Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Regency Christmas, guest post by Sherrill Bodine

                                               A REGENCY CHRISTMAS

In my novella, The Christmas Ball,  I combine my favorite holiday, Christmas, with my favorite historical period, the elegant Regency world of Jane Austen – plus I throw in a pinch of my favorite Fairytale, Cinderella.

During my many visits to England and through my research I have come to love the wit, grace and romance of this period, 1800 – 1820, and discovered how many Regency customs endure in the way in which I celebrate Christmas.

The Christmas season of Regency England was a time of much merrymaking.  Everybody invited their friends and family about them for festive celebrations.  On Christmas Eve there was often a delightful Ball which provided an excuse for ladies to wear their best clothes and jewelry.  Plus the Ball provided an opportunity for flirting among the unmarried couples and perhaps even the beginnings of serious courtships.

An unmarried young lady would wear a soft column-like dress, usually white trimmed with satin ribbon.  She would have pearl combs in her hair, with a matching necklace around her slender neck and earrings dangling from her delicate ears. To this she would add a jewel inlaid fan or one painted with birds, flowers or fruit.  She might practice the art of “fluttering” for months until she hardly needed to speak for the way she used her fan spoke volumes about her emotions.  Obviously, the Regency young men never stood a chance against such artistry.

On Christmas Eve there would always be the singing of Carols and sometimes amusing games were played such as “Hunt the Slipper” before the evening ended with sandwiches  and sweets.

On Christmas Day morning the children were given beautifully decorated boxes which contained money.  Then in mid-day, usually around four o’clock, the family would gather in the dining room for a sumptuous meal of Salmon Trout, Sweetbreads, Chicken Fricassee, Roast Turkey, Ham, Buttered Lobster, Muffin Pudding, Jellies, Potatoes, Peas, Whipped Syllabub and Baskets of Pastry.

Now, two hundred years later, my festive celebrations begin on December 23th with my “Almost Christmas Eve Party” for all my friends who are alone or without their families.  There is no Ball, but a DJ will be spinning tunes for dancing and yes, a few romances have started in my family room with the music blaring and young couples gazing into one another’s eyes.  Since this is a family party with friends from three years old to ninety –five, I encourage a sing-a-long of familiar Carols, even though I won’t be joining in as my voice is so terrible my guests would be justified in covering their ears and fleeing the party.

The party continues on Christmas Eve with dinner for my family of twenty –two.  Then we rise at dawn on Christmas morning to discover what Santa has left in all twenty-two stockings.  I will try to make our Christmas Brunch as sumptuous as a Regency feast but there will be fewer courses and , alas, no Buttered Lobster, even though my children would love such extravagance.

I love discovering how others celebrate the holidays and send my wish for the days ahead to be filled with joy for all! 
Xoxo  Sherrill Bodine   

 Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Diversion Books team and all of our authors. We're wishing you and yours a festive and safe holiday season. See you in 2014!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New eBook releases 12/17: Advice for Football Fans, Cozy Western Romance, and Remembering the Luminaries of 2013

Welcome to the last set of new releases for 2013! It's been an amazing year, and we're excited to close out on a high note.

The Tao of Chip Kelly was previewed here last week with an excerpt highlighting how Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly has often used humor in his coaching (and dealing with the press). Get the full picture of this inspiring coach today for your favorite eReader, as Mark Saltveit has carefully curated and analyzed the lessons we can all take from Chip Kelly for use in our daily lives.

Be sure to follow Mark Saltveit on Twitter of the latest news and analysis of Chip Kelly in the last few weeks of the NFL season. It's coming down to the wire, but the Eagles under Kelly's leadership can still pull it off!

Just as last week four more Anita Mills titles were added to our catalog to complement our earlier backlist re-releases, this week we're bringing back four more historical romances from a beloved author. Jane Bonander, whose previous re-releases with Diversion includes the free eBook Wild Heart, has four Western romances available today. Secrets of a Midnight Moon, Heat of a Savage Moon, and Forbidden Moon are a trilogy exploring the intense passion between strong-willed Western women and the Native American men brave enough to cross their paths. Fires of Innocence follows a young woman whose act of compassion in saving a wounded man is returned with fire and scorn when he returns in fairer weather to evict her from her beloved land.

Treat yourself to one or all four today and keep warm through the long winter days (and nights!).

2013 marked the passing of many notable cultural icons. From people as globally renowned as Nelson Mandela and Chinua Achebe, as noteworthy in their fields as Esther Williams and Virginia Johnson, and as colorful as Gussie Moran and Josh Burdette, the world is a little darker today because of their passing, but brighter because of what they contributed. The Washington Post commemorates 21 of these passionate, notable, colorful figures in 21 Lives in 2013.

We close out our final 2013 new release post with exciting giveaway news, courtesy of Goodreads. Three paperback edition giveaways are now active, two for young adult fans and another for all of you writers out there looking for advice from one of the best in the field. Check them out and enter today.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wrede on Writing by Patricia C. Wrede

Wrede on Writing

by Patricia C. Wrede

Giveaway ends January 06, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fae by C.J. Abedi


by C.J. Abedi

Giveaway ends January 16, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

The Moment Before

by Suzy Vitello

Giveaway ends January 14, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Remember, you can always learn about the latest giveaways, news, and titles from Diversion Books by friending us on Goodreads.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season, from the entire Diversion Books team.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

COVER REVEAL: The Dark King by C.J. Abedi, sequel to Fae

It's been killing us to sit on such a beautiful cover for a few weeks, but now is the time! Just after the announcements of the YA fantasy bestseller Fae has been optioned by Ridley Scott and is available in paperback, now you can feast your eyes upon the cover for the sequel The Dark King.

Darkness descends over Roanoke Island in the sequel to the young adult bestseller, Fae.

Devilyn Reilly has crossed over to the sinister world of The Dark Fae, reigning over the realm as its King. He is to fulfill a prophecy--to unite the Light and Dark Fae once and for all, but those who love him now fear that he will never be the same again, that he can no longer be trusted, that every trace of the Light he once had is gone forever.

Caroline Ellis, the final heir of the Light Fae, must learn to survive without the protection of her one true love. She must come to embrace her own strength to evade those in the Dark court who seek her destruction—for the power is within Caroline to use Light to change Fate itself...

Caroline and Devilyn’s chemistry is undeniable. Their destiny together inevitable if only they have the will to overcome The Darkness and The Fates.

The Dark King, the second installment of the stunning Fae trilogy propels readers into the mystical and magical world of the Light and Dark Fae, where star-crossed love ignites a battle between two powerful kingdoms, one that can consume everything that stands in its path.

This dark and mysterious sequel will be available May 6th, 2014. You can preorder it today from Amazon, the iBookstore, or Kobo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Sometimes I can be sarcastic. I don't know if people realize that." - An excerpt from THE TAO OF CHIP KELLY

The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit
is now available for all eReaders
In 2007, some fans in Eugene, Oregon were in line to buy basketball tickets and killing time by tossing a football around. A husky stranger interrupted to give them some unsolicited advice:

“Let me show you how to throw a football. You gotta flick it like a booger.”

The stranger was Oregon’s new offensive coordinator (and former high school quarterback) Chip Kelly. He’s a very funny guy, a classic New England deadpan ball-buster.

He also doesn’t see the need to give anyone respect that they haven’t earned. And he is surrounded by very talented people who have been working their asses off for most of their lives, so his standards for earning respect are very high.

This has led to an often-contentious relationship with the press, whose members are not used to being challenged and rarely have the history of military service or major football accomplishment (either as a player or coach) that most impresses Chip.

When Kelly was at the University of Oregon, there was also a bit of a West Coast/East Coast culture clash, something that won’t be a problem in Philadelphia (where fans are known to throw batteries and boo Santa Claus). But Oregon is definitely laid back, if a bit more solid than California.

I experienced Chip’s culture clash in the opposite direction, as an Oregon kid who went to college in Boston. Out of the blue—in a Store 24, for example—total strangers kept giving me crap, and I thought “Oh my God, every single person is an asshole here!”

Of course, four years later when I returned to Portland, I was the asshole, busting chops on people I just met and offending baffled strangers. I had to become a stand-up comedian just to explain myself.

Still, it’s Chip Kelly’s jousting with the press that we hear about the most because even when reporters are the butt of the joke, they can’t ignore the fact that Kelly gives some of the best interviews in sports. For full effect, you need to know that he talks very fast and right off the top of his head. Here are some examples.

At the press conference after the 2013 NFL annual meeting, a reporter asked whether Kelly’s Eagles would use the read option play he relied on at Oregon.

“It depends on who your QB is. If you were my QB, (probably not). You have to adapt.”

Another asked him what had been the most difficult thing to deal with in Philadelphia. Kelly replied, “The Schuylkill [Expressway].”

At the press conference on the first day of organized team activities—a non-contact set of drills—he was asked to rate how well his team played.

“Our defense was going against barrels, and our offense was going against air. But our offense killed it against air, so if we could play air we’d be really good …”

Kelly makes it very clear that he does not give out information about the current injury status of his players. This has been his consistent policy for many years, as reporters know.

In one of Kelly’s first moves as coach, the Eagles signed free agent Kenny Phillips, a talented but wounded veteran coming back from microfracture surgery in his left knee in 2009 and an MCL problem in his right knee in 2012. After Phillips sat out one of the Eagles’ early practices, some reporter asked the coach, “Does (Kenny Phillips) have an injury?” Kelly’s answer:

“Yeah, he’s had an injury for a couple of years now.”

Many of Chip’s best quips have involved bringing reporters who get too clever in their thinking back down to earth. When one reporter asked what he had learned from studying USC’s epic run of seven straight PAC-10 championships (from 2002-2008), Kelly answered “Yeah. Get good players.” The Trojans were (and are) a recruiting giant of almost SEC proportions, clearly dominant in the PAC-12.

Some of these busts are so deadpan that people might even miss them. After a rare loss, one reporter asked how much he planned to change his strategy as a result.

“Thirteen percent. Exactly.”102

Kelly doesn’t like long-winded speeches or stuffiness in any form, either. Before the 2011 National Championship Game, after endless interviews and speculation, there was this exchange:

“MODERATOR: We will take an opening statement from Coach Kelly.

KELLY: From me? Wow. Haven’t heard enough? Game is tomorrow night. Let’s go play. Questions?”

On a similar note, after Oregon beat UCLA for the 2011 PAC-12 championship, the press conference moderator asked if there were any opening statements. Kelly quipped:

“Opening statements? Is this a debate? LaMichael: Thermonuclear war. Are you for it or against it?”

He also doesn’t like stupid questions. One reporter at spring training in Oregon noted that then-new recruit Colt Lyerla had started workouts at tight end. He asked, does that mean you want him to play tight end? Chip said:

“We were actually going to look at him at D-lineman, but we couldn’t get the right jersey on him. No, we are going to look at him at tight end. That is why we put him at tight end.”

It’s not just that Kelly thinks he’s smarter and funnier than everybody else (though I’m not saying that he doesn’t or that he isn’t). This is part of the New Hampshire culture he grew up in, and it’s a way for him to stay grounded, as his oldest friends will tell you. Kevin Mills, an assistant coach at Portsmouth High School and one of Kelly’s best friends, said this:

“Some people, you put a couple dollars in their pocket, and they sort of drift away, go Hollywood. He hasn’t done that at all. Whenever I go to a New Hampshire game, he’s texting me, asking me what’s going on.”

Sean Devine, the offensive line coach at Boston College, confirms this: “He likes to bust (chops). He’s quick-witted with a great sense of humor. (But) he’s a good guy. My first couple years, when I was a young coach and I was making peanuts, he took great care of me. Many times we’d hang out in Portsmouth, and he’d take care of things.”

Mills again: "Loves to laugh. He’s the king of trying to bust peoples’ chops.”

There’s a serious business behind the chop-busting. It’s a way to stay grounded, to keep your ego in check, to keep the focus on results and earned trust. Kelly has paid to fly half a dozen old friends from New Hampshire in for a few games every year, even when he was across the country in Oregon. The loyalty of someone you can trust to give you crap is valuable. Mike Zamarchi, a high school coach and old friend of Kelly’s, said: “I think he likes us coming out. It loosens him up a little bit. He can be who he is, who he’s always been. Most people just know him since he became the head coach at Oregon.”

A reporter once asked Kelly why he is so contentious with the media, while he famously bonds with his players: “I’m different with our players because I trust our players and I’m with them every day, and I understand what they’re all about. I’m like that with everybody. It ain’t going to be Kumbaya and hug you the first time I meet you. But if I see you every day and understand what you’re about every day and that you share the same vision that I have, then I’ll die for you.”

One of the many contentious issues that the press asked Kelly about was how long he would stay at Oregon and whether he planned to go to the NFL. Did it make it hard to recruit for the Ducks, one reporter asked, after he started talking to teams like Tampa Bay about coaching positions? Chip’s answer was classic:

“I’d have a hard time saying, ‘Hey, please come to my program cause we’re really mediocre and I’ll never get offered a job anywhere else.’”

Reporters kept grilling him, and Kelly threw it right back. Eugene, Oregon is a town of only 150,000 people, and the newspaper is pretty small. Reporter Adam Jude from the Eugene Register-Guard asked the coach if he was being honest with recruits that he might not be there for their entire playing career. Kelly said absolutely and came right back at the reporter:

“I don’t think anybody can say where they’re going to be four years from now. Can you tell me that you’re going to be at the Register-Guard for four years? I wanna get you on record, too. Are we locking you in?”

That reporter, Adam Jude, left his paper for the larger and better-paying Oregonian six months later, half a year before Kelly took the job in Philadelphia

The revised and updated The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit is available today in all eBook formats.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New eBook releases 12/10: Thrillers and Historical Romance

Prepare for thriller author Martin J. Smith's next book starring memory specialist Jim Christensen by catching up on the first three books, and delve deeper into Anita Mills' catalog with four backlist re-releases today from Diversion Books!

Jim Christensen is a Pittsburgh-based psychologist known for being a memory specialist - when a case is particularly tricky, due to witness memory being unreliable - Jim is called in to help. Jim probes the suppressed memories of the son of a suspected maniac plaguing the pharmacies of Pittsburgh in Time Release, studies a matriarch caught in the grip of Alzheimer's holding an explosive family secret in Shadow Image, and is compelled to assist a victim so traumatized she isn't sure she can identify her attacker any longer in Straw Men. Barbara Seranella, author of the Munch Mancini series, calls Jim Christensen "a wonderfully unique sleuth [who] tackles the most mysterious setting of all: the Bermuda Triangle of human memory."

Amazon and iBookstore readers are in for a special treat, with Time Release available for free for a limited time.

Keep following the Diversion Books blog for news on the fourth Jim Christensen title, The Disappeared Girl, coming this spring.

In May, Diversion Books released nine historical romance titles by Anita Mills. Readers who propelled her re-released titles up the bestseller charts will be excited to load four more Anita Mills re-releases into their eReaders. The pair of Comanche Moon and Comanche Rose are tales of hard living and loving on the American frontier, where bold Texas Rangers save the day. Falling Stars is a sequel to Autumn Rain, with plain Kate Winstead turning to the notorious rake Viscount Townsend when she is betrayed by her husband in a foreign country. In The Duke's Double, Joanna Sherwood marries the man of her dreams - only to have her dreams turn to nightmares when her new husband accuses her of infidelity.

In other Diversion Books news...

  • Executive Actions by Gary Grossman is the free Book of the Week on the iBookstore. After an assassin's bullet kills the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Teddy Lodge, he becomes the candidate to beat for incumbent President Morgan Taylor. When Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke is ordered to investigate the assassination, he unravels a deadly Soviet plot that has incubated for more than 30 years. Now controlled by a power hungry Middle Eastern heir to the throne, the Soviet sleeper agent is poised to change the course of American policy in the Middle East, and only Agent Roarke can stop him.
  • Acclaimed director Ridley Scott has purchased the film rights to C.J. Abedi's young adult bestseller Fae, published this summer by Diversion Books. Stay tuned for news about the upcoming sequel, The Dark King, coming this spring!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Useful and Unuseful Lists - an excerpt from WREDE ON WRITING by Patricia C. Wrede

This week noted science fiction and fantasy author Patricia C. Wrede released her first book on witing, Wrede on Writing. Keep reading for an excerpt from this indispensable guide, talking about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of online writing tips like "Seven Dialogue Mistakes."

The other day I was browsing writing websites and came across one that made me blink. Every post for months had a title like “Seven Dialogue Mistakes,” “Five Ways to a Great Scene,” “Ten Resolutions for Career Writers,” and “Twelve Dynamite Endings.”

I get that a lot of people really, in their heart of hearts, want a paint-by-numbers approach to writing a great book. I also realize that a lot of people don’t want to read more than one screen’s worth of blog post. Lists of tips and tricks and common mistakes seem like a perfectly reasonable way to get at both things at the same time.

The trouble is that, in my experience, a short list of tips or mistakes just doesn’t work very well when it comes to helping people improve their writing.

Writing a short story or a novel is complicated; every bit of it affects everything else. It’s easy to focus on one particular aspect of writing, like dialogue or endings, and dash off a list of do’s and don’ts. But in an actual story, it’s not so simple. That number three “Don’t” from the dialogue list, for instance, may be both thematically appropriate and more perfectly in character than any of the alternatives, not to mention being the ideal way of moving the plot along. Number ten, “Do make sure,” from the characterization list may be impossible to make work, given the constraints of the style and setting.

But there are several sorts of lists that I find extremely useful. They just don’t have anything much to do with writing technique.

The first set of lists is stuff I use during the first draft to save time. For instance, I have one possible-next-book that involves characters from several different imaginary countries/backgrounds. I want their names to sound as if they come from different places with different languages and naming conventions, and I don’t want any of them to be token representatives of their cultures. That means that eventually, when I’m making up secondary characters like the barman and the traveling salesman, I’m going to need more names that sound as if they came from the same places.

So I make a set of lists: six to ten male and female names that would come from each country, along with six to ten family/clan/house/tribe names for each country that mix and match well with the personal names I’ve picked. When I need the traveling salesman, all I have to do is decide which country he’s from and pick from the list.

Or I make a list of place names so that when they pass by that small town, I can grab a name on the fly. I’ll also make lists of things I’ve mentioned in passing, like local foods or animals I’ve invented, so that I can use them again if I need to (and so I can make sure that I didn’t name the fish stew “kishta” and the tiger with antlers “kitsa”—far too confusing, not to mention the potential for tragically horrible typos.)

The other kind of lists I find useful are checklists of things to do during the first round of revisions. There’s an ongoing, ever-changing list of all the phrases I tend to overuse, so I can do a search-and-destroy on them easily. There’s a list of things to check for consistency and continuity. (I have a really bad habit of changing the spelling of a character’s name by one letter somewhere in the middle of the story or calling someone “Anthony” for two chapters and then switching to “Andrew” because I couldn’t be bothered to look up which male-name-beginning-with-A I’d used, and I was sure it was Andrew.)

In other words, all the lists I find useful have to do with the content of the story: names, places, descriptive phrases. That’s what I need to keep track of when I’m writing, not the five dialogue mistakes that I may or may not be making in any given scene or the twelve dynamite endings that don’t fit the story I’m trying to tell.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New eBook Releases 12/3 - Writing Advice and Regency Romance

Happy December readers! With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is in full swing, and we're kicking the month off with a perfect gift and a free seasonal novella.

Patricia C. Wrede, author of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles among many, many other works of fantasy and science fiction, has brought together her years of professional experience into her first book on writing. Wrede on Writing is the book that anyone with a novel hidden away in a drawer. From how to develop ideas into full-grown stories and nurture nascent characters, to how to manage finances and other aspects of the business side of writing, Wrede on Writing is an indispensable tool for any writer. If you know someone who spent November doing the marathon writing spring of National Novel Writing Month, or who always makes a New Year's Resolution to finish that long-forgotten novel, Wrede on Writing would make the perfect holiday gift. Available today in all eBook formats, and soon in paperback.

 Sherrill Bodine has made a name for herself in the romance community - several names, actually! Having also written under the names Lynn Leslie and Leslie Lynn, Sherrill's a prolific writer who loves nothing more than to delve into the romantic world of the Regency period. Today, six of her stories previously published under the name Lynn Leslie have been re-branded and re-released. Whether Sherrill's writing is an old friend or a new acquaintance, start your reading with The Christmas Ball, a short novella FREE for Kindle and iOS readers. Several full-length novels follow, including The Rake's Redemption and Scandal's Child. Treat yourself to a story of romance and passion to keep you warm during the long winter nights!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New eBook releases 11/26 - National Book Award winner Walter Wangerin and free historical romance

In today's eBook releases, Walter Wangerin Jr. follows up this summer's re-releases of The Book of the Dun Cow and The Second Book of the Dun Cow: Lamentations with the all new conclusion to the Dun Cow trilogy, and Laura Parker's mysterious The Masqueraders series makes its eBook debut with a limited time free offer.

The Third Book of the Dun Cow: Peace at the Last picks up with Pertelote, the widow of Chauntecleer the Golden Rooster, now shouldering the heavy mantle of leader of the Animals. Desperate to keep her band safe, Pertelote is travelling blindly as she seeks refuge.

Two other groups of Creatures are making their own journeys through the perilous land. Deciding whether they are friends or foes is only one of the dangerous decisions Pertelote must make. When the disparate bands of Creatures converge on a hidden crater high in the dangerous mountains, they make a monumental discovery that may finally mean an end to their trials and tribulations.

Whether you've been following the saga of Chauntecleer and Pertelote and their battles against evil from the beginning or are a new fan, The Third Book of the Dun Cow: Peace at the Last is an integral addition to your collection. And if you haven't started the series yet, pick up The Book of the Dun Cow this Friday for just 99 cents for all readers.

Laura Parker's historical romance series, The Masqueraders, is a quintet of titles of secret identities, masquerade balls, and forbidden romances. In Caprice, Hadrian Blackburne returns to London after being thought killed in action at Waterloo. Bored to tears by the staid London society scene, he misses the spy games of Persia, where he was a master of intrigue. His interest is only piqued when a ravishing, veiled beauty sweeps into Regency London on a cloud of exotic mystery.

Who is this Princess Sultana el Djemal? Hadrian must know, even if playing the game of love could cost him body and soul.

For a limited time, Caprice is free for Kindle and iOS readers! And if you can't get enough after discovering Princess Sultana's identity yourself, remember there are four more books of romantic intrigue to keep your busy over the long weekend.

If you want to find out about our latest free and discounted books, including our big Cyber Monday sales, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter! We promise not to share your e-mail with anyone else, and only e-mail 1-2 times a month with the latest news and deals in Diversion eBooks.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nonfiction Pre-Orders

We're excited to announce that pre-orders are officially available for two upcoming nonfiction books, written by women who are at the top of their fields.

Available December 3rd, legendary author Patricia C. Wrede will release her first book on writing, aptly titled Wrede on Writing. A soon-to-be indispensable guide for writers at all stages and across all genres, Wrede begins with basic how-to's before advancing to topics on character development and worldbuilding, giving you the tools you need to not only begin your book, but to finish one as well.

Already have a finished book? Before Wrede was a full-time writer she had a day job too, in finance, and gives practical advice to writers on managing money, from royalties to determining the financial potential of your next project.

Wrede on Writing is available for pre-order on the iBookstore and will be available for all devices on December 3rd. And if a writer is on your holiday shopping list, Wrede on Writing will also be available in paperback. The perfect gift!

Looking ahead to the new year, many of us are already planning on New Year Resolutions that involve losing weight and getting fit. Women's fitness pioneer Kathrine Switzer will be re-releasing her bestselling book Running and Walking for Women Over 40, completely updated with the latest developments in shoes, clothing, injury prevention and nutrition, in addition to Kathrine's personal advice on motivation and finding time to exercise safely and comfortably. Specifically designed for women over forty, Running and Walking for Women Over 40 is a guide for every woman looking for a fun, easy and economical route to fitness and health.

Running and Walking for Women Over 40 is available for pre-order on the iBookstore, and will be available for all devices on January 14, 2014 to help you make this year's resolutions successful!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New eBook releases 11/19 - Lush Romance and Stunning Thrillers + Kindle Fire giveaway

This week brings an exciting mix of new and backlist titles from two bestselling authors.

Raine Cantrell, who recently re-released eight of her historical western romances in eBook format is back with an all new book, exclusive to Diversion Books. The Homecoming is the story of Matt Coltrane as he returns to his Texas farm at the end of the War Between the States. Finding his land ravaged by scavengers as part of a Reconstruction land grab, Matt bitterly turns his back on civilization, determined to live alone. His plans are upended when Laine Ellis, the only woman he's ever loved, is threatened. Despite the odds against them, Matt swears to protect her and his land. Laine and Matt must struggle in the face of old enemies and new challenges to bring their dreams to life as an entire country strives to put itself back together.

Thriller readers have five eBook debuts to choose from, by bestselling author Ian Slater. Slater's stories may have been written in the seventies and eighties, but read as if they were ripped from today's headlines. Environmental disaster springs from transporting oil down the North American west coast in Firespill, a debate that still rages today. A heavily armed populace feels the government has overstepped its bounds in Battle Front and Manhunt. In Sea Gold, it's a race against time as adventurers, thrill-seekers, and treasure-hunters are all desperately searching for oil under the waves as a violent storm approaches. And in Forbidden Zone, dark secrets of the Nazis are revealed based on terrifying and little known information about Hitler's plans for a terrifying superweapon.

The celebration of the two year anniversary for Mark Cuban's How to Win at the Sport of Business continues, and the prizes just keep getting better and better! In addition to the Goodreads paperback giveaway, and the Facebook eBook giveaway, the Diversion Books blog prizes have expanded to include a KINDLE FIRE for one lucky winner! Enter here!

Monday, November 18, 2013

2 years of winning business advice!

This week marks the two year anniversary of the publication of Mark Cuban's How to Win at the Sport of Business. It's time to celebrate!

Monday, November 18-Wednesday, November 20th, you can:

Purchase the eBook for just 99 cents!
Enter to win a paperback copy on Goodreads!
Enter to win an eBook on Facebook!
Or...enter to win one of three eBooks right here on our blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for joining our celebration, and don't forget to spread the word!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bridget Jonesization by Jenny Gardiner

Peanut M&Ms inhaled: 220 count
Time exercised: 40 shameful and half-hearted minutes
Words written on my latest manuscript: Big. Fat. Zero.

            Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.
            Another day, another 24 hours of feeling like that quasi-slothful and not particularly successful character Bridget Jones, whose diary iconized a generation of young women and helped us all feel just that much better for being very average. I mean why not? Bridget Jones was entirely loveable thanks to that very attribute of not being very driven to succeed. She had a notion of maybe sometime getting around to it, but we loved her for her half-assedness, really.
            With the release of Helen Fielding's novel Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, the follow-up to her wildly popular novel Bridget Jones's Diary, many of us who were influenced by this novel might feel it's time to pause for self-reflection, just as Bridget did so successfully  obsessively throughout the course of the book. After all, it's been a while. Life has changed. We've all grown older. We've evolved. One would hope so, after nearly 15 years. Hell, I've got a dog as old as that book (although granted, she's not doing so well).
            When Bridget Jones's Diary was released, I was in the thick of raising young children. It was perhaps the first book I'd read since college, entrenched as I'd been in the quagmire of child-rearing. And it was revelatory to me. None of this Ethan Frome nonsense, no forced reading of Oh Pioneers! with a test on Friday and a term paper to follow. This was, to paraphrase an old chestnut, not your English professor's novel. No, sir. It was, on some glorious level, mindless yet compelling blather, and so much fun. With such an empathetic character. Who couldn't relate to a woman who couldn't control her eating, her drinking, and, for that matter, her life? Bridget Jones was so perfectly flawed, she was charming.
            It wasn't long until I was inspired to begin writing myself. I'd always assumed I would a write a novel one day (after all, my math skills would only get me through counting on my fingers, so I had no other options), but I guess I needed to have lived a life for a bit to have grist for the mill. And I discovered that Bridget’s voice, and the voice of similar “Britspeak” heroines, matched my own real-life voice: smart alecky and alarmingly honest (one could argue merely impulse control-flawed truthfulness). It was a match made in heaven.
            Alas, timing matters, doesn't it? And with the ridiculous success of Bridget Jones came a greedy publishing industry, intent on capitalizing on this newfound genre, tritely named "chick lit" and thus bound for the history books into the crapper of the book world. 
            "Chick lit," sneered "true" writers of literary masterpieces.
            "Garbage!" They would smirk, disgusted at such drivel on the printed page, until then reserved only for more highbrow (and occasionally deadly dull) matter.
            It seems the genre was trivialized down to a level of disrespect usually afforded a small-town stripper.
            It didn't help that that greedy publishing world was pumping out pathetic drivel, slapping a campy cover on it and labeling it "chick lit", hoping to appeal to gullible women desperate for a similar novel. Call me crazy, but doesn't this sound a little bit like another hugely successful novel of recent history? The Bridget Jonesization -- or would that be the Fifty Shadesization -- of a genre. What publishing companies tend to do with something that hits big is copy it until it's dead and buried.
            And killed indeed is what they did with the chick lit genre. Within a year, inside the publishing world, the term chick lit was about as toxic as a bottle of strychnine, and if you wanted to publish a novel that dared smack of anything chick lit-esque you were doomed and might as well have returned to waiting tables for a living. It didn't matter that what was horrible about the chick lit that the industry was putting out was the generic framing they erroneously saw as their winning ticket, as book after book came out with the same tired theme: single-girl-in-the-big-city-with-crap-job-credit-card-debt-out-the-wazoo-lousy-cad-boyfriend-wise-sage-gay-best-friend-and-all-would-be-resolved-when-the-nice-guy-next-door-swoops-in-on-his-charger-and-fixed-it-all.
            Readers were wise to this slapdash marketing tactic and stopped buying all the lousy books that had flooded the market. But what that meant was that only a small handful of authors who slipped in under the wire and achieved success in the genre are now the only ones considered by the New York publishing world to be "entitled" to publish the only novels they're still willing to call "chick lit." Which is funny, as somewhere in the reading public there are those who love chick lit in the broader sense: the strong voice, the humor, the overarching theme that does have some meat on it, a protagonist who is flawed but you want to root for her. You want her journey to succeed. And she doesn't have to be 21 years old in Manhattan. She can be fifty and wrestling with mid-life issues in Dubai. She can be newly-divorced and facing dating in a digital world. She can be as individual as each woman is, not that superficial prototype that was rightly disdained by readers and hence publishers. Even though chick lit was evolving, growing up with its writers and protagonists, the industry had already closed up the castle drawbridge and was pouring boiling oil on any potential invaders below.
            In the meantime, I'm grateful that independent publishing has enabled writers to find an audience despite the roadblocks thrown in the way by traditional publishing. While I might find it a bit annoying the next time a "sanctioned" writer of chick lit publishes a novel to a hailstorm of "bravo! It's about time we have a chick lit novel out!", I'll gladly put books out myself and let my audience find me and my chick lit-inspired novels. No matter what we call these quirky stories about women told through first person narratives, in the age of independent publishing there's now a chance for unknown writers to digitally stand shoulder-to-shoulder with giants like Bridget Jones.

Jenny Gardiner is the bestselling author of Winging It, Where the Heart Is, and Slim to None. She enjoys writing in multiple genres, though so-called chick lit will always have a special place in her heart.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New eBook Releases 11/12 - The Munch Mancini Mysteries

A unique spin on the cozy mystery is rereleased today in eBook format - The Munch Mancini Mysteries by Barbara Seranella.

What makes a cozy mystery? According to the experts at Cozy Mystery List, the main ingredients of a cozy mystery include a woman who is an amateur sleuth in a small town setting where all of the characters know each other. She is often friends with or in a romantic relationship with a police officer or someone else who has insider access to police reports. The victims are often not-so-nice people riddled with vices and may even have brought their deaths upon themselves.

The Munch Mancini mysteries are set in the opposite of a small town - they're set in the gritty underbelly of Los Angeles. At their heart is Miranda "Munch" Mancini, an ex-junkie trying to make good as a top notch auto mechanic. But she can't escape her past, as friends, family, and even enemies from her hard-living days turn up on her doorstep, either desperate for her help or - gulp - dead.

Munch is drawn into the world of amateur sleuthing in No Human Involved when she is the lead suspect in her abusive father's death. Munch knows she's innocent, and works with her old contacts in ways the police never would be able to in order to catch the killer before he strikes again.

Throughout the series, Munch continues to improve her life, growing from rough and tumble auto mechanic to a respected member of the business community. But she never forgets where she came from, and uses the connections - both platonic and romantic - she's developed with various LAPD officers to continue to help her old friends who've fallen on hard times themselves.

The seven book Munch Mancini series is available today for all eReaders. Check them out, in addition to the other chilling mysteries and thrillers from Diversion Books.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Birthday - The Indie Way!

This week Diversion Books author Francine LaSala is celebrating the one year anniversary of the publication of The Girl, The Gold Tooth, and Everything. She's stopped by the Diversion Books Blog to share what's changed in the last year and how she's seen her book grow.

Here's one of the greatest gifts of indie publishing, whether you publish with a smaller press, like me with Diversion Books, or on your own: Out of the box marketing! You can't always get away with it in a larger house. Large print-driven presses have a standard system for marketing, with the main goal being to move as many units out of the warehouse as possible, in as short a time as possible. For that reason, if a book does not take off in the first several months, it's dead in the water.

Not so with small presses and other independent publishing, of which so much is digitally based. In this environment, a book is not expected to take off right out of the gate. It is given time to grow. Consider a newborn. While a new colt or kid can stand up and walk within minutes of birth, and start fending for itself soon after, a newborn human develops in phases. A newborn baby grows and becomes stronger every day, with a grand celebration at the one-year milestone. Think of your book in those terms and it only makes sense to celebrate The Book Birthday!

Last year, around this time, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything was born. It entered the world with a somewhat soft launch, a few interviews here and there conducted to announce that it was out there and available. Reviews started coming in slowly, and, slowly, the book began to grow.

During the infancy of the book, I also began to grow-- as a marketer. I branched out and made new friends. I joined wonderful, supportive Facebook writers' groups. I built a strong Twitter following (then lost most of it to a virus, then started to rebuild it). I learned how to retweet for others. To share good news wherever I could for author friends. I even launched a live event with author pals Samantha Stroh Bailey and Meredith Schorr called BookBuzz--a fun, meet-and-mingle "social" between authors and readers at a bar in NYC, which was sponsored in part by Diversion Books. I participated in online group promotions, and started to see my sales numbers grow.
As the first year in the life of Girl came to a close, I chatted with Mary Cummings and Angela Craft, Editorial Director and Marketing Manager at Diversion Books respectively, about doing something grand for Girl's 1st Birthday. I had seen other indie authors do this kind of thing, and I was sure with Diversion behind me, we could create an unforgettable Birthday Bash.

Did we ever!

I started a Facebook Event and Angela and I reached out to bloggers to advertise our 99 cent sale. That, followed by a week of interviews and reviews fueled the fire. Guests posts energized the effort, and also provided the virtual publishing universe with something it always needs: Content. Engaging content, helpful advice, which can be shared and re-shared long after the party ends:
Sad. Scary. Tragic. (But Funny!) - How there can be humor in even the most tragic plots
Having a Threeway...Indie Style - 3 authors chat up creative marketing tips
Teamwork and the Indie Author - We're all in this together - how to help each other!
Writing in a Tsunami - Why there are no excuses why you can't write!

I tell you all this because whether you're an indie author, small press, or even a large publisher reading this, I think there's value in not giving up on your book. You need to keep being creative in how you spin it. You need to keep trying to sell it, without "selling" it. But as long as you're behind it, you can help it thrive.

Did it work? The morning of November 1, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything ranked about 97,000 in overall Amazon.com Kindle sales; at its peak this week, it hit the #100 mark.

Put as much creativity and love into the marketing of your book as you do in the writing of it. You may be surprised at the magic you can do!

FRANCINE LASALA has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres. She is now actively taking on clients for manuscript evaluations, editing services, copywriting (covers, blurbs, taglines, queries, and more), website and blog creation, and developing kickass social media campaigns. The author of novels Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything, and the creator of The “Joy Jar” Project, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York. Follow Francine on Facebook and Twitter.

There's still time to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for The Girl, The Gold Tooth, and Everything, as well as purchase it from your favorite eBook retailer for just 99 cents! Hurry before this deal goes away for another year.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New eBook Releases 11/5: The Road Out of Hell - True Crime

Explore the dark side of human nature with this week's backlist re-release from New York Times bestselling author Anthony Flacco (Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six).

The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders reveals not only
the horrors of Gordon Stewart Northcott's killing spree in northern California from 1926-1928, but the ways that his only surviving victim - his nephew Sanford Clark - rose above his traumatic past.

Held captive by his uncle and forced to participate in the murders, Sanford Clark carried tremendous guilt with him for the rest of his life. But he was able to rise above the trauma and help gain a shred of justice for Northcott's victims, testifying at his uncles trial which led to the man's conviction and execution. He went on to lead a productive life, serving in WWII and being a devoted husband and father. Flacco's dramatization constructs a riveting psychological drama about Sanford Clark, and ultimately a redemptive story about one man's remarkable ability to survive a nightmare and emerge intact.

This week the birthday bash blog tour for Francine LaSala's The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything continues! Make sure to follow Francine on Twitter and Facebook, as well as Diversion Books, for the latest reviews, interviews, and guest posts. You can purchase it for your favorite eReader for just 99 cents, or enter the Goodreads giveaway for a paperback copy.

If you're looking for more free and reduced eBook deals, don't forget to sign up for the Diversion Books monthly newsletter! The next issue is this Thursday and will be filled with exciting deals and new releases for every reader.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

And the Title for Fae Book 2 is...

As the Witching Hour draws closer, a special message from Colet and Jasmine Abedi, better known as C.J. Abedi, authors of the young adult bestselling novel Fae.

We are so excited to be in the middle of Fae Book 2. While there are many details to be decided on as these characters evolve in our minds, one thing is certain…the stakes are definitely ratcheting up as the Dark threatens to completely overcome the Light. Devilyn has crossed over to rule as King of the Dark Kingdom and Caroline will be left to struggle with the reality of her lineage and what will inevitably be her fate if she is to follow her heart and be with Devilyn. So we are calling it (drum roll)… THE DARK KING. It’s been a totally different experience for us writing this book – because Fae was an instant bestseller we want to make this even better for our fans and can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Keep following Diversion Books for the latest news about The Dark King and other hit young adult books.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Writing Advice from Indie Authors

Happy NaNoWriMo Eve! While the rest of the world fears ghosts and goblins today, the intrepid writers who are about to embark on a month-long sprint to a 50,000 word novel have much scarier specters looming in front of them: writer's block, empty coffee pots, and massive word count goals!

So if you're looking for some last minute advice or need a pep talk to get you started, here is some advice just for NaNoWriMo writers from some of your favorite Diversion Books authors.

Pushing New Adult by Mia Thompson
New Adult books are what close the gap between YA and Adult novels, where the protagonists are generally set at ages 18-25. The genre has been known to focus mainly on Romance, but have started to branch out into all sub genres massively in the past few years.

My New Adult books, Stalking Sapphire and its sequel, Silencing Sapphire, both have the sub genre Thriller/Mystery.

Before I sit down to write my series, I ask myself two questions: What do the NA readers expect? And, what experience do they wish to have? To answer these questions, I think of who my readers are.

They are the 20-Somethings; they’re past their childhood stage, but haven’t figured out who they are as adults yet. They are ALL about experimenting and rebelling against the restrictions they had as teens.

Since my readers push boundaries, so should I. The characters, narrator, and plot should mirror that boldness and push the envelope on absolutely EVERYTHING.

To me, NA is not only about emphasizing the matters that were banned in YA, but also about reflecting on the questions that arise after someone has soared past the point-of-no-return of childhood, and are hanging in suspension before they enter the absolute madness that is adulthood.

Mia Thompson is the author of the new adult thriller series Stalking Sapphire and Silencing Sapphire - both now available for all eReaders.

Writing YA in a Month by Suzy Vitello

Writing a YA novel in a month is totally doable! The first draft for my debut, The Moment Before (out this January) was written in a little over two months (not during NaNoWriMo, so I set a slightly different word count goal). But here’s my advice on marathon drafting: find a voice that will go the distance through those long hours, and take five-to-ten minute walk/stretch breaks every hour.

The other thing I did with this book that I’d never done before is plot it out. Normally, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool pantser. However, once Brady’s voice and the setting came to me, I knew I needed to figure out the plot to make sure my narrator wouldn’t take me on a wild goose chase of language and rumination. The main thing I did to that end was to make sure that every chapter finished on a somewhat suspenseful note. Here’s a blog entry I wrote back when I was drafting the book (which had the working title, Raising Cheer).

Suzy Vitello's debut novel The Moment Before releases in eBook and paperback on 1/14/14. You can read more writing advice at her blog.

NaNoWriMo: Why It Works by Kathryn Johnson

"Why should I sign up for and participate in NaNoWriMo?" "If I'm going to write a book, can't I just rent a cabin in the woods somewhere, hunker down and write in blissful solitude?" "Isn't it counter-productive to write with thousands of other writers looking over my shoulder?"

These are the kinds of questions new and lightly experienced authors of novels ask me. Honestly, there is no reason why you can't fly solo. For some writers, that works beautifully. But for many of us, writing without emotional and intellectual support results in stalled books. We zoom through the first chapter with enthusiasm, then run out of steam. We start questioning ourselves and have no one to turn to for encouragement. We begin to nitpick at our manuscript, fussing over individual sentences or words. And finally, we just give up in frustration.

This is why some authors are still agonizing over the same story after fifteen years. It's why writing fast, chasing down a first draft in just a few weeks, works. When you shut down your internal critic and let your subconscious do the heavy lifting, you can blast out a very rough but complete version of the full story without worrying about the fine tuning that can come later--like spelling, punctuation, or setting details. All of that can be saved for later revisions. If you find yourself succumbing to the temptation to fuss over the perfect word for a sentence in Chapter 1--and thereby lose momentum--there are opportunities for others, who know full well the traps we fall into, to dig you out of that hole you've tumbled into and set you back on task.

November is one month out of your life. Challenge yourself to write as much as you can, as fast as you can for four weeks. Make your writing a priority for four weeks and celebrate as the pages accumulate!

Kathryn Johnson also writes as Mary Hart Perry and is the author of Seducing the Princess for Diversion Books. She'll be doing a series of seminars in Washington D.C. on Saturday to help writers plan for and jump into NaNoWriMo. More information is available at the Smithsonian Associate program.

Writing Epic Fantasy: Start with Your World! by Garrett Calcaterra

Michael Moorcock cranked out some of his classic Elric novels in three days. J.R.R. Tolkien, on the other hand, took twelve years to write Lord of the Rings. While their approaches to the writing process couldn’t be further apart, the one step both of these fantasy greats had in common was that they created a fully thought-out fictional milieu before they began writing. Taking a lesson from the masters, here’s four tips for developing your fantasy world:

Start with the Fantastical Part – What makes your story a fantasy story? Is it the presence of mythical beasts? Is there magic? Determine the premise of your fantasy component and then use it to determine how civilization evolved based on the presence of your fantastical element.

Chronicle the History of Your World – Just like our characters need back stories in order for us to understand their motivation, our fictional world needs to have a history. Are your denizens indigenous to the land or did they migrate from somewhere? What wars and catastrophic events shaped civilization? What religions emerged? Was there a golden age of civilization that your denizens look back upon fondly? What menace is now present in your world?

Draw a Map – Most fantasy novels involve a quest of one sort or another, and that entails travelling. To help you visualize the landscape, create a map of the world you created. Name the cities and towns. Name the forests, mountains and seas. In addition to being fun, this will also help you further understand your world.

Set Your Characters Loose – Your characters now have a rich backdrop in which to be themselves—put them into action! Only a small portion of your world building will end up on the page, but having gone through the world-building process will expedite the writing process. Plus, the tidbits of exposition sprinkled throughout the story will make the reader feel the weight of your vast world even though they only see small portion of it through your characters’ eyes.

Garrett Calcaterra is an author of dark speculative fiction, including Dreamwielder for Diversion Books.

Whether you're a pantser or a plotter, writing poetry or hard boiled mysteries, all of us at Diversion Books wish you luck on your quest in November. Write on!

And if you're celebrating Halloween rather than preparing for writing a new novel, don't forget to check out Diversion Books' selection of horror and thriller titles. There's a scare for everyone!