It’s a Makeover!

It’s finally here! The new site, as you can see, is live. My fabulous and talented designer, Frauke Spanuth at CrocoDesigns, does such good work, doesn’t she? She’s a very busy lady these days, however, so if you want to book her, you may have to wait a while!

You’ll notice some new features — first, we’ve separated out the UK books and North American books. Soon, the UK and NA schedules will merge, but the covers will still be different, so we’ll keep the separate pages. Also, there are some books on the UK shelf that will not be on the North American shelf. Sadly, my D’Angeli Family duo will not be coming to North America in the Presents line. Oh, they may be released digitally, but they won’t make it to store shelves. Yes, this upsets me. But with the merging of the schedules, there are a lot of authors who are losing books in the cross over. It’s not what we would prefer, but it’s necessary to line all the English language releases up.

And I am thrilled that my books will be available at once, with the same title, in different English language markets! No more telling the UK readers about a book and then informing my US and Canadian readers they will have to wait. I’m not sure when or if Australia and New Zealand will line up with this schedule, but hopefully they will do so soon as well.

On the front page, you’ll notice a big cover with some smaller covers peeking out above and below. Hover over the smaller covers and click. That will bring the book forward in the slide! Very cool, right? There is also a Coming Soon page. Here, you’ll be able to find out which books are coming next, both here and in the UK. On the individual book pages, you’ll notice some foreign covers. Those are just fun, I think! I love seeing them. Not every foreign cover will be displayed, as some I never see until I get the book itself, but we’ll put up many of them.

I still have to update some of my Behind the Scenes features. I’ll be working on those as time permits. And there will be some things that are perhaps a bit wonky or out of place, but we’re working on the tweaks. Well, Frauke is working on them. I just sit and stare and panic from time to time. πŸ˜‰

I hope to keep you up to date more often on the blog now that it’s shiny and new! This site is meant to grow with me as I expand my wings as a writer. And yes, that means there are some changes coming in the future. No, I’m not going to stop writing for Harlequin. But I am going to bring you my military Special Forces trilogy. And I’m probably going to do it myself. The first book, Hot Pursuit, is one of those “not quite right for New York” books. It’s a blend — small town and military — and not a big, dark book with explosions (heh, I do blow up a house though) and car chases (okay, there’s one of those too). It’s just not a dark suspense novel. It’s a romantic, adventurous, suspenseful, hot and steamy book about a Special Operations commander and the hometown girl who once had a crush on him. I’ve loved this book for a long time and feel like my readers would like it too.

I can’t tell you when it will be just yet, but I’m working on the things I need to do to get this book out there. And of course I’m working on a yummy Presents too! I still have several books to write for the Presents line, so you’ll be getting plenty of those in the year to come. In fact, for a quick peek at my schedule thus far, here it is: THE GIRL NOBODY WANTED, November 2012; MARRIAGE BEHIND THE FACADE, January 2013, and A GAME WITH ONE WINNER, April 2013 (no information on that one other than a title and publication date).

If you want to keep up with everything I’m doing — new books, new blog posts, new giveaways — then you have several ways to connect with me. You’ll see on just about every page that Frauke has linked to all my social media sites. You can also subscribe to this blog. Look in the sidebar here, or just go to the home page, and type your email into the subscription box. I will NOT spam you! This is only so you can get my blog updates. There is also an option to subscribe to my newsletter. I don’t spam you there either. I don’t send them often, but once in a while I’ll let you know about a new release or a contest. And you can unsubscribe from any updates at any time. I want you to feel welcome here, and I want you to feel like you can trust me not to send you things you didn’t ask for. So sign up, or don’t, and cancel at any time. πŸ™‚ Not a problem.

Finally, you’ll notice Pinterest buttons on my book pages. Feel free to pin my book covers to your boards and tell your friends about my books. πŸ™‚

That’s all from Chez Harris at the moment! More to come soon, including that promised guest post by Mr. Harris…. And please tell me what you think of the new site!

Changes coming!

There are changes coming to this website in the next few days, so bear with my glorious web designer while she updates everything. I’ve had this design since the beginning, though we did have a different color scheme and different header for a while. But as my writing grows and my books in print grow, I need more space and a friendlier design. Something you can navigate easier as you look for information on my books!

I’m excited about this new phase in my writing life! For years, I had a website I’d designed. When I sold, I knew I wanted a professional to design my site for me. I loved what she did, and I was very happy with it for a long time. But when she first built this site, I had one book that wasn’t even available yet. And then there were two. Then three. And so on.

Now, I want something a bit more organized. I’m excited about what’s coming. I hope you’ll like it too!

In other news, I am returned from RWA in Anaheim, fired up and ready to get some work done. If you’re a writer, and you weren’t there, you need to read Stephanie Laurens’s keynote speech. I was in the room, and the response was incredible. Talk about change!

Over all, I’d say the atmosphere of this conference was incredibly hopeful. In the past, it’s been various shades of angsty and fearful for the future. Now, not so much. As authors, we have options. Options we must think through very carefully, but options nonetheless. Self-publishing is an incredible tool available to us now. But I caution you to treat it exactly like you would traditional publishing. You still need a professional editor (not a friend or family member), a cover designer, and maybe even someone to help you get the formatting done right.

You have ONE chance to engage a reader, and if she can’t get past your cover or your typos or grammar mistakes to engage with your story, you’ve probably lost her for good. Just yesterday, I was talking with my eye doctor, who is a voracious reader. She told me that at first, she used to download the freebie and cheap Kindle books — but that she’d stopped because they were so bad. She said she’d read a couple of good ones, but most of them were awful. And yes, she mentioned grammar as a factor.

So don’t do that to yourself. Do it right, not quick. And of course there are still plenty of options if you want a publisher too! Especially these days with the start up of several online houses and online imprints of traditional houses. Options, friends. They are before you.

I leave you with a couple of pictures from RWA before I sign off to work on the latest book that’s due soon!

Historical author Michelle Willingham, me, and Romance author Donna Alward.

Before the Harlequin party with Jennie Lucas, Fiona Harper, Donna Alward, and Janette Kenny.

Like getting a makeover

Hopefully, you found your way here easily enough today. Things have changed a bit, as you can see. πŸ™‚ My website and blog went to the salon rather frumpy and out of date and came back sleek and gorgeous. Oh if only it were that easy to do the same for me! πŸ˜‰

Reminds me of another rather frumpy person who today, one week after she became a YouTube sensation, is a global star. Not that my website — or I — can claim to be mega-stars.

The web is abuzz, of course, with many many articles about Susan Boyle. About her appearance, our expectations, the hope and triumph, etc. I won’t bother adding links because unless you’ve been in a cave, you’ve seen this stuff out there. I do like the articles that take us to task as a society, however, for not expecting this kind of pure beauty in such a rather ordinary, even — alas — mockable, appearance.

With that in mind, I offer this song of Susan’s that is the only recorded song she’s ever done. Made for a charity CD, of which only 1000 copies were made. Click the link, close your eyes, and tell me this isn’t the voice of a sultry chanteuse. Gorgeous, gorgeous. I will most definitely be buying this woman’s first album when it comes out.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8r9lRJ6yHY]

Sometimes, getting a makeover is about perception. In Susan’s case, it was the judges, the audience, and now the world who got the makeover.

And now back to MY makeover. Well, my site makeover. πŸ˜‰ Leave a comment to win a copy of one of my absolute favorite makeover romances of all time: Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

A New Site

Here I am posting to my new website for the first time. Hope I don’t screw it up! Thanks to Frauke Spanuth at Croco Designs for the gorgeous site!

Now, just as soon as I figure out my way around here, etc, I’ll be holding those celebratory giveaways I was talking about at the old blog. This has been a while in the making, but I’ve certainly learned that web design is no simple or quick matter. It takes time to build all this fabulosity — which makes my previous little homemade versions look like the small potatoes they were (because I know next to nothing about web design).

This site will grow over time, of course. There will be more content, more fun stuff as I think of things I want. For now, I have much to learn about this site.

I do hope you’ll have a look around. Let me know what you think! Leave a comment below and I’ll launch my first giveaway. Everyone who comments will be entered to win a $5 Starbucks card and a book from my stash. I’ll announce a winner next week. πŸ™‚

More to come in the next few days….

You gotta have friends

Saturday was my RWA chapter meeting, and even though I have a deadline rapidly approaching, I wouldn’t miss my Heart of Dixie day for anything (I have another chapter too, Southern Magic, but it’s a bit farther away and I don’t get to the meetings like I’d like to).

Just the camaraderie of meeting with other writers, laughing and talking about things that concern us (and often only make sense to us) is worth losing a day of writing for. I head out around 10am, drive about 40 minutes, and stop for lunch at a local deli where a lot of the members gather beforehand. Then, after an hour of laughing and fun, we head to the museum that hosts our meetings. There, who knows what’ll happen. We start at noon and often don’t finish until between 2 and 3. After that, I can talk for hours with friends, sometimes even heading to a restaurant or bookstore to chat. It’s a great time, and it’s the kind of socializing that I definitely need.

I have other friends, of course, but so many times they don’t understand what it is I do and how it works. I can’t tell you the number of people who have asked my husband if he’s retiring when my book comes out. Other writers know how funny this is.

Publishing is a strange and hopeful business. You can make enough to live on; you can become very popular and make a lot of money; or you can barely get by and need to work a day job to make ends meet. You never know where on that scale you’ll end up, but we all hope we get option #2. Friends — writing friends — help keep you sane!

Okay, so I have some changes coming up in the next month or two! For one, I’m getting a new website and blog. I’ve found the perfect person to do my design work, and I’m so excited to be working with her. I’ll also be retooling the newsletter, and hopefully start sending out some regular news.

There will be contests; not sure what or when, but stay tuned so you don’t miss out on the goodies! I won’t stop talking about writing, but I need to talk more about reading. If you’re on MySpace, come friend me. Same with Facebook. I can be found on both — just type in Lynn Raye Harris. I’m also on Twitter (been there for a couple of months, but still haven’t figured out how to get my feed on the sidebar here). Follow me, and I’ll follow you. πŸ™‚

Finally — what are you reading right now? I’m reading a delicious Harlequin Presents by Jennie Lucas and enjoying it very much. I love an arrogant Italian prince — in fact, I’m writing about one for the next book!

What’s a Twitter?

I discovered Twitter recently. It’s a site where you write these short little blurbs about what you’re doing. And you follow other people doing the same. They follow you. You communicate. It’s cool because you aren’t necessarily communicating directly with anyone. I am, of course, following other writers, some publishers, a few reviewers. Some people are more prolific than others, that’s for sure.

eHarlequin uses Twitter to update what’s going on — I like this because I know when there’s a blog I need to read. They also announced my Call on Twitter, and my guest blogs. Totally cool.

The posts are short, no more than 140 characters, and easy to do in the course of your day. A post is called a “tweet.” The setup is easy, and it’s easy to get going. Finding people is more difficult, or was for me anyway, because I refused to let Twitter access my email for addresses. Still, I’ve managed to find plenty of people, and they’ve found me.

If you decide to give Twitter a try, look for me. My user name is LynnRayeHarris. Follow me, and I’ll follow you. πŸ™‚ So far, it’s interesting. I don’t spend much time at it; I think the nature of the short tweets helps keep it manageable.

Do you use Twitter? Do you think all these networking sites are a waste of time? Did I mention you can send Tweets using your phone? And that an American graduate student Twittered his way out of a Middle Eastern jail this past spring? What’s next, hmm? πŸ™‚

Congratulations again to Tami Brothers! She won the $25 Gift Card and will soon be shopping for books! Stay tuned for other giveaways in the future…..