A lengthy and increasingly unnerving interview lands Ursula a job as the event planner at a foreign embassy. Not until the government hustles her off to a different planet does she realize just how foreign that embassy is. When the U.S. ambassador hands over one of her coworkers during her first event as collateral to seal a trade agreement, Ursula breaks out of the embassy, determined to find a way back home before she, too, can be used as a bargaining chip in this world desperate for females.
What she doesn’t know as she navigates the unfamiliar streets of a totally alien culture and climate, is that she already caught the attention of a native warrior triad in a land where women are coddled and kept, yet prized above all else. They take her, elated to have obtained their collective heart's desire.
What they don’t know is how fiercely independent a woman from Earth can be. Disoriented, confused, and not a little angry at the way these three overbearing, dominant, sexy warriors take over her life, she wants to go home, but soon discovers this job was a one-way ticket courtesy of the United States government. If she can’t go back, she must go forward. Can she retain her identify and adapt to life on this new world with the three warriors who’ve claimed her as their mate? Is compromise possible between a woman used to controlling her own life and three warriors steeped in a culture that forbids it?
“Well, go on, Miss Cartwright. Up the ramp. The wormhole is open.”
“Miss Cartwright, you’re stalling.”
“You’ve been dishonest with me, Mr. Argosie. I never agreed to somewhere in outer space.”
The fat man frowned. “Miss Cartwright, you have two choices.”
The two soldiers drew pistols from the holsters at their hips and aimed them at her. Her eyes went wide with fright. Her sphincter clenched.
“You go through that portal or we kill you, because what you know cannot be divulged beyond this facility.”
“No one would believe me,” she muttered. “No matter. Make your choice now.”
Ursula swallowed the lump of fear clogging her throat and stepped forward, eyes locked on the black hole in the center of the room. Formed like an arched doorway, the gleaming metallic rim flashed with sparkles of sudden color like black opal. Her heels echoed in the nearly empty chamber as she trudged up the steel ramp toward an open doorway large enough for a Clydesdale to trot through. No sound penetrated the opening. She looked back over her shoulder. The grim expressions and leveled pistols convinced her to go forward. At least she had a chance of surviving by doing so.
She did not want to think there were worse things than death, but the thought occurred to her anyway.
She paused in front of the black void beyond the arched door frame and listened. No sound. She saw nothing. The world oubilette came to mind and she shuddered again. Ursula’s heart pounded as she crossed herself and whispered a quick prayer.
“Miss Cartwright, don’t make me push you through,” Mr. Argosie snapped with obvious impatience.
Ursula’s hand trembled with fear as she raised it with the intention of testing the portal with a finger, like dipping a toe into a pool to test the water. The empty blackness clamped down on her finger and sucked the rest of her through, her frightened yelp of surprise abruptly cut off before it could echo within the large, nearly empty room.
Flashes of color burst before her eyes and vanished as something squeezed her in its crushing grip and then spat her out. Frost rimed her exposed skin and she crumpled at the base of the portal, shivering uncontrollably.
“Quickly! Get her to the recovery room,” an authoritative, masculine voice ordered.
Hands grabbed her shoulders and legs and shifted her onto a stretcher. Ursula blinked, but could not focus her blurry vision. She whimpered when straps anchored her to the stretcher.
“Damn it,” the voice muttered as the loaded stretcher was hefted into the air and carried away. “I wish Argosie would better prepare new hires for the journey.”
Triple Burn came out last week. It already received one lovely review and a request for a sequel.
Sequel? I hadn't planned on that.
Looks like I'd best get cracking on the current work-in-progress and figure out what to write for a sequel.
I'm trying out different book promotion services in an effort to penetrate more deeply into the target market so people at least know my book(s) exist(s). Past efforts with Facebook ads had dismal results. Book tours, likewise, disappointed. Inclusion in Megabook Deals for Six Shots Each Gun and Hidden Gems Books for Bear of the Midnight Sun did not come close to breaking even with book sales; however, I might try them again with other titles.
I've come to accept that such promotion is a cost of business; marketing is necessary evil.
I've campaigned for reviews. Honest reviews. Thus far, reviews trend toward the positive which I hope continues. Every author holds that hope in common. Do the reviews translate into improved book sales or book ranking? I haven't noticed any discernible uptick, but one can always hope.
Keywords and key search terms are under review. My publicist, bless her, will do the heavy lifting there. She's the marketing expert. We hope that updating keywords and key phrases will make it easier for potential readers who enjoy the kind of fiction I write and search for it will find my books and, if I get lucky, take a chance on one.
My publicist has a plan in place. We tweak it, adjust to changing circumstances and trend reports. One pending adjustment will be new covers for the Russian Love series, which includes Russian Lullaby, Russian Gold, Russian Dawn, and Russian Pride. With the able assistance of someone who knows what she's doing, the new covers will conform to the current trend in cover design for mafia romances. Look for muscular, dangerous looking, smoking hot men who may or may not be wearing shirts.
Another fan wants me to continue that series.
I'm going to pull several poorly performing titles from Amazon exclusivity and "go wide" with them. That means they'll no longer be available as free reads with a Kindle Unlimited subscription--that requires exclusivity with Amazon--but other platforms like Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple's iBooks, and Kobo will carry them. The process will take some time, as I must find another platform on which to publish them. Some of those books may receive new covers, too.
Publishing has become a process of adjustments. Maybe it was always like that.
Authors often appear to be money-grubbing manipulators. However, why is it so terrible to want to boost our book sales? An indie author puts uncounted hours into writing a story, pays an editor (or should pay an editor), and then countless more hours revising. Additional costs go into cover design and, for some, book formatting. Self-publishing with an eye toward a quality product incurs a hefty cost. Royalties present one way--the preferred way--to recoup that cost so it can be applied toward producing the next book and maybe with something left over.
So, what does an author earn? If we go by Amazon's general royalties, an author earns 35 percent of an e-book's purchase price. For a $0.99 book, that's $0.34 per copy sold.
Editing a 50,000-word book easily ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending upon the depth of editing needed, the number of rounds of editing performed, and the rate charged by the editor. Cover design covers a wide range, from cheap to exorbitant. Let's not even bother with formatting or the value of the author's time for this discussion. We'll "guesstimate" the cost to produce the hypothetical, 50,000-word book at $1,250.
The author must sell 3,677 copies of that e-book to break even on those costs--before taxes. Most authors never come close to recouping their investments.
Publishing a book is no get-rich-quick scheme. The competition overwhelms unknown or little known authors. Career or business coaches tout that publication of a book enhances their clients' credibility and authority. However, any author who publishes fiction knows that he or she cannot rest upon the laurels of the past book; another must always be in progress.
#HenHousePublishing #HollyBargoBooks #SpringfieldOHBookFair
Not the fastest way, sure, but if you have time to drive it all the way down, you might find yourself lost in one of the coastal towns that dot the US1 like little jewels.
Maybe that town’s name is Crescent Creek.
These are the stories of its people.
All Those Miles I Walked ~ Crescent Creek 1
Scott’s always been steady as a rocky reef. He’d loved once and when she’d left, his strong heart had crumbled like a sandcastle. Now DJ is back, and Scott wants nothing to do with her. If only Eva, his and DJ’s old friend, didn’t need their help. Because of her, he’s stuck with DJ and he’d be damned, she still gets under his skin.
DJ is a free spirit who needs the road under her feet. Scott is a family man who wants to groom his roots. With danger on their doorstep and a baby to keep safe, how much are they willing to compromise for love?
Painted Love ~ Crescent Creek 2
Oh, but Florence had, and would do so one last time. Ten pieces her grandfather painted for her because he loved her. Ten pieces her mother lost, along with anything else, for loving the wrong man. She couldn’t get back everything he’d wasted away, but she’d be damned if she’d give up those paintings.
Easy and genuine, Rhett loves his life–his family, his market, his town. Until he meets a British woman with grey eyes and a cute little smile. The woman he’s been waiting for. The thing is, to love her is easy, but can he trust her?
When Rhett pushes to uncover her agenda, Flo knows she will lose something–the man she loves or what she’d been fighting for years. Which road will she choose?
His Midnight Sun ~ Crescent Creek 3
Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?
Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.
Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?
Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
For more information: