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PROMO CARDS

October 5, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

I have been researching marketing ideas as I prepare to release my next couple of books. I’ve talked about my series The Alex Chronicles in past posts. As I prepare to launch the prequel and the first full-length book in the series, I’m thinking about the marketing plan. Ask any writer and they’ll tell you, writing the book was easy…promoting it is something altogether different.

I’m finishing up minor edits on Alex one and decided to start researching the follow up to Generational Curse, which means I’ve been reading, a lot. I got the first book in Pepper Winter’s series,  Indebted  for free and got hooked. It’s a romantic suspense with a lot of heat. Anyway, I wanted to know more about the series and visited her website and Pinterest page. What I found on Pinterest was rather intriguing. There seemed to be these cards or images with dialogue dropped on top. The images were meant to represent the hero and heroine of the series.

This marketing concept may not seem new to everyone, but to me, it was a brilliant way to market a book or anything for that matter. Use basic stock images that represent scenes, characters, locations, objects or whatever and drop dialogue on top. You can take it one step further and add an excerpt for a pin or blog post. It’s an easy way to grab readers attention on a book or series.

 

This simple idea really stuck with me, so I made a few Promo Cards for my books Generational Curse and The Good Girl. These promo cards come in handy. If I’m stuck or behind on posting on my blog, I post one of these cards along with an excerpt. Or if I’m running a special price on a book, these are great for posting about a special price without being too pushy. Plus, they’re perfect for my social media outlets. It’s a great way to get the word out for your book when you have limited space.

The good thing about this marketing idea, is all you need is a stock image and an excerpt or a couple of lines from your book. These are definitely my favorite digital marketing tool. If you want to go old school, print them and use as post cards or book markers. I also use mine for the home page flash on my website. The possibilities for use are unlimited.

Here are some of the promo cards I did for my books.

GENERATIONAL CURSE PROMO CARDS

THE GOOD GIRL PROMO CARDS

Tracy Reed

readtracyreed@me.com
www.readtracyreed.com

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
Available at
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
All Romance eBooks

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THE ALEX CHRONICLES PREQUEL TEASER

September 5, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Part Two: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My First Book..sort of

I’m about to launch the prequel to my first born, The Alex Chronicles…Girlfriends & Secrets. I talked about this little novelette last month in my post, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My First Book. You can sort of say this is part two to that post.

As I mentioned last month, this is the first book I wrote. When I wrote the book, I had aspirations of book tours, radio interviews and a fantasy of being on The View. Hey, if you don’t dream big, you’ll never get any where.

However, after I wrote the first three books in the series, it seemed the entire dynamic of the romance genre shifted. I credit or blame Fifty Shades of Grey. The protagonists or heroes were no longer just good looking men. They were now these incredible, super sexy males. Really, have you ever really seen a man with thighs that could bust a watermelon…that’s a line from one of my upcoming books. Or what about a man with hair like flaxen gold and a behind so tight a quarter could bounce off of it. I’ve been to the gym okay, I’ve been to a gym and around construction sites and I’ve yet to see a behind that tight. Take that back, I did see the season finale of “Ballers” and got a good look at The Rock’s behind. Not to mention John Cena in “Trainwreck”, I think that tight-quarter-bouncing behind title could legitimately be applied to both of them.

As I was saying, the dynamic had changed. When I wrote the first draft of The Alex Chronicles, my protagonist was my version of very handsome. Did you catch that phrase, my version. See one of the things that tripped me up about the new descriptions in romance fiction, was taste. Every one has their version of what’s hot, sexy, handsome, unattractive [I didn’t want to say ugly], cute, and the list goes on. This was a dilemma for me. What I liked physically, didn’t always match up with what some of my readers liked.

I’ve read a lot of books the past couple of years. compared to the past, I’m breaking my own reading records. Apart from being very tall, most of the protagonists had large…body parts and mesmerizing eyes, but it was their character that stood out. No matter how roguish, devious, freaking, sadistic, crazy or stupid, they are, deep down, they all have big hearts. And very, very, very, big wallets.

I had dinner with a friend and told her, I had to re-write The Alex Chronicles, because the protagonist wasn’t rich enough. Let me clarify. When I wrote him, it was with the intention that he was rich. Well in the new romance world, it wasn’t good enough for him to just be rich or a millionaire, he needed to be a billionaire. And he has to have a private plane, luxury yacht, mansion and penthouse apartment on top of his own building…is the new normal. When did this happen? And to make it worse, I saw a book that was touting the word Trillionaire. Come on people, let me catch up.

Which brings me to my series. When it was first written, the heroine’s ex-husband was a decent level millionaire, but her new love interest was richer than the ex. When I did the rewrite, I made it a point not to mention how much he’s worth. Instead, I elude to it by the gifts and things he does for her. Welcome to the new contemporary romance protagonist. Is it even possible that such a man exists? I choose to believe that somewhere there’s a woman living out one of my books. I’m open to living out my own romance novel. If anyone knows a tall dark chocolate billionaire in search of a petite curvy mocha wife, send him my way. Really, who better to live out one of my books then me.

So what’s The Alex Chronicles about? It’s the story of five best friends and a pact they made in college. It seems kind of childish that five grown women would still be beholden to something so silly. That’s what one of their boyfriends said later in the series. But it’s something that worked for them…when they were in college. Now that they’re adults and dealing with the day to day things of life, it’s not so easy.

The Alex Chronicles: Girlfriends & Secrets will be out in October. It’s also my first perma free book. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, “I’m glad have a free book.” I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. Offering this book free, is my major marketing step for this series. I’ll keep you posted on how my first born does. In the meantime, here’s the first chapter in the prequel:

who are we…
ALEX

MY NAME IS ALEXANDRA SIMONE Miller and I am a fashion addict. Isn’t that how they make you introduce yourself at those addiction anonymous support group meetings? At least that’s what I’ve heard. I tried kicking the fashion habit, but it’s a little difficult when there are so many talented dealers, I mean designers tempting me. I know somewhere there has to be a support group for people like me. I think it meets at Neiman’s or Barneys. I heard a rumor that if you’re really bad they sentence you to aversion therapy at Bergdorf’s…I wish. 

 
So the last thing a person like me should do is own a boutique. Fashion is a drug and not only am I a junkie, I’m also a dealer and the base of my operation is my boutique, “Alex Simone”.
Alex Simone is my baby. It’s a place where women come to escape and fantasize. We encourage women to try things on, because that usually leads to buying. Shopping at one of my boutiques is like playing “dress up” in the ultimate fantasy closet, complete with designer ready-to-wear and vintage couture. 
 
Not only am I a fashion addict, I’m also a borderline workaholic. I say borderline, because I do manage to eek out time to spend with my friends. 
 
My girlfriends are like family. People always ask how we met. I think that’s the one thing we haven’t been able to agree on. 
 
Let’s see. Taylor is my cousin on my dad’s side. She and I have always been close. She’s really more like an older sister. I think we have shared secrets none of the other girls know about. But there’s that one thing that happened in Paris. I think I didn’t tell her because I knew she would have been disappointed in me. 
 
Anyway…she was going to school in Atlanta and she said I’d like it. Not only because it was crawling with good looking guys, but because it had a great liberal arts program. To be honest, I needed to get out of the city. A dose of Southern living was a welcome change. So I applied and got in. That’s where I met Chloe. 
Chloe was a typical rich girl on the verge of being cut off. School in the south was the last straw. She and Taylor were roommates. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to put them together. Then again, it was probably for the best.
When I went for my college tour, the two of them had me running around town. I don’t think I got more than twenty hours of sleep the entire week, but I had a good time. These two had the hook up for everything. 
When I got there in the fall, a new dorm was open courtesy of Chloe’s parents. The rooms were all suites. A few strings were pulled and I was assigned to Taylor and Chloe’s suite. I was immediately accepted into their social circle. Heck, they practically ran the social scene on campus. To this day, I never knew how they managed to get hooked up with every club in town, without getting busted.
The year after I got there, I met this girl named Dionne in Humanities class. We started talking and it turned out, she was from California. She kept saying I reminded her of her roommate, Kendell. When I finally met Kendell, I was shocked at how much we looked alike. We played a little game of Twenty Questions and discovered the reason we looked so much alike was because we were related.
Kendell is my cousin on my mother’s side. Her father and my mother are half siblings. We share our grandfather’s eyes, smile, skin color and height. When I first saw her, I thought I was looking at myself minus the upstairs endowment from my grandmother. My mother and Kendell’s father have the same father. My Grandfather Cyrus had a roaming eye along with some other things. He was married to my Grandmother while he played house with Kendell’s grandmother. He fathered a total of nine children, my mother and her three sisters, and Uncle Chester and his four brothers.
I think we’ve managed to stay friends as long as we have because we’re so different. It’s like we balance each other out. 
 
Oh, yeah, I was talking about secrets and being impulsive. Of my group, I’m considered the rational one. I don’t see how I got that label. My friends say it’s because I’m a planner and would never do anything impulsive. That’s just not true. I do a lot of impulsive things, they just don’t know about them. 
There was one impulsive thing I was going to do, but circumstances prevented it from happening. I’m not using my planning habit as an excuse, but as a legitimate reason why that impulsive event didn’t take place. The impulsive incident involved my fiancé, Jonathan. 
 
Jonathan and I had been together off and on for ten years. If you ask my friends, they’d say more off than on. And as much as I don’t want to agree with them, they’re right. 
I met Jonathan in college when I returned from my Paris internship to complete the second half of my senior year. I was hesitant to get involved with him, because his best friend and I had history. However, he won me over with his charm and we started dating. 
 
By the time we graduated, he had proposed…the first time. Much too soon. We barely knew each other. I moved back to Los Angeles. He followed me to California and took a job in Los Angeles so we could work on our relationship. We agreed to table the marriage question until later.
 
The magazine I interned for in Paris offered me a Junior Fashion Editor position in their Los Angeles office, but I turned it down. I know it sounds foolish, but there were things going on in my personal life that made me re-think what I wanted to do with my life.
 
I had come into a large sum of money, and decided to open a boutique. I love what I do. It’s taken me a while to gain the respect of the local fashion community, but it was well worth the hard work, and a huge step of faith.
 
Alex Simone is a place for women with curves, or real women. We stock most sizes, but we are known as the go to store for curvy women who love designer clothes. We’re not a plus size store per se, but in Southern California, a store that stocks anything over a size twelve is considered plus size. We just make it a point to offer designer clothing for women in a larger range of sizes. Curves, sensuality, and confidence are our business, and we know how to handle all three. 
Back to me and Jonathan. Things were going great with us. We had just gotten back together again. I say again, because, we broke up a lot. I know I sound like a fool, but I’m not. I had put a lot of time into that relationship and I wasn’t about to just walk away just because he had a little slip while we were apart. If only it had been a slip. 

Turns out, all those times he was proposing to me, he had a side piece in Long Beach. He’d tapped that piece so much he slipped up one night and forgot to suit up. So when he wanted to get back together he confessed. Like the idiot head I was, I took him back. He even introduced me to his side piece and their son. 
Here I was saving myself, and he was out tapping anything with a pulse. I didn’t tell my girlfriends that Jonathan and I were engaged. I just told them we were back together. They all said they were shocked that I took him back. They didn’t understand that I saw something in him they didn’t.
This time was different. We went engagement ring shopping and were making wedding plans. Jonathan agreed to counseling, and I was even warming up to the idea of marriage and being a step mother. I still wasn’t happy about having his side piece, I mean ex-side piece, in our lives, but she came with the kid. 
 
The last time he proposed, we didn’t tell anyone. Instead, he gave me an ultimatum, “Marry me when I return from my conference in two weeks. If you back out, it’s over for good.” I still hear those words replaying in my head, followed by a sharp chill in my bones. 
I knew my friends didn’t approve of my marrying Jonathan, so I decided to do something impulsive. I packed a bag and bought a first class ticket to Milan to surprise my fiancé. Oh man, it’s been over ten years, and it’s still difficult to tell this story. I knew he’d be in Milan another week for the conference. My plan was to surprise him and elope after his conference, and then do something small with our family and friends when we returned. 
 
The day before I was to leave to surprise Jonathan, I got a phone call from one of his friends who was attending the conference. Jonathan had had a massive heart attack and died. I was devastated. My girlfriends rallied and helped me, despite their feelings about Jonathan.
Instead of planning a wedding, I planned his funeral. 
I never told anyone, not even my mother, that I was planning to surprise him and elope. I still have the plane ticket. I don’t know why, but I keep it in my bag. If I had married him when he first asked, he wouldn’t have been alone. It hurts me to know he died alone. I should have been there. 
I have been trying to heal, and my girlfriends keep telling me it’s time to move on. I have in a way. It’s been over ten years and there have been a few men, but nothing serious. 
Bless my friend, Dionne. She’s made it her mission to find someone for me. I really wish she’d stop trying, because she’s not good at it. I was dating this very handsome media consultant named Quentin Burke. On paper we were perfect for each other, but I think it was poor timing and no chemistry. Those two things and that meddling mother of his, were the reason we broke up. I think we lasted about six months. We’re still friends. In fact, he’s my publicist. 
 
I introduced him to Dionne. The sparks flew and a few months later, they were married. Ever since I planted a good man into her life, she feels the need to do the same for me. I really wish she’d stop, but she won’t. After her last little matchmaking effort, I threatened to cancel our friendship.
She invited me to dinner with her and Quentin and left out one very important detail. When I arrived, Quentin met me at the door with a glass of wine. 
 
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” 
 
I didn’t understand what he meant. I took the glass, stepped inside and sitting on the sofa talking to Dionne was a shiny yellow brother with a pony tail hanging down his back. Dionne looked up and noticed I was heading out the door. She jumped up, walked over and pulled me over to the sofa and introduced me to my “date”. 
 
When he stood up, it was even worse. He was wearing a powder blue suit, navy blue shirt with the buttons undone to reveal his Mr. T gold chain collection sitting on a bed of tight black curls. I don’t like hairy men. I turned the glass up finishing the fine red wine in one gulp. This definitely would have been a good time to start drinking hard liquor. Saying I was a little pissed with Dionne would have been like calling a broken leg a sprain. 
 
I looked at Dionne wondering what she could have been thinking. I looked down at my “date’s” feet, and staring back at me were light blue patent leather brogues and matching socks. I didn’t know what to think, but I knew what to say. I just didn’t want to say it out loud. 
 
“Excuse me.” I put my empty glass on the table and hurried down to the powder room. “Okay God, I know Dionne meant well, but…really…what was she thinking?” I let out a sigh, touched up my lipstick and took that long walk out to the worst blind date of my life. 
 
“Are you all right Alex?” Dionne asked. 
 
I couldn’t believe she stood there with a smile on her face asking me if I was all right? Of course I wasn’t all right! I stood staring at one of my best friends, wondering at what point did she think setting me up with a black Smurf was a good idea. 
 
“I’m…” Quentin handed me another glass of wine. “Thank you.” 
 
“Sorry, it’s not something stronger,” Quentin whispered. 
 
“So am I.” I turned up the glass and gulped half in one swallow. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.” 
 
“Eddie.” 
 
During dinner, Eddie the black Smurf sat sneering at me like I was a piece of cornbread he wanted to slop up with some greens. I looked across the table at this person my friend set me up with, and wondered how much longer I would have to endure this fiasco. Watching him eat was almost as disturbing as looking at him in that light blue suit. I closed my eyes and pretended I was someplace else. 
 
In my mind, I was on a remote island with a hot, sexy, dark chocolate man. He was feeding me strawberries, the juice running down the side of my mouth He gently caught the sweet juice with his soft, full lips. If Dionne was going to fix me up, why couldn’t it have been with the man in my fantasy, instead of Eddie the black Smurf? When I opened my eyes, Eddie the Smurf, was still talking incessantly about his ex-wife and his massive alimony payments. 
My phone rang, breaking the spell of my fantasy. I jumped up and ran into the kitchen to answer the call. Once in the kitchen, I turned the ringer off. It wasn’t a real call, but my “911 dating emergency call”. 
 
When I was in the powder room earlier, I had set a “911 dating alert.” That’s when you set the alarm on your phone to ring at a certain time. Once you pick up “the call” you become an Academy Award winning actress, and recite your escape monologue. My cousin Taylor hipped me to that little trick, and over the years I got very good at using it. So tonight, when I saw the black Smurf, I knew what I had to do. 
 
“Okay…no, I understand…uh huh…I’ll be right there.” I went back into the dining room, made my apologies and left. 
 
Before Dionne got with Quentin, she dated… let’s just say… she always managed to…she’s a sweet heart, but…it seemed she was always dating someone else’s Boaz. Like the guy who only wore Los Angeles Lakers attire. He didn’t care if it was basketball season or not. And when the occasion called for something a little “more dressy”, he broke out his favorite purple suit and accessorized it with a white and yellow striped shirt and Lakers tie. I caught a glimpse of the jacket lining once. Inside he had the entire Lakers starting line-up hand painted on the lining. I had one word for him and it wasn’t “Fantastic”. It was “Fanatical”. Dionne thought he was the one…her Boaz. That’s if Boaz was a basketball fanatic and a tacky dresser. His idea of a romantic night out was to take her to his favorite sports bar, “Nothin’ But Net” for happy hour. They got along great until she disagreed with him over the Lakers draft choice. He dropped her like a long distance three pointer… “swish”. 
 
She’s my girl, but I couldn’t take another day listening to her blame herself for her relationship falling apart. So, I arranged a little impromptu meeting between her and Quentin at the store. They hit it off ,and now three years later she’s trying to do the same thing for me.

_________________________ 

If my girlfriends knew about my plans to elope with Jonathan they wouldn’t be too surprised.

However, if they knew my other secret, they’d be pissed and would stop speaking to me. It’s my secret, and I’d be pissed if one of my best friends had kept something like that hidden from me for over twenty years. 
 
What’s my secret? All I’ll say is, I have the power to destroy one of the wealthiest families on the West Coast. That power could also cost me my life. But if pushed, that’s a risk I might be willing to take.

The Alex Chronicles Series will be starting in October

Tracy Reed

readtracyreed@me.com
www.readtracyreed.com

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

Available at
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
All Romance eBooks

0 0 Read more

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO MY FIRST BOOK

August 5, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , , ,

I already hear you saying, that’s a long title for a blog post. I agree, but it’s the truth. A while back I shared how I came to be an Indie Writer and promised to talk about the book that sort of kick-started my writing career. Because the story is a little long and filled with more twists than a rollercoaster, I thought I’d share it over the course of my next few posts or until the book is launched…whichever comes first. God, I hope the book is published before this series of posts becomes as long as a novella.

So strap on your seatbelt and let’s begin the ride.

I’m almost afraid to tell you when I wrote my first book, or as it will from hence on be referred to as Alex One. I started writing Alex One in 2005. Yes…yes…yes…I hear all you judging me, and I don’t care. I’ve already beat myself up several times.

Anyway, I remember I was watching a chick flick…which I love…don’t hate. As I was saying. I thought to myself, I should do that, write a book about people that reflect me…women who love, God, Fashion and Cute Guys [thus the tagline for my writing career]. Let me back up; when I was in college, I did a semester of screenwriting and even wrote a couple of “bad” scripts. I even tried my hand at a few “bad” short stories. Looking back, I wonder if I should have taken some creative writing courses. Probably, but at the time, that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a sports reporter. I had my own sports segment that aired once a week on campus television and local cable, and I was an intern in at the local Tulsa NBC Affiliate in the Sports Department. I was on my way…nowhere. I couldn’t get hired anywhere after graduation. But I digress.

Back to writing. So no, it never occurred to me to take creative writing courses. Fast forward and I move back home and go to work for a public relations company and then a record company. I figured I’d work my way up the ranks to a high-level executive position. I came close. While at the record company, I went from working in the temp pool to assistant for the General Manager. When he was promoted, so was I. Now I was Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. I was on the fast track. I had the whole package, travel, a great office, an assistant, a very good salary and long hours. All this and with the company less than three years. Then I was promoted to Director of New York Operations. I relocated to New York and remained there for almost two years, then I was downsized and out of work.

Bear with me, this all does tie into my writing career. Remember I told you this is a post in parts.

When I was “Laid Off,” I took a little time off before starting my own business. I’ll skip over that history. I hear you saying, “Thank You” and you’re welcome.

The thought of writing was always deep in the back of my mind. I had even attempted to write long before 2005, picking it up every now and again. I think what nudged me, was my computer. In down times at my store, I would tinker with writing. However, when my old computer died, and my parents gifted me with a new one, I got the urge to try writing again. I had visions of writing an amazing book, signing a huge contract and going on book tours. I’d hire reliable staff to work in my store, and the book money would just be gravy. The fantasy got bigger when I got a laptop; now I could write anywhere.

As I got closer to the end of writing Alex One, I had an epiphany. I needed income for my business and thought, I’d sell the book and use the money for my business. That’s where the story turns. I didn’t have a clue as to how the publishing industry worked and all I knew about Indie Writers is that’s what you did when no one thought your book was good enough to buy.

Up until this point, I hadn’t told anyone I was writing or had written a book.

To test my skills, I conveyed what I now know is called a “Beta group” of friends and one stranger, to read Alex One. This group ripped through my book with a fine tooth red comb. They found things wrong, I didn’t even realize. A crucial error was a pregnancy. I had the character get pregnant and deliver in three months…MAJOR ERROR! Then they said one of the men sounded too feminine. Oh man, this was so not the reaction I was expecting, but needed.

Back to square one. I took all of their comments, processed them and made changes. I finally got the book to where I liked it, and then I started shopping it. See, I thought you wrote a book, got an agent, gave them the book, they gave you a check and waited for the money to pour in. No one told me it could take years before an agent would even request your book for consideration. Here’s the part I never really got, the agent would be working for me, yet he/she has the right to tell me if my book is good enough or not. To this day that still doesn’t compute for me.

I have a friend who is a popular Christian Fiction writer; we met via the internet [we’ll keep that story for a later post] and she suggested I write an ebook. I didn’t want to do that. I had visions of going into book stores and seeing my books on the shelves, not on the internet. I fought that until I finally decided to submit to her epublisher. Once I finally acquiesced, it was too late. They were no longer taking submissions. 

I had heard about ACFW American Christian Fiction Writers [in case you forgot, I write Christian or Faith-based fiction with heat] the perfect place for me . . .I thought. I mentioned it to my friend, and she said she was a member and that she was going to the conference. She said if I went, we could finally meet and hang out. I vacillated and finally decided to go. I was pumped. I had my manuscript in a box …literally. I didn’t know you were supposed to wait for someone to request it, and then you send it. That research thing came back to bite me in the butt again. Anyway, I got there, booked an agent appointment and a Harlequin editor appointment.

The night before meeting with the Harlequin editor, I attended a late night workshop she hosted, where she gave a list of what Harlequin was looking for. She also gave a list of what they didn’t want. By the end of the session, I knew me meeting with her was going to be a waste of my time, but I still went. I needed to keep my word. I handed her my summary and like I thought, no. My book was a little too out there. See at the time (maybe they’ve changed their policy for their Christian line) it wasn’t customary for the hero and heroine to be divorced. Strike One. My heroine is divorced. The characters can’t mention how attracted they are towards each other (i.e. no comments about how hot she thinks he is and vise versa). Strike Two. And definitely no hot kisses. Strike Three.

On to my meeting with the agent. I made my pitch, and she said I can write about God or Sex, but not both. With that said, she said she liked my concept and to send it to her. I was over the moon. I went back to my room and called my mom. We were excited someone that didn’t know me wanted my book. A month later, a gut punch. The agent said it wasn’t a romance. I knew that. In fact, I never said it was a romance, but women’s fiction with romantic elements. At the time, that’s how I referred to Alex One, women’s fiction with romantic elements. I sulked for a little while before hitting the internet in search of an agent that understood my style.

I went to ACFW the following year with a tweaked book, still hoping to secure an agent. There were two agents I wanted to talk to. One was completely booked, however, at lunch you had an opportunity to eat with an agent. I rushed inside the crowded banquet room and grabbed a sit at my dream agent’s table. She went around the table and asked us all for our one line pitch. I gave mine and no reaction. Crap! All this time, I’d been following her blog, even occasionally emailing her and nothing. No problem. I ran into the other agent of choice in the restroom and thanked her for being honest in her rejection. She turned me down because her roster was too full. I told her I appreciated her honesty and went on to my other meeting which was a bust. I left the conference without a request. However, I shared a ride to the airport with the editor of a magazine I’d written a short story for a few months earlier and after some small talk, she asked me to submit another story, which I did. I was an official writer with two published short stories.

What does all of this have to do with Alex One? I was a little discouraged, but I kept writing. I say Alex One is the sweetest book I’ve written, that was before I started reading a lot more and the birth of my first published book, GENERATIONAL CURSE.

I’ve told the story about the agent I had and how we came to part ways. By the way, the agent I ran into in the restroom, is the agent that later became my agent. While I was waiting for her to shop Alex One, I wrote the sequel, let’s call it Alex Two. Alex Two would make the editor at Harlequin’s eyes pop out of their sockets. For that matter, the way Alex One was changed would probably make her pull her hair out. I broke every rule they have for their Christian line.

Finally to the title of this post series.

When I wrote Alex One, I wrote it based on what I had been reading at the time …sweet but edgy Christian Fiction …what I thought the Christian Fiction market would like. However, when I went back and reread the series [currently there are three books in this series], the characters sounded a little young, naive and not real. To me, they lacked life. I got my red pen and post-its and went crazy. Then I joined OCC and learned how important it is to read any and everything. I was told by someone not associated with RWA that wasn’t a good thing to do because it could influence what you’re writing, or you might subconsciously commit plagiary. However, I learned at OCC what you read inspires what you write, at least it does for me.

So here’s the first thing that happened.

As I said, there are three books in this series. Let me back up. When the agent and I parted ways, I didn’t know what to do. I felt I had written what God inspired me to write. However, agents didn’t seem to agree with me. I can’t remember how it happened, but Laura Drake suggested I take Debra Holland’s Self-Publishing class. She said, “Debra writes non-traditional and is self-published. You should talk to her. In fact, she’s going to be teaching a class, you should take it.” So I did.

After the first class, my eyes were opened. When Debra gave a list of questions and situations for us to ask ourselves to determine if indie publishing was for us, I had my answer. I needed to self-publish.

The other reason I liked the idea of self-publishing is, I liked my title and knew traditional publishing wouldn’t like my title or the concept of the story. The Alex books are told in multiple POV. I hear you now . . .too confusing. Not to me, but to be sure, I RESEARCHED and found books written this way and it worked. Okay, so I wasn’t weird, and my story is good. The reason I was getting rejected by traditional publishing was the God and Sex themes.

I was on my way. I was joining the ranks of the Self-Published or Indie Writers. I was no longer beholden to the system. I could tell the kinds of stories I wanted. All good things. Now for the overwhelming things. Everything was my responsibility. I had to decide if I wanted to do ebooks or print or both. I wanted to do both. I was pulling my hair out. My mother/cheerleader suggested I not release Alex One first, but go with Generational Curse. I wrestled with this for a while. If you’ve read that book, it starts out very steamy, unlike the Alex books. I thought I should launch my writing career a little tamer. It’s sort of like that go big or go home saying. I went big.

I knew how I wanted the cover to look. In fact I found an amazing image; however, it was going to cost me $2,000 . . .not in the budget. I searched for a very long time for the right image. [see images A and B], until I found something I could work with. Looking for a cover, I decided to broaden my horizon and not just look at African American images, but at anything that fit the tone of my story. I finally decided to go with something more sophisticated and not overtly sexy.

What I also discovered in searching for an image, there are very few black/African American images that weren’t duplicated. I wanted something that had a little sass but didn’t look like every other black/African American cover. I knew my character was honey colored, so I got an image from Masterfile and with help from Photoshop I got what I wanted.

So what does this have to do with Alex One you ask? Everything. When I originally wrote the Alex series, I had a certain vision; however, it changed. Remember I wrote book one in 2005. Then about a year later I wrote book two. By the time I got to book two, I knew the agent and I were probably not going to see eye to eye . . .book two was very hot. That’s why I was fine with us parting ways.

I have revised Alex One so much, it barely resembles the draft I sent out to agents. Here’s what happened. While I was looking for GENERATIONAL CURSE images, I sent revised Alex One to my editor. She made her notes, and I cleaned it up. I can’t remember what happened, but I put Alex One to the side and concentrated on GENERATIONAL CURSE or Kyla as I call her. I dedicated my time to my fourth born. After I released her, I went back to Alex One and reread her and felt she needed a little more tweaking. Keep in mind, I had already sent this to my editor. I even had a cover [see image C].

I liked this cover. However, when I went back and started preparing Alex One for release, I discovered, I didn’t like the cover. I felt it gave people the impression the story was about a man and his friends. The Alex series is about Alexandra Miller and her four best friends. And my cover no longer worked with the story. What’s ever worse, I had this image on my website and on GoodReads as a future release.

Now on top of doing a rewrite, I was looking for a new cover. Again I wanted something a little more sophisticated but didn’t show a face. I didn’t want the readers trying to figure out which of the characters was on the cover.

About this time Bonnie Bliss and I were talking about covers for our Fling Box Set books, and she suggested I try shutterstock.com. Oh my God, after a few visits to the site I found something I thought might work. I did a test and ta da, I had a new cover to match the new story. So here’s a little peak at Alex One all grown up [Images D and E]. I freakin’ love my new cover. I also love Alex Two’s cover, but I can’t show you that one yet. Alex One’s new look is sophisticated, and it matches the revised story.

Thanks for being patient with me on this post, but there’s one last thing.

When I started the revisions or, let’s be real, the rewrite on Alex One, the first six chapters weren’t working for me. I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do to my baby; I deleted them. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do. When I did that, it gave the story new life and really allowed more of the character’s personalities to shine.

I liked those chapters, but they just didn’t work with the book. I told my friend Kitty Bucholtz about my book amputation, and she suggested I turn them into a novella. Ding …Ding…Ding …what a brilliant idea. Then we started talking about marketing tools and free books. Ding …Ding…Ding …another idea was born. I’d do what Kitty suggested and turn those deleted chapters into a free novella. Only problem, they weren’t quite novella length. Fret not, with a little tweaking, they’ve become a novelette.

This “Prequel,” makes use of deleted chapters, plus it gives me time to get Alex One ready, and it’s great way to get to drum up interest in Alex One. So here’s a sneak peak at my next title …The Alex Chronicles: Girlfriends & Secrets.

If I didn’t bore you, stop by next month for Part Two.

Tracy Reed
www.readtracyreed.com
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
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FLING:NEW ADULT BOX SET

July 5, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

I am so excited to be a part of my first box set. I have heard a lot of people talk about box sets. I’ve heard the good and the bad. However, the amount of good far outweighed the bad for me. I am having a ball working with the six other authors in the FLING: NEW ADULT BOX SET.

It’s great watching everyone push, encourage, inform, help and teach each other. The box set is on KDP Select. As a new Indie Author, I was a little apprehensive about trying KDP Select, but the box set gave me the perfect opportunity to try it. So far, I love it as a vehicle for my novellas.

False celebration. Being new to KDP Select and the borrow or loan program, I reviewed my sales and thought I had over 200 hundred borrows. Reality stepped in and slapped me when I realized the pay structure changed on July 1st. What I thought were units borrowed, were actually pages read. Still not too bad for the first day.

THE GOOD GIRL, is my contribution to the box set and I have to admit, I thought writing a novella

would be a piece of flourless chocolate cake. And it was sort of. Originally, I was only going to write ten thousand words, which I did in a week. However, I wanted to also have a print version, so I set out to double my word count. Talking about stretching, but once I did, it was a little difficult to stop. So now my little novella, is book one in a series.

I’m very grateful to be a part of this box set, because it forced me to do some things I should have done. First, it made me implement a production schedule. Second, it forced me to write a novella. I have been wanting to write a novella for a while. I loved it. I am definitely adding more novellas to my production schedule. Third, it gave me a filler book. My next full length book needed quite a few revisions [I’ll share about that book later] which meant the gap between books was not good. So instead of almost nine months, it’s more like six.

This venture gave me six new writing friends. Thank you, Bonnie, Elena, Geralyn, Kathleen, Michele and Tina.

FLING New Adult Box Set is available at Amazon.com

So meet my Fling Box Set Mates:



Entangled Summer by Michele Barrow-Belisle
Nora Dultry has dreamed of a mysterious guy for years, but when he walks into her waking life, she must untangle the past from the present to know if he’s her dream come true, or her waking nightmare.

Love Me Like You Do by L.Kirk
Daisy Philips jumps to the defense of mysterious loner. Jason Lancaster is a lost soul. Their budding romance hits a snag when a tragedy pulls them apart. Can they find a way to mend their broken hearts?

Chase by Elena Dillon
Rylan Maguire has run from danger…right into Chase Sullivan. But his past tangles with hers, making Rylan wonder if she’s strong enough to love him.

My Best Friend’s Ex by Tina Gayle
She loved him first, but her best friend married him. With their divorce, Brooke must choose between her best friend and the man she loves.

Betrayal at Crater’s Edge by Kathleen Rowland
Marchand wants to show Yardley he loves her, but he has bigger problems. Venus is heading for a catastrophe, and only he can save their world.

Random Acts of Violet by Geralyn Corcillo
Cautious loner Violet Parker needs a new playbook when her quiet summer on campus collides with an unexpected eight year-old, a monster in the attic, and Noah…

The Good Girl by Tracy Reed
When Gabriella accepted her new assignment, she didn’t know it also included a chance for love with her boss, the hot and elusive, Phillippe Marchant.


Tracy Reed

readtracyreed@me.com
www.readtracyreed.com

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
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MEET MY CHARACTERS

June 7, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Tracy Reed

I have been on a blog tour for the past few weeks, which has been great. It’s given me a chance to chat with readers from all over. I can say that because, I know one of the blog stops was based in the United Kingdom and another was based in Australia. I’ve officially gone international. YEAH!

There are a lot of things I like about blog tours…I’ll expound more once it’s over. One of the things I like is it forced me to really get to know my book. I know that sounds strange seeing I wrote the story, but there were a lot of things I had forgotten about their back story and personality. We talk a lot about building or developing characters at RWA and this was very helpful.

I am the first to admit, I am a novice when it come to writer lingo or jargon…protagonist, story arch, subplot, syntax, deep point of view, conflict. antagonist, alliteration. And don’t get me started on length…short story, novelette , novella, full length, jumbo or super length. I may not explain it in correct author terms, but I get by. However, there’s one thing I know for sure, I read what I like and write what I like.

So when I decided to do the blog tour, I was asked to do a character interview. What the crap. I had no clue what that was. I’m not a stupid woman. I graduated college with honors. I had my own sports segment on my college television station for a year, which also aired on local cable. I interned in the Sports Department at the local NBC Station in Tulsa for a year. I worked in Public Relations and the music industry. Plus I run my own business, but this stumped me. When the blog tour promoter answered my simple question, another, “What the crap!” popped into my head. How was I going to interview these two people without giving the story away. Oh yeah, and I had to provide the questions.

I thought long and hard about this and once I started writing, it just flowed. This was my favorite type of interview to do during the tour. I’m already kicking around possible questions for characters from my next books. A good thing about this type of interview/post, is it makes the characters seem real, which helps tell the story.

Here’s my post from a couple of days ago that first appeared on Writer In Progress Blog [www.writerip.blogspot.com].
Meet GENERATIONAL CURSE’s Kyla James and Sean Prescott
GENERATIONAL CURSE is set in New York. However, there are a few things about Sean and Kyla you might find interesting. So let’s ask them.

Where do you live?
KYLA: Upper East Side
SEAN: Tribeca

Tell us about your family? Any sisters and/or brothers?
KYLA: I grew up in a traditional home. My father’s a doctor and my mother is his support. I have a younger sister, who’s also married to a doctor. All of them live in the suburbs.
SEAN: I grew up in a traditional situation. My dad is in construction and my mother worked in his office until a few years ago. They live in the suburbs. My older brother is married and is heart surgeon. He and his family live in California.

What do you do for a living?KYLA: I’m an Interior Designer
SEAN: I’m a Furniture Designer

Where do you work?
KYLA: All over Manhattan, the Hamptons and a few projects in Florida and Chicago
SEAN: My showroom is in Tribeca. However, I do custom work for clients all over the world.

How did you meet?
KYLA: I was leaving an appointment and walked passed his showroom and a chair in the window caught my eye.
SEAN: That’s not how we met. I was doing a showing in Charlotte and she came in.
KYLA: I don’t remember that.
SEAN: She walked in and started stroking all of the sofas and taking pictures. Then she asked if I shipped to New York. I said yes and gave her my card.
KYLA: Oh yeah. Now I remember. Because when he turned around and I saw his behind, I forgot about everything that happened beforehand.
SEAN: Really?
KYLA: Shut up. Next question.

Is that how you started working together?
KYLA: No. I think it was at least what, a year later?
SEAN: About six months. That’s when she walked into my showroom.
KYLA: That’s right, now I remember. It was the chair. I knew it looked familiar. I went inside and I was surprised to see him. We started talking and…

What about the chair?
KYLA: I ordered it for my client.
SEAN: Then she came back the following month for another client and we’ve been working on projects ever since.

So when did you start going out?
KYLA: Who said we were going out?
SEAN: We’re just friends.

Really, you seem very comfortable with each other.? [They’re both smiling]
KYLA: Uhm…I’m in a relationship right now. Besides, I don’t like to mix pleasure with business.
SEAN: So am I pleasure or business?
KYLA: Next question

Have you ever been in love? Engaged? Married?
KYLA: No. No. No.
SEAN: Yes. Yes. No.

What happened Sean?
SEAN: Next question

Tell us something the other doesn’t know about you:
KYLA: Sean’s my best friend.
SEAN: I’m in love with her.

Have you ever considered being more than friends?
KYLA: Uhm…I thought we covered this?
SEAN: Yes.
KYLA: Really?
SEAN: Yes.

Okay, here’s the lightening round.
Print or ebook?

KYLA: Both
SEAN: Both
CD, vinyl or iPod??
KYLA: Yes, no, yes
SEAN: All three

Movies: Chick flick, action, suspense, documentaries?
KYLA: All four
SEAN: All four
KYLA: Really, you like chick flicks
SEAN: Next questions

Jazz, Hip Hop or old school R&B?
KYLA: Jazz and old school
SEAN: All three

Favorite comfort food?
KYLA: Fried chicken
SEAN: Mac and Cheese

Favorite pizza topping?
KYLA: Mushrooms, sausage and extra cheese
SEAN: Pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese is a must

How do you take your coffee?
KYLA: Black
SEAN: Black

Favorite desset?
KYLA: Sugar cookies
SEAN: Gelato

Dog person or cat person?
KYLA: Dog
SEAN: Dog

City or Suburbs:
KYLA: City
SEAN: City

Taxi or Subway:
KYLA: Taxi and foot
SEAN: Taxi or foot, sometimes the subway or I drive

Will you ever get married?
KYLA: Next question
SEAN: Yes

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