Tuesday, September 29, 2015

October Obsession BIAM Writathon #11!!!


Just a quick reminder that the Eleventh Annual October Obsession 2015 BIAM Writathon is starting October 1st. WooHoo!!!

Here's the information: Anne Marie's Writathons.

And here's where it's happening: AM's BIAM Facebook Group.  Email me for your very own special invitation.

Spread the word, clear your calendars, and prepare to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, and WRITE SOME MORE!!!

Let's do this!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Indie Publishing Adventure Continues: Five Year Anniversary!!!


Wow. This month marks my five year anniversary as an Indie Author. It's hard to believe I've been self-publishing for that long. Five years. Half a decade. Just wow.

I've been rereading my past anniversary blogposts, smiling at the newbie enthusiasm, the milestones, the writerly moments; commiserating with the bad reviews, the not-so-happy downslides of sales and royalties. It's been a roller-coaster ride, that's for sure.

My sister calls the epublishing revolution: The Ebook Miracle. For years, she watched me submit manuscript after manuscript to editors and agents, only to receive rejections again and again. She said something to the effect: "If they're rejecting Anne Marie's books, there's no use for me to even try."

A sisterly compliment and tribute of the highest kind.  :)

Then in 2010, I got fed up with the whole traditional publishing/ small press routine, and that's when I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing. At long last, there was a way to publish my stories directly to readers. They would decide if my books were good enough. They were the gatekeepers, as they should have been all along. I no longer had to submit and beg for a crumb of attention or validation to this or that editor in New York City.

Readers buying and reading my books, propelling me onto the bestseller lists on Amazon, B&N and Apple gave me all the validation I needed.

And BOOM!!! The Ebook Miracle began.

I've been very lucky and blessed that my stories have found a readership. My sister is now writing and publishing, and she's also found a loyal and dedicated readership.

An Ebook Miracle for both of us indeed.

Rereading those past anniversary blogposts, I'm sad to find I no longer have that newbie enthusiasm. But after five years in this business, I'm a seasoned player. My enthusiasm waxes and wanes very much in sync with the roller-coaster ride of ups and downs that predominates Indie Publishing. As I've said before, it's not for the faint of heart.

This anniversary slipped quietly by with no fan-fare or big celebration. Looking back over the year, thinking I hadn't really accomplish that much, I was happily surprised to discover that I have published two novels, three short stories and one boxed set. Not bad by anyone's standards. Plus, I hosted my two annual BIAM Writathons. And the year's not over by a long shot.

When I'm feeling a little down, I remind myself that the Ebook Miracle makes it possible for me to live my dream: I write my books, I get to share my stories with readers, and I'm able to make a little dab of money from doing what I love. What could be better than that?

Happy Writing!!! Happy Reading!!! Happy Publishing!!!

Anne Marie  :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ruth's Texas Hot Cocoa Cake


I thought I'd share the recipe for Ruth McCade's, the Diamondback Ranch matriarch's, famous Texas Hot Cocoa Cake. It's the most delicious, most decadent, most luscious chocolate cake you'll ever put in your mouth. In real life, my Grandmother Ruth Reeves made this for us every time we visited the farm in West Texas.  

Go ahead!  Indulge yourself!!!

Texas Hot Cocoa Cake

1 stick oleo or butter
½ c. shortening
1 c. water

Mix these in a small pot and bring to a boil.

¼ c. sour cream
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix these together and let sit.

2 c. flour, 2 c. sugar, 4 heaping T. cocoa, pinch of salt.

Mix these in a mixing bowl.  Pour hot liquid over and mix.
Add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and milk mixture, beat
all until smooth.  Pour onto a greased 18X12 cookie sheet.
Bake 20 minutes at 375 F.  Or until toothpick comes out
almost clean.

Hot Cocoa Icing

1 stick oleo or butter
4 heaping T. cocoa
6 T milk

Melt these in a sauce pan; do not boil.

1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Combine these with the hot liquid
and beat until smooth; pour hot icing
over hot cake.

Enjoy!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Twenty Classic Romance Plots, and How to Use Them


Readers are always looking for stories that are “fresh” and “different,” and writers are always striving to fulfill these demands.

First and foremost, an author’s voice and writing style make his/her stories unique. Second, there are many classic romance plots that appear again and again in popular commercial fiction.  

Writers often combine two or more of these plots and tweak them to create refreshingly different kinds of romance stories.
 

Here are twenty of the classics in no particular order:
 
1. Secret Baby
2. Cinderella (rags to riches)
3. Opposites Attract
4. Bodyguard
5. Second chance/Love rekindled (they were once a couple)
6. Reunion (they knew one another, but were not “together”)
7. Stranded (forced proximity)
8. Love Triangle
9. Marriage of Convenience (mail-order bride)
10. Beauty and the Beast
11. Sleeping Beauty/Ugly duckling
12. Amnesia
13. Fish out of water
14. Blackmail/Revenge
15. Forbidden love
16. Mentor/protégé (boss/employee)
17. Princess/Pauper; King/Beggar maid
18. Bad boy/good girl; Bad girl/good boy
19. Best Friends
20. The Road to Adventure



In HER RELUCTANT RANCHER, I combined Opposites Attract, King/Beggar Maid, and Boss/employee.  In TALL DARK AND TEXAN, I combined Bad boy/good girl, Reunion, and Secret Baby with a twist—the “baby” is fifteen years old.

The combinations of the Classic Plots are countless into infinity.  Utilize them to create your own refreshingly different romance stories and your readers will love them.

Happy Reading and Writing!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

My First GoodReads Giveaway!!!

WooHoo!!! Check it out!!! I'm giving one free paperback copy of HIS HOMETOWN COWGIRL to one lucky reader!!!
Happy Reading!!!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

His Hometown Cowgirl by Anne Marie Novark

His Hometown Cowgirl

by Anne Marie Novark

Giveaway ends March 19, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

His Hometown Cowgirl (Diamondback Ranch Encore #1: Kelsey and Pete)


HIS HOMETOWN COWGIRL
Diamondback Ranch Encore #1

When fate deals a cruel blow to Kelsey McCade, she returns home to the Diamondback Ranch to rebuild her life and heal her shattered heart. Unforeseen circumstances keep throwing her into the company of Pete Lafferty, the object of her teenaged fantasies. Against her will, Kelsey finds herself drawn to Pete—to the boy from her memories who kept her safe, and now to the strong and honorable man he’s become.

Pete Lafferty has known a lot of women, but he’s never fallen in love. When Kelsey McCade finally returns home, vulnerable but not broken, he quickly realizes she’s a threat to his carefree existence. He’s always had a soft spot for Kelsey, and seeing her grown up and beautiful stirs up emotions he's not sure he's ready to explore. He's never done a long-term relationship, and she deserves nothing less. He knows he’s not the right man for her, but how can he convince his heart?


EXCERPT:

"Oh, honey," Pete said. "Please don't cry again. You don't know how bad it tears me up inside to see you so unhappy."
"I can't help it." She wiped her cheek with the back of her hand, blinking and sniffling as more tears fell. She raised soul-sad eyes to his. "Don't you think I'm tired of all this? Tired of crying? Tired of being sad?" Her voice broke on a sob. "Why did he have to die? Why? God, I feel so alone. So very much . . . alone."
Pete pushed back his chair and quickly walked around the desk. He pulled Kelsey from her seat and into his arms. "Shush now. You're not alone. You have a loving family and good friends to support you."
And me. But he didn't say that. They didn't belong together. He wasn't the right man for her. But that logical argument didn't seem to matter to his heart. He was constantly fighting an internal battle against wanting Kelsey with an urgency that nearly brought him to his knees and knowing he couldn't . . . shouldn't start anything with her, especially when she was in such a vulnerable state.
Hell, what was he thinking? He couldn't start anything with her ever.
He held her close while she sobbed her heart out. Poor kid. He rested his chin on the top of her head, the scent of strawberries and woman filling his nostrils. He rubbed her back with one hand, while hugging her to his body with the other. She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned against him, her head tucked in the crook of his shoulder like when they'd danced together last week.
Only, now it was just the two of them. No family, no friends, no interested spectators.
Pete let her have her cry out. After several minutes, her tears finally stopped. She hiccoughed and stood frozen in place, plastered against him. Damn, why did her body have to fit him so perfectly? With a will of its own, his libido kicked into full throttle; he couldn't control the flash of heat hardening his body to almost painful intensity.
Kelsey slowly unwrapped her arms from around his waist and moved her hands to the front of his jacket. She patted the damp fabric right above his heart. "I got you all wet. I'm sorry." She tilted her head to look at him, her eyelashes spiked with tears.
He felt her stiffen in his embrace, her eyes widening, dilating with awareness. His body flexed in response to that primal signal of desire. Well, hell. How was he supposed to resist that? Resist her? He was only human after all.
"Pete?" Her voice was breathy, a whisper, bedroom soft.
Never before had his name sounded so good, so sexy on anyone's lips.
Her breath hitched, and before Pete could do something stupid like act on his inappropriate hunger for her, Kelsey took his choice away. She stood on tiptoe, draped her arms around his neck and pressed her mouth to his.
Instant sexual combustion blind-sided him. His mind went blank and instinct took over. She was female to his male. He wanted her in the most elemental way. He'd wanted her for weeks, months, years, and now she was in his arms, kissing him like there was no tomorrow.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!!! 2015!!!



It's hard for me to believe it's 2015. Looking back, I wonder where 2014 disappeared to. It was a difficult year for me. I lost my mother last February. She was my friend, my mentor, my critique partner and cheerleader. Yes, well . . . life marches on.

This year instead of going back and looking at what I didn't get done on last year's list, I'm going to just list the things I did achieve. No need to start the New Year on a negative note. Going forward with a positive attitude is one of my resolutions.

So here we go:
  •  I tweaked and published five novels in The Diamondback Ranch Sweeter Series.
  • I wrote and published two short stories/novelettes in my Anna St. James' Brides of Cactus Gap Series.
  • I published a novella under another pen name.
  • I attended the RWA National Conference in San Antonio in July.
  • Revamped my website.
  • Hosted two BIAM Writathons.
  • I organized MASTER FILES for all my books so I can now locate any book file speedily and easily. 
  • I updated front and back matter in each file, included cover jpgs, blurbs and excerpts. I then updated each book on each platform on which I sell my books: Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Google Play and Kobo
  • I revamped some of my covers.
  • I rebranded my Regency Romances. 
  • I released all of my novels into print (POD).
  • I released one boxed set.
  • My first German translation, Der Doktor trägt einen Cowboyhut, went live in July.
  • And I finished writing Kelsey and Pete's story just a few days ago. Yay, me!!!
All and all, it was a good year. I didn't write as many new words as I would have liked, but what's done is done. Moving forward, right? This next year, I want to have more fun with my writing, alleviate most of the stress I've been feeling, and just live my dream of writing and publishing and sharing my stories with the world, and not worry so much.

Here's what I would like to achieve in 2015:
  • Write 6-10 short stories/novelettes in the Brides of Cactus Gap Series.
  • Write Marco Defalco's story in the Return to Stone Creek Series.
  • Study and improve my craft by listening to RWA Writing workshops and taking a few online courses.
  • Figure out and participate in the various Affiliate Programs out there.
  • Cut down on wasting time on the computer and social media.
  • Use my time more efficiently.
  • Walk on my treadmill every day.
  • Eat more healthfully.
Well, that's it. I'm in my fifth year of Indie Publishing, and it's been awesome. There will be challenges in the coming months and years, but it's still a great time to be a writer!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Anne Marie   :)