Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Author Branding—Don’t Muddy the Waters (Part 1) by Connie Vines

Since this is my wedding anniversary, I'm posting a previous Bog Post.

I have been researching this topic via workshops, online chats, and discussion with other authors for several years.

The workshop I attended recently wrapped up the final meeting with: author branding was totally unnecessary.  (Well, that was a total waste of my money!)

So, does Connie have a brand?

No.

Does Connie still think she needs a brand?

Yes.  And no.

I know I need a memorable brand for each series that I write.  However, since I write in multiple genres, I don’t know if an all-encompassing brand is possible.  Or even practical.

We all know how much Connie loves to do research, enroll in online workshops, and conduct impromptu interviews with total strangers (to quote my husband, while we are in line at Souplantation, “why were you asking that man about the cost of a sleeve of tattoos?  You are not going there for the sake of research).  I handed him a napkin and smiled.  Now was not, I decided, the time to remind him that I had my eyebrows and eyeliner enhanced with “wake-up with make-up” tasteful, but still permanent ink.

How to Design Your Author Brand

Okay, it’s scramble time.  Find a piece of paper and something to write with.  You can use the note app in your phone, but I think pen to paper works better in this case. (If you write under more than one pen name, just select one.)


Ready?



Write down what your author brand is.  You have 10 seconds. Go!
Time’s up.

Were you able to write down your band?  Did you use 6 words or less?

Good for you.  You probably have a good idea of what your brand is.
If you didn’t (you are with me) don’t worry.  We will go about fixing the problem.

Brands Need to Be Specific

If you failed, the above test the reasons are likely because:

1. You don’t really know what your brand is yet.
2. You are over-describing your brand and couldn’t write it all down fast/concisely enough.

Now is the time to sit and ponder.  Strip away the contradictions, muddiness, superfluous.
What does a brand do?  A brand is a signal to customers to know what to expect when they see it.
Once they have had experience with a brand, they (hopefully) know what to expect.  Ideally this is a favorable expectation that encourages them to purchase your product, talk to their friends, and take chances on your next release.

How about a brand like this?

“Daring, Thrilling, Romantic, Action Packed.”

What if we change it to…

“Daring, Thrilling, Sexy, Action Packed”

A big difference isn’t it?

I selected very genre-esque words.  This was my intention because genres play a big role in branding. Brands are also about trust.

Remember genres and sub-genres are their own brands.

This is really important.    We already have a mind-set/expectations when we select a genre to read.  If you select a “Historical” novel (unless it is a sub-genre) you do not expect or probably appreciate elements of Urban Fantasy in the story-line.  Riding in stage coach, you prim-and-so proper heroine isn’t going to mesh with a hidden magical world featuring Fae, Vampires, and Werewolves.    So, unless you plan on inventing your own sub-genre (SteamPunk/StoneagePunk) with a limited readership, consider what you are inheriting from your genre.

Following these guidelines, I will attempt to come up with a brand for my current Rodeo Romance Series (BLW, BooksWeLove, Publsihing.).

Genre:  Contemporary Romance (Lynx), Romantic Suspense (Brede), Contemporary Romance/Humor (Rand), Romantic Suspense (TBT).

I’ll go with Romance as a genre.

Now to the dictionary and thesaurus.

For part 2, stop by next week.

(Feel free to post idea :-))

Connie 

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Classic Ginger" I Hear Voices, Do You? #pantser

I wonder now at people condemned to asylums because they insisted they had "voices in their heads." Could they have been authors? Especially, 'pantsers' and don't do any plotting?

I never had voices in my head before I started writing...now I've had more than I can handle in this lifetime...all screaming their ideas at me and wanting me to tell their story. I'v found myself so confused at times, I don't know which one to listen to, so I just didn't work on any. I've tried revising my writing style to plotting, but I just can't do it. I need my characters to lead me, but when they're all shouting???

Here's a typical day in my life, from the perspective of me and my 'crew.' Mot of these books are finished and available on Amazon, but I do have one pending.  All have new titles and covers.

Odessa: It's been days since you've typed a word of my story. Here I am, all goosebumpy over the fellow who found me in the middle of the desert, I'm dying to kiss him, and you've just left me hanging. Get on with it, would you? Odessa should be a first priority.  NOW TITLED;  ARIZONA SKY

Carrie: Whoa, hold on Dessie. Wait your turn. Ginger started First Degree Innocence long before your silly tale. You just jumped in and interrupted her with the ploy about your pa being trapped under a wagon or some such nonsense. Your urgency is a "kiss"? Really. I'm stuck in prison for something I didn't do, some ballsy chick called Jet is after me to help her set up a friend by planting a shiv, and all you can worry about is when you're gonna get kissed. Give me a break.

Meagan: Shut up, both of you. I gave Ginger the idea for a story that just might qualify for the Harlequin Undone series, even though she's not so great with steamy love scenes. *whispering* Don't tell anyone, but I think she's a prude at times.*back to yelling* The story requirement is only 15,000 words, so if you'll just take a seat and hold your tongues, maybe she can get creative and finish the damn thing. Crap...this just in. She shared the story with some cronies of hers and they tell her it's not hot enough. Now she's got this crazy idea to just make it an historical novella, called Tender Return. Geez, and I gave up my virginity for this?  NOW TITLED:  TIME INVESTED

Clarence: God, is bickering all you women ever do? I have murder cases to solve and lives to save. Sort of makes your silly little plot lines look weak, don't you think? I think The Pendant should take precedence. Right now, I've only had two deaths and I'm working on the cases, but  Ginger just submitted this to Books We Love for re-release so I'm waiting to find out who gets the necklace next, or where the darned thing came from. So stop your yammering so she can listen to me! WAS TITLED THE LOCKET.  IS AVAILABLE NOW ON BWL AS THE PRIZE FOR THEIR VALENTINE'S CONTEST.

Faith: *sniffing* What about me? I'm still waiting for her to start In Search of Joshua. How am I ever going to find happiness if all you keep taking cuts. FAITH IS PART OF AGES OF LOVE AND I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN TO IN SEARCH OF JOSHUA.

Clarence: Taking cuts, my ass. You already have a book published with you as the heroine. Give someone else a chance. Geez, talk about greedy.

Faith: Well, it's not just me that's anxious. The people who read the first book...at the least a couple of reviewers, didn't care much for the ending because I didn't connect with Joshua. I have to find him.

Carrie: Take a chill pill, Faith. Try living behind bars and worrying your cellmate is going to snuff you out during the night and then come talk to me. I wish I knew if I was going to survive this story or not. I'm not getting any younger, ya know.

Joy: Hey...don't forget me. I know she only typed a paragraph of my story, but I have a wonderful one to tell...and with a twist none of you have come up with. I think she's stalling on mine because she just can't get kinky. But, I intend to keep yelling in her ear until she finishes Joy's Revelation. JOY'S REVELATION IS NOW PART OF DISCOVERY...A SEVEN SHORT STORY RELEASE IN WHICH EVERYONE DISCOVERS SOMETHING.  :)

Odessa: Revelation, smevelation. It's late. We all have a gripe, but we'd better shut up so Miss EPPIE nominee can get some sleep or she'll never finish anything. At least we know she must have some talent. *laughing*. Good night guys. Talk to you tomorrow.

Clarence: Okay, Goodnight. But I get first crack at her in the morning. It's only fair because lives are involved.

Faith: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Whoever screams the loudest... Goodnight everyone...you too John Boy!

Everyone giggles.


If you are interested in any of my books, you can find them all on Amazon.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hollywood Glam and Sunday Coffee by Connie Vines

"Tell them I'm indisposed."

Happy Sunday!

Hollywood Glam with your coffee, anyone?


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I hope you enjoyed a splash of Hollywood with your coffee.

Happy Reading :-)

Connie



Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fictional Teachers By Connie Vines #Round Robin Feb.

Topic: Your characters come from your mind, from other people you've witnessed, but can you create their lives without them revealing
something about yourself? Have they ever taught you something?




So are my fictional characters my 'great reveal'? To a degree I believe this to be true.  Every story is filtered through an author's view of the world, emotions, and life experience--at least for my heroine.  

Another challenging topic from Robin for our group of Round Robin Blog authors.

However, there is also a curtain we all have firmly in place--revealing only what we wish to reveal to others.  The same is true of our characters.  My heroine will be more like 'me' in my rough draft than she will be by the time I've completed my novel.  

In my soon to be released "Gumbo Ya Ya an anthology who like romance Cajun".  One of my heroines, Celeste, jumps overboard into a raging sea!

Not a plan of action in my 'non-fictional' life.  Runaway horse?  Yep, I'd saddle up.  Yoga on a mountain top?  Sure, with a soft yoga mat.  Dine on escargot, Rocky Mountain oysters, frog legs? I have.  Hold a 6 ft. python--yes, though someone else had a firm hold of upper portion of snake's body (no accidental snake-licks for me).  Jump into the sea?  Never. . .ever.

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I seem to be be more removed--meaning more analytical in the development of my secondary characters.  This is especially true when I seeped myself in the secondary character's world, work, and point of view.  I become the secondary characters, like a method actor.  

Now, my villains must have a motivation with a trigger rooted in a past event/or recent trauma.  Providing me with way I can explain (not justify) the villain's twisted reasoning/action. 

Yes, some people are evil, truly evil.  However, I have yet write a novel requiring I delve into that degree darkness, and doubt I every will.

The second part of the topic:  Have my characters every taught me something?

My current release, "Tanayia" Whisper upon the Water, Book 1 Native American/First People Series, taught me to not only view life, but experience the hardships though the eyes of another person.


Opening Prologue 1868:  

The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six be educated in the ways of the white man.

Indian Commissioner, Thomas Morgan, said:  It was cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them.

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters.  Desolate.  Bleak.  A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into the silence.

A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world.  I am Tanayia.  I was born thirteen winters ago.  My people and I call ourselves "Nde" this means "The People".  The white man calls us Apache.


Stop by and see what stories other member of our Round Robin Blog authors have to share.

See you next month,

Connie






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Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday Breakfast or Breakfast on the Go! by Connie Vines

Today I thought I 'dish out' a favorite breakfast recipe of mine.
Why it this a favorite of mine?

  1. It's transportable
  2. It's make-a-head and freezable.
  3. It is loaded with protein and yummy.


Breakfast Egg Cups Recipe


 Serves: 8

 Prep Time: 10 m
 Cook Time: 20 m
 Print this Recipe  Save to Prepear What is Prepear?
Ingredients
1 – cooking spray
6 large – egg
1/4 cup – milk
1/8 teaspoon – salt
1/8 teaspoon – black pepper, ground
1 medium – bell pepper, red
3/4 cup – spinach
1/4 cup – cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and  set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Dice the bell pepper into small pieces. Stack the spinach leaves, roll them up, and slice them thin. (This method is called chiffonade.)

Add the peppers, spinach, and shredded cheddar to the egg mixture.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until centers are set and no longer runny.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Extras may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to a month. Microwave thawed egg cups on high for 45-60 seconds or until hot.

Nutrition Facts

NUTRITION PER SERVING% DAILY VALUE
Calories: 78 4%
Fat: 5 g 8%
Carb: 1 g 0%
Fiber: 0 g 0%
Protein: 6 g 12%
Sugar: 1 g

You may add different veggies, meats, cheeses, to your personal preference.  You may also use a cupcake liner instead of oil or non-stick cooking spray..

Enjoy!

Connie

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