Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rock*it Reads: Guest Post with Monica Burns + Giveaway

Monica Burns is a multi-talented author who goes from writing spicy historicals to sexy paranormal romance. She's a 'new to us' author but perusing her site, we'll definitely put her books on The List. It also doesn't hurt that her book covers are gorgeous. You know we're total suckers for a good cover.


Meet Monica:
An award-winning author of spicy historical and paranormal romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. Her historical book awards include the 2011 RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice Award and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Heart of Excellence Award for Pleasure Me. She is also the recipient of the prestigious paranormal romance award, the 2011 PRISM Best of the Best award for Assassin’s Heart. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

Connect with Monica: Author Site | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter (sign up on site)

Like the rest of my colleagues at Rock*It Reads, I’m a reader. In fact, I’ve been reading for oh about 50 years now (I started at a very early age). I read it all. Okay, maybe not all of it, I have no stomach for politician memoirs’ or how Suzi Q overcame addictions to become the latest great talk show host. But I’ll read just about anything else.

Whether it’s nonfiction historical biographies, archaeology books, action adventure like The DaVinci Code, Dune, or Jude Deveraux’s Knight in Shining Armor, I read without prejudice. If the story’s good, I read it. I don’t analyze why I did or didn’t love the book. That’s why I tend to like books that a lot of readers don’t like. Nothing wrong with that, it’s like someone saying I love vanilla ice cream, but not chocolate. And that’s really at the heart of the matter, isn’t it? We all love to read, but not all of us like to read the same thing.

Unfortunately, publishers have to sell what the majority of readers buy. I often read blogs that lament that publishers aren’t selling books with unique locations, heroes or heroines, social issues, etc. The vocal readers ask why are there so many vampire books? Why so many historicals with noblemen who are the heroes? Why doesn’t chick-lit get published anymore? Those are easy questions to answer. Publishers rarely buy out-of-the-box stories because they do not sell. Publishers keep selling the same old thing because that’s what the majority of readers want. Every time a publisher tries something different and unique (particularly in historicals) the majority of readers bypass it for the tried and true books.

But in the last year or so, self-publishing has made those out-of-the-box type of reads readily available. Not only that, but our overall reading selections is far more varied than ever before, which means readers can explore the unique stories that traditional publishing can’t afford to publish. The downside to this is the number of books readers have to choose from. As a member of Rock*It Reads, I’m also a columnist for the Love Rocks column at B&N where I hunt down books for possible spotlight when I write my column. I really have to go digging to find books that a) interest me and b) hold my interest. You’d think that with the number of books available to us as readers it would be easy to find a good read whether it’s self-pubbed, ePubbed or traditionally pubbed. I don’t think it’s easy at all. In fact, I think it’s harder than ever simply because of the sheer volume of books. I’m pretty good at hunting down a good self-pubbed book, but it still takes me time that I could spend reading instead of being a self-pubbed book detective.

That was one of the reasons why I agreed to be part of the Rock*It Reads group. I wanted to give readers a visual mark to tell them that book bearing the mark had undergone a strong editing and formatting process. As a self-publisher, I pay all the costs associated with my books. The cool thing is that for a little more monetary investment I get to add a sweet-looking logo on my books that marks me as an author committed to providing readers with a book that has a standout cover, is well edited and is properly formatted for a variety of eReaders. I call it the brand of Quality Self-Publishing. It’s like advertising. Since I’m really picky about my reads, I’m naturally picky about how my books are presented to readers.

That’s a commitment everyone in the Rock*It Reads group had made to themselves and their readers. For us, it’s writing the best story possible, while making sure the mechanics of the read receives just as much attention as the story telling itself. While self-publishing has really opened up the market in terms of volume, it’s narrowed itself in terms of available time for search and find missions. It’s not like we can press Ctrl + F to find a great book. In fact, there’s still only one best way to sell a book. Word-of-mouth.

So since you’ve read this far, got any recommendations for romantic comedies? I’ve got one on the Nook now, but I’m on the prowl for a couple more to read. Talk to me, tell me what self-pub books you’ve read that you recommend as being a good read!

A woman on the edge of sin…
Helen Rivenall is willing to do anything to escape the brutality of her uncle’s home. But a promise of honest employment is a ruse. Drugged and auctioned off in a notorious London brothel, she finds herself won by a man who wants nothing from her except her participation in a harmless charade. Left with no choice, she reluctantly agrees, but as their web of lies grows, so does temptation and the realization that pleasure and sin are often one and the same.

A man about to lose all control…
Sebastian Rockwood, Earl of Melton is haunted by a dark secret in his past. One that taught him control is a personal trait to be valued above all others. He also learned never to give his heart to anyone. The risk is too great. Yet where Helen is concerned, his prized control is slowly giving way to temptation, and all too quickly he discovers nothing can protect him from the ultimate obsession—love.
Get Your Own Copy: Kindle | Nook | ARe | Smashwords
Book Extras: Read the First 3 Chapters
Book Trailer:
Other Books by Monica:

Now on to the giveaway part! Monica is giving away two(2) ebook copies of LOVE'S PORTRAIT to two(2) lucky readers. **International** Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment for Monica answering her question: got any recommendations for romantic comedies? I’ve got one on the Nook now, but I’m on the prowl for a couple more to read. Talk to me, tell me what self-pub books you’ve read that you recommend as being a good read!
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must leave a comment. All other entries are optional.
Keep up with the fun posts by the ladies of Rock*It Reads here.

A huge thank you to Monica for hanging out at the blog and for donating the giveaway copies of Love's Portrait.

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