#ROSACon2014

Just a day after registration opened for RWA ’14 in San Antonio – and which I considered trying to attend for about five minutes before realizing how many books I’d have to sell to cover the entry fee alone – I am kind of ridiculously excited to share that the inaugural ROSA Conference will be held in Johannesburg in September!

http://saromancewriters.blogspot.com/2014/01/announcing-rosa-conference.html

Every year I watch enviously as Twitter fills with people at the RWA and RT conventions in the US. And while it’s still a little unlikely that Nora Roberts will be heading down to Jozi for ROSA Con, but I’m still super psyched to have the opportunity to network with South African readers, writers, bloggers and reviewers.

I’ll post more details in due course, but in the meantime I want to offer a hearty sanibona to anyone interested in attending! You won’t get shot, I promise.

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Bunker-Play Blog Hop

I’m not going to lie to y’all – I’m not a huge fan of professional golf. It takes ages, winners and losers are often determined long before the game is finished, and how seriously can you take a sport where guys like Angel Cabrera can become champions?

Angel enjoys a performance-reducing drug.

I always groan when golf is the sport du jour on the gym TV screens…yet I don’t mind playing a bit of mini-golf or even hitting a few balls at a driving range. Just recently I found myself taking a couple of swings at a golf course here in Johannesburg, and with a cloudless blue sky and incredible highveld vistas I suddenly understood why so many people love to play.

Which brings me to that essential distinction: sports we love to watch vs. sports we love to play.

bunkerhop2I’m a fairly committed middle-distance runner, always training for the next 10K or half-marathon. A colleague recently asked whether I was interested in joining her harriers club, and as I analyzed what turned me off about the prospect I realized that what makes running my favorite activity is that it’s completely solitary. Every run comes down to me versus my personal goals, and having to make conversation or keep up with a group is the last thing I want.

On the flip side, one of my favorite sports to watch – but not play – is football (or soccer for my fellow North American natives). Weirdly, what I love most about it is the team dynamic! I find it fascinating that a player can be a superstar on one team yet become shockingly bad when he moves to the next, or the way the addition of a new player can transform the cohesion of a side. And let’s not forget those on-pitch moments that are practically soap operatic with thrown-up palms and angry pointing!

The Striker's Chance by Rebecca CrowleyHow do your preferences shake out when it comes to playing versus watching? Are there any sports you love to do but can’t bear to sit through on TV? Tell me which sports you love and loathe and why, and one lucky commenter will win a copy of THE STRIKER’S CHANCE, my Carina Press debut about a sexy soccer superstar who joins a failing team and meets his match in – and loses his heart to – the ambitious publicist assigned to revamp his image.

BUT WAIT! As part of the Bunker-Play Blog Hop you also have the chance to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway including some awesome swag from author Lily Malone whose latest, Fairway to Heaven, is available now! Follow the links below for the giveaway and to visit the other amazing bloggers, and be sure to check back here on January 15th to see whether THE STRIKER’S CHANCE will be winging its way to an eReader near you!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

And click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list!

twenty thirteen

2013 was probably one of my biggest years yet. Twelve months ago I was unmarried, unpublished, and living in London. Today I’m officially a wife, I have two books out, and am a denizen of Johannesburg. All a bit topsy-turvy to say the least!

As such there’s rather too much to encapsulate in one end-of-year blog post, so I’ll focus on the three lessons I’ve learned in my first year as a published romance author. Because who doesn’t love a list?

1. Opinions are like… By far the hardest, yet probably most important lesson I’ve taken from my nascent descent into the murky publishing waters is that books are subjective. What some readers love, others hate, and neither one is a reflection on the inherent value of the work. Reviews are tough to read and impossible to reconcile, so all us writers can do is acknowledge what resonates and ignore what doesn’t… and then move on to Lesson #3.

2. No writer is an island. Until March or April this year, I’d always written in complete isolation. No one was allowed to read anything I was working on, I didn’t discuss my submissions or WIPs with anyone, in fact only a very few close friends had any idea I wrote at all. Then, in anticipation of the move to Jozi, on a whim I Googled to see whether there was a South African equivalent to RWA or similar. Enter the ROSAs! This fabulous community has been an unparalleled resource in my pre- and post-publication journey, from everything to technical expertise about royalty payments to unabashed vent sessions. I’ve learned so much – and am still learning – from this superb collection of writers, but more than anything they’ve taught me the importance of reaching out rather than struggling along on one’s own. They are, in fact, the best, and I’m super excited for the big stuff these ladies have planned for 2014.

3. Keep writing. Reviews stress me out, promo makes my head spin, and I’ll never win a thing because I wouldn’t know which contests to enter if they collapsed at my feet. But writing is a compulsion. I don’t care how little it earns per hour when you break everything down, or what sacrifices it demands, or how frustrating it can be, or whether or not anyone reads a word I produce. It’s my creative outlet, and I love it. I love my characters, I love their trials and triumphs, and I love when it all comes together in the end. No matter what other noise drones around publishing and the romance genre, the most important is just to keep writing.

And that brings us to 2014! I have some more acquisition news to share soon (yay!) but in the meantime, my office is closed until Monday and a lightning strike has knocked out our cable so our TV doesn’t work. I have a WIP to work on and edits to return…so I’ve watched eight episodes of Supernatural in two days. Begin as you mean to go on, right?

Happy New Year faithful readers, and may this one be even better than the last!

two-for tuesday

Tuesday is generally my least favorite day of the week – yup, even worse than Monday. On Monday I still have a little optimism and energy left over from the weekend, but on Tuesday that’s all gone and I’m facing four more days before the next one. A friend of mine once mused that one day she woke up and found that twenty-seven years of Tuesday had simply passed her by, and ever since then I’ve tried to do something a little special, a little remarkable on Tuesday to prevent that happening.

Today I’ve got TWO bits of excitement to share. I’ll start with the abs-less piece of news first: Carina Press has acquired my second contemporary sports romance, LOVE IN STRAIGHT SETS! It’s slightly quirky and offbeat in that the heroine is the sports star, a highly strung professional tennis player who falls hard for her annoyingly laid-back coach. Here’s the blurb:

Professional tennis player Regan Hunter is at the peak of her career – and the end of her tether. Beating the odds to excel in her sport has made her unstoppable on the court and neurotically controlling off of it, and two months before the Baron’s Open – her best chance at winning a Grand Slam – she’s fired so many coaches that there are none left. Her anger when her manager lays down an ultimatum that sticks her with an untried amateur is nothing compared to her fury at the new coach’s attempts to wrest control from her grasp – or to the sizzling attraction that instantly blazes between them.

Former Baron’s Open-winner Ben Percy lost everything when his father embezzled his money and left him flat, but his only complaint about the life he’s built for himself is his lack of funds, particularly when he’s trying to save enough to bring his sister over from their native Zimbabwe. Coaching the notoriously mercurial Regan Hunter could be the career break he needs – or a career finisher if he fails to get her to a Grand Slam win. His dubiousness grows when her manager delivers a strange condition – if he touches Regan, he’s fired. But as he’s increasingly intrigued by the complicated, fascinating woman behind her take-no-prisoners façade, he realizes the contest for her heart will be fiercer than any Grand Slam final.

LOVE IN STRAIGHT SETS will be released in the first week of April…but before that hits the virtual shelves, I’ve got two firsts on March 4th: my first release with Samhain, and my first contribution to the world of romantic suspense! And so without further adieu, I give you the cover reveal for SECURE TARGET, the tale of an Afrikaans-speaking super-cop with a huuuuge… gun.

SecureTarget cover smSECURE TARGET is already available for pre-order from Amazon and Amazon UK. I love the Samhain “warning”: Contains a sexy South African cop with the heart of a lion and by-the-book determination, and a mild-mannered receptionist with a reckless streak a mile wide. Throw in love on the run, and it’s full “steam” ahead!

red-letter day

Okay, maybe more like pink.

My plan for today’s post was to share the two places you can find me and HERO’S HOMECOMING today – and I’ll still do that. But first I want to share the unbelievably exciting news that Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books not only reviewed HERO’S HOMECOMING, she didn’t hate it! I saw the review on Twitter and inevitably my crappy African internet service chose that moment to crash out, but after several tense minutes of refreshing and watching the little loading circle swirl around and around, the grade appeared in a big pink font:

B+!

So without further ado, let me direct you to the best B+ I have EVER gotten.

PHEW! Breathing, breathing, still breathing. If you’d like to read an excerpt from the B+-receiving novella, I’m sharing one over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe. And if you want to hear the story of the B+-receiving novella’s composition during last year’s NaNoWriMo, the fabulous PJ Schnyder has kindly hosted me at her blog.

Exciting times, faithful readers!

guest post and giveaway

I’m talking about holiday traditions over at RR@H Novel Thoughts today, and one commenter will win a free copy of Hero’s Homecoming!

http://rrahnovelthoughts.com/2013/11/22/heros-homecoming-by-rebecca-crowley-guest-blog-and-giveaway/

Release day went off without a hitch and I have a few more exciting guest posts on the way, plus I got some GREAT news yesterday, but I’ll hold off on sharing it for now – everyone loves a bit of a suspense, right?

 

christmas came early

Hey hey it’s release day! My military holiday novella HERO’S HOMECOMING hits digital shelves today, both on its own and as half of GIFTS OF HONOR, one of Carina Press’s holiday collections.

I can’t explain how proud I am of this novella, and that it appears beside the incredible STARTING FROM SCRATCH by Stacy Gail. I was in the middle of writing HERO’S HOMECOMING (for NaNoWriMo) when I got the news that THE STRIKER’S CHANCE had been accepted by Carina Press, so not only do I have great memories of its composition, the subject and setting are both very close to my heart.

HERO’S HOMECOMING is set in my hometown of Manhattan, Kansas, which sits just down the highway from Fort Riley, home to the famous 1st Infantry Division, aka the Big Red One.  I grew up with live tank fire rattling the windows, military-brat friends PCSing in and out, and lots of high-school classmates enlisting after our May 2001 graduation with no idea that in a few short months the world – and the US’s military engagement in it – would drastically change.

Living in the shadow of a military installation brings the reality of war to the home front, from standing behind uniformed men in the checkout line at Target to reading Fort Riley’s most recent killed-in-action list in the local newspaper. HERO’S HOMECOMING is my humble effort to capture that fraught coexistence – and the awe-inspiring love that can spring out of it.

HERO’S HOMECOMING is available on its own: Carina Press * Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * ARe * Audible

Or as part of the GIFTS OF HONOR duology: Carina Press * Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * ARe 

na-not

Today is only the sixth day of NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated – and I’m already about 50% behind on my word count. Evidently I’m a glutton for punishment since I so often fail at NaNo events yet always go back for more. Usually my problem is with narrative momentum, but this time around I’ve carefully plotted and am full of energy for my characters and stories. So what’s my issue? Oh, y’know, that pesky little thing called real life. Let me count the ways:

  • Evil Day Job. And it is oh so evil at the moment. In fact, let’s just leave it at that – it’s too depressing to dwell on.
  • Edits. I’ve just received the most intense set of line edits I’ve ever had for my March release with Samhain. Of course I’m glad they’re rigorous and that this book will be even better once I’ve finished them, but the timing – including the quick turnaround deadline – is so not ideal!
  • Social commitments. Sometimes it makes perfect sense that so many great writers are totally self-isolating misanthropes. Who has time to cultivate friendships and write novels?
  • Hangover. See above. Zero words on Sunday, NaNo Day Three, because I was busy longing for my own death and swearing never to drink again.
  • Promo. Oh holy heck I have a book coming out on the 21st! Guest blog posts abound and I have written exactly none of them thus far.
  • The gym. Haha, just kidding! I haven’t been in almost a week.

Are you NaNo-ing this year? How’s it going? If you want to be my NaNo buddy or track my progress or simply laugh heartily at my failure, you’re welcome to do so here. It’s okay, I don’t mind – a little schadenfreude is good for the soul, right?