Friday, May 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: Speak Easy by Melanie Harlow and Giveaway

This day is very exciting for us here at the NAturals because we are revealing our very own Melanie Harlow's cover for her debut book, SPEAK EASY. WOOT!

First let's take a look at the lovely Melanie. There she is. ------>

And we'll look get some basic info.

Title: SPEAK EASY
Author: Melanie Harlow
Expected release date: July 22, 2013 Genre: Historical
Age Group: New Adult
Cover Designed by: Tom Barnes Design
Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours

Now, to build up the moment here's the blurb for SPEAK EASY:


July, 1923. The ‘20s are roaring, and twenty-year-old Tiny O’Mara is desperate for a little anything-goes excitement. But when her father is kidnapped by a mobster in Detroit's exploding organized crime scene, shes shocked to find herself caught up in the bootlegging wars of Prohibition—and torn between two gorgeous gangsters on opposite sides. 

To save her fathers life, she’ll have to choose between them. But deciding whom to trust isn’t easy in a world where everyone wants something—be it booze, money, power, or sex—and no one cares what it takes to get it. 

Temptation is everywhere.

And now we pause for me to tell you, this book ROCKS. There is no book out there like SPEAK EASY. You'll fall in love with Tiny from the first sentence. And my, oh, my is this book sexy! You'll want to add it to your Goodreads now. I'll wait.


Finally, what you've been waiting for. The cover:


GORGEOUS, ISN'T IT???

But there's more. Melanie's got an awesome giveaway. She's giving a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Nobel to one lucky winner. So be sure to enter here:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Under the Cover: Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas

We NAtural girls are huge fans of Alessandra Thomas because she's amazing. So when her new cover was released for her book Picture Perfect, we had to feature the book Under the Cover and between the sheets.

First, here's the cover.


Now let's go Under the Cover:

He scooted closer to me on the bed, letting his hand rest on my waist. Hi voice dropped and he looked into my eyes. “Is this okay?”

I nodded, biting my lip. There I went again, trying to look sexy in one of the least sexy moments ever.

“I want to tell you a story,” he leaned in, his voice low and husky. “About the day I went to my human form drawing class at Drexel, And instead of some ugly horny guy model, or some old woman, or some skin-and-bones girl with ribs popping out, literally the most gorgeous individual I have ever seen in my entire life walked into that room.”

“You’re kidding me.” My voice was a whisper. “My therapist said it was either try doing shit like that to get over my body issues, or have them get even worse.”

He moved his hand farther down my waist. When it grazed against the bump of fat and skin at the top of my yoga pants, I tensed. I didn’t want to hate my body - but I did.

“Did it help?” Concern flooded his eyes, laced with something like hope.

“No,” I whispered, and his mouth pressed into a tight line. “But,” I said, brushing my hand under his jaw, “Tonight did. The rock climbing. I felt strong.”

“And the kissing? Did that help?” His eyebrow flicked up, and the smile was back.

“The kissing made me feel sexy.” I leaned forward and planted a light kiss on his mouth, but when his moved against mine, I couldn’t stop. My breath quickened as he leaned further into me and our tongues played against each other. As my heart sped up, though, I realized how freaking confusing this must be.

“But,” I said, letting my forehead rest against his for just a moment before leaning back, “It really freaked me out. And the only thing I could think about after that night was that I would never let anyone see me naked again. And it seems that applies to touching, too.”

“I have a very serious question for you, then.”

Oh shit. This was it. Gorgeous Nate was going to dump me, just like Jake had done. My heart sank at the same time a fresh anger flowed through me. Why lead me on, if he was just going to do that?

“Do you think that it also applies to kissing?” He leaned in and kissed me lightly on each cheek, then on my lips.

My eyes fluttered closed. A rush of warmth surged through me, chasing away the nervousness. “You know, it might not.”

“Well,” he said, smoothing his lips across my jaw, “I have a proposal.”

“I’m listening,” I said, holding back a sigh.

“I kiss you. Everywhere. Starting with your gorgeous face.” He moved his mouth to the underside of my jaw, and flicked a tongue out there.

I whimpered.

“You tell me when it’s too much. When you’re stressed, when you’re panicked, when you feel ugly. And I will stop, and we’ll find something we like on TV, and we’ll try again next time.”He came back up to brush his lips against mine. “Next time,” I murmured. “Okay.” This guy was promising a next time, despite all my freaky freaking out.


Picture Perfect is available now for purchase.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5 Tips for eBook Cover Design

My cover reveal for SPEAK EASY is this Friday (May 31st), and while I adore the final version my designer Tom Barnes created for me, it was a bit of a rough road getting there, mostly due to my inexperience, my lack of forethought, and my lack of knowledge about what makes a good cover.

Pretty sure poor Tom wanted to throttle me several times during the process!

To help others avoid a few headaches, I compiled some advice from Tom and other sources on creating seductive eBook covers, starting with...

1) Think Ahead

Says Tom, "Think about what kind of look you would like for your cover.  Many authors use Pinterest to collect rough ideas images that fit their book.  Its helpful to have pictures and covers that you like already for reference when talking to a designer.  Get a quote on the cost of a cover and shop around."

2) Think Small

Look at these image from this article by Elle Lothlorien on cover design in a small, small, world (worth a read!):



In the world of Goodreads and Amazon, this is how small our eBookshelves are. Only we don't really have shelves, we have...


How can you increase your chances of getting that click?

3) Keep it Simple but Visible 

Lothlorien says, "You want to convey the genre, tone, and plot of the book with as few words or pictures as possible while still keeping the cover interesting." 

Look at your cover image as a thumbnail--will it entice readers to click? Does your image disappear? Does your artwork become too cluttery?

4) Research Successful Covers in Your Genre

In New Adult, lots of covers feature stock photos of couples in a Near Kiss (which I heard is sexier to readers than the actual kiss) or guys with ripped abs. 




Finding the right stock photo can take a long time and get frustrating (trust me), but do the work. 

Here is Tom's advice on purchasing stock photos: "When searching stock photo sites, be sure you read all the legal explanations for what is covered if you buy the photo or illustration. They have additional charges for mass distribution. Trying to find photos for your book cover is very time consuming. Just like searching the web, the right keywords will make your search easier."

THIS NEXT PART IS IMPORTANT!

"If you find a photo you like, I suggest that you do a google search to be sure no one is using that photo in their book cover already.  If you click on camera icon on the google seach bar in google images you can upload your image to google and it will bring up all images that look the same.  It's a great way to double check before going any further."

5) Size Matters


According to Tom, "The biggest blunders in cover design consists of 3 major areas.  First is getting the right size and dimensions for your book cover.  This can add more hours and charges if this is not corrected."

"The second is making sure your words are not too close to the edges of the cover.  The safe bet is a 1/4” around to allow for bleed if it goes to print."

"The third is choice of fonts. The wrong font can hurt the overall design and in some cases be unreadable when scaled down.  If you plan on putting smaller thumbnails online be sure you look at it shrunken down to be sure you can still read the font."

"It's important to know that photo manipulation has come a long way but some things are still challenging or not doable. The more complicated the request the more time will it take and cost you more in the long run.  If you are on a budget, this is important because you will get charged extra for changes and elaborate covers."

Maybe one of the best things about self-publishing eBooks is that you can change your cover--and writers do this all the time. Our friend Alessandra Thomas recently changed the cover of her debut novel Picture Perfect from this:


 to this:


When I asked her about the change, she said the new cover better fits the story and the conventions of the New Adult genre. She was told the minimalist belly button was too literary. :)

She also mentioned how hard it was to find a stock photo of a woman who isn't a size 2. But that's a different post...

See you Friday for my reveal!

Cheers,
Melanie




Monday, May 27, 2013

Author Interview: Girl With Guitar's Caisey Quinn & Giveaway


Today, we have the AMAZING Caisey Quinn, author of the new release Girl With Guitar. Did you see her cover? Beautiful! And what I'm hearing about the book surpasses. Let's hear from the author. And make sure to read to the end so you can enter Caisey's Giveaway.

1. What inspired you to write Girl With Guitar?
Basically I’ve always been a huge country music fan. (Even when I was little and used to ride in my daddy’s truck jamming to Hank Sr. My mama called it knee-slappin’ music! Ha!) At a Luke Bryan concert last summer, a friend of a friend made a few comments about opening for Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert before they were a big deal and before they were officially an item. He talked about their onstage chemistry and thus my story was born!

2. What books have most influenced your life most?
This is such a long list it’s ridiculous. Here’s the short version: Les Mis (Hugo), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky), and Jennifer Echols’ Going Too Far.

(For the long list, keep an eye out for my guest post on My Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time).

3. What author has influenced you the most?
Ack! Just one? I can’t narrow that to just one. I will say this. I am such a Jennifer Echols fangirl. Y’all don’t even know. I met her at a book signing for her first romantic drama, Going Too Far, and I still have the picture of us up in my office. Her stories are sweet, heart wrenching, and A-freaking-ddicting! And she’s a local author. Meeting her back in like 2007 I think it was, it hit me that hey, a chick in Alabama CAN be an author! At that time I thought they all had to live in New York. Who knew? I could add Abbi Glines to this also, but I have to confess I actually hadn’t read anything by her until one of my CPs suggested it after reading a draft of GwG. But yeah, her too! Rock on Alabama Author Chicks!

4. What book are you reading now?
Oohh some good ones! Open on my Kindle right now are my CP’s newest release Love in Darkness and Abbi Glines’ Twisted Perfection. Writing seriously interferes with my reading time but I can’t pass up a great book!

5. When did your desire to write start?
I pretty much started writing as soon as I could. In ninth grade I had a poem published in a teen magazine and I was addicted to it after that.

6. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Not sure how good it is, but here’s my newbie indie author advice: 1.Finish what you start. Even when you don’t want to. Some days it will be rough, but keep at it! 2.Set goals. Word counts, deadlines, etc. You can’t reach them if you don’t have them. 3. Do not try to do this alone. Get some beta readers, make friends with other authors and ask the ones you work well with to be critique partners. Return favors. ;)

7. What can readers look forward to in the future?

The second installment of the Kylie Ryans series, Girl on Tour, is scheduled for release late summer/early fall of this year.

I also have a novel called Keep Me Still that I plan to release this year as well. (late Oct. early Nov.) It’s a stand-alone at this time but if readers ask for it, I may release the prequel novella titled Let You Go and the companion, Defending the Score/Getting His Due (between titles at the moment). ;)

Currently I’m working on a series of books called The Second Chance novels that I hope to submit to Entangled Publishing by the end of June. Working titles are Last Second Chance, Tempted By Fate, and Betting on Chance. If they pass, I’ll be self-pubbing those as well—probably early 2014.

8. Who or what inspires you?

Everything! It seriously takes a major effort not to grab a pen and jot writing ideas down every second of the day. Music plays a huge role in my writing but I’ve also found inspiration in movies, people I meet, and random observations everywhere I go.

9. If you could be a superhero, what supernatural power would you choose?
The power to heal. I am always fascinated by those characters that put their hands on people and heal them. (Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid!). I’ve lost a lost of loved ones to illnesses and injuries that involved long-term suffering so this is a power I’d love to have.

That or mind-reading. ;)

10. What is your favorite movie?
Right now it’s a tie between Pitch Perfect and The Breakfast Club. Can.Not.Stop.Watching.

11. What kind of music do you like?
I am what my brother calls an uneducated listener. I like whatever feels good to my ears. And my soul! My brother is “An Actual Musician.” As in, he’s In A Band and studied music at an institution of higher learning. I’m a country girl at heart but I listen to lots of different types of music and also enjoy Adam Lambert, The Civil Wars, The Lumineers, Christina Perri, Rihanna, Third Day, Tenth Avenue North, Red, Flyleaf, Fireflight, and a few others, including some most people have never even heard of. But I blame that on my brother. ;)

12. What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish a book?

DO NOT TRY TO DO THIS ALONE. I know I said that in my advice to writers, but it’s huge when it comes to publishing. Writing you can do alone. Yes. But when you get to the publishing part, whether going the traditional or indie route, you will need people to help you. Seek those people out. You’ll be glad you did.

And also, the market is always changing, so even if you get a million rejections from agents, that doesn’t mean your book won’t do well. Can’t hurt to try!

13. Do you have a message for our blog’s followers?
Thank you so much for your support! People don’t realize how much a kind word, review, email, Tweet, FB message, etc. can mean to an author. Even if you don’t purchase or read my book(s), just dropping me a line to say “cool cover” or something of that nature makes my day/week/month/year/life!!! Big hugs to all of you!

Thanks so much Caisey for joining us today!


Thanks for having me!!

Girl With Guitar is available now for purchase.

About Caisey Quinn:

Caisey Quinn is a New Adult author living in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She wears cowgirl boots most of the time, even to church. Girl with Guitar is her first novel. It’s available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.






a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Friday, May 24, 2013

NAked with H.M. Ward

Holy Canoli! We are NAked with H.M. Ward! Commence squeeing now!!!

Who are you and what should we know about you in 50 words or less?
A crazy chick from NY who lives in the sticks in TX. I love to write and switched to writing full time in Jan of this year.

Which one: chocolate or bacon?
Chocolate.

What is the name of your book and what is it about in 50 words or less?
Book? I have 34 titles, I mean 36. I lost count. There are 2 in progress. Okay 3. You see my problem? The latest is the 2nd volume of DAMAGED. This NA novel intertwines with my NA serials - THE ARRANGEMENT. There was a doozy at the end of vol 7 where it becomes obvious that stories will intertwine.

Tell us your main character's name and 3 adjectives that describe him/her.

Peter (Ferro) Granz: Witty, hot, and gets what he wants.

Please share with us an excerpt of 150-200 words from DAMAGED 2.
I step in front of him and look up at him from under my lashes. “Okay, you caught me. I like you. I want you. I can’t keep my hands off of you. But tell me this, beautiful man; why should I bother controlling myself when I can tell that you want me just as much?” Slowly, I step closer to him. Our bodies are a breath apart as I look up into his eyes.

Smiling, he manages to say, “You shouldn’t.” He watches me, waiting to see what I’ll do. I feel my heart pounding. His eyes drift to my lips and back to my eyes. Every inch of my body flickers to life. I want to feel his hands on me. I want his lips on my mouth. From the look in his eye, I know he wants it too.

I lean in closer, teasing him. I feel his breath on my lips. His scent fills my head and I breath him in. “Are you always this irresistible?”

“Are you always this coy? Do you just flirt, leaving your lips way too close to a man that desperately wants to kiss you?”


Tah dah!!!!

By the by, I'm 100% indie. ROCK ON INDIE PEOPLE!!!

:)
Holly

THANK YOU, HOLLY! Come back anytime. And just for grins, let's peek at at the cover for Damaged 2. Hot.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

NAked with Nathan Nix

Today we're NAked with Nathan Nix.  
Nathan Nix


Who are you and what should we know about you in 50 words or less?
I’m Nathan Nix, a novelist and screenwriter from the great city of Houston, Texas. I like telling stories and made an independent feature-length film when I was 23. It was terrible. Writing novels is much cheaper, so I do that now instead.

Which one: chocolate or bacon?
Probably bacon, but I could be tempted if something’s in the chocolate, like hazelnuts or coconut.

What is the name of your book and what is it about in 50 words or less?
The Drifters follows Nic, a suburbanite whose post-high school plans are derailed by a careless but egregious crime. Instead of heading off to a university with all her friends, she enters the bizarre purgatory that is community college, where a trio of aimless but talented artists and musicians take the former homecoming queen under their wing.
 
Tell us your main character's name and 3 adjectives that describe him/her.
Nic (short for Nicole) is faithful -- but conflicted -- and resilient.

Please share with us an excerpt of 150-200 words from your book.

We evacuated the show, along with about half the crowd, most of whom had apparently only been there to see Matt’s band. On the way to Helios, we drove up Montrose to Westheimer. The ragged, tattooed, and glammed-up (think David Bowie, not Academy Awards) flowed in a steady stream down the sidewalk, through parking lots, and into ratty-ass clubs, pool halls, Stop-N-Gos, and a Taco Cabana. The homeless milled about too, some old and bearded, others young and strung out and dressed like Rufio from Hook.

We cruised along, the windows down as Sofi smoked yet another ciga­rette.

Not that I would have ever been down on lower Westheimer with my friends from high school, but if by some far-fetched chance we had accidentally ended up in the area, windows would be up and doors would be locked. A degenerate reputation preceded the neighborhood, especially that particular intersection. Everyone in Houston knew drugs were being sold and prostitutes (straight, gay, transsexual, etc.) were soliciting clients there. It was the dark side of town in the minds of pretty much anyone I’d ever talked to until I met Sofi. Even she knew some of the stories were true though. After all, the area’s unofficial slogan was “City of Montrose: Watch Your Bike.” Perhaps they’re understating things a bit.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Under the Cover: Undescribable

This post introduces a feature of ours called UNDER THE COVER.

What is Under the Cover, you ask? It's where we show you an exclusive excerpt from Under the Cover of a new or about to be released book. It's where we go inside and between the sheets, so to say.

Today we go Under the Cover of Shantel Tessier's Undescribable. First the cover:

 
And now, we go Under the Cover:

“Hi, Slade. My name is Samantha Hall. I’m so sorry to be calling you this late… early. Your brother, Micah, said you could help me.”


Fuck.


I don’t reply but, I don’t hang up. I wait for her to continue. I hear her take a deep breath.


“I’m looking for my boyfriend, Jackson Reynolds. He sent me a text earlier saying he was heading to your party after the bar, but I’ve tried calling him several times with no answer. It’s been hours since I last heard from him and I’m worried that maybe he left to come home and something has happened to him.”


She spoke quickly, like she was nervous. To be honest, once I heard the word “boyfriend” I stopped listening. I don’t want to get involved in that shit.


But… I do feel sorry for her.


I was an ass to assume she was calling to hook up in the first place. I mean really, who calls at 4 a.m. for a fuck? Well, I know a few girls who do, but Samantha sounds very worried about this Jake guy. The least I could do is help her. She knows Micah and he obviously thinks enough of her to give her my number. After little thought, and because I’m bored with this girl in my bed, I decide to help her. 


Although, I don’t know how much help I will be. I don’t remember a Jake.
“Slade, come back to bed. I want you,” whines Jessica. She attempts to get my attention as she rolls around under my sheets.


“Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean… I didn’t think….well, I’m sorry for bothering you. Thank you anyway.”


“No you’re fine.” I lift up a finger to Jessica. “Give me a minute,” I say, annoyed that she would interrupt my phone call. She makes a not so lady-like noise and pulls the covers over her head.


“No, I shouldn’t have called this late and bothered you.”


“No, no. Really, it’s ok.” I have no idea why, but I do not want to hang up. I am suddenly much more interested in the girl on the other end of my phone than the one naked in my bed.


“Are you sure? I can just try his phone again.”


“Samantha, I promise its fine. No worries, but I don’t recall a Jake.” I think back to the packed bar that I was at for only a couple of hours. I remember a lot of girls and alcohol. That’s about it.

 

“Jackson,” she corrects me.
“I don’t recall a Jackson, either.” What is that noise? Snoring! I pull the phone away from my ear to use my screen as a light. Sure enough, Jessica is already passed out under the covers. Just fucking great. I catch sight of my t-shirt on the end of the bed and start to put it on as Samantha speaks.


“He sometimes goes by Jax.” She sounds hopeful, which makes my stomach clench.

I was introduced to a very drunk guy named Jax. I remember him because the girl wrapped underneath his arm was the one and only Bridgette Winters. A girl who gets around just as much as I do. Did they come back to my house?


“Yes, I remember hearing that name. Let me go check to see if he is still here.” I give Jessica one last look. I’ll wake her ass up when I get back and we can pick up where we left off. I pull on my jeans and quietly leave the room, shutting the door behind me. 


Want more Undescribable? Add to your Goodreads here and follow Shantel's Facebook page for updates.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting NAked!

Hello beautiful readers!

Since this is my first official post on this blog, I thought I would take a page out of our book and post an interview with...myself.  Luckily, I talk to myself all day, so this isn't a stretch for me.

Sophia: Tell us a little bit about myself.

Me:  Well, I'm a midwest girl transplanted to the glorious Pacific Northwest.  I started writing a couple of years ago and never stopped.  I'm married with two little kids, and I love to travel, which is awesome because my job takes me everywhere.

Sophia: What do you do?

Me: *glances around* I'm a published YA writer.  Shhhh! Don't tell!  It's still a secret, but probably not for much longer.

Sophia: Okay, freak.  So why NA?

Me:  I started writing a couple of books years ago that fell more into the category of NA.  I didn't know what to do with them, because no one was accepting books like that and self-publishing was just gearing up.  At the time I had tiny babies and couldn't commit to doing it all myself so I focused on more established genres.  Now I finally have the opportunity to write NA, so I'm doing it!  I'm so grateful for the amazing trailblazers who turned NA into a real thing.

Sophia: YA or NA?

Me:  I want to write in a lot of genres, which is why I'm using a pseudonym.  Not to be all secret identity, but because my YA is very different than my NA.  And I'd loved to write some fantasy more geared toward adult.  That's my non-answer.  I just want to tell stories, preferably stories with kissing.

Sophia: Perfect date night?

Me: Don't laugh!  I would LOVE to go to one of those white sand beaches and skinny dip.  I might have to marry Edward Cullen first.

Sophia: Your NA debut is titled Catching Liam.  What's it about?

Me: Catching Liam is about a girl who has no interest in dating, but then one of her conquests wiggles his way into her life—and her heart.

Sophia: What's next?

Me: Catching Liam is the first of three companion novels all featuring best friends.  The second book will be out in September, and the third around the holidays!

Sophia: Thanks for having me to chat.

Me:  I'm very welcome.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Inspire Book Blitz

We are super excited to share a book that is already available for purchase.

Inspire by Heather Buchine
Publication date: March 31st 2013
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:
18-year old Paige Rice, an exquisite beauty from East Hampton, NY, has just celebrated her high school graduation and is expecting to spend her summer living it up with all her socialite friends. But her parents have a different idea – she is being hauled away-literally- to the mountains of Vermont for the entire summer- in an RV!

Assuming she will be an outcast amongst the other teens at the campground still does not prepare her for the treatment she receives, which is far worse than she imagined. She also isn’t prepared for Travis, the campground owner’s son and the “Sexiest” guy she has ever laid eyes on. Travis is the only one who shows any interest in getting to know Paige. The only problem is that they have to explore what lies between them in secret. But once all the secrets are stripped away, the truth may be crushing.

***Intended for mature audiences due to language and sexual content***

Oh, my. Doesn't it sound hot? We NAtural authors love the men with tattoos. That makes this cover an A+ in our books.




We also love music so dig into the Inspire Playlist:

Songs that inspired the book…

Domino by Jessie J
Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band
One More Night by Maroon 5
Butterfly by Jason Mraz
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
(Kissed You) Good Night by Gloriana
Warning Sign by Scars On 45
Second Chance by Tristan Prettyman
Drunk On You by Luke Bryan
 
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