Your New Favorite Book- for free!

Yesterday, I posted about the new Kindle Scout program (speed recap: vote to get books published, get that book for free, bad-freaking-ass all around!). Today, I’m going to talk about my new favorite book on that program. It is called “Order Up” by Katie Golding and you have 28 more days to check it out on Kindle Scout and vote for it, because if you don’t, it doesn’t get published and you will miss out on all the steamy, crack-you-up-laughing, heart-warming goodness of this book.

Order up

You can see the official summary on Amazon, but today I want to talk about why I fell in love with this book. First, it’s about real people, not fake-ass book people. You know who I’m talking about: the billionaire who JUST SO HAPPENS to be gorgeous and great in bed, despite the fact that being unselfish isn’t exactly one of the things that tends to propel people toward that level of financial success. Or the girl who is a famous fashion designer who has two beautiful and totally sweet men in love with her at once and has to decide which of them she wants to run away to Paris with. Wouldn’t it be nice, folks?

But no, Order Up is about a pizza delivery guy who is a few years out of high school. Thanks to credit card debt, he’s stuck in a roommate situation where he has to listen through the wall to just how much his brother & brother’s girlfriend like each other (oh, the joy!). He’s in a job that pays for shit and makes him smell like Eu de Pepperoni and Grease but honestly, he has no idea what he OUGHT to be doing with his life. Of course, it helps that the author tells me she pictures Wesley as looking like this:

Wesley 3

Yeah, trust me. I know. So that doesn’t hurt. Ooh, let’s take one more peek.

Wes 2Yeah, that’s lovely. Wesley’s so freaking lovable. He’s utterly himself and he’s a little lost, okay, but he’s sweet, too, and hilarious in his interactions with his gay best friend and his big brother. Then he meets Reagan, who is just a barrel full of energy and fun and this is the point at which you get TOTALLY lost in their flirtation banter. It gives you that sentimental flutter of, “Oooh look at this new hot person and oh wow they kind of like me!” even while you’re wishing you were as witty as the characters themselves. Here’s a peek at the author’s vision of the terribly endearing Reagan:

Reagan

Reagan’s a Character with a capital C and she and Wesley start out as friends. Yeah, flirty friends but also REAL friends, the kind you rarely see in books between people of the opposite sex. In books it is all sexual tension sexual tension CONFLICTCONFLICTCONFLICT. But here, we get to see them support each other when they’re grouchy or sad or just got hosed by somebody else in their life. We get to see them get to know the weird details of each other’s lives: why Wesley loves his car so much, what dance routine is crippling all the members of Reagan’s troop. They actually freaking KNOW each other, and that’s what makes this book so addicting to me. It’s not all love at first sight or We Are Fated To Be Together Forevah. Instead it is: yup that person is pretty cute and hey, that thing they said was actually pretty funny and then wait, somebody is asking how I am doing and really meaning it for once? *pauses* And then they’re doing something totally adorable (with ducks) to cheer me up? Where did this person even COME from and how did I ever live without them?

It’s the kind of love story you rarely get to see unfold on the page. And then, of course, the conflict. I won’t spoiler anything, but I will say that I feel like this book GETS me, because nothing about it is contrived. The characters go through the stuff that we have ALL been through. The author doesn’t find any neat loopholes that the rest of us somehow missed and I love her for that. And when Wesley finally figures out his dreams, they don’t neatly align with the woman that he loves OR her goals, and the best part? His dream isn’t all, “I want to be a fireman/billionaire/save African puppies.” It is purely Wesley and purely not what you’d expect from fiction, and it is *redacted for spoilery reasons* Their journey isn’t easy, but just like my own journey, I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything.

Wes and Reagan

So why is this a book that’s perfect for Kindle Scout? Because it’s a book for The Rest of Us. You know who you are: the guilty pleasure romance reader who hasn’t gotten as much of a boost from your past 10 reads as you would have liked. The one who adores a good love story and swoons for beautiful writing but dammit why is all the beautiful writing locked up in literary fiction with grand (read: unsatisfying and sad) endings? And why are all the love stories so…trite?

Order Up is the book you’ve been looking for. I know, because it’s the book I didn’t even know I wanted until I found it. And right now, if you hop on over to Kindle Scout and press the “Nominate Me” button, you can get a free copy and share the link and your review with all your friends and help share this incredible story with the rest of the world.

So quit stalling to look at all the pretty pictures and head to Amazon to vote for Order Up!

UPDATE *** Order Up was selected for publication by Amazon Kindle Scout! You can buy your copy here.

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Get free books, support new authors!

I don’t know how I missed Amazon’s greatest idea ever. As a huge fan of the Kindle Worlds program, this is a BIG statement from me. But somehow, I completely missed the introduction of Amazon’s newest reader-powered publishing program. I can’t believe that, not only have I passed on the chance to get to CHOOSE what awesome undiscovered books I’d like to see published, I’ve missed the chance to get FREE BOOKS!

*takes a moment to be disappointed in self*

So, here’s how the program works:

 

Browse new, never-before-published books.

Every book has 30 days to earn your nomination. Authors are submitting new books all the time so check back often.

Nominate your favorites.

When you discover a book that you think is great, nominate it and the book will be added to Your Nominations panel. Keep up to three books nominated at a time, and update your nominations whenever you want.

 

Published!

When a book’s 30-day campaign ends while in Your Nominations panel, your nomination is tallied and removed from your panel – freeing up that nomination for another book. You will receive an email to let you know whether your book has been selected for publication.

 

Enjoy free books.

As a thank you from us and the authors you support, you will receive an early, free copy of all the Kindle Scout books you nominated that are published. Continue to champion the books and authors you helped bring to life by leaving reviews and sharing with friends.

 

As a big fanfiction writer (and reader!) I’ve been growing more aware of the disconnect between what people WANT to read, and what is being published. For example: when readers like the book, they want it to be longer, but publishers limit word count scrupulously. Also, publishers tend to highlight plot and conflict, but readers care more about emotion and character, and (as readers have told me) many of us would like to see more moments in romance novels where the characters get to be together and be happy and interact with one another, instead of spending 95% of the novel tragically held apart by…*insert Conflict A*

So I’m hugely excited for the opportunity to get to tell the publisher (in this case, Amazon) what I WANT to read! Plus, my squishy little heart loves the idea of supporting the underdog: some great author who doesn’t have the connections to squeeze into the traditional publishing world. Readers get the books they want (and a copy for free!) and authors get a chance at publication AND promotional support without giving up 85% of the proceeds from their book. So much winning here!

To get started nominating books, click here. To increase the chances of the books you nominate getting published (remember, free book), share the link with everyone you know. This doesn’t cost you a thing, except a few minutes of your time. Unless of course you spend hours perusing all the books nominated…like I have been. Come on, it’s like a book lottery!

Of course, as it happens I already have a favorite amongst the books entered in the program. Check out  my next post for the info on Order Up by one of my favorite authors, Katie Golding.

Order up

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So you want to be a better writer? Be evil.

What did I just say? Am I really advocating being evil to become a better writer? Is this about that whole sell your soul thing, because I thought we’d gotten past that…

dr evil

Nope. This is about an evil, yet magical object. I don’t blog about writing much, because I love to talk about writing. Once I started, everyone knows I wouldn’t stop and then the avalanche of unasked for opinions would likely crash the internet. Then YouTube videos of cute animals would become universally unavailable, and the world would sell out of Prozac in roughly 23 minutes.

But at the risk of accidentally killing all the digitized puppies chasing ducklings, I’m going to blog about writing today. So what is the evil, yet magical object? It is a list, actually. I usually entitle my list, “Things that worry me about my book that I don’t want to admit or deal with.” OR “You’re *&%$ing kidding me.”

I’ve written (hold on, gotta take off my shoes for this one) 13 1/2 books. Only on the last one did I finally grow the cojones to make a list like the one described above and holy WOW did it help. And double holy WOW was it a lot of work (my critique partner is still lying limply on the floor, sweating into the carpet). But it made my book a billion times better. One at a time, I pulled out the things that I was secretly hoping none of my beta readers would notice, I wept to my husband about how unfixable they were, and then I figured out how to fix them.

Once I was done with the whole new, heavily Frankensteined draft, I emailed it to my beta readers. Again. Usually I include a list of questions designed to tease out their reactions to things I suspect are weak points in my manuscript, but this time? I didn’t have a single question. Every last thing in my manuscript that I knew was an issue had been fixed to the absolute best of my ability.

What an incredible feeling.

Honestly, should you ever send your writing out into the world any other way? *looks guiltily at nine published books for which I did NOT do this* Let’s not answer that, hmm? Let’s focus on the positive. And the future. And look, over there, a squirrel!

Seriously, though, can you guys all do this to your writing? Depends, how much tequila do you have at home right now? If you’d like to try, or you’d like some help brainstorming the problems you have no idea how to fix, comment on this blog or email me! I’d love to help and if I don’t know the answer either, well, at least we can drink some of your tequila.

 

 

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What I’ve Been Working On…

So drumroll… this is my secret, most beloved baby of all, the novel I’ve been working on since this summer. It’s a strange duck, for sure: a romance novel about female sexual dysfunction. But it has all my favorite elements: musicians, college students, craft microbrew, screaming sexual tension, and a gorgeously muscled, soulful man with a secret. I call it A Cruel Kind of Beautiful. Here’s a little peek at an early version of my book description for this one:

A Cruel Kind of Beautiful

Jera McKnight loves music, loves beautiful men, and hates sex. Her perfect storm arrives in the form of ex-baseball star and nude model, Jacob Tate, who has a heart as big as his record collection. But she knows there’s no hope of a healthy long-term relationship that never gets physical, so she keeps Jacob firmly ensconced in the friendzone and pours all her pent-up energy into her band.

It all seems to be paying off when a major label offers them a record deal, but when the fine print doesn’t exactly read the way she’d hoped, Jera is forced to decide what she’s willing to compromise to have a shot at her dreams. And while she’s trying to sort through her career confusion, she’s faced with a second choice: cut Jacob out of her life for good, or suffer the humiliation of confessing what’s wrong with her. But is she the only one harboring the kind of secrets that could destroy their relationship before it even begins?

 

So, what do you think? My reader’s opinions matter more to me than anyone else’s so I’d love to hear if you like the idea, if you’re leery about the storyline, or just if you happen to have a good musician romance novel to recommend because I’ve been gobbling them up this year!

Currently, I’m in revisions on this manuscript with the help of my supernaturally brilliant critique partner, Katie (who is self-publishing a pretty edgy new romance novel herself, more on this soon). Once that’s done, I’ll be querying A Cruel Kind of Beautiful to agents, right along with Forsworn, which is a post-apocalyptic novel that managed to steal its way into the quarter-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest earlier this year. And once all that’s done? Jeez, after that I might take a nap. Or binge-read Patrick Rothfuss’s blog. Or (whistles innocently) write a companion novel to A Cruel Kind of Beautiful, featuring Jera’s sexy and mysterious best friend and bassist, Danny. Because he won’t get out of my head. But no promises, people ;) It’s all one day at a time over here.

 

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Interview with Kindle Worlds Blog

Recently, I was pleased to be interviewed for the Kindle Worlds Blog. It was a great experience and they had some really intriguing interview questions.

image

Author and Vampire Diaries fan Michelle Hazen has discovered breakout success publishing her Vampire Diaries fan fiction in Kindle Worlds. We had the opportunity to ask Michelle a few questions about her experience writing in Kindle Worlds, the craft of storytelling, and what’s next for her. Also, make sure to check out her latest The Vampire Diaries In Time We Trust trilogy: Trust in Darkness, Trust in Fire, and Trust in Betrayal.

What inspired you to write for The Vampire Diaries world?

I love the world, because vampires give us room for so much brutal suspense and exciting fight scenes, but they also give us a sense of history and time. Their immortal existence is a poignant reminder of what is important in life: what keeps you going year after decade after century. But for as much as I admire the universe of The Vampire Diaries, it’s the characters that have me fascinated. No one is ever completely good or completely evil, motivations and alliances shift, but there are incredibly strong bonds between the characters. You see powerful romantic love, but also intense friendship and family loyalty. It’s a very emotional show, with dizzying high points that create the perfect catalyst for fanfiction inspiration.

What will fans of The Vampire Diaries love about your books?

In my books, I stay true to the action-driven plots that keep the show crackling with tension, but I spend more time on the romantic moments between lovers, the close moments between friends. Also, The Vampire Diaries show was structured to center around cheerleader-gone-vampire Elena, but over time Damon—the bad boy with the heart of a kitten and the morals of Hannibal Lector—has emerged as the true fan favorite. All my stories revolve around Damon, in all of his impulsively violent, wise-cracking glory.

What inspired you to bring your The Vampire Diaries stories from fan sites to Kindle Worlds?

I was excited by the idea of reaching a wider audience. All those people that watch The Vampire Diaries but have never heard of fanfiction, who buy books on Amazon but have never visited a fan site. I think Kindle Worlds is a great way to reach out to people who are unfamiliar with fanfiction and say hey, if you like The Vampire Diaries show, here is a way to spend time with your favorite characters in scenarios that you wished had played out on your television screen. If you didn’t like a particular season, or you wanted to see a different couple get together, Kindle Worlds is the place to do it, and for cheaper prices than most books are sold for.

What has been the most surprising thing about writing for Kindle Worlds?

The support from Amazon. I have one self-published novel and I thought that publishing with Kindle Worlds would be very much the same lonely experience. But instead, Kindle Worlds is like the best parts of being self-published and having a publisher: you can get your finished manuscript to print in days instead of months, you can have total creative license over your plot, but you also get marketing support to get your books advertised in places where people can find them.

If you had to pick a motto or mantra, what would it be?

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage – Anais Nin

Every great hero/heroine should have ________________.

Contradictions. A completely consistent character is a boring character. One of my favorite things about writing Damon is that he is a seething mass of contradictions. He’s sweet and yet ruthless, loyal to some people and frighteningly amoral and vicious toward others. A character like that leaves you a lot of room to build a very complex, emotionally involving story around them.

What elements make up a good love story?

To write a great love story, you have to include something no one would expect, and also elements that are very familiar. You want your reader to smile at some point and be like, “Yes! I totally fought with my boyfriend about leaving the cupboards open!” and then you want them to be swept up in the ultraviolet emotions of falling in love, to the point where they forget to blink because they are so involved with what the characters are feeling. So the best romance novel is like the best real-life love story: it’s so intense, it feels like your first, even though it isn’t.

What’s next for you and your writing?

I adore writing for Kindle Worlds, but I also like to create my own original fiction. Right now I have a post-apocalyptic trilogy that I’m querying to agents, the first book of which was awarded Quarter Finalist status in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I also have a New Adult romance I’m hoping to query to agents within the next few months.

At this point, I’m wildly addicted to writing, and I’m so grateful that I can pursue a career in something I love so dearly, because honestly—obviously—even if it didn’t pay the bills, I’d just do it for free.

 

Here is the link, if you’d like to read the interview on their site:

http://blog.kindleworlds.com/post/98998172022/interview-with-michelle-hazen-kindle-worlds-author

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My new trilogy is available on Kindle Worlds!

A whole new Vampire Diaries trilogy, available on Amazon Kindle Worlds!

In Time We Trust Trilogy

Life is different for a vampire. Their uncounted days troop along until every novelty loses its flavor and the many cruelties of the world weigh ugly and deep on their memories.

But sometimes, just when they think life has nothing more to teach them, they realize they have only seen the beginning of the design of their fate. And given time, beauty emerges from even the ugliest of circumstances.

In Time We Trust is a re-imagining of Season 5 without the tragic events of the finale: a fairy tale romance with the gritty edge of reality, spiced with sharp notes of humor amidst an adventure of screaming suspense.

ITWT Cover-1

Book 1: Trust In Darkness

Summer is over and Damon is stuck in Mystic Falls with a brother who is determined to confront his Ripper side, a girlfriend hours away at college, and the return of an old friend with a complicated problem.

Even worse, their mind reading archenemy, Silas, has discovered all their secret fears and desires and he is vindictive enough to expose everything right before compelling them into the cage match of the century, no survivors allowed.

All Damon wants is as many stolen minutes as possible with Elena Gilbert, but first he must make sure his family is safe. But how do you defeat a foe that can command your every thought? And after Damon and all his loved ones are confronted with their darkest sides, will they be able to live with themselves? Only time will tell.

ITWT Cover-2

Book 2: Trust In Fire

Damon finally has everything he’s ever wanted: Stefan is safe, Ric is alive, and Elena is back at his side. But the fragile peace in Mystic Falls is shattered when a mistake from the Salvatores’ past shows up and endangers what Damon prizes above all else: the love of his girl and the safety of his family.

He moves decisively to deal with the threat, but Elena’s reaction lets him know his problems are far from over. As he and Elena struggle to find balance together, Damon is drawn into his best friend’s fight for sanity, and when Ric asks him to do the unthinkable, he doesn’t dare refuse. In the midst of all this chaos, Damon is floored by the news that the vampire-hating Augustine Society is back and more powerful than ever.

He is terrified that his friends won’t stand a chance against the society’s army and when he’s proven right, none of them are prepared for the sacrifices they’ll have to make to escape with their lives.

ITWT Cover-3

Book 3: Trust In Betrayal

Damon and everyone he cares about are on the run from the Augustine Society, but their road trip is softened by romance when Damon and Elena take a new step in their relationship, Jeremy finds love in a place that is inconvenient for everyone, and Caroline begins to hint that companionship may not be all she wants from her best friend, Stefan.

For a moment, things are sweet for the Mystic Falls gang, but then disaster strikes from all sides and they are betrayed by old enemies and old friends alike. Damon disappears, abducted by rivals determined to change everything about him. Elena is forced to push the limits of her supernatural abilities as she races to find Damon before his free will and his love for her are erased forever.

When she finally gets to Damon, what she finds is the culmination of all her nightmares. But sometimes, just when it seems like everything is falling apart, it’s actually falling right into place.

 

Click on any bookcover to see more about each book on Amazon! Each title is priced at $3.99.

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“Forsworn” a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest!

Crazy great news! My post-apocalyptic novel, Forsworn, made it into the quarter-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, which is wildly competitive and one of the most high profile fiction contests out there. It is now in the top 500 of 10,000 amazing new stories, and if I can make it to the top 5, I win a publishing contract!

Even better news…You can read it! The general public is allowed to review the excerpts of each contest entry and your reviews count toward my final score. So go enjoy the first chapter, and leave a review to let me know how you liked the start, and to help bump me just a little closer to the top for the next elimination round!

Forsworn is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the American west, with a badass female assassin as the main character, with an honorable but too-idealistic prince as her ally, and a smart-ass sword fighter who might be a friend, or might be a foe, just to add a little spice to the mix. Plus, the first chapter features a crazy naked fight scene. Knives are involved, and horses, so it’s a lot of fun.

The link is here: http://www.amazon.com/Forsworn-2014-Entry-Michelle-Hazen-ebook/dp/B00JOU2HMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398011312&sr=8-1&keywords=forsworn+michelle+hazen

or just go to www.amazon.com and search “Michelle Hazen Forsworn”

Then download the sample and leave a review, and it will help me move forward in the contest! Cross your fingers for me!

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My New Book is Out!

Sanguine-Veritas-final-1

What if vampires could taste your true nature in your blood? Would it bring you peace or sorrow, to know the truth?

Could it help Elena to choose which Salvatore she loves without destroying them both?

This short story starts with Damon and Elena sharing blood in the bathroom of the Grill in 04×02 Memorial. After that, everything changes as Elena tastes the blood of both Salvatores and faces some hard choices about herself and the boys she thought she knew so well.

Sensual and bitter, this story will overtake you.

Whew! I’m excited about this one! Not only is this my favorite book cover all of my books (Alfred DeVarona, you just keep outdoing yourself!) but this is hands-down my favorite vampire short story that I’ve ever written. Deep, tortured friendships, tumultuous romance and SEXY SEXY bloodshares? All in six chapters or less. Click here to see “Sanguine Veritas” on Amazon, or click on the book cover image. And don’t forget to leave a review, I love to hear from my readers! 

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I was featured in an article!

Below is a link to a very interesting article in the online magazine, Main Street, that deals with the recently opened Kindle Worlds program. The author interviewed several fanfiction writers that published through the program, including myself and my critique partner, CL Marlene. Check it out for a peek at what fanfiction authors think about publishing for free vs. for royalties!

 

http://www.mainstreet.com/article/small-business/making-money-writing-fan-fiction-really-really?page=1

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Desperate Love featured on Hush Hush Biz

Great news! The Desperate Love Trilogy has been featured on The Hush Hush Biz book review blog.

A quote from the review: “Over the trilogy, Hazen spins a web of intrigue, lies, trust, and admiration. The emotions are high and the love scenes are hot. Vampires have never been this good before.”

Check it out at:

http://hushhushbiz.com/book-review-the-desperate-love-trilogy-by-michelle-hazen/

 

 

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