Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sweet 'n' Steamy Reasons to Blog--And Win Great Blog Tour Prizes!

I'm honored to kick off the fall season by hosting Sharon Kleve and Kara Leigh Miller as they stroll around the blog-o-sphere on their Sweet 'n' Steamy Blog Tour. Kara and Sharon have shared a great article below on the benefits of blogging to authors in the Internet age. And once you've been inspired to get out there and blog (I'm already working on my next ERWA column), sign up to enter the generous giveaway, including a $25 gift card to the online bookseller of your choice and lots of great books.

But first, I'd like to introduce these authors' latest books, both of which have the most gorgeous eye-candy covers.

Sharon's latest release Halo's Wish, is Christmas story--I love Christmas stories!--about a pet detective who discovers something more than she bargained for. (Hint: this very sweet holiday tale involves a very handsome veterinarian).

Get yourself a copy of Halo's Wish at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble

Kara's new novel has an irresistible hook--should you "ruin" a close friendship with a sexy guy or give in to the overwhelming attraction between you? Hmm, I know what I'm hoping happens....

You can purchase Jilted at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And now, Sharon and Kara on blogging for authors....

It's all the rage nowadays. Everyone is doing it. Are you?

Authors are encouraged, sometimes required by their publishers to have a blog. But, have you ever stopped and wondered, what's the point? If you have a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Goodreads profile, Pinterest Account, Google+, Tumblr, and all those other time sucking social media outlets, why add another, right?

Why? Because it's fun!

Okay, seriously, it is fun, but it's more than that. For an author, it means exposure—which in today's publishing world can make or break you. A blog is a place for you to express yourself creatively about things you might not write about in your books. It's a place for you to share your knowledge and experiences and to promote your books. And it's a place for you to connect with other authors and readers in a more in-depth, personal way than Facebook or Twitter allows.

So, have I convinced you yet? If not, check out the article below by Andrew Grant published on July 1, 2013 on why you should have a blog.

Why You Should Have a Blog – 10 Great Reasons

1. Everybody is interested in something

And doing that favorite something is the quickest path to happiness and fulfillment that I know of. Therefore, it’s logical to conclude that writing a blog about that something is probably the most accessible way to make money around your favorite way of spending time.

2. A blog will make you friends

The very essence of a blog is that it will attract people who like the same things as you. They may see them very differently and they may well not agree with everything you say, but they will definitely share your interests. Isn’t that the very definition of friendships?

3. Blogging encourages your creativity

Even if you don’t think of yourself as creative, I am willing to bet that if you set yourself the challenge of writing three short blog posts about something you love, you will be amazed at how creative you can be.

4. Owning a blog gives you motivation

Once you begin to see the fruits of your efforts and especially when you start to get positive feedback from people you have never met, you will find that what looked like an onerous task at the outset is suddenly a pleasure to do – you can’t wait to see what your loyal readers will think of your latest post.

5. Blogging gives you self-discipline

Once you set yourself a schedule to regularly blog, you feel a responsibility to your readers to deliver on your commitment, but it’s a pleasure not a stress, because you know they are enthusiastically waiting for what you give them.

6. Blogging keeps you sharp

If you write a how-to blog, like mine, then you will be honing your skills of research and summation. If your blog is more opinion based, then you need to keep abreast of other views and the latest developments in your field so that you can comment on them with authority. You’ll find your thinking skills get keener and your ability to filter good information from bad gets a lot more efficient.

7. Blogging is rewarding

I guarantee that the best thing you will get from blogging is the satisfaction of making a difference to someone else’s life no matter how minor that difference might be. From a grateful reader telling you how much they enjoyed following one of your patterns to the person making their first few dollars online. The moment when you read their heartfelt email will be one of the high-points of your week.

8. A blog is a test-bed

Once you start to build an audience, your blog will become the place where you can try stuff out. You can ask their opinion on your plans and projects, test different offers with them and best of all you can get them to tell you what they need so you can make a product that suits, safe in the knowledge that as soon as you do, they are going to be the first ones to buy it.

9. You don’t need to be a good writer

No matter how poor you think your writing skills are, I absolutely encourage you to just get stuck in and start writing immediately. There are some great blogs out there written by people who are nowhere near polished, but they write with an intensity that makes that meaningless. In fact if they improved their writing, their blogs probably wouldn’t be as good. Their passion shines through.

10. Google loves bloggers

Every post you write, every picture you link and every comment you receive is another little building brick in the great structure of your credibility. The great bloggers out there have built their authority, their popularity and their credibility, by doing one thing well and doing it regularly. Creating stuff that people want to read, watch, listen to and act upon. Ike the movie said, “If you build it they will come,” and that was never more appropriate than when applied to blogging.

Quite simply, a blog is the best and most long-term profitable way to spend your time on the internet, bar none.

This YouTube video is a simple step-by-step instruction on how to set-up a Blog on Blogger.

Don't forget to sign up for the Sweet 'n' Steamy Blog Tour Giveaway at Rafflecopter.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is Sexual Fantasy Hazardous to Your Health?

This is the subtext of a lot of media attention given to erotica and sexual fantasy these days. You might say this is ironic given the popularity of the thriving erotic fiction business, but all progress seems to invite a backlash. This month at the ERWA blog, I talk about the "dangers" of sexual fantasy identified by the media and whether we should be worried. Let me know what you think!