NaNoWriMo Update *FB Giveaway*

*Whew*

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I’ve been trying to get to 30,000 words by the end of October so I can knock out the other 50,000 in November during NaNoWriMo. As of yesterday, I am at just over 16,000 – I did 3,000 just last night.

This one has been going a little slower for me. The plot is a little more complicated than most things I’ve written – and then on top of my complicated plot, I have all that romance arc to weave in. I do like plot-driven romances a lot more than I like the ones that just jump straight into the sexy stuff – and I was having a hard time finding some balance.

The outline I usually use for plotting can be found in the book The Plot Whisperer – and it works great! Then I discovered a book the other night called Romancing The Beat. It was exactly what I needed to keep the tension and romance high while also keeping my story moving forward. I’m super excited to see how it plays out.

If you haven’t seen on my Facebook page I have this super awesome gift up for grabs:

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All I’m asking for entries is that you like my page, or follow me on Goodreads and leave a comment. No tagging. No sharing 🙂 Head on over and get your name in the drawing today → HERE

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Rocking Autumn Swag Pack Giveaway!

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Rocking Autumn Foster an Author Swag Pack Giveaway!
→ Signed Paperback copy of Rocking Autumn, Keep Calm and Rock Autumn book tote, Rocking Autumn water bottle, Book Boyfriend Candle, Gold autumn leaf bracelet, Rocking Autumn bookmark and a super adorable keychain with the Rocking Autumn cover!
*This giveaway is open to residents of the continental US only*
Just like that, the storm is over.
Jax and his hurricane are gone, and I have nothing left to remind myself of his presence except a shiny new silver bracelet and purple bruises on my inner thighs. Before Jax’s grand entrance back into my world, I’d never really thought my life was all that boring. I liked my life. I liked the predictability. I liked the control I had over things.
When Jax came back this summer, he stirred everything up. Created little tornadoes of emotions and sex. It was out of control in the best of ways. It was exciting and different. Then he left. Went back to Chicago and the dust settled. Nothing felt exciting anymore. Not as exciting as him anyway.
Then I flew to Chicago in October, and it was yet another whirlwind of Jax and sex. Hot, hot sex and emotions that shook me to the bone. I came back to my boring life of cupcakes, books, and my cat. All strung out on him.
Rocking Autumn buy links (Kindle Unlimited):
Amazon → US https://goo.gl/nNxvzK
Amazon → UK https://goo.gl/iC8hGK
Amazon → CAN https://goo.gl/7pSZrE
Amazon → DE https://goo.gl/AxgSAR
Amazon → FR https://goo.gl/ct7FzN
Amazon → AU https://goo.gl/tDJA8T
Paperback → https://goo.gl/V6FcXA
TO ENTER TO WIN visit my Facebook page for details → https://www.facebook.com/alynehartnovels/
Contest closes Friday, October 20th at Midnight PST. Drawing to be held Sunday, October 22nd using Random.org. Winner will be notified via private message and in this post! 

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Self Publishing 101: Part One

Since I began self-publishing, I’ve had many friends and colleagues ask to pick my brain about “how to” go about self-publishing. The truth is that it is all at once WAY easier than I thought it would be, and daunting all at the same time. There is a lot to learn, and while this post is not going to be all-encompassing, it’s a start-so buckle up, you’re in for a journey.

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*this was going to be a You-Tube video. But I’m sick. The kind of sick where you can’t sleep at night because you can’t breathe and you can’t say more than ten words without taking a sip of water.*

Step One: If it isn’t obvious enough. WRITE A BOOK! While you’re at it, write a damn good book.

Nothing is more cringe-worthy to me as a self-published author than reading book reviews of other self-published authors and the reviewers make remarks about the bad writing and poor editing – noting specifically that they are self-published.

Around this time you should also start looking into a cover for your book.  It’s a big decision and an important one, so it shouldn’t be put off until the last minute. We all say we don’t judge a book by its cover, but in the literal sense, we do. A good cover will make someone click on your book to read the blurb or move on to the next one. (More on covers and blurbs later)

Step Two: Edit your book. You have a choice here, after all, you are self-publishing so the world is your proverbial oyster. You can edit your manuscript yourself, or you can hire a professional editor.

Editors can get expensive. Really expensive and the prices go up based on what kind of editing you want done. But they also kind of know what the fuck they are doing. You can pay someone to just go in and fix your grammar, misspelled words and poor punctuation – all the way to basically rewriting, reorganizing and deleting sections of your work – all to make your book baby shine like a diamond.

Be prepared for the editing process to take some time. Possibly even longer than it took you to write your book. Start contacting editors and establishing a rapport with one BEFORE your book is done, and get on their calendar. (You aren’t their only client)

You can go the route of DIY, but it’s also hard to be objective about your own work. It’s also easy to glaze over words you’ve read hundreds of times. For budget reasons, sometimes this is the choice you have to make. If you go the route of self-editing I would suggest buying a subscription to Grammarly and using the Word plugin, sending your manuscript off to trusted (and smart) friends and relatives and asking your beta readers some tough questions – and using their advice!

Basically, if you aren’t so sick of your book that the idea of reading it one more time doesn’t make you want to vomit-it’s not ready. I STILL can’t read The Island.

Step Three: ISBN’s. International Standard Book Number. Again, you have a choice to make here. ISBN’s are yet another expense you need to plan for BEFORE your book is even released.

So now you need to figure out what forms your book is going to be published in, because you will need a different ISBN for each one. That’s right. If you have an e-book, a paperback, and a hardcover, you need a different ISBN for each one. Then to complicate matters further – you need different ISBN’s for each e-book version you offer. So if you plan to sell your ebook at more stores than just Amazon – yep, more ISBN’s. And lemme tell ya, ISBN’s aren’t cheap – but you do get a “deal” if you buy them in bulk. In the US Bowker is who you purchase them from.

Now. Amazon, Nook, Kobo and CreateSpace (probably more, but I’m not 100% familiar with those platforms, so I can’t speak to them) do offer free ISBN’s. Great on the budget, for sure.

The drawback to a free ISBN is that YOU are not the publisher. You’re self-published, but the publisher is the platform who gave you the ISBN. Now let’s say your book makes it BIG. Everyone is talking about it, and a brick and mortar store wants to carry your book. Do you really think they are going to purchase bulk books from Amazon? Hell no. What if, by some crazy chance someone wants to make a movie based on YOUR book. Well who owns a little piece of your book by giving you a free ISBN?

A likely scenario? No. But it is something to consider, especially if you want your books to be sold in an actual, physical store someday.

Step Four: Set up an account at your publishing platform(s). Do some research here and figure out what is going to work best for you. Amazon, SmashWords, Bookbaby, Ingram Spark, Create Space, iBooks – there are so many and each one is different.

Due to time restrictions, I did not use Create Space for my last release, Rocking Autumn and instead I directly uploaded it to Amazon, Kobo and Nook. For my upcoming Spring book release, I will be using Create Space and possibly doubling up and using Ingram Spark as well. (we can go into the why’s another time) But basically, do your research.

To set up an account is a fairly simple process, you will need to enter in your tax information and banking information.

Step Five: Format your book! You will need to format your book for e-book and paperback. Myself, I did not use a template to format my books, instead I googled tutorials on the internet. THIS is a good one that I have saved in my bookmarks. For formatting templates DIYbookformats.com is another one I have saved in my bookmarks.

Recently I’ve been playing around with the Beta Version of Kindle Create, a Word plugin that formats your book. While it has some cool features, and I might re-install it when I am done writing – it made Word a little buggy and it kept crashing. *sigh* So much for easy.

Now that your book is ready to be uploaded, we will leave it here. I will pick this back up next week and dive into loading your book, setting categories and pricing and everything else that happens behind the scenes.

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Teaser Tuesday: Rocking Autumn

“Jax,” Autumn says after I’d opened the door to the hotel room. Her voice comes out breathy and anxious. “Wait.”

“What baby?” I ask. “Is this too fast? Do you want me to take you home?”

“No.” She shakes her head. “It’s just that uh, there’s a chance I might be pretty bad at this. It’s been awhile. Like, a really long while.”

I can’t decide if it’s flat out adorable or the biggest turn on ever. I decide it’s a turn on.

“Well then,” I stalk over to her and pin her against the wall with the full weight of my body, “how about you just let me take care of everything. Let me make you feel good.”

RA-tease

Amazon → US https://goo.gl/nNxvzK
Amazon → UK https://goo.gl/iC8hGK
Amazon → CAN https://goo.gl/7pSZrE
Amazon → DE https://goo.gl/AxgSAR
Amazon → FR https://goo.gl/ct7FzN
Amazon → AU https://goo.gl/tDJA8T
Paperback → https://goo.gl/V6FcXA

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Booktober parties and giveaways!

Who’s ready to party for BookTober? I have SO much fun stuff going on…and all kinds of giveaways going on.

All links will be posted closer to the giveaway dates!

Oct 12-20 → Goodreads giveaway of a signed paperback
Oct 13 → Big goodie pack giveaway here
Oct 16-20 → Foster an Author
Oct 28 → Facebook take over with a pretty grand rad prize and lots of little prizes
Nov 1 → another Facebook takeover with a rad grand prize and lots of little prizes
Add Rocking Autumn to your Goodreads to read list today!https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36227370-rocking-autumn

Rocking Autumn is FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon → US https://goo.gl/nNxvzK
Amazon → UK https://goo.gl/iC8hGK
Amazon → CAN https://goo.gl/7pSZrE
Amazon → DE https://goo.gl/AxgSAR
Amazon → FR https://goo.gl/ct7FzN
Amazon → AU https://goo.gl/tDJA8T
Paperback → https://goo.gl/V6FcXA

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As always remember → The Island is 99 cents all of October!

Amazon Kindle US: http://amzn.to/2v0Vd6r

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071HW4VN6

Amazon AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071HW4VN6

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B071HW4VN6

Amazon DE https://www.amazon.de/dp/B071HW4VN6

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2iocOmt

The Island is a sexy and unexpectedly sweet MFM romance. Read all about it →HERE

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Rocking Autumn Excerpt 2

Chapter 14

Now I really feel like I can’t breathe. I stand solid, frozen in one place, watching Jax leave the stage. Everyone tries to stop him to chat or to shake his hand, but his steel blue eyes are locked on mine as he pushes forward past them. A voice is saying something over the loud speaker, and I can’t hear it. Every part of me is focused solely on the sexiest, sweetest man I’ve ever known walking straight towards me.

When he reaches me, I still can’t say anything, and I don’t think he can either. We just stand there staring at each other for ages. Jax moves an inch closer and my entire body braces, ready for his touch. “I wrote it last night,” he murmurs with a sexy, wicked grin. “Did you like it?”

I nod, blinking rapidly and trying to think of what to say.

“Well I’ll be a son of a bitch,” a loud, booming voice interrupts us. “Jaxon West and Autumn Brooks as I live and breathe.”

Both of our heads snap to the side in recognition of the owner of that voice. Gus Morris.

My face breaks into a massive grin. I haven’t seen Gus or been to his store in, well, the nearly ten years Jax has been gone. Gus owns and runs a tiny mom and pop grocery store on the outskirts of town. Almost every day for four years, except Sundays, Jax and I visited Gus and bought soda and candy. We rode our bikes until Jax got his driver’s license and his Dad let us take the Caddy out every once in awhile. I can still remember those drives, with oldies stations blaring out of the stereo, warm wind, and holding hands.

“Hi Gus,” I smile. Jax echoes the same behind me.

“I always knew you two would stay together.” He winks and his big, bright red cheeks shine with his smile. “There was always somethin’ special ‘bout you.”

I don’t correct him, and neither does Jax. For that I’m grateful. It’s easier than trying to explain it anyway. He asks us both questions about how we are, how our parents are and if we have any children yet. We oblige him with answers as truthfully as we can, and as we talk with Gus, Jax sneaks his hand into my palm and twines his fingers with mine.

“Well I best be findin’ the missus,” he excuses himself. “This is her favorite song, and she’ll ‘bout kill me if I don’t dance with her. Don’t be strangers now, you hear me?”

“Bye Gus,” I call out, my hand feeling warm against Jax’s. “Should we go find a place to sit for the fireworks?” I turn, not sure of what else to say to him.

“Dance with me,” he says, facing me.

“I hate dancing at things like this,” I look up. “Everyone is watching us.”

Jax sighs. “Autumn, just dance with me and pretend no one else is around. It’s just you and me, this Keith Urban song, the stars, and nothing else.”

I don’t argue with that, and I let him pull me into his chest, wrapping my arms loosely around his neck. Together we move slowly to the music, and it’s like everything I feel is multiplied by a thousand. His heart pounding through his tight white T-shirt, his warm breath against my neck, and the soft but firm way his hands hold me—one hand on my hip and the other around my ribs. My body molds into his, and I feel it. That thing. That magic spark.

Capturing his blues with my browns, my breath catches in my throat, and my lips curl upwards into a smile. Jax grins and snatches one of my arms from around his neck, twirling me around twice before pulling me back into him with my backside pressed against his groin. He captures both of my hands in his, crossing our arms together over my body in an X, pressing the side of his face to my cheek. The heat of his mouth is so close to my skin, I think the second I turn around, his lips will be pressing against mine.

When the song ends, Jax surprises me. He doesn’t kiss me. He doesn’t even try.

Rocking Autumn is FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon → US https://goo.gl/nNxvzK
Amazon → UK https://goo.gl/iC8hGK
Amazon → CAN https://goo.gl/7pSZrE
Amazon → DE https://goo.gl/AxgSAR
Amazon → FR https://goo.gl/ct7FzN
Amazon → AU https://goo.gl/tDJA8T
Paperback → https://goo.gl/V6FcXA

Add it to your Goodreads List → www.goodreads.com/book/show/36223753-rocking-autumn

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Meet Jax – Character Interview

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Name: Jaxon Anthony West. Everyone calls me Jax.

Sex: Is this the set up for a cheesy fucking joke? I’m male.

Age: Twenty eight

Interesting physical characteristics: Define interesting. Like do I have a second head or three arms? I’m tall-if that’s interesting.

Background:

Where and when were you born? Twenty eight years ago in Walla Walla, Washington.

Where have you lived? Walla Walla and Chicago.

Interview:

1.    What do you carry in your pockets/purse/backpack, etc.? A notebook and tons of pens and pencils for writing. My iPad, phone charger, gym clothes-pretty basic shit really.

2.    How do you feel about your home/living space? It’s pretty small. It’s a six hundred square foot studio. But it works for me and Buzz, my cat.

3.    What early event shaped you the most? My uncle Kenny teaching me how to play guitar and introducing me to rock and roll. Led Zeppelin, The Stones. All the good shit.

4.    Where is your favorite place and why? I have a few. The gazebo at the park in Walla Walla is one of them. But nothing beats the stage, it’s a fucking rush.

5.    What are your most important values? I’ve never really thought about it. I guess that I never give up, and I give everything a hundred and fifty percent.

6.    What emotion/feeling are you afraid to experience? Failure. Is that a feeling? I’m my own worst critic so failure might mean something different to me.

Rocking Autumn is available now! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075KPTYMG

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