Thursday, January 29, 2015
I first heard the term "indie" as it applied to musicians. The whole idea of independent artists being able to create their own kind of music was inspiring, cool, impressive. They didn't want to be pigeon-holed or market-driven or lose their creative freedom.
It wasn't about the money.
It wasn't about the celebrity.
It was about the music.
Being able to write and produce what you wanted to do, not what a record label told you that you HAD to do. To fit in. To make money. To be mainstream. To be universally liked. Maybe even...to be generic.
Indie meant unique.
How ironic that the same term in publishing has swung so very far to the other side.
Now that "indie" and "self-published" are often used interchangeably (right or wrong), I am seeing a trend that is sort of surprising. There are a lot of "indie" authors obsessed with money, rank, bestseller lists. They employ super aggressive promotion techniques that skirt ethical issues. Jumping on the bandwagon trend-of-the-day is commonplace. Instead of focusing on unique, original material, many authors are quick to copy other folks who are successful.
The term "indie" in publishing is losing that quirky, creative meaning and instead has become market-driven, money-focused. Pretty much the complete opposite of what I see in the music industry.
So I'm taking it back.
I'm proud to be indie...it's the best thing that ever happened to me. I can write about anything I want to--and believe me, if I had submitted my love story with 60-year old characters to a traditional publisher, it would have been rejected faster than a speeding bullet.
There is nothing wrong with writing mainstream and focusing on money and trends and marketability. It's a different way to approach this industry.
But when I see readers complaining about "indie" authors who just cranked out another 50 Shades of Grey knock-off, it bums me out.
I'm "Indie" in the classic tradition--and proud of it.
TAKING BACK THE INDIE,
Thursday, January 8, 2015
I survived the holidays. True, I didn't quite finish the to-do list (no cards this year, and I did not bake any homemade Christmas cookies), but the tree was trimmed, the kids were happy on Christmas morning, so...SUCCESS!
And now I have to start my crazy 2015 schedule. I won't bore you with the ridiculous to-do list, but I will give you a quickie overview of my three main projects. Here we go...
1. A TASTE OF HEAVEN
I am super excited for this book! It's a full-length women's fiction about a 47-year old widow who is struggling with her identity after the death of her husband. She enters a professional cooking competition as an amateur, and meets her match with Elliot Adamson, Scottish chef from hell. Or heaven. Depends on your perspective.
Time to make haggis sexy. Yeeeeee hawwwwww!
Coming Spring 2015
2. THE SORRENTO PASSION SERIES
This will be my first multi-author series, and I am thrilled with the concept and the enthusiasm of my fellow authors. After spending a year totally immersed in Harlequin Presents, a story idea popped into my head and wouldn't go away. It has all the glamour and beauty of Sorrento, Italy, but of course (since I just can't help myself), it also has a twist on the traditional series concept. A rich and powerful Italian businessman falls in love with a sweet and unassuming American artist. What happens when the heroine has the chance of a lifetime...to be mentored by the famous Italian artist Manuel Castaldo?
Sorrento Passion is a four-part series, self-published. The other authors participating are the very talented and creative Lexxi Callahan, Ros Clarke, and Bobbi Ruggiero. This is a great group of writers, with eclectic interests and writing styles. Lexxi pens the uber-sexy Southern Style Series, Ros writes a wide array of fiction, always with her signature UK-flair and gorgeous style of writing, and Bobbi, a finalist for the First Kiss Contest, has a fresh, modern voice and an intense interest in rock stars. What a kick-ass combination!
This promises to be a series filled with drama, passion, heartbreak and of course, happy endings. I will post more information later in the year.
Release Date: TBA
3. SWEET CINDERELLA (KLAUS BROTHERS #4)
Coming Christmas 2015
More stuff coming up this year...an updated website, a newsletter (the anti-newsletter newsletter...hee hee!), and soon my books will also be available on iBooks (Apple).
What are your plans for 2015? Anything exciting? LET'S GO TEAM!
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Instead of making a list of goals for the new year, I'm going to make a "motto" for the new year.
As you all know, I'm sort of obsessed with the movie Strictly Ballroom. Not only is it quirky, funny, adorable, and crazy romantic, it also has some really awesome messages.
One of my favorite lines in the movie is this...
"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived."
"Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias."
I really love this quote. I'm all about taking risks. Sometimes I try things that fail. Sometimes I try things that succeed. The thing is...following the trodden-down path is safe. Easy. Boring. It takes courage to try new things, experiment, play around, TRUST YOURSELF. Shake off the failures, dive back into the fray and try something different.
Here is my own quote for the new year...
"Forge your own path. Make your own destiny."
So what happens when you bushwhack through the foliage? What happens when you forge your own path? Maybe your path will look like this...
EMBRACE YOUR DESTINY!
Buckle up, 2015. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
As a special Christmas treat for my readers, I wrote a 2nd epilogue for SWEET ADVENTURE! What happens when Andi decides to investigate the ELVES at the North Pole? Find out at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell's blog today. She has the epilogue posted and is offering a giveaway for the KLAUS BROTHERS BOXED SET.
Stop by and leave a comment!
I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday. HO HO HO!
Friday, December 19, 2014
Conversation at the Penny Watson house last night...
Son: Hey Mom.
Son: You know that Jewish family who lives down the street? At the house with no lights and no tree and no Christmas decorations?
Son: Our house looks exactly like that. EXCEPT WE'RE NOT JEWISH!
Me: What's your point?
Son: Are we ever going to put up our Christmas decorations this year?
After my son shamed me into admitting I was a bit behind with my Christmas preparation (no cookies, no gingerbread house, no decorations, no music, naked tree, no cards) I decided to do something special today. When the kids left for school, I got out all the boxes of stuff, and ran to the hardware store to get new lights (ours were busted), and got to work!
I'm calling this OPERATION ELF. By the time the kids get back from school, the house will be transformed into a winter wonderland...there will be a fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate waiting for them, and Celine Dion Christmas music playing!
I AM ELF! HEAR ME ROAR!
Water Naked Tree
I actually got the tree last week, but never decorated it.
It's like we have a real tree growing in our living room!
The kids did not think this was amusing.
The first time I attempted to put on the lights, the tree looked like crap.
Too many lights on the bottom, not enough on the top.
Big gaping holes.
But then I took off my glasses...
And the tree looked fabulous!
And then I ripped off all the lights and started over again.
We have beaded garlands for the tree.
They're supposed to go into these plastic containers for easy storage.
So I spent 20 minutes pulling them apart.
(I said balls.)
We have old gold balls that are scuffed up and falling apart.
I call these "vintage" balls.
[INSERT BALLS JOKE]
You know how you have the "top tier" special ornaments,
and then the "back-up" crappy ornaments that go on the back of the tree?
Well, I lost the starting line-up ornaments,
and now I only have the subs.
I'm sure the top tier ornaments are somewhere in the basement.
I DID IT!
Hope everyone is surviving the holidays with good spirits!
Friday, December 5, 2014
I am super excited for the release of SOLVING FOR NIC by Lexxi Callahan! Lexxi writes steamy southern-style romance. This new release--book #2 in the Southern Style Series--has an adorable smarty-pants heroine and a swoon-worthy hero who is a master of seduction. SMOKY HOT, BABY!
To celebrate the release of her new book, Lexxi is offering an amazing giveaway. One lucky winner at my blog will get a $15 gift card, and also have a chance to win the grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite!
Here are the book blurb and purchase links for SOLVING FOR NIC...
SOLVING FOR NIC
Now that Lizzie Sellers is twenty-one, Nic Maretti can't think of a single reason why he has to stay away from her any longer. When he sees her again at Stefan and Jen's wedding, he decides he wants her. And what Nic wants, Nic gets.
He just gets a whole lot more than he bargained for with Lizzie.
Lizzie Sellers has had a crush on Nic since she was seventeen. Now that she's started a doctoral program in theoretical math, she decides it's time to put away childish things so she can focus on millennium prizes and solving one of the world's unsolvable problems. So when she sees Nic at Jen and Stefan's wedding she decides it's the perfect opportunity to get him out of her system. There is no way the real Nic Maretti could ever live up to the fantasy she's created over the years.
Except Lizzie finds out quickly that solving her Nic problem may be even more impossible than solving the Riemann Hypothesis. And sometimes reality is way better than fantasy.
What happens when two people who have already made up their minds about their future discover an even better solution that is at once terrifying and irresistible?
“An adorably steamy hot and humorous romance featuring a young brilliant math geek and a 'worldy' slightly jaded playboy who discover that love has no defining boundaries or rules. Review to come.” Tori – Smexybooks
SOLVING FOR NIC by Lexxi Callahan is a wonderful second installment of the Southern Style Series. Once again, Callahan has created a sexy, tender, and troubled couple searching for their happy ending in the southern sunshine. I love this series! – PENNY WATSON, Bestselling Author of APPLES SHOULD BE RED
Purchase Links at...
Barnes and Noble
This is the give-away for the $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card...
A Rafflecopter giveaway
And here is the BIG giveaway for the Kindle Paperwhite! One winner will be chosen from three different websites...
A Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats to Lexxi on her new release!
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!
7 Reasons to attend
on Saturday Dec. 6, from 12-4 pm
at the Residence Inn, Needham MA
1. YOU NEED STOCKING STUFFERS!
What's better for holiday gifts than BOOKS? Also...fun promo items, jewelry, give-away baskets, and more!
2. YOU LOVE SCHMOOZING!
There will be enthusiastic, fun-loving readers, authors, bloggers, friends, and family who want to hang out, chat, drink cocktails, and maybe sway to the holiday music. (GO CELINE DION!)
3. YOU LOVE READING!
There will be 40 authors selling their books at this event. What kinds of books? Thanks for asking!
- Contemporary romance
- Paranormal romance/UF
- Erotic romance
- Historical romance
- Inspirational romance
- Romantic comedy
- Sci fi romance
- Women's fiction
- Contemporary fiction
- Historical fiction
- Children's fiction
Most book sales will be CASH. Bring some cash! There is also an ATM in the hotel lobby.
4. YOU LOVE COCKTAILS!
There will be a cash bar with wine, beer, and a special holiday drink called THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE!
5. YOU LOVE FREE STUFF!
Admission is free. Promo items are free. You have the chance to win give-away baskets every hour on the hour. And...THERE WILL BE CHRISTMAS COOKIES!
6. YOU LOVE HOLIDAY PARTIES!
Who doesn't love a party?
7. YOU NEED AN EXCUSE TO WEAR YOUR TACKY HOLIDAY SWEATER!
For DIRECTIONS to the Residence Inn, check out this LINK!
For more information about the event, check out these links...
Penny Watson's Holiday Bash and Bookfair--has complete list of authors!
Boston.com Events--Penny Watson's Holiday Bash
Boston Event Guide--Penny Watson's Holiday Bash
Needham PATCH--Penny Watson's Holiday Bash
Monday, December 1, 2014
It's that time again! Time for Penelope's TOP 20 LIST!
Get ready for hipster cats, psychotic mermaids,
chocolate-y goodness, caveman heroes,
and much much more...
1. Best Debut Collection of Short Stories...RIVER TALK by CB Anderson
This is a wonderful collection of short stories. Anderson's writing voice is at times sparse, lyrical, jarring. I adored the bittersweet snippets of life in Maine. Highly recommend this one!
2. Most Blood-Thirsty Mermaid Who Scared The Living Bejimminies Out of Me...Nomia in WAKING THE MERROW by Heather Rigney
WAKING THE MERROW also wins my favorite debut novel for 2014! This book totally rocked my boat. It's a cross-genre, horrifying twist on the mermaid legend that hops back and forth between current times and colonial times in coastal Rhode Island. Scary as hell, great writing, lots of humor, and the promise of more excellent things to come in this series. A HUGE winner!
3. Second-Most Embarrassing Reading Addiction for the Year (Includes Billionaires, Secret Babies, and Wide-Eyed Innocent Heroines)...HARLEQUIN PRESENTS
Thanks to Lexxi Callahan, I may have developed an unhealthy addiction to HP books. I think I read about 200 of them? I'm not counting, because A.) I'm in denial, and B.) I don't want to think about how much money I spent on secret babies this year. Anyway, it's almost impossible for me to pick just one favorite, but I think I've read THE BILLIONAIRE'S PREGNANT MISTRESS by Lucy Monroe about two dozen times. AND IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER! *whimper*
HELP ME! I CAN'T STOP READING THESE!
4. Most Adorable Tea Time: BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY...Pinkies Up!
I took my daughter to the afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library, and it was delightful! We had cucumber sandwiches, Mutan White tea with lemon-vanilla and pink rosebuds, and delicious little sweet treats. If anyone is searching for a highly civilized activity in Boston, I highly recommend this ritual.
5. New Favorite Series Filled With Lusty Love and Chocolate-y Goodness...LAURA FLORAND's The Chocolate Series
I have a weakness for foodie books and for authors who make the setting jump off the page. Florand does both with exquisite care. You can practically taste the cinnamon-dusted chocolate as her luscious heroes pull them off the parchment paper. And forget about getting that ticket to Paris. Just read one of her books, and you will be happily transported to the most romantic city on earth--immersed in the sights, the scents, the charm. These books were created for true romance-lovers. Just lovely!
6. New Favorite Cocktail That Packs A Punch...THE MOSCOW MULE
What do you get when you combine icy cold vodka, ginger beer, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and mint in a copper mug? NIRVANA, BABY!
7. Favorite Historical Romance...THE PIRATE'S SECRET BABY by Darlene Marshall
Marshall has the perfect balance for me...lusty romance, humor, flawless writing, colorful characters. I always love her stories. And you can't beat the title--score another point for secret babies!
8. Best Quirky Hipster Romance...GEEK WITH THE CAT TATTOO by Theresa Weir
Oh boy, did I love this book. A smart-ass cat with a POV, a beautifully-written story with music and humor and amazingly romantic moments. I am a HUGE fan of Theresa Weir. I adore authors who take risks and write outside-of-the-box...and then hit a gigantic home run. And this book hit it out of the park for me. Swoony.
9. Favorite Newly Discovered Horror Movie With A Twist...THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
This film came out in 2012, but I didn't watch it until this year. Holy canastas! This was brilliant. A fabulous play on horror victim vs. viewer, mixing up the cliches and expected characters with humor and great cinematography. LOVED!
10. Favorite New Hollywood Cutie Pie...CHRIS PRATT
11. Favorite Pilgrimage of the Year/Most Inspirational Author Talk EVER!...LOUISE PENNY
My pal Bobbi Ruggiero and I were lucky enough to hear Louise Penny speak in Norwich, Vermont this past summer. Not only is she an incredibly talented author, she is also gracious, lovely, professional, kind, and thoughtful. I bow down to her greatness. And also give her T-shirts! Hee hee!
12. Favorite New-To-Me Author Writing Irish Small Town Romance...ZARA KEANE
I got a big kick out of LOVE AND SHENANIGANS, an adorable, quirky, funny and romantic story set in a small Irish town. Bravo, Zara Keane!
13. Stupendous New Super Hero Series...VIXEN by Julia Barrett
Totally unexpected mix of crazy-good writing, twists on the super hero concept, and even a spot of romance. I'm eating these up like sour cream-and-onion potato chips. I NEED MORE!
14. Most Embarrassing Neanderthal Hero Addiction I Just Can't Quit...LYNDA CHANCE
There are alpha male heroes...and then there are Lynda Chance alpha male heroes. Basically, a Lynda Chance alpha male hero makes a regular old alpha male hero look like a politically correct hipster who knits and has pet kittens. Lynda Chance alpha male heroes are cavemen who are crude, rude, sexy as all hell, and jacked on testosterone like a lab rat. This is without a doubt my #1 MOST EMBARRASSING ROMANCE ADDICTION for 2014. If I had to pick one favorite it would be SEDUCED BY THE AMERICAN MILLIONAIRE. The characters are a bit older, which I always like. And the hero is...I can't even...OUT OF CONTROL!
15. Favorite Beard of the Year...TOM MISON
Colonial America never looked so good.
16. Best Furry Urban Legend...YETI
Is he cute and cuddly? Does he like to decapitate people? Depending on whether you adhere to the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" version or Syfy "Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon" version, you'll either get a super snuggly dude or a furry killer. Take your pick.
Yeti, Girls Gone Wild version
17. Favorite Inspirational Story...THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE by Lena Goldfinch
I don't read a lot of Christian inspirational stories, but this one was lovely. It included several of my favorite topics--mail-order brides and loggers! Goldfinch has a really gorgeous writing style and it was a perfect fit for this adorable book.
18. Most Ridiculous Over-Hyped Concept I Already Discussed Two Years Ago, People!...LUMBERSEXUAL
I think there have been about 4,972 articles about "lumbersexuals" in the last couple of months. My blog post from two years ago...WEENIES IN A PLAID SHIRT
Hipster + Plaid Shirt + Skinny Jeans = NOT A LUMBERJACK! I know for a FACT this guy can't use an axe to save his life.
Just say no to hipster lumberjacks!
19. #1 Most Embarrassing Book I Read This Year...CABIN BOUND SUBMISSION: BRED BY THE LUMBERJACK
In my defense...never mind. I have no defense. I spent $2.99 on this book and the tenses were skipping from present to past from sentence to sentence. And the lumberjack's name was Paul. And...*Penny hangs head in shame*
I can't post the real cover. It's too embarrassing. Sigh.
20. Favorite Book Read in 2014...THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion
This book was actually published in 2013. I have a weakness for super smarty pants-characters, especially those who are awkward and totally lacking in social skills. Don Tillman fits the bill. He is a professor searching for a wife, in the most systematic, rational, reasonable way possible. But as we all know, love rarely follows our well-planned efforts. This book was a breath of fresh air--quirky, funny, adorable, sweet...and of course, romantic. I always embrace books willing to take a chance on a different kind of hero. This was fantastic.
Best of all, the sequel--THE ROSIE EFFECT--will be released soon. Yippppeeeeeee!
I hope you enjoyed the 2014 list. What was your favorite book this year?
Friday, November 21, 2014
Sleepy Hollow put me to sleep, but hell and damnation this guy is HOT! Tom Mison is a British actor who is rocking the beard. And the scraggly hair. And the 19th century Colonial American duds.
Happy Beardy Friday!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Once again, I see folks on the message boards complaining about "self-pub" or "indie" authors and how shoddy "those" books are.
Problem: You can't clump every self-published book and author into the same bin.
Just as you can't clump every traditionally-published author/book into the same bin.
I just read a Harlequin filled with typos and errors.
I also read a self-published book filled with typos and errors.
I also read a trad book that was well-executed and produced. AND I also read another self-published title that had excellent quality writing and production.
So what's going on?
As far as trad-published books...the big pubs are clearly cutting editorial corners. As well as digital formatting corners. That's nothing new.
But what I would like to really address today is the whole "indie" thing because not all indies are created equal.
I own a business. A publishing company. For me. I make all the decisions. And because I want to produce a high quality and professional product, I hire professionals to help me with this business.
I hire a professional cover artist.
I hire someone to format my books for print.
I hire someone to format my books for digital release.
I hire someone to professionally edit my books.
I have a crew of beta readers who edit for content.
I pay money for ads and other promotional options.
Is this expensive? Maybe. It's an investment in MY business.
There is a very big difference between a publishing business (whether it's run by a New York company or a smaller company or a single person) and a DIY-pub.
A DIY-Pub could be your Aunt Ethel who wrote a family history and wants to throw that baby up on Amazon so she can say she "published" a book. Good for her. I have no problem with that.
However, if you...
--make your own book cover
--do NOT hire a professional editor
--do NOT hire professional formatters
--promote yourself by fighting with peeps on message boards
...I do not consider you a professional publisher.
That's a DIY project.
Maybe you're awesome at formatting. And maybe you have a graphic design background and can whip off a gorgeous cover. Fine.
But even the most experienced authors--who have been writing for YEARS--need an editor. They just do. I can tell when the big-wig NY-published authors are skipping the editing portion of the equation. It's glaringly obvious and pretty embarrassing.
Once again, the bottom line is JUDGE EACH BOOK ON ITS OWN MERITS.
Clumping all self-published authors together into the same barrel is ridiculous.