I hadn’t planned to write a holiday novella but Hot Steve unexpectedly turned into such a compelling character that I decided he needed a story. An idea for a New Year’s Eve themed story spanning the final decade of the 20th century planted itself in my head, and Like It’s 1999 snuck it’s way onto my writing schedule for 2020 (I mean, what else did I have to do with my time…?) Luckily I was able to talk my intrepid (and busy) cover designer Lana into fitting me into her schedule. This time when I gave her the basics, she started the process by sending me a sketch she found to get the ball rolling. I loved the idea and shared my Pinterest boards for both characters to give her specific faces to work from. Steve had been tougher for me to pin down than I’d expected since he loomed so large in my imagination. He wasn’t visually specific for me until I started looking at hot 80’s icons (and their preppy sweaters). Alice is based in part on one of my college roommates, who also emigrated to the U.S. in elementary school. Visually, one Korean actress in particular (Han Ye Seul) really caught my eye. It’s as much about the sparkle in her eye as her beauty. When Lana sent her initial sketch of Alice and Steve, the characters’ body language just wasn’t communicating what it needed to. That is: “I’m interested, but I shouldn’t be.” The grumpy poses said “why do I have to deal with this person?” (Alice’s boots and pony tail were perfect, however!) So I sent her back to the drawing board with some other ideas, especially with regards to Steve’s posture and Alice’s shirt (cold weather and more 80’s). That was the ticket because the next sketch delivered. A few tweaks to the placement of title, sub-title and tag line and we were done! Like It’s 1999 releases in ebook only on December 9, 2020. Pre-order now and it’ll arrive in your inbox on release day!
Honestly, I don’t remember why or when I decided that Ben Porter needed to be an underwear model a la Marky Mark in the 80’s Calvin Klein ads. Maybe it was just so I could do the research. Very arduous research, as you can imagine. But, to the cover. This time around I knew my genre–Romantic Comedy– and I didn’t have to find a designer because Lana at Bookcoverology did such an amazing job with the cover for WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR. And I had a slightly better idea of how the process should go. For instance, I now know how useful a Pinterest board can be. For book one, I emailed her folders of images. This time I could just collect them on boards. (I know people have been doing this for years but I’m not a particularly visual person so I never got the Pinterest thing. Now, I get it.) In addition to the actor/model Ben Porter, FORGET ABOUT ME is about Lucy Minola: an Italian-American vet tech with a gorgeous full figure. She wears scrubs at work, of course but her curves come out of hiding when a co-worker helps her find a vintage red dress to wear to an opening night party. Then there’s the dog that brings them together. If you’re not an animal person, you’ll probably hate this book. Between the dog training and the veterinary hospital scenes, animals are all over it. Puck–the stray that shows up on page one–is especially important, so of course he needed his own board. Benji from the movies series of the characters’ childhoods was an inspiration, then I just went nuts pinning expressive terrier mix faces. Another important element is the mixtape. When Lucy was a carefree teen, she was obsessed with mixtapes and making them for Ben was a key feature in her seduction of him back when he was just her big brother’s best friend. (You can get that story in the FREE ebook SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED by subscribing to my news or joining my FB group Wicked Smaht Retro Romcom Readers). Finally, for some reason the image of the Coppertone ad where a dog is pulling on a girl’s bathing suit would not leave my mind, so that went in an inspiration board, too. Then I sent that all to Lana and came up with this first sketch. I loved a lot about this. Probably top of the list was how Lana incorporated the Coppertone image idea by having Puck tug on Lucy’s sexy dress. There were a few small adjustments like making Lucy’s hair curly and switching locations of the tag line and sub-title. My PR advisor suggested a more intense yellow . . .
Romance Fans! For a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card in addition to ten signed paperback plus assorted author swag, all you have to do is fill out the form in this link, which will sign you up for the participating authors’ newsletters. (You can unsubscribe at any time, of course.) Entries close September 23rd and the winner will be announced September 25th, so enter now! Just click this link to enter: http://bit.ly/LENB082020
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR by Karen Grey What reviewers are saying: “This is my first book by Karen Grey and I’m hooked.” —Rellim Reads “This story was bodacious! Totally Tubular!” —Live, Laugh, Love and Books “I felt like I was in a time warp and I loved it.” —Betty Loves Love “Ah, the 80’s…pagers, answering machines and waiting days for a call, oh my!” —Kathryn, Goodreads “Will and Kate are a wonderful pair. Ms. Grey shares allows both their fears and affection to shine across the pages, giving What I’m Looking For a strong story and satisfying conclusion.” —Jen, That’s What I’m Talking About “Set in the 1980s, this funny yet warmhearted character-driven tale checks all the boxes for classy contemporary romance while providing the longed-for “something different” readers seek out. It’s smart. It’s sexy. It’s sophisticated romance at its best.” —Lea Hensley, Audiogals WHERE TO FIND IT AUDIO Libro.fm (use the code KARENWHITE for a 3 for 1 book deal), Downpour or Audible PRINT The Ripped Bodice (click below) or any indie bookstore via Indiebound or Bookshop.org (or just ask your local bookstore to order it) and Amazon. EBOOK Kobo, Apple, , Barnes & Noble, Google RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED, BUT STAY TUNED AND/OR FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO HEAR ABOUT OTHER GIVEAWAYS OR OTHER NEWS! Cathy, Karen and Bloom are the winners and I’ve contacted them via email.
I received the first hard copies of my very first novel in the mail this week. To celebrate, I’m giving away one paperback and one audiobook (CDs). I can sign them if you’d like, too. THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. Aimee and Shonte are the winners but there will be more giveaways to come! To enter, just comment below telling us where you were in 1988. Deadline Monday, 6/15 at 5 p.m. EST. For extra chances, you can follow Karen Grey on Facebook @KarenGreywriter, Goodreads or Bookbub. (Just tell me in your comment if you’ve done it, I’ll believe you.) I’ll pick the winners at random. Entrants must be 18 and in the continental U.S. only. (Psst. There’s also a giveaway of the Kindle version on the book’s Goodreads page, so you have lots of chances to win! And this one is open to readers anywhere in the world.) But if you want to just go ahead and buy a copy, you can see all the current options on my website (which includes the option to buy directly from me). Alternatively, you can order from your local bookstore!
I tried to get this to work yesterday but it was a failure. So trying again today. Here we go: So, I have a confession to make. I thought that all my new blog posts were being automatically emailed to subscribers, but for some reason that has not been happening for awhile. It’s taken me some time and (for me) a whole load of mental gymnastics to navigate the maze of RSS feeds and other gobbledygook to figure all this out, so forgive me if you received an email yesterday with no content. And please have mercy on me for blundering through all this in the midst of multiple national crises. This will probably end up in your spam folder. But if it doesn’t, if you’re still with me, before you actively unsubscribe, I do have some big news. My first novel releases June 23. You can find it in this nifty list of new releases linked here (and I appreciating you clicking through as that gives me credit on this promotion): https://books.bookfunnel.com/junenewreleases/qq10knllle Also, I’ll be reading from my book at the virtual event NOIR AT THE BAR on Thursday, June 11 at 7pm EST. (My book is not a mystery but the organizer, Edwin Hill is an author I record for who has kindly invited me to read anyway. I’ll also be reading a bit from one of his Hester Thursby books. It’s free and doesn’t require an app but you do need to sign up to attend here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/virtual-noir-at-the-bar-4 Plus, Please save the date for another virtual event coming Thursday, June 25 at 8pm EST. More on that coming soon…but, (hint, hint) it includes EIGHT audiobooks narrators! Finally, Between now and June 23, if you want to help me get word out on my novel, I have a whole “secret” page set up where you can find links to follow me on my new author social media sites, download images and copy and paste posts. ANY help from this page is very much appreciated. Thanks for your support and feel free to unsubscribe if you no longer want to receive emails about Karen White audiobooks, Karen Grey books, articles on Creativity, recipes and/or cute pet photos. Actually the latter are mostly on Instagram and Pinterest. Like this one:
(& not just mine) I’ll keep this short and sweet. I’m taking part in a fun book giveaway with eleven other romance writers: MATCHMAKER. Each of us created a “match card” for our heroes and readers can choose free ebooks to read based on the hero descriptions. All you have to do is join that author’s mailing list. RomanceBooks.blog has lots of giveaways and fun stuff so whether you’re a reader or writer or both you might want to sign up for their newsletter, too. You can get an Advance Reader Copy of my book THIRTY TWO DAYS before it releases! (Reviews on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram…wherever you hang out are appreciated.) Here’s the link https://bit.ly/matchmaker-grey to all twelve free books – available only through May 28.
Years ago, my then tweenaged daughter was invited by the folks at the delightful bookstore Children’s Book World to interview author Jacqueline Kelly about her book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (one both my girls would recommend, both in print and audio). Since my daughter was only eleven, I came along. When the discussion centered on the book cover, I was surprised to learn that while Kelly felt lucky to have suggested the woodcut style for her cover, authors rarely have much input into the cover design of their books. While I suppose it makes sense on some levels to hand this over to marketing and design experts, when it came time to publish my first novel I was glad that going indie meant I could have full control. I was quite happy at the beginning of the process, and in the end. But in the middle, it was hard to be the one to make choices that could make or break the success of the book. So, I thought I’d share how all this went down for readers who might be interested and for other authors (who can hopefully learn from my missteps). First task: study current design styles in the genre. For me, a difficult part of my process overall was pinpointing this book’s genre. I started out writing a 3rd person romance. A year and a half in, I decided to switch the point of view to first person, which was surging in popularity. Then I noticed that the Romantic Comedy sub-genre seemed to have been nicked from the movies to replace the somewhat offensive Chick Lit sub-genre. (See “Chick Lit,” Genre or Insult? and Chick lit? Hate the term. Love the genre for more on that subject.) Since Romantic Comedy could embrace my not-quite-contemporary-not-quite-historical setting, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. And I loved the rom-com covers – the colorful, quirky, illustrated covers. I was determined to have one. Trick was finding a designer who would work with an indie author. After checking the copyright pages of the books whose covers I loved, I did my best to contact the designers. But most of them aren’t freelancers, they worked for a publishing house. Often, there are two people involved; an illustrator and a designer. Thankfully, after many internet searches, I found Lana Pecherczyk and Bookcoverology all the way across the world in Australia. Lana is an illustrator and a designer (and a writer – we had such fun working together that I’ll be recording her first audiobook), and she was excited about the 80’s theme. So we got to work. First we talked about illustration styles. Lana had the idea to use the Aha video . . .