Denise Grover Swank's Blog, page 9

June 12, 2013

ATLANTA BOOK SIGNING EVENT

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As if Panera wasn’t awesome enough all on its own, add New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Denise Grover Swank, author of REDESIGNED, Kay Bratt, author of THE SCAVENGER’S DAUGHTERS, and Larissa Reinhart, author of  STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW, to the mix! Spend a couple of hours with the ladies, discussing books, life, and Denise’s penchant for writing in inappropriate places–like her bathroom. With kids in the tub. It happens. 



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Date: Sunday, July 21, 2013

Location: Panera Bread

5304 Windward Parkway Alpharetta, GA 30004

Time: 2-4 P.M.


 



DGS


Redesigned

(An Off the Subject Novel)

by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Denise Grover Swank


While fashion design major Caroline Hunter may have been born economically unlucky, in college, she’s been lucky in love. Until her senior year at Southern University. She’s gone from a serious long term boyfriend to a string of crappy dates.


Then she meets mathematics grad student Reed Pendergraft.


Reed is everything she’s not looking for. Serious. Headed for a low paying university job. Boring. Caroline spent the first eighteen years of her life wondering where her next meal was coming from. She sure wasn’t getting trapped in that life again with a man living on a professor’s salary.


An encounter with Reed in a club proves she might have pegged him wrong. He brings out a lusty side she never knew she had. But just when she’s about to give in to her hormones, Reed makes a fool out of her.


When she shows up for the first committee meeting for Southern University’s Fall fashion show, a fundraiser for underprivileged kids, Caroline’s horrified to discover the insufferable Reed is the committee chairman. While she refuses to tolerate his totalitarian rule of the committee, she’s not sure she’ll survive the month with her heart—and her pride—intact. Just when she thinks she has everything figured out, she finds that her entire life has been redesigned, thanks to Reed Pendergraft.


Other books from Kay: Click here for Denise’s Amazon Page



KayThe Scavenger’s Daughters

(Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters, Book One)

by Kay Bratt


Having survived torture and imprisonment during China’s Cultural Revolution, Benfu escaped to find love with his compassionate and beautiful Calla Lily. Together they build a fulfilling life around the most menial of jobs—Benfu’s work collecting trash. As he sorts through the discards of others, he regularly discovers abandoned children. With unwavering determination, he and Calli spend decades creating a family of hand-picked daughters that help heal the sorrow and brighten their modest home. But all is not perfect and when crisis threatens to separate their family, Benfu—or possibly his band of headstrong daughters—must find a way to overcome the biggest hardship yet.


Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger’s Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds.


Other books from Kay: Click here for Kay’s Amazon Page



Larissa2Still Life in Brunswick Stew

(A Cherry Tucker Mystery)

By Larissa Reinhart


Cherry Tucker’s in a stew. Art commissions dried up after her nemesis became president of the County Arts Council. Desperate and broke, Cherry and her friend, Eloise, spend a sultry summer weekend hawking their art at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off. When a bad case of food poisoning breaks out and Eloise dies, the police brush off her death as accidental. However, Cherry suspects someone spiked the stew and killed her friend. As Cherry calls on cook-off competitors, bitter rivals, and crooked judges, the police get steamed while the killer prepares to cook Cherry’s goose.


Portrait of a Dead Guy

(A Cherry Tucker Mystery)


In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a potrtrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.


As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Her rival wants to ruin her reputation, her ex-flame wants to rekindle the fire, and someone’s setting her up to take the fall. Mix in her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.


Other books from Larissa: Click here for Larissa’s Amazon Page

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Published on June 12, 2013 13:15 • 75 views

June 7, 2013

It’s no secret that I’m a cover addict. Sometimes I think I write books just so I can get new covers. When I signed The Curse Keepers with 47North, I worried about my covers. Since I’m a self-published author, I’ve had total control over my covers. But my editor, David Pomerico, assured me I’d have plenty of control.


And I did.


He sent me photos of models and asked if they fit what I had in mind.  When I told him the guy was off, he sent another that was perfect. They scheduled a photo shoot and gave me approval over poses and then over font.


My cover experience with 47North has been AMAZING.


It was important to me that my urban fantasy cover not have Collin with a naked chest and a Ellie with leather pants and a halter top. That just isn’t Collin and Ellie. Ellie is a waitress and before Collin walks into her restaurant, the most exciting thing she’s  ever done was sneaking into the sand dunes at Jockey Ridge State Park. In The Curse Keepers, there’s no way on God’s green earth she’d be caught dead in leather pants–although maybe a halter top. It was really important to me that the cover accurately depict my characters.


At the same time, just because the cover isn’t full of sexy, doesn’t meant the book isn’t. Before I wrote Redesigned, The Curse Keepers was my sexiest book to date.  The Curse Keepers is a new adult urban fantasy, chock full of sexy times.


I’ve written eleven books, currently writing the twelfth,  and The Curse Keepers is my favorite book.


Those of you who know me, know until this book, I have never claimed a favorite. Naming a book my favorite was like picking a favorite child. But I wrote the book in January, edited it in February, read it again with copy edits in March and went through proofread notes yesterday. I can still say that The Curse Keepers is still my favorite.


It has the urban fantasy of the Chosen series, the heart of the Rose Gardner Mysteries, and the sexiness of Off the Subject. Hopefully, that’s a win.


So I’ve made you wait long enough. Want to see my amazing cover????


 


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Swank_CurseKeepers_Final_FrontCvr


The wall between our world and that of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than 400 years. It’s about to come crashing down.

Ellie Lancaster has lived her whole life by the site of the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants—a Curse Keeper. Her father took pains to teach her what he knew of the curse and the responsibilities of its guardians. He taught her that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted, the gate will open, and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed to seek their revenge.


Despite her father’s seriousness, Ellie has always taken the legend for a harmless fairy tale. Until she meets the darkly handsome, but downright infuriating, Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. For when they meet, it’s like the air is sucked from the room. Collin’s presence is electrifying… and it’s not just attraction Ellie feels, but the inexorable pull toward her destiny. The prophecy is real, and now Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing—and passion—for each other to set things right.


The Curse Keepers are all that stand between the world and its destruction.


Release November 19, 2013


You can preorder your copy on Amazon!

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Published on June 07, 2013 15:29 • 96 views

June 6, 2013

Covers side by side


To celebrate the release of Resigned in three days,  After Math is on sale for $0.99!  You can read After Math now and get Redesigned on Monday  when it’s released!

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Published on June 06, 2013 23:20 • 87 views

June 3, 2013

My Facebook friend, Marjorie, posted a link to her blog. I confess, I don’t read her blog much– although I LOVE stalking following her many adventures with her children, several of whom are internationally adopted. But the title lured me in: To my 10th grade biology teacher


I’m a sucker for teacher inspiration stories. In fact, I told my own the day before the official release of my first book, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes.  So I kept reading Marjorie’s story, waiting for the feel-good moment, the payoff at the end.


Only it never came. Her teacher broke her heart.


Yet the beautiful, beautiful person that Marjorie is, she didn’t let his words break her. She lived her life, not in defiance, but in spite of what he told her. She found her own path and discovered it was more perfect than the one she originally wanted.  Marjorie is one of those rare, truly beautiful souls.  It hurt me to think that a teacher took her dream from her, so I commented with my own story:


My high school English teacher inspired me to pursue my dream of writing, expecting more from me than was required in her class. I dedicated my first book to her.


But another teacher who stuck in my memory was my high school physiology and anatomy teacher. He was a new teacher–I think it was his first year teaching– and he had been a jock. He taught two A&P classes that semester and I learned so much. I was fascinated with the topic. When he tested, if there was something we knew that wasn’t on the test, we were allowed to write it on the back. Take an overachiever who loves the subject, and you can guess what happened: I wrote PAGES of information. The lowest grade I received on an A&P test was 115%. I was by far his highest scoring student in both of his classes. But I doubt he even knew who I was. While I was fascinated with the subject matter, HE was fascinated with the pretty girls and the cheerleaders. He always called on them, always gave them attention. I don’t know if he spoke more than two sentences to me all semester. The message I got from that science teacher’s class was that looks were far more important than grades. I was already too thin, geeky, and introverted. I felt that no matter what I did in that class, it would never be good enough for him.


But he taught me something too. While my English teacher expected more from me, thus making me expect more from myself, with my science teacher, I learned that some people won’t like you or appreciate you, no matter what you do and you need to let it go. It’s THEIR problem, not yours. But alas, that’s a lesson too mature for a high school girl to learn. It took many more years to let that one sink in.


I mulled over her blog post and my comment for a while after I posted. For some reason I couldn’t let her message go. It occurred to me that teachers aren’t the only ones who have the ability to build us up or tear us down. Everyone does. Parents. Spouses, Siblings. Friends. Acquaintances. Strangers.


Notice I said ability not power.  For the longest time, I saw the two words as one, but now I realize the power is all mine.


This is an important message for writers and authors. We put our heart into our work, and place it on a platter, offering our babies to the world. We hope for the best, making ourselves a nervous wreck as we wait for reader reactions, but no matter how good our book is–a subjective term– there will ALWAYS be someone who hates it. If we’re lucky. If we’re not, many people will hate it. And a word of warning to aspiring or new authors: the more books you sell, the more people will hate your books. It’s a numbers game even I– a mathematical imbecile– can figure out.


But this is where the word power comes into play. If you give the world your book, you give them the ability to criticize it.


Let me repeat that.


If you give the world your book, you give them the ability to criticize it.


Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and trust me, many of them will tell you what theirs is. But the moment you hit publish, you hand them the keys to tell you and you take it, every word, without comment other than any version of thank you you can come up with.


But just because a reviewer thinks you’re a hack, that doesn’t mean that you are.** It doesn’t mean you should  take it to heart. It doesn’t mean that it’s true.  Don’t give them that power. The power to tear yourself down belongs to you.


Let me repeat that.


The power to tear yourself down belongs to you.


This is a hard lesson to learn, and if I’m honest, I’m still a long way from truly living it.  Some negative reviews hurt. Sometimes I won’t read them until I’ve built my confidence up to a level where I think I can take it, although with some of my books, there are some negative Goodreads reviews I’ve never read.


But it all goes back to my high school A&P teacher and the inadvertent life lesson he taught me. I wanted to be one of the students he talked to, not because I had a secret crush on him, but because I wanted validation that I was important.  That my hard work meant something. I now realize I was trying to please the wrong person.


I need to please me.


Still, I don’t live in a vacuum, and I am an artist at heart. We need people to love us and our work.  I’ve been fortunate to find people I trust to tell me the truth, people who build me up or offer critique without tearing me down. People who respect me enough to tell me when they think I’ve written something well or if something needs more work. Those are the people I write for.


But if I can take this a step farther, think about the things you say to people. Does it build them up or tear them down? Not everyone has learned where the power really lies.


Some of us are still working on it.


**I HIGHLY suggest you find critique partners and beta readers to give you honest feedback before you ever publish a book. 

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Published on June 03, 2013 11:49 • 111 views

May 23, 2013

When I wrote After Math, I wrote it as a standalone book. I’d never written a contemporary romance, and honestly, wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Even in the middle of writing After Math, I wasn’t sure I was going to pull it off.


The day I announced to the world I was writing a new adult romance and planned to release it mid-March was one of my scariest career moves to date. I locked myself in at that point. No turning back.


I scheduled my cover designer before I even started writing the book. I had a finished cover before I was 1/4 through writing the first draft. I had never worked backward like this before, but my timing was incredibly tight if I planned to have the book out in mid-March. And I LOVED the cover that Sarah Hansen from Okay Creations made. It is gorgeous.


AfterMath AMAZON


But a funny thing happened when I was revising and editing After Math. I loved it. And I not only loved it, I decided to make it a series, which was easy to do with Scarlett’s best friend and roommate Caroline.


I was supposed to write the next book in the Rose Gardner Mystery series when I finished After Math but my developmental editor took a position at Thomas & Mercer.  While I was fortunate that she kept me as a client, she had to put off my edit for a couple of months until she got settled in her new job and city.


Which meant I had time to write the second book of my new adult series–a series that didn’t even have a title. After Math was a standalone, remember?


Trisha Leigh–BFF, critique partner, author (The Last Year series as Trisha Leigh and Broken at Love, the first book in the Whitman University, NA series as Lyla Payne) and master titler–came up with the title Redesigned for Caroline along with the series title–Off the Subject. Each book title would feature the main character’s major. (Trisha is a genius, I’m not gonna lie.)


But then it came time to create a cover. Unfortunately, Sara Hansen couldn’t fit  Redesigned’s cover into my even  tighter schedule, so I had to find a new different cover designer. Once the new designer started, she  instantly faced a problem: How did we match the cover of After Math for series continuity?


We came up with the cover for Redesigned first.


Medium_Redesigned_cover


Gorgeous, no? We the made the extremely difficult decision was made to make a new cover for After Math to match the Off the Subject series.


 


600_aftermath


Also gorgeous, especially when you put them together.


Covers side by side


I can’t wait to show you the cover for Business as Usual!

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Published on May 23, 2013 16:26 • 180 views

April 30, 2013

I am so excited to show you the cover for Redesigned, the second book in my new adult contemporary romance series–Off the Subject– which will be released on June 10.


Redesigned blurb:


While fashion design major Caroline Hunter may have been born economically unlucky, in college, she’s been lucky in love. Until her senior year at Southern University. She’s gone from a serious long term boyfriend to a string of crappy dates.


Then she meets mathematics grad student Reed Pendergraft.


Reed is everything she’s not looking for. Serious. Headed for a low paying university job. Boring. Caroline spent the first eighteen years of her life wondering where her next meal was coming from. She sure wasn’t getting trapped in that life again with a man living on a professor’s salary.


An encounter with Reed in a club proves she might have pegged him wrong. He brings out a lusty side she never knew she had. But just when she’s about to give in to her hormones, Reed makes a fool out of her.


When she shows up for the first committee meeting for Southern University’s Fall fashion show, a fundraiser for underprivileged kids, Caroline’s horrified to discover the insufferable Reed is the committee chairman.  While she refuses to tolerate his totalitarian rule of the committee, she’s not sure she’ll survive the month with her heart—and her pride—intact. Just when she thinks she has everything figured out, she finds that her entire life has been redesigned, thanks to Reed Pendergraft.  


Large_Redesigned_cover


You can now preorder Redesigned!!!


It’s currently available for preorder on:


Amazon

Kobo

iTunes (coming soon)

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Published on April 30, 2013 01:06 • 599 views

April 25, 2013

Toronto Website Image


I’m so excited! I’m one of twenty authors taking part in  the Toronto Author Signing on October 5, 2013!  I would LOVE to see you there!  Go visit the website and register to attend. Tickets for the event are $10 each. Quantities are limited be sure to sign up!  Also be sure to like the event Facebook page!


 

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Published on April 25, 2013 14:34 • 97 views

March 29, 2013

USA today title


 


Wednesday a dream came true for me! I became a USA Today Best-Seller!!! I had a feeling that AFTER MATH might be the book to get  me there, but I  didn’t think it would happen until May when I have a big marketing plan in place.


THANK YOU to everyone who bought my book and told your friends about it! I couldn’t have done this if it weren’t for YOU!!!


I never, ever take you for granted, dear reader! You inspire me to write more books!

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Published on March 29, 2013 13:32 • 717 views

March 22, 2013

Logoforbuttons2Awhile back we started a street team.  It has been such a positive experience for Denise and me.  All of these really great readers joined us and have been supporting and promoting Denise for the past seven months.  Our Street team name is Team Swank.  We offer members incentives such as coffee mugs, Amazon gift cards, t-shirts, and other swag items as we think them up. Members of our group also have an inside track to the latest happenings here at Swank headquarters.   The job of a teammate is to help spread the word about our favorite author, Denise.  We have such creative members who come up with all sorts of great ways to get her name out there.  On top of that, we supply them with trading cards to hand out to those readers in their lives.  You may be wondering why I’m telling you about this amazing group? Well we are opening up sign ups for our group.  People who sign up need to be really excited about promoting Denise.  They need to be on Facebook(most of our communication is done through a private board there).  We only want people who are truly going to be active with our group.  We don’t require you to do everything that we suggest but we do want to see that you are participating in at least 50% of the activities or so.  Nothing that we ask is really that difficult or time consuming.  I’m going to ask some of our members to share in the comments so that you get an idea of what it is like to be a team member.  We look forward to welcoming YOU to our group.  Email me, Heather Smith, at TeamDGSwank@gmail.com, if you are interested in becoming a part of this next phase of our street team. Things that I need in your email include:


Your Name


Your Mailing Address


Your Email Address


Your t-shirt size(these are unisex t-shirts that run true to size)


Your favorite Denise books


Your birthday


I look forward to hearing from you.

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Published on March 22, 2013 09:20 • 103 views

March 21, 2013

AFTER MATH PRINT BOOK There’s a contest going on for After Math. If you go here, you’ll see the rules. Basically, it’s spread the word about After Math and have a chance at winning some prizes.


But there’s a second part to the contest, one I came up with while writing up the rules for the main contest. I called this second one a “bonus” contest.  I was creatively frustrated for quite some time before I started torturing characters in books,  and I looked for ways to express that creativity in various, embarrassing ways on my blog.  (You can find links to these if you follow the link above.)


Yeah, I did some crazy things, but I”m quite certain I’m not the only creatively frustrated person out there.


So I came up with the bonus contest: Make a creative recommendation for After Math and be eligible for a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. And if I’m blown away by more than one entry, I’ll give away more than one prize!


But creativity is subjective, so I’m using a TEAM of judges to help me pick. I’ll tell you more about them in a week or so, but we’ve joined together and created a box set of EIGHT mystery novels from eight bestselling authors and we’re selling them for a limited time at $0.99. (Even at full price it will be $9.99.) So you can see how awesome they are, right? (My book Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is included in the omnibus.)


So I know what you’re saying. “Denise, what in tarnation is a ‘creative recommendation’?”


Well, let me tell you.


A creative recommendation is ANYTHING that tells people about After Math. It can be a YouTube video. It can be a fan made book trailer. I can be a poem or a song you make up. Change the words to an existing song. Make up a goofy story. It can be a video, an mp3, a  Word document. It has to be something that *I* can share with my readers on my website. You can be serious. You can be crazy. Bottom line, I want YOU to be creative and HAVE FUN.


THE ONLY RULES:



Nothing negative–either about AFTER MATH or any other book or author.
The submission must encourage people to  read   AFTER MATH. This doesn’t have to be a sales pitch.
I will post the finalists and the winners on my website.
Have FUN!!!
Email the link to your video or send your document or whatever you have created  to denisegroverswank@gmail.com

The winner will get a $50 Amazon gift card (or B&N if you so desire.)  And if there’s more than one entry that blows the judges away, I’LL GIVE MORE THAN ONE PRIZE. I want you guys to have fun with this!!! And I’m willing to pay up to encourage you. 


When I pick the  finalists, I’ll post links to their entries  while the judges decide who the winner(s) are.


The original contest ended on March 31, but I’m going to give you all time to WOW me! The contest is now extended to April 15.  Winners will be announced by April 22, if not sooner.  The finalists and winner(s) will be featured on my website with links shared via Facebook and Twitter.


Since I didn’t have any entries, I asked my daughter Julia and her friend, Megan, to make an example for you all. Let’s just say you have some stiff competition. If they were eligible. Which they aren’t. Unless no one else enters. Don’t let me down, you all.


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Published on March 21, 2013 19:19 • 74 views