the books but if I didn’t make some changes not many would ever get to read those stories. So, I’m working with a designer right now to create new covers. I’ve created new titles. I’m rewriting the blurbs and so much more. And I’m loving it. I’ve got renewed energy for the series. Half the fun of being a writer has been learning about the business side and this lesson is HUGE. Even if I had great covers, titles and blurbs they still might sell better with a new ad campaign or marketing technique. There is always an opportunity to grow and learn as an entrepreneur.

But to do that you have to be proactive–seek out other authors and ask questions about what is working for them. Listen to podcasts on the business of selling books (I highly recommend The Creative Penn). Study what the most successful in your genre are doing. Attend a writers conference that is focused on the business side of things. As I’ve noted before I had no clue I was opening a business when I hit publish on my first novel. That has made for a chaotic but still damned exciting start. I wouldn’t trade the roller coaster ride for anything. The longer I’m in it the more I feel like I’m in control of where I’m going.

How about you? Indie authors, how are your first books selling? Now that you’ve learned more about your market would you consider changing the covers? Titles? Marketing techniques? Share your stories in the comments so we can learn from each other. #PayItForward

 

Cover Reveal and Countdown

It’s tough, it’s pink and it’s perfect.   It’s the (reworked) cover of my first novel.  

The lovely Kim and Kitten at Deranged Doctor Designs spent hours upon hours learning about the characters and the story and then translating them into a cover that will hopefully stand out in the wide literary sea that is Amazon. 

It’s becoming a little more real everyday.  I’m almost finished with the final edit, which is good, because I need something to go with the cool cover.  And I’m making plans to tell the world (or as many people as I can) about it.  Which is strange for an introverted writer.  At the coffee shop where I had lunch yesterday I worked up the nerve to ask to put a flyer advertising my book on their bulletin board.  They not only agreed, but started talking about a possible book signing event – a very unnerving, but very exciting idea.  Luckily, I can put that on the back burner for now.  I have so much to do before I can even make a signed hard copy real.  

My countdown calendar hangs on the wall above my desk.  At twenty-five days out I have a cover and a novel, this is good.  Now for that crucial final element, readers.

  I realize that this story isn’t for everyone, so now I need to find as many of the people who will love it as possible and tell them about it.  

Who is it for?  It’s for those who love a love story, a happy ending.  It’s for those who like their love stories a little more gritty and real.  It’s for those who what a different love story, where the girl is not so sweet and the guy is.  It’s for those who want to remember high school, doing things you probably shouldn’t have, making the friends who will last a lifetime and for some, first love.  

In a nutshell, it’s sweet, it’s silly, and it’s smexy (smart-sexy) . . . and it’s almost here.

Available and an E Book March 4th on Amazon.