Bound by Darkness Review

Filed under: Books, News  •  Comments: share yours!

Nov 13 2011

Bound by Darkness, book 2 in the Soul Gatherer series, received a wonderful review over at Bitten by Books yesterday.

“McCleave skillfully reveals pieces of Lena’s and Brian’s backstories as the story progresses, seamlessly weaving them into the plot and action of the present in which the tale takes place. The pacing never lags in this excellent novel, and the characterizations are so clear that the reader will sometimes feel as though they are looking directly at the persons or beings described.”

For the entire review, visit the Bitten by Books website.

It’s always a thrill to learn out someone has enjoyed one of my stories. :-)

Magical Musings

Filed under: Blogging  •  Comments: share yours!

Oct 18 2011

I’m over at Magical Musings today, discussing what happens when a hot alpha hero collides with a kick-butt heroine. Drop by and comment for a chance to win a copy of Dark Deceiver.

Self-Publishing

Filed under: Books, Cover Art, The Road to Publication  •  Comments: share yours!

Jun 29 2011

It’s been an interesting experience self-publishing my e-novella, Tempting the Knight, and my e-novel, Dark Deceiver. The operative word in that sentence is definitely ‘self’. All the things my NY publisher used to do for me are now my responsibility. What things, you ask?

1. The Cover.
Many people who self-publish whip off a cover themselves, but my design skills aren’t up to the task and, frankly, I got spoiled having my previous covers designed in NY. So, I went to a design shop–one that has an excellent portfolio of romance covers–and hired someone to design my covers. Both of my covers were designed by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs.

2. The Editing.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts about the publishing process, you’ll know how grateful I am that there are copy editors. I have a bad habit of reading a sentence and seeing the words I intended to write, not the words I actually wrote. After revising my manuscript umpteen dozen times, I’ve been known to drop words like ‘a’ or ‘it’ or ‘the’ in spots. I’m also clueless about the rules for hyphenation and I’m a comma ho. My copy editor in NY used to catch all those boo-boos, and also caught poor sentence structure, timeline problems, and continuity errors (descriptions that change over the course of the book, i.e. blue eyes in the beginning, green later on).

I truly value the role of the copy editor. For Dark Deceiver, a full-length novel, I knew I needed a second pair of eyes. I had writer friends read the manuscript and point out problems, but I wanted a thorough scrubbing. So, I hired a copy editor. Laura Paquet from Cornerstone Word, who previously did copy edits for Harlequin, helped me out tremendously. Now, there still may be a few boo-boos in the book, but I take full responsibility for them–I made some small revisions after Laura had been through the manuscript.

3. The E-Book Formatting.
There are numerous e-reader devices on the market and although it would blissful if they all read the same file format, they don’t. The Kindle reads .MOBI files, the Nook and the Sony read .EPUB files, the Palm devices read .PRB files, etc. Plus, it’s important to make the e-books available for folks who don’t have an e-reader, so you’ll want to produce .HTML and .PDF files, as well. If you publish through Smashwords, they have a piece of software called the Meatgrinder that takes your Word files and spits out all the various formats. I used it for Tempting the Knight. Unfortunately, the output isn’t perfect.

So, I learned how to create my own e-book files. To give credit where credit is due, I found Guido Henkel’s blog series Take pride in your eBook formatting extremely helpful.

If you want to be a self-published author, be prepared to do a lot of the extra work yourself–or hire someone to help. Yes, it’ll cost you time and effort beyond the actual writing, if you want a truly professional result, it’ll cost you dollars, as well. But, in my humble opinion, the ability to publish stories that would otherwise remain untold and to reach new and existing readers is worth it.

And Now for Something a Little Different…

Filed under: Books, Cover Art, News  •  Comments: 2 comments

Jun 24 2011

I know many of you are waiting for news of the next Soul Gatherer novel, and I’m sad to say the series has come to an end…sort of. There are no more books scheduled for release from NAL Signet Eclipse. However, since I know my fans are seeking some closure, I’ll be self-publishing an e-book short story in September to wrap up a few loose ends. I’m still working out the details of the story, so I can’t tell you who the hero and heroine are yet, but I soon as I have deets, I’ll share them.

To help you get your fix of hot heroes in the meantime, I’ve released a full-length e-book paranormal romance on Amazon, called Dark Deceiver. It’s not set in the Soul Gatherer world–it’s a novel I wrote before I sold the first book in the Soul Gatherer series–but with any luck, Daemon Kemp (the hero) will rock your world as much as he did mine.

I’ll be releasing the book in other formats besides Amazon Kindle over the next couple of weeks. I’ll update this post when they’re available. Other versions of Dark Deceiver, including web browser .HTML and Adobe Acrobat .PDF, are now available at All Romance eBooks.

If you don’t have an e-reader, take heart. You can still read the book on your computer. Most of the major e-reader companies provide free reading applications for the PC, MAC, iPhone, Android phones, and more. Try:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Sony

You can also read PDF and EPUB files with Adobe Digital Editions. It’s a free download, as well.

Digital Editions

Tempting the Knight

Filed under: Books, Medieval Madness, News  •  Comments: share yours!

May 13 2011

A couple of years ago, I wrote a novella for the Brava Novella contest sponsored by Kensington Publishing. It finaled in that contest, and I even had some people stop by my website hoping it would be published. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I put the novella aside when my paranormal romances caught the interest of NY publishers.

But the popularity of e-readers and the simplification of the e-publishing business, especially through Amazon, have given me a new opportunity to provide the story to readers. So, it’s with great pleasure that I announce Tempting the Knight: A Novella is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

If you like medieval romances, I hope you’ll check it out.

Thor

Filed under: Blogging, Just For Fun  •  Comments: 2 comments

May 6 2011

Anyone planning to see the new Thor movie this weekend? I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology, and I’ve been happy with most of the Marvel movies, so for me the decision was a no-brainer. But add eye-candy in the form of Chris Hemsworth (who did an awesome job as George Kirk in the Star Trek movie of 2010) and you’ve made my day.

The Power of Words

Filed under: Blogging, Life or Something Like It  •  Comments: share yours!

May 3 2011

Someone on one of my writing loops pointed to this terrific little video up on YouTube. I think it’s a wonderful take on the power of words. Hope you enjoy it.

A lovely review

Filed under: News  •  Comments: share yours!

Apr 14 2011

Surrender to Darkness got a wonderful review from Romance Reviews Today:

“Annette McCleave has written another enthralling read. Fast-paced, intense, and full of magic, this is a book sure to capture your imagination. Kiyoko’s calm is sublimely balanced by Jamie’s fire, and when they come together it’s perfection. Great storytelling and a unique world combine to make SURRENDER TO DARKNESS a sure-fire winner. Don’t miss it.”

I’m always so thrilled when a reader or reviewer enjoys my books enough to rate it highly. Thanks to all of you who’ve written me or written me up. :-)

Flip the coin

Filed under: Craft  •  Comments: share yours!

Feb 15 2011

Ever struggled to identify the ‘fatal’ flaw in your character? That one personality trait that constantly gets him or her into hot water? The one that just might cause a black moment between the two main characters?

There are lots of flaws to choose from; as humans, we suffer from many.

But one place to look for a flaw, if you’re having trouble defining one, is within the character’s strength. Most writers have no trouble describing the utter awesomeness that is their main character. They instinctively know what unique skills she has, what finer qualities he possesses. But strengths are funny things. They are often two-sided, like a coin. There’s the side that makes your hero or heroine shine, and the side that’s a little tarnished. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your hero is a police officer, and you decide his strength is that he’s selfless. This is a guy who defends the weak and rescues the innocent. Very heroic, right? What could be flawed about that?

Surprisingly, there are several possibilities:

- If he leaps to the defense of the helpless all the time, is he careful about his own safety? Or is he the type to lay his life on the line every time? I could see that causing problems with his heroine, couldn’t you?

- If he really enjoys saving people, maybe he makes assumptions about their ability to handle danger. Wrong assumptions. I could see that causing problems with his heroine, couldn’t you?

Let’s pick another one. Perhaps you decide your heroine’s strength is that she’s independent and self-reliant. The not-so-wonderful side might look like this:

- If she’s self-reliant, she might have a bee in her bonnet about asking for help. Which means she probably won’t, until it’s too late. I could see that causing problems with the hero, couldn’t you?

- If she’s independent and strong, she might see attempts to smooth her path as suggestions that she’s incapable of handling things herself. I could see that causing problems with the hero, couldn’t you?

- Strong, self-assured people can occasionally be abrasive, rubbing people the wrong way, especially when they are under stress. I could see that causing problems with the hero, couldn’t you?

One more? What if you give your heroine a strength of intelligence? Is there a negative side to that? Yes.

- If she’s smart, she often knows all the answers. If she regularly shares those answers, she can inadvertently make other people feel stupid. Think Temperance Brennan on Bones. I could see that causing problems with the hero, couldn’t you?

- If she’s smart, she might think two or three steps ahead of other people she’s working with, leading to her facing the villain without support. I could see that causing problems with the hero, couldn’t you?

So, next time you’re stuck trying to identify a character’s flaw, flip the strength coin.

Release Day!

Filed under: Books, Contest, News  •  Comments: share yours!

Jan 4 2011

Surrender to Darkness officially releases today! I’m so excited to see this book on the shelf–Murdoch is one of my favorite heroes so far.

I’m blogging over at Silk & Shadows today … and giving away a signed copy to one lucky commenter. If you’d like to win a copy, hop over and log a comment. There’s a new excerpt posted there, too.

p.s. I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but the German version of Surrender has a release date: September 12, 2011. I’ve posted the covers on my Books page.

Merry Christmas!

Filed under: Uncategorized  •  Comments: share yours!

Dec 25 2010

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season! Stay healthy and happy.

For A Good Cause

Filed under: Books, Just For Fun  •  Comments: share yours!

Nov 25 2010

I’m participating in a huge giveaway over at Literary Escapism where the “entry” for the giveaway is a donation to Child’s Play. If you want a chance to win an ARC of Surrender to Darkness, plus a ton of other great books, check it out!

Child's Play Giveaway

Great Review for Surrender

Filed under: Books, News  •  Comments: 1 comment

Nov 22 2010

My January release, Surrender to Darkness, got a very nice review from Publishers Weekly today. If you visit the PW link, scroll down to the bottom of the page. My favorite line: “McCleave skillfully interweaves action, magic, mythology, and love to produce a fast-paced, satisfying story.”

Winner!

Filed under: Contest  •  Comments: 2 comments

Nov 2 2010

The winner of the Surrender to Darkness ARC, as chosen by Random.org, is … Kelly!

Congrats, Kelly. Please email me with your mailing address to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I’ll be giving away another copy on November 16th at Muse Interrupted, Cindy Procter-King’s blog, so stop by for another chance to win. :-)

ARCs!

Filed under: Contest  •  Comments: 13 comments

Oct 14 2010

I’ve received a few Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of my upcoming release, Surrender to Darkness, which will be published in January. I’ll give away one copy to my faithful blog visitors–just comment any time between now and the end of the October, and I’ll enter you in the draw.