Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wheee!! Mr. Real is finally out!

Mr. Real, my cross-genre suspense/paranormal romance/spy novel is populating through stores. I'm so excited and happy about this book...and I can't believe it's finally out.

Ebook: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARE |  Find it soon Smashwords, Sony, Apple and elsewhere. For just $3.81!

Print: Out within the week at the usual sellers. I'll post links as they go live on the Mr. Real page of my site.

le blurb: 
The woman of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares

Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul, the hot martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class three years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall - in the flesh - with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness - somehow.

But is super spy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

Blog Tour continues!!
I'm having quite the enjoyable time on my blog tour, and I've visited a trio of awesome hostesses recently:

The Qwillery: This was a great interview where we covered pantsing, plotting, and more - come say hi!

I Smell Sheep: Alpha Male Diner - juicy details about Paul Reinhardt, the hero of Mr. Real, in this crazy and fun feature.

Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks - Oh, my cover model dilemmas! Poor Julie was one of my "what do you think about this guy?" victims.

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs to all you East coast peeps. I'm really thinking about you all a lot today.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog tour fun! Two stops, two places to win...

Just a quick update on my crazy blog tour - two stops, two fun visits, two places to win a copy of Mr. Real!!!

Thursday at That's What I'm Talking about - I visit with lovely blogger Jen to answer the question: Are all characters Frankensteins when you bring the to real life? Stop by, say hi, and comment!!

Friday at fabu Kindle-aholic - we had some fun with a very unique interview about self-pubbing and various projects, and there are pictures. Come on over to comment at Kindle-aholic's bookpile!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is the appropriate level of heroine fear in a book?

Hey all!

 Do you wish you could understand this graph?
All is explained at Book Chick City....
I'm over at Book Chick City today discussing levels of fear in different books, and getting the heroine fear levels right.

You'll find handy graphs there, and if you leave a comment you might win a copy of Mr. Real!!

Come say hi at Book Chick City...

Top 6 rules that apply to Halloween and urban fantasy

I'm over at Goldilox and the Three Weres today with a Halloweeny post - I'm talking about rules that Halloween shares with UF and PNR as part of her Goldilox and the Three Scares event, which is full of guest posts and giveaways. I'm also giving away an advanced reader copy of Mr. Real!

Come say hi at Goldilox and the Three Weres!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Having fun at Paranormal Haven

Happy Friday everybody! I hope you're looking forward to a lovely weekend. My mom is coming up to visit. The condo is in chaos and I'm totally harried, but it will be nice to see her. I foresee an arty film and some shopping and gabbing in my near future!

Anyway, just a quick note that I'm visiting at the fabulous PARANORMAL HAVEN today with a guest post that answers the question: What would my characters from Mr. Real go as for Halloween? It's my first ever MR. REAL guest post, and I'm giving away an ebook of MR REAL, too!

Come say hi and enter to win at Paranormal Haven!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When an author (me!) envies other authors' locations...

I'm over at the fabulous Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind blog rambling on just that: my journey from location envy to location embracing...and you could win something, too!!

Come say hi and join the fun! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview, historical beard analysis by Penny Watson, & a giveaway!!!

Image: French painter Eugene Deveria
Hi Everybody! Today we have a special guest here at my blog: Penny Watson, author of several books including the Holiday Romance series and Lumberjack in Love.

Carolyn Crane: Welcome Penny Watson! Thanks for stopping by the Thrillionth page and congrats on the release of LUMBERJACK IN LOVE!!

Penny Watson: Hi Carolyn! Thanks for the invite!

CC: Okay, I’ll be honest, when you first started your beardy goodness bit up around 3 years ago, I was like, WTF! While I enjoy your Santa’s strapping sons holiday series, I will confess to picturing them as beardless in my mind. *ducks*

* Penny chucks Gillette razors at Carolyn’s head *

CC: LOL. Sorry! For a while now on your blog, you have had your beard of the week and I felt like, scruff is okay, but I’m not a beard person. And then beards started appearing all over. On Marky Mark. And other guys. And movie stars. And Marky Mark. And, Jenn Bennet has that hot bearded hero Lon in her Arcadia Bell series. And scruffy Marky Mark. And I started, if not to love them, to get them. But you were so ahead of your time. What do you have to say for yourself?

PW: Just call me Penelope, Trendsetter and Founder of The Hirsute Appreciation League. I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House Books. I was addicted to that series when I was a little girl, and of course Pa had a big bushy beard, and I was smitten.

CC: OMG, Pa! With his hot suspenders and broad shoulders! lol. That is so funny. Okay, as you know, I really enjoyed LUMBERJACK IN LOVE and so did a ton of other people. It’s a fun, romantic read! Are you always going to stick to bearded heroes? Will there be any more Lumberjacks?

PW: I’m so glad you liked it! Strangely, a number of readers are clamoring for a lumberjack series. Perhaps I’m starting a new, hairy trend in romantic fiction! I already have a story idea for Marcus’s younger brother which involves a lumberjack competition in New Hampshire.

CC:  I’m so psyched! You definitely have to do that.

An infamous quote from your LUMBERJACK:

His face was dark, thunderous, and absolutely freaking gorgeous. Electric blue eyes, high cheekbones, and a black lush beard that Ami wanted to rub all over.

Question: Did you do any direct beard research for this? Please elaborate.

PW: Haaaaaaa! Does downloading thousands of Hugh Jackman images from Wolverine count as research? Then yes, yes I did.

CC: Okay, readers want to know: favorite all time beards? Contemporary category. 

PW:  Robert Redford as Jeremiah Johnson
Sean Connery (salt and peppah excellence!)
Forcing myself to stop now….hee hee!

CC: Okay, thanks for that. I think you broke my Safari software with that little trip down beardy lane.

Considering that you were such a beard visionary, I thought it might be good to get your commentary on some beards through history (all images public domain from wikipedia).

Penny, let's see what you think of these beard styles, and if you see any of them coming into fashion.
 Image:sculptor  James Vibert (1853-1918)
 by artist Ferdinand Hodler
PW: Interesting combination of big bald forehead and beard-that-looks-like-a-blanket. I’m skeert.

CC: On the plus side, though, it gives you something to grab onto, right?

PW: Or a red fluffy blanket if you get cold.

Image: Nakht, from tomb of Nakht, 15th century BC

PW: Haaaaaaa! This reminds me of the little tuft of hair the Boston Celtics players were growing on their chins. Umm…I’m gonna vote NO on this one. :^)

CC:  It’s very stylized! I could see this coming in if the Celtics went for it.

Image: Portrait of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (c.1580)

PW: Beard, stache: Masculine. Weird hairline: Odd. Ruffle: Pansy-Ass. Eyes: Sad Puppy Dog     Overall: The beard saves him.

CC: This was one of the hotter beards of history I could find. I actually do agree the beard saves him. Don’t you think if you were a woman of this era that the ruffle would grow on you? 

PW: I think I would borrow the ruffle. We would probably fight over it every morning.

Image: artist Alfons Mucha self portrait (1860-1939) 
PW: Oh my goodness! The bottom half of his face looks like he’s turned into a werewolf. (And not in a good way). In fact, it sort of looks like his beard is growing over his ears. It must be difficult to hear.    Overall assessment: Get Alfons to a groomer, stat!

CC: Wait, I thought this was a hot beard! Maybe I am beard-challenged. Don’t you think he looks manly in a tousled way? Though he is hairy beyond the beard, and now that you’ve drawn my attention to his ears…do they look pointy to you? I can stop seeing him as a Vulcan.

PW: Historical Bearded Vulcan Werewolf. New genre! New genre!

Self-portrait of French painter Eugène Devéria (1805-1865).
Etching by Paul Lafond (1847-1918)
PW: You’re killing me, Carolyn! Is this an intervention? Are you trying to make me hate beards?

CC: LOL Is it working? Please, take a closer look at this beard, Penny. I would suggest printing this image out and putting it up on your wall.

PW: * Penny wipes sweat from brow in anxiety.* OK, OK, I can handle this. The side portions of his stache look like a squirrel’s tail, and the center portion looks like the hind legs of a small furry animal. * Penny winces * This is hurting me.

CC: Snort. Squirrel’s tail. You don’t think this will come into fashion? Can’t you imagine it flowing in the breeze as this man rides a bike to the coffee shop? And wouldn’t those handholds come in handy in intimate situations?

PW: Please God tell me there’s a good one coming up soon!

CC: Don’t worry, Penny, there is a super hot one coming up!!

Image: Artist Jan Mabuse; self portrait (1478-1532)
PW: Haaaaaaa! His face stops several inches before the end of the beard? How is that possible? Artistic license?

CC:  It’s a chin beard, Penny! Get with it. I understand Jon Hamm is growing one of these right now so it’s ready in time for the Oscars. Actually, I’m loving his outfit. I’m not being funny. Do you think he was a hipster of his time? Because, I sort of do.

Well, that was fun!!

PW: That was cruel, Carolyn. To offset the trauma I’m experiencing from looking at these disturbing beardy images, I’m going to spend a few hours with my Hugh Jackman jpeg collection.


Penny is offering  awesome prizes today: one lucky winner will get a fabulous LUMBERJACK themed mug full of candy, book marks, twiggy pencils and Vermont maple syrup PLUS a free download of LUMBERJACK IN LOVE or print book. (US only)

And, one international winner will get a free download of the ebook!

How to enter: 
In the comments, tell which historical beard (from the pictures above or another one) that you like best and why. [If you are reading this on Goodreads or Facebook, come over to my blog and enter.] 


City slicker Ami Jordan was just dumped by her back-stabbing boyfriend, has no job prospects, and can't find a decent cup of coffee in the entire state of Vermont. The last thing she needs is a sexy, bearded lumberjack complicating her life. Even if he’s smart, talented, and has the hottest ass she’s ever seen.

Tree house builder, environmental champion, and Bulldog owner Marcus Anderson has no patience for flatlanders with an attitude. But when landscape designer Ami Jordan shows up at his log cabin, he suddenly develops a hankering for a high-maintenance city gal. Now his house looks like a jungle, his recycling is in disarray, and his libido's on fire.

He's a lumberjack in love.

Learn more at Penny's website or her book blog, Penny Romance

CC: Thanks so much for stopping by, Penny!

PW: Thanks for having me! Happy Beardy Day!! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

My shocking and woeful cover drama...and YET ANOTHER NEW COVER

So, as I told everybody in tarnation on Wednesday, Mr. Real got an awesome new cover! And now I’m not going to use it!!
Not the new cover anymore!

I was so excited about the cover, too! Because the angsty guy image captured the sweaty and muscular and tortured nature of my athletic hero, Paul. My fabulous designer and I were so psyched to find him. (Su of Earthly Charms, who I can’t recommend enough! She is amazing!)

We got the angsty guy image from a royalty-free stock site, where you look for pictures you like and then pay for the rights to use them. It’s where pretty much everyone who doesn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a live model shoot or exclusive custom art or photography gets their images. The thing is, different people can pay to use the same photo. That’s why you often see the same images on different books.

And why you see funny posts like this one that my naughty friend Chris makes in her “Misadventures in Stock Photography" series. 

So, I wasn’t too shocked when, as soon as I released the cover, I discovered angsty guy had appeared elsewhere. It’s an awesome photo! I can’t believe more people didn’t buy the rights to it. Here, a few other books I found out about after releasing my cover:

The big problem here: Juliana Stone!! *shakes fist at Juliana* (not really, she’s actually really nice). But I learned her e-novella, TO HELL AND BACK, far right, releases the exact same day as mine and it is the same genre.

Why?!?! Whyyyy?!?!
There’s nothing illegal about our having the same photo – her publisher and I both paid the same money to get the non-exclusive rights to use it. But Juliana and I are both working in the paranormal genre, both have black color schemes, and both release on OCTOBER 30!!! What are the odds of that you ask? (Shoutout to Jeffe Kennedy). 

The odds you will discover your awesome photo of a sweaty tortured guy 
is already being used...

So, needless to say, I was totally mortified to learn all this. Mostly because of reader confusion. I don’t want readers trying to buy my book and getting Juliana’s, or vice versa. That’s bad for both of us, and for our readers. So I immediately went to work on thinking of what to do!!

My scientific decision-making process 
on what to do about this cover problem!!

Anyway, designer extraordinaire Su and I talked about keeping angsty guy and just making the cover look radically different, and she mocked up a few ideas, like one with angsty guy in a field of electric blue with lightning, and one where he’s pulled way up to the front. But, none was as fabulous as her first one. This guy begs for a cover of angsty darkness.

In the end, I decided I needed a new model.  Juliana’s was out there first, and hey, I have no shortage of angsty, hot, tortured heroes coming up in the Code of Shadows series to use that photo for, but, just not on the same release day. I don’t want readers to be all WTF on release day.

I think it’s the right thing to do in this case, though I feel like a total freak for changing the cover around again. And, not to embarrass Su of Earthly Charms but she has been so amazing and nimble in getting all this handled. And responsive and talented and fabulous. And managed to whip out an amazing cover.

Anyway, Here is my new NEW cover!! 

The total, final, for sure cover!!!!

I’ll confess, I love this cover just a tiny bit more for this book, because I feel this model beautifully captures the tortured hotness of my hero, Paul, who is a fighter. Also, I love the big title, too, how it pops. And I feel like the layout looks fresh. And I swear to you, this really IS the last cover.  PLEASE! Let there be not clones to cause confusion. Pleeeeease!!! *klunk*

 I am so grateful to everyone for all your support and all my pals who gave me advice, and retweeted my cover news....and I'm sorry to all bloggers who put up my cover and now have to change it. Okay. Deep breath!! 

About Mr. Real:
Mr. Real is a paranormal romantic suspense/spy novel. Quick description: 
lonely girl uses an occult computer program to bring a sexy spy from a TV ad to life. The actor/fighter who plays the character  - and has come to hate him – is not amused. 
It comes out in print and ebook on October 30th. More info here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Look! Another cover reveal for MR. REAL

But this one is the final one! LOL. I was joking the other day with a tweep that when you self publish, the degree of control is both terrible and wonderful. I am a poster child for that.

Anyway, after more edits of Mr. Real, I realized my old cover, which I love to death on its own, because the guy looks like Matt Damon, and it's cool, does not correctly signify the genre. Well, the MR REAL genre doesn't actually exist, but it's sort of paranormal/romantic suspense/spy stuff

Anyway, here is my NEW cover. This is truly the final one.

Deepest thanks/apologies to my many victims who I have pestered over the months to give opinions on models and covers.

Special apologies also to the awesome BADASS BOOK REVIEWS where you can see my old cover. They did a whole fun cover reveal with me back when! Oh, if they only knew how fickly I am!

 Oh, old cover. It was totally my fault you went off-genre.

This new cover is by Earthly Charms, and I SO love it!!!

MR. REAL: Short description:

A lonely girl uses an occult computer program to bring a sexy spy from a TV ad to life; the actor who plays the character  - and has come to hate him – is not amused.
It's  out on October 30. More info here!!