release day for SAVING HEARTS!

Happy Tuesday! SAVING HEARTS hits digital shelves today – check out the Books page for full buy links – and while I’m sad to say goodbye (for now) to the men of Atlanta Skyline, I’m excited for readers to finally meet its alpha heroine, Erin, and Brendan, Skyline’s neuro-atypical goalkeeper. You can catch my interview on the HEA blog to learn a little more about the future potential of the series.

This release day finds me in my new home in Houston, so it’s perhaps apropos that as I reflect on the process of writing SAVING HEARTS I realized that huge chunks of it were drafted in airport lounges and hotels. I had two trips to London and one to Amsterdam in the space of about ten weeks, and the overnight flights to and from Johannesburg often left me with a spare most-of-a-day on either end of work training. Here are some fun facts about my own setting for these scenes:

  • Erin’s trip to snoop Brendan’s house was written in the airport lounge at OR Tambo.
  • I wrote the backstory to Brendan’s neuro-atypicality in a hotel in Baker Street.
  • Erin’s visit to Brendan’s hometown was drafted at a spare desk in my company’s London office.
  • Erin realized she was falling for Brendan while I was in Schiphol airport.
  • Brendan fell in love with Erin when I was perched on a stool in the lounge at Heathrow’s terminal 5, with a view over the security lines.
  • I wrote the final scene in the cafe at my gym in Johannesburg, where I knew there’d be no wifi to distract me.

As you can see, Brendan and Erin traveled thousands of miles with me in the couple of months it took to write their story. Maybe that’s why they have an extra special place in my heart. They’re both deeply flawed and prone to awful mistakes and misjudgments, even ethical transgressions, but in the end they want nothing more than to do right by each other, and in the process find that they’re right for each other. I love them and this book to bits, and I hope you will, too.

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shoes, ships, ceiling wax

Oh dear, I’ve taken my time updating this poor old blog, hey? Well, there’s plenty to discuss today, so let’s get on with it!

#ROSACon2014

This past weekend was the inaugural South African romance writers’ conference, nicknamed ROSACon, held over a day in a half in Johannesburg. I think all of the attendees would agree it was a complete success! (Full disclosure: I was on the organizing committee.)

ROSACon2014 audience

Rapt audience at #ROSACon2014

We had about 30 delegates, and the activities ranged from Skype pitches to editors at Mills & Boon and Harper Impulse, to a first-page critique session by a panel of authors, to a fabulous talk on category romance writing from our local celebrity Joss Wood. Other than the massive highveld storm during Saturday night’s gala dinner, the weekend went without a hitch and it was a fantastic opportunity not only to meet so much of the South African romance writing community, but to be energized and enlightened by a variety of experts on a whole range of writing-related topics. On that note…

Facebook

Having learned during Tristan Banha‘s social media talk at #ROSACon2014 that Facebook is the most popular and fastest-growing social media outlet in South Africa, I’ve created my very own Facebook fan page: facebook.com/rebeccacrowleywrites Will I be better at updating it than this blog? Doubtful! But in the meantime feel free to cruise on over and check out the gorgeous banner the Samhain marketing team made for my next release. Which brings me to…

The Homefront Trilogy

This set of military-themed novellas is steaming ahead! I’m currently working on edits for the third installation (Thunder Running) and have just posted the cover for the second book (Alive Day) on the Books page. Meanwhile, tomorrow is release day for Homefront #1, Boots on the Ground!

Boots on the Ground

Sexy Sergeant Grady Reid and his erstwhile heroine Laurel Hayes are already garnering some lovely reviews, most notably from USA Today, Desere at Romance Book Haven and Nanee from Up All Night. If you haven’t already pre-ordered, you can one-click your copy tomorrow wherever ebooks are sold.

Last But Not Least

In case you didn’t spot my subtle announcement on Contemporary Romance Cafe (cleverly tucked in after the gratuitous photo of Jensen Ackles), the biggest news of all is that Baby Crowley will be having his or her own release day somewhere in between Alive Day and Thunder Running (March 3rd, to be precise). The good news is there’s no need to book a blog tour or organize a release-day blitz. The bad news, well… 😉

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!

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?

back to camp

July is upon us, and amidst all the crazy final-stage admin involved in wrapping up my life in the UK and starting a new one in South Africa – oh, and, y’know, planning the wedding that’s now less than three months away – I thought it was probably a great idea to commit to another NaNo event.

Admittedly I’ve only set myself a 30,000-word goal for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo (an extension of the annual November project), however I’m proud to say that at this point I’m pretty much beasting it.

See for yourself! And be sure to check back for delicious schadenfreude when I inevitably crash and burn. 😛

http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/rebecca-crowley/

introducing…

I’ll always remember that day last November when I came back from a (slightly boozy!) work lunch to find an e-mail from Angela James, Executive Editor of Carina Press, saying the team loved my contemporary sports romance and wanted to offer me my first-ever contract! My reply e-mail was embarrassingly gushy, and that evening my fiance and I downed far too many Sol beers in celebration.

The intervening eight months have been long, eventful, and full of firsts. First contract signed and executed, first art fact sheet, and first – and hugely informative – editing process. There have also been some seconds – second contract with Carina Press for my holiday novella, and second contract for a full-length novel, this time with Samhain Publishing. But as the clock steadily ticks down to the release date for my debut, The Striker’s Chance, I’m delighted to share what is possibly the most exciting first of all: the cover reveal!

Now, without further adieu, I’m delighted to reveal the cover for The Striker’s Chance!

The Striker's Chance final coverLanding the PR contract for North Carolina’s new soccer team could take Holly Taylor’s career to the next level. Her task? Make Kepler “Killer” de Klerk, an athlete with a party-hard reputation, a star. But revamping the sexy footballer’s image while battling her unwanted attraction to him is easier said than done.

The car accident that derailed Kepler’s European career also gave him some much-needed perspective. He’s ready to give up on fame and focus on the game he loves. The last thing he needs is a headstrong brunette pushing him back into the spotlight, even if butting heads with her is the most fun he’s had in ages.

The more time Holly spends with Kepler, the more she sees how different he is from his tabloid persona. But when she’s offered her dream job for a price, she finds herself torn between the career she’s spent years building and the man she doesn’t want to give up.

Phew, that is one sizzling dude. These cover designers sure have a hard job, don’t they? Flicking through photo after photo of sexy, shirtless guy – but I guess someone’s gotta do it, right?

There’s still a little over two months to go until The Striker’s Chance releases, but you can pre-order it at Amazon and Amazon UK, and at least there’s a little cover eye candy to ogle in the meantime!

save a horse

I’m back at the Contemporary Romance Cafe today, with a gratuitous cowboy butt shot: http://contemporaryromancecafe.com/cowboy-take-me-away/

There’s lots of other exciting stuff coming soon – my first-ever cover reveal, a new title reveal for my holiday novella, and the madness of attempting Camp NaNoWriMo in the same month I’m moving continents. Stay tuned y’all!