Monthly Archives: April 2013

Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday No. 13 (#sffsat) – Warlock’s Pawn

This snippet is from Warlock’s Pawn and continues from the last one (click on the SFFSat tag at the bottom of the post to read past snippets). Warlock’s Pawn is a fantasy romance inspired by The Arabian Nights. It was released last month and is available on  LSBooksAmazonBarnes & NobleARe, and Kobo.

I didn’t participate last week due to the Love A Tree Blog Hop, which features a snippet from much later on in the story. However, we now return to the beginning of the book. Just to recap–Alia had just flown off a cliff to save the Warlock her sister, Anora, attempted to kill.

“You have a choice,” the low soothing voice crooned as a healing magic more powerful than any Duncan had before encountered flowed to mend his broken bones and shredded flesh, “trust me and live, or resist and die.”

Opening his eyes to gaze into dark amethyst depths, Duncan’s first instinct was to kill. The distinctive color signaled the presence of a fey. The scheming Dionian royals who had conspired to take his life were the last of their bloodline. The potent drug Anora had slipped into his wine had weakened him enough to allow capture, and for countless nights the princess coerced hoarse cries of pain from his parched throat.

Twitter: #sffsat SFFSat is a group of writers sharing snippets from both published and unpublished works of science fiction and fantasy. You can read more about the group by clicking the banner to the left, as well as follow links to the other participants. Any comments are much appreciated!

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Ramblings on Online Book Promotion (and a plug for the Warlock’s Pawn Virtual Book Tour)

So I decided to give book promotion a whirl a while back, mainly because I’m a curious cat. My day-job contract ends in July, after which I anticipate feeling extremely uncomfortable spending any money on book promotion at all. In short, I came to a do-it-now or do-it-in-a-few-years point, and I erred on the side of trying everything once.

Why have I been and continue to be leery of book promotion? 

Most new authors (unless they’re extremely lucky) make close to nothing off their first few books.  This conclusion is  based entirely my interpretation of average sales data satistics coupled with an observation of my own buying habits.  Considering the sheer numbers of ebooks being published on any given day, my two novellas are teeny tiny little fish in an ocean full of sharks and whales. I won’t get my first royalty statement until June, but I’m not anticipating much.

As such, I can only assume any money spent on book promotion will be not be recovered. For some reason, physchologically speaking, there is a huge difference between spending “time” writing a book and spending “money” promoting a book. In reality, the opportunity cost equation is not so stark. Time spent means not watching TV after work and on weekends; money spent means not buying coffee for a few weeks. I can live with both sacrifices but the latter somehow feels more of a commitment than the former.

On top of that, I like writing. I don’t like asking people to buy my book. Some days, I feel like I’m standing at a street corner yelling “buy my book” at the top of my lungs knowing full well 99/100 people will walk by. Of course, the 1/100th person is what all new authors hope for. If one person likes your book, they might recommend it to someone else, and word of mouth is the only proven way books sell.

What are my impressions on self-promotion thus far?

Someone said this much better in the Absolute Write forums: “It is impossible to quantify the effects of marketing.” Since I don’t get a royalty statement until months after said marketing, it definitely feels like I am tossing money and time into a bottomless pit from whence it will never return. Therefore, I’m glad I decided beforehand exactly what my budget is and how long after publication I’m going to spend on promotion. I’m also relieved I decided going in I am doing it for the experience rather than sales. I wanted to know what online promotion entails and how much I feel comfortable taking on. I’ve achieved exactly that.

The few things I am now certain are sustainable in the long term are: Blogging, Twitter and being active on Goodreads. The only reason this is so is because they are all things I would do whether or not I’m trying to promote a book. I’m an avid reader, so joining Goodreads and discovering books comes naturally. I enjoy all types of writing (including bureaucratic and politically correct emails), and writing short fiction or rambling on about one topic or another on my blog comes naturally to me. Twitter is a fun way to network with other people who share the same passions and problems I do, and I would keep it up even if it doesn’t sell a single book. I’m still on the fence about everything else.

Working on  a virtual book tour has been a surprisingly fun experience. I got to do what I do best–write. Guest blogs and interviews utilize an entirely different skill set from fiction writing since I do try to reveal as much about myself as I feel comfortable. I started by adding the banner picture on my website. The girl in red is actually ‘lil old me during a past “Snowpocalypse.” It was a particularly nostalgic photo since I haven’t seen snow in close to three years.

So what book promotion am I doing right now?

This blog post started out as a plug for the Virtual Book Tour for Warlock’s Pawn, and it has since veered off into a general rambling about the concept of book promotion in general. However, it does seem necessary to return to the intial point.  

I’ll be updating this post with all my stops. Hopefully you’ll find some of them to be fun reads. If you’ve gotten this far, you might as well participate in the Giveaway. A $10 gift card will go to someone, and it might as well be you. The first entry involves commenting on either this blog or any of the guest posts in the virtual tour, and the other steps are optional.

Once you comment, click the link below to enter your information:
https://www.facebook.com/taraquanauthor/app_228910107186452

Blog Tour Stops:

1 – Christina OW – Anecdotal Steps from Thought to Publication – http://christinaow.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/tara-quan-warlocks-pawn-my-virtual-book-tour-begins/

2 – The Pen & Muse – Author Interview – http://thepenmuse.net/?p=6630

3 – Cofee Time Romance – My 5 Favorite Paranormal Alpha Males – http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/tara-quans-warlocks-pawn-blog-stop/

4 – Indy Book Fairy – Author Interview – http://paranormalbookfairy.blogspot.com/2013/04/warlocks-pawn-spotlight-interview.html

5 – Literary Nymphs Hot List – Author Interview –
http://literarynymphshotlist.blogspot.com/2013/04/literary-nymphs-interview-title.html

6 – For the Love of Book Ends – Author Interview –

http://loveofbookends.blogspot.com/2013/04/author-interviewgiveaway-warlocks-pawn.html?zx=da2411115df72f09

7 – You Gotta Read Reviews – The Path from Reader to Writer –
http://yougottaread.com/tara-quan-the-path-from-reader-to-writer/

JustRomance.Me – Love A Tree Blog Hop

loveatree-button

Welcome! This is my second time joining a JustRomance.Me blog hop. If you came upon this post by accident, but would like to join in the fun, just click the banner to the left and you can start at the beginning. There are lots of prizes up for grabs (one of which is a copy of my novella, Tower in the Woods).

This blog hop celebrates Earth Day , so I chose a relevant except from my new release Warlock’s Pawn. Below it is a picture of the actual location that inspired this desert fantasy (Empty Quarter, UAE). My husband’s one of the guys in black.

Though strategy dictated he walk past the idyllic scene in this neglected garden, he found himself marching toward her as if drawn by a magical tether. A single sighting would make his efforts a complete waste, but his mind fought the battle and lost. She was alone, surrounded by date palms and long-stemmed yellow flowers, and the simple white dress that had caught his eye at court made her appear ethereal as she sat by the water’s side. Now that she was but an arm’s reach away, their likenesses in the mosaic pool seemed as if captured from a forgotten dream.

“No one visits this place,” she remarked with a sigh. “The rarest treasures of the desert are here for all to enjoy. Yet each day you walk by as if dates are as common as sand.”

He frowned and reached over to tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear. The odd calm in her tone made him wonder how attuned she was to his thoughts. “I am here now.”

She turned at long last to meet his gaze. “But you loathe yourself for not walking away.”

Accustomed to being inscrutable, he could not help but feel reluctant admiration for her astuteness. “Where there is beauty there are those who seek its destruction. It is my duty to protect the walls that keep these waters safe.”

Her lips curved into a small, almost mocking smile. “Are you telling me you do not have the luxury to savor what you have?”

He narrowed his eyes. “You clearly believe otherwise.”

She shrugged. “You neglect this place by choice, my lord, not by circumstance.” While her face remained impassive, he could sense the pain and confusion behind the veil of calm. Unable to stop himself, he leaned closer and circled his arm around her shoulders. She resisted for only a moment before resting her forehead against his chest. He needed to leave; he should have never come. The longer he tarried there the greater the chance a courtier would see them together and send whispers flying throughout court.

“I have hurt you. I will hurt you,” he murmured as he rested his chin on her hair and took in a deep breath. “What I did, what I will do, it is for your protection. Try to trust my words, for your suffering pains me far more than it does you.”

Empty Quarter

I hope you enjoyed the snippet as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Earth Day!

cover_warlockspawn

In a world of blood and sand, becoming a warlock’s queen is a fatal curse. To survive the Helicon court, Alia must learn to play a lethal game. But while she faces assassins with a dagger in hand, what she fears most is losing her heart along with her freedom.

Content Notes: Intense Heat/Edgy Erotic Romance, Anal Play/Intercourse, Light BDSM Practices or Play, Menage

April Fools (Absolute Write Blog Chain – April 2013)

This post is part of the April 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month, the prompt is “April Fools.”  [Forgive me: I have writer’s block!]

“Heather, I need your attention.”

“Umm…Hmm…” She replied as she swiped the screen on her ebook reader and loaded the next page. Lily the werewolf hunter was about to engage in some sword action with the Alpha of the Prairie Wolves Clan–the oh-so-yummy immortal whom Heather had no doubt will later tear up the sheets with her favorite heroine.

“The kitchen’s on fire.”

“Uh huh. Yes, I’m listening.” Lily just got nicked, and all this aggresssion was calling to the werewolf’s most basic instincts. Things were just about to get interesting. Heather crinkled her nose. There was an odd smell in the air.

The sound of rushing water preceded loud thumping noises. “Nevermind, I put it out.”

The shifter had just broken the enchanted sword in half was about to sink his fangs into Lily’s throat. The Hunter reached for a hidden blade in her boot.

The ebook reader was yanked out of Heather’s hands. When she looked up, it was to meet Pierre’s irate blue gaze. This was unacceptable. He knew better than to interrupt her while she read. “Can I help you?”

Her roommate tapped his bare foot on the floor as he pointed in the general direction of their shared kitchen. “The roast needed to be out of the oven an hour ago. You said you would do it.”

The man’s curly black hair was ruffled. A thick stubble indicated he hadn’t shaved for at least a day or two. There were black smudges on his neck and arms. Dressed in worn jeans and a sooty white tee-shirt, he still managed to look devasting. The French accent might have something to do with it.

She tried to recall the referenced conversation. She vaguely remembered saying “Sure” when Pierre told her he was running out to get some wine. She slumped. He did say something about a roast.

She looked up at him with pleading eyes. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“Pffttt…of course it will. It happens at least once a month.” The schedule coincided with the times Pierre asked her to watch over something time-sensitive. He should have learned by now their concepts of time couldn’t be more different. “This is the last straw. I’m moving out.”

She blinked. “What?”

“I will find a new dwelling tomorrow. I need a bigger kitchen. The restaurant is making money. I can afford to buy my own place.”

Her mind whirled. Was today really the day? “Are you sure? I mean, I thought you loved the location?”

She inherited the two-bedroom condo from her grandmother five years ago. This man had been her tenant for the past two. Compared to the psychos who preceded him, Pierre was perfect. He paid his rent on time, was OCD about cleanliness, and cooked spectacular meals. She’d gained several pounds since they’d met, and she didn’t regret a single souffle. His hand-made chocolate truffles were also to die for.

Nonetheless, she couldn’t be more happy about his decision to move out.

“When do I ever say things I am not sure about?” He replied as he placed one hand on his hip.

She jumped to her feet. “Thank goodness!”

He frowned and looked suddenly bemused. “You want me to leave?” He couldn’t sound more shocked. It was curious since he was the one who made the annoucement.

She resisted the urge to clap her hands with glee. “Financial and culinary implications aside, I’ve been waiting for this moment forever. If you’re no longer going to be my tenant, I don’t have to worry about damaging our relationship.”

He looked at her as if she’d grown two heads. At times like these, showing was better than telling.

She circled her arms around his nape. All she had to do for their lips to meet was tilt her head. There were perks to being tall. The taste of dark chocolate and smoked sea salt motivated her to further explore. The man was more delicious than all his desserts combined.

One of his hands lifted to her waist. She was the opposite of willowy, but he handled her so gently she felt delicate. Any doubts she had faded as he responded to her kiss by delving his tongue into her mouth.

He gently lowered her eReader onto the coffee table. With his now free hand, he combed his fingers through her short curls and tilted her head for better access. He guided her onto their well-worn sofa. Her back met soft cushions. Her hands dropped from his nape to caress his shoulders and chest. Since he tasted everything he made, he wasn’t fashionably lean. But he felt strong, solid, and utterly perfect.

He broke the kiss. His face hovered a few inches from hers. His breath came in harsh heavy pants that matched her own. “Before we continue, I should remind you of something.”

She frowned. What could possibly be so important?

He looked pained and just a little guilty. “Today is April 1st. I was told there is an American tradition I should observe on this day.”

She blinked rapidly. Her brain cells fired. When his meaning finally made its way through her kiss-addled mind, she gasped. “You’re not moving out are you?”

The sheepish look on his face was all the answer she needed. “April Fools!”

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post) 
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Araenvo – http://www.simonpclark.com/ (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com/ (You Are Here)
Lady Cat – http://randomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.ca/ (link to post)
LanaK – http://lanaketrick.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Lyra Jean – http://beyondtourism.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Sudo_One – http://sudoone.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
articshark – http://www.drslaten.com/blog (link to post)
Ghostwriter-Mom – http://www.fictionblueprints.com/ (link to post)
Bloo – http://www.emergencyroomproductions.net/ (link to post)
in_one – http://quirkythomas.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
egoodlett – http://ellengoodlett.com/blog/ (link to post)

Archive of Past Blog Chains

Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday No. 12 (#sffsat) – Warlock’s Pawn

This snippet is from Warlock’s Pawn and continues from the last one (click on the SFFSat tag at the bottom of the post to read past snippets). I seem to have piqued people’s interests with a reference to wings, so it’s only fair I elaborate.

Warlock’s Pawn is a fantasy romance inspired by The Arabian Nights. It was just released and is available on  LSBooksAmazonARe, and Kobo. It will probably show up at other locations soon.

With a tired sigh, Alia drew in power from the cold night. Her bones grew lighter, her very self merged with the air that surrounded them. There was pain, more than any could imagine, as wind fused with bone. Icy fey magic lanced through her, freezing her body from within, demanding she surrender all energy to the transformation. The moment it peaked, she slipped past the stone ledge and plunged into the darkness.

These were not the wings of myth. These were not the beautiful white feathers that gave birds flight. A sail of pure energy captured the wind, allowing her now lightened bones to rise toward the sky.

Twitter: #sffsat SFFSat is a group of writers sharing snippets from both published and unpublished works of science fiction and fantasy. You can read more about the group by clicking the banner to the left, as well as follow links to the other participants. Any comments are much appreciated!

Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday No. 11 (#sffsat) – Warlock’s Pawn

This snippet is from Warlock’s Pawn and continues from the last one (click on the SFFSat tag at the bottom of the post to read past snippets). I’ve posted quite a few scene-setters thus far, so we’re skipping ahead just a tad. Warlock’s Pawn is a fantasy romance inspired by The Arabian Nights. It was just released and is available on  LSBooksAmazonARe, and Kobo. It will probably show up at other locations (yes, I know B&N is a biggie) in about a month.

Her mentor tightened the turquoise cloth that covered her hair and face. “These walls never had the power to hold you, not even when you were too small to climb upon a chair. It is your will that keeps you here. You are a creature of magic, and your instincts are telling you to act. The goddess gave you wings for a purpose, dear child.” “And if Anora ever discovers those wings,” she countered, her sister’s name tasting bitter on her tongue, “she will command my execution, along with the deaths of all who have kept my existence from her.”

Twitter: #sffsat SFFSat is a group of writers sharing snippets from both published and unpublished works of science fiction and fantasy. You can read more about the group by clicking the banner to the left, as well as follow links to the other participants. Any comments are much appreciated!

I’m visiting Rosanna Leo’s Room Today

Fellow LSB author Rosanna Leo invited me over to her blog today. Check out one of my inspirations for Warlock’s Pawn at:

http://rosannaleo.blogspot.com/2013/04/tara-quanwarlocks-pawn.html

 

InD’tale Magazine Reviews Tower in the Woods

Carol at InD’tale magazine just posted her review of Tower in the Woods. She rated it 5 Stars, 5 tea kettles, and she thinks the chemistry between Nel and Dane is “delicious”.

The full review can be found at http://indtale.com under “Featured Reviews”.

http://indtale.com/reviews/tower-woods