Cover Reveal and giveaway
I’m super excited to reveal the cover for my new romance! This is the sequel to Valor on the Move and the conclusion of Rafa and Shane’s story. It will be available exclusively at Amazon on Thursday, April 26. Here’s the cover by the talented Dar Albert:
They’re free of the White House, but can their forbidden romance survive in the real world?
With his father no longer president, twenty-two-year-old Rafa Castillo can finally be with ex-Secret Service agent Shane Kendrick. Shane’s given up his career for Rafa, a move his fellow agents question the sanity and morality of. Eager to get away from the questions and judgement, Rafa and Shane are building a new life together in Australia. Though Shane struggles with nightmares and his over-protective instincts while Rafa fights his own insecurity, they love each other more than ever.
Now they just have to get through a visit from the former president and first lady.
Rafa’s parents certainly don’t approve of his romance with forty-year-old Shane, and they’re determined to make him see reason. They don’t see how their son could possibly be happy settling down with an older man, and they question Shane’s motives. Shane and Rafa just want a normal life together—but when they must suddenly battle for survival, they fight to prove their fierce love can withstand any threat.
This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the conclusion of the Valor duology. It features a May-December age difference, sex on the beach, and of course a happy ending.
To enter to win an ebook ARC (advance reading copy) of Test of Valor, just comment on this post. Contest closes Sunday, April 15 at 11:59 pm pacific time. Good luck! <3
I’m delighted to re-release my historical adventure The Station. I made some minor tweaks after getting my rights back from Loose Id, and since this story will be new to most of you, I hope you enjoy it! The Australian Outback is a starkly beautiful place, and it was a real pleasure to imagine just how wild and new it would have been in the 1800s. Thanks to Dar Albert for the gorgeous new cover!
Two men exiled to an untamed land must capture love.
Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster spied on stable master Patrick Callahan mastering another man, he’s longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death for his crime, Colin speaks up in his defense and confesses his own sinful nature. They’re soon banished to the faraway prison colony of Australia.
Patrick never asked for Colin’s help, and now he’s stuck with the pampered fool. While it’s true that being transported to Australia is a far cry from the luxury Colin is accustomed to, he’s determined to make the best of it and prove himself. Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale, but he’s inexorably drawn to sweet, optimistic Colin despite himself.
From the miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must rely on each other. Danger lurks everywhere, and when they unexpectedly get the chance to escape to a new life as cowboys, they’ll need each other more than ever.
This historical gay romance from Keira Andrews features an age difference, an eager virgin, hurt/comfort, and of course a happy ending.
Buy the ebook exclusively at Amazon or borrow via Kindle Unlimited:
Paperback coming soon!
As 2017 draws to a close, I’m reflecting back and peering at the road forward and my writing plans for 2018. Lots of exciting projects are in the works!
This past year started slowly for me with publishing, largely because I was lucky enough to take a six-week trip through Australia with my mom. It was absolutely a dream come true. My dad had always wanted to visit Australia and never did in the end, and I’m so grateful to have shared the experience with my mom. I backpacked through Oz twenty years ago, and it was lovely to revisit some places and explore new ones.
I published a single father/kidnapping adventure, Road to the Sun, in May, republished my spy caper, The Chimera Affair, in June, and spent the summer writing, writing, writing. The last part of 2017 really ramped up after I published Kidnapped by the Pirate at the end of October.
I never know how a book will be received, and historicals tend not to sell as well as contemporary. Yet this book exceeded all my expectations, which has been a real treat. I grew up on bodice-rippers, and it was such a pleasure to write a breeches-ripper! I’m thrilled by how much readers seem to have enjoyed the story.
In November and December, I published two holiday romances, In Case of Emergency, and Eight Nights in December, which was a reworking of two old stories. I was lucky enough to have Emergency go to #1 on Amazon’s gay romance charts, which was a milestone for me and a wonderful way to close out the year. I also added a few new translations to my growing collection.
Coming down the road in 2018
- I’ll be re-releasing my Australian historical adventure The Station in mid-January. Dar Albert has made a gorgeous new cover I’ll be sharing with you in the next week or so!
- I’ll also be re-releasing two figure skating novellas, Cold War and Holding the Edge, in one new volume in early February just in time for the Olympics.
- I’m delighted to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Tantor to release Kidnapped by the Pirate in audio in 2018. It’s still early stages, but I’ll share more info when I have it. I’m absolutely delighted to finally be delving into the world of audio books.
- My first German translation, of Beyond the Sea, is coming quite soon! Stay tuned for more details.
- There will also be more French and Italian translations coming this year.
- My next new novel will be the as-yet-untitled sequel to Valor on the Move. I have about 14,000 words, and I’ll be working on it for the next couple months. Planning to release in March or April.
- Then I’ll be writing the third book in the Kick at the Darkness series. Yes, more Adam and Parker! I also really want to write a fourth book that would take place several years later and center on Jacob. My plan is to write these books this summer and release them in Sept and October. Fingers crossed! We’ll see how it goes.
- I’ll definitely be writing a Christmas romance, and I’d love to do a full novel instead of a novella.
- Since my former publisher, Loose Id, is closing its doors in May, I’ll have the rights back to my final book with them—Love Match. This was my very first novel, published in 2006. I will definitely be republishing it, but I want to take some time to revise and re-edit it. I think I’ve learned a lot about writing in the last 10+ years, and I’m sure Luke and Jesse’s story can be strengthened. So I’ll be poking at that when time permits, and I definitely want to have it back up for sale before the end of the year.
- I’ll be attending the RT convention in Reno in May and my first GRL in October in Virginia. Hope to see you there!
You know what they say about the best-laid plans, but I’m knocking on wood that everything on my list will go smoothly! Thank you so much for your support, and here’s to an outstanding 2018. Wishing you health and happiness on the road ahead. <3
p.s. I’d hoped to write a fourth novel for my Amish boys, Isaac and David, this year. It looks like it’ll be 2019, but it’s still very much on my to-do list!
Borrow Beyond the Sea from KU
Hello friends! I’ve enrolled my contemporary desert island romance, Beyond the Sea, in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program for the summer so KU subscribers have a chance to borrow it. You can still also buy it from Amazon, and it’ll be back at all sellers in the fall.
I’ve been very busy holed up in the writing cave working on the sequel to Kick at the Darkness, which will be available at the end of July. More details coming very soon!
Hope your summer is off to a great start. (Or your winter if you’re Down Under!)
Buy or borrow:
See which romantic gay image Google AdWords deemed too “adult”
For the past few months, I’ve been running ads through Google AdWords because they sent me an offer for $100 in credit, and I figured why not. When they recently sent an email suggesting I include an image to my ad for free, I followed their instructions to do so. My ads go to my Amazon author page, and AdWords scanned the page for images and then suggested a few ad ideas. I went with one featuring one of my book covers:
Imagine my surprise when the next day I received this email:
Really? Semper Fi features an “adult” image? I replied to ask them to tell what, pray tell, is “adult” about an image of two men who are fully clothed and not even kissing. I also mentioned how disappointed I was in Google as a company for these discriminatory standards. Unless there is sexual explicitness, images of LGBT couples are no more “adult” than those of their hetero counterparts. No way would an image of a man and woman in that pose be called “adult.”
A Google AdWords rep replied:
Upon receiving your request, I had reached out to the relevant team team to have a look at the matter. Some good news here – the ad has been re-reviewed and approved! In all likelihood, the ad was incorrectly disapproved or violated policies at the time of initial review. I have added a screenshot of the same for your perusal.
Google, in fact, is an industry leader in promoting diversity not only in the workplace, but outside of it too. I can understand your point of view here but I’d just like to tell you that we believe in removing barriers so Googlers can focus on the things and people they love, and that it’s important to provide benefits that serve the unique needs of our Googlers. Some of our most talked-about benefits include our caregiver leave program and our LGBT policies.
Having said that, we, as a company, thrive on user feedback. I have taken yours into account and will pass it on too!
Well, I hope you do, because that disapproval was a steaming load of bullcrap. You’re on notice, Google.
What happens when Amazon incorrectly price matches your book?
If you’ve ever wondered what happens when Amazon screws up a price match, here’s a cautionary tale. I learned a few things:
1. It’s important to have a distinctive title.
2. It’s important to ensure the authors’ names are not similar (especially if the titles are).
3. It’s important to remember that Barnes & Noble is sloppy.
In April, I released A Way Home, the third book in my gay Amish series. Several days after release, a friend mentioned that I was shooting up the $0.99 chart at Amazon.
That would have been great if I’d priced my book at $0.99, but it was $4.99. Except it suddenly wasn’t. All I could do was email Amazon, since there is no phone or live chat support (which really needs to change). About twelve hours later I received a response.
No, sadly you did not solve my problem, because Saturday was five days away.
I also learned not to take KDP support’s first answer when they tell you they need time to look into a problem and will get back to you within the week. You must persist to have your issue solved quickly. Now, I realize the KDP staff are busy, and I appreciate their hard work. But I had not changed my price, it was release week, and this is my living. It stood to reason that if the book had been price matched, they should and would be able to tell me that immediately. I triple checked all the other listings, and it was $4.99 everywhere.
After a largely sleepless night, I was checking other sellers again when my eye caught the name “Rebecca” in the URL for the Barnes & Noble listing. I peered closer, and saw that my URL said:
Er, what? I searched for Rebecca Andrews’s book, and guess what? It’s — wait for it — $0.99.
I realized Amazon’s bots had gotten confused thanks to B&N’s sloppiness. I immediately contacted Amazon again, and by noon they’d returned the price to normal. I was very relieved, needless to say. Several friends sweetly wondered how Amazon would repay me for the loss in royalties, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen, since their bottom line is: “Please note that we retain discretion to determine our retail prices.” So even if it’s their mistake, too bad, authors.
It is what it is, and we don’t really have a choice unless we don’t want to sell our books on the biggest worldwide platform.
When I pressed them as to why this had happened since my book was never priced anywhere at $0.99, they told me they’d had a system problem that led to automatic price matching without human approval, and the rep was very apologetic. I hope it’s been fixed now, but in the future I’m still going to do my best to create titles that are unique. I knew “A Way Home” wasn’t sparklingly original, but I hadn’t even thought to look at the names of the authors with similar titles. I certainly will in the future! I’ll also be checking my B&N URLs carefully.
The same thing happened the next week on Amazon UK with the price dropping to 99p, and again I was told they’d need days to look into it. But when I responded again saying that wasn’t acceptable since this was clearly an error, they changed the price back that day, and said it wouldn’t happen again.
It likely wasn’t a bad thing in the end to do a brief sale at $0.99, but in the future I’d like it to be my choice when I change the price on my books. It’s much less stressful that way!
p.s. I have to give a shoutout to Draft2Digital, who were quick to respond to my email about the B&N cockup, and worked to have it fixed quickly on the B&N site. Great service!
Adventures in Amazon algorithms part three: erotic romance in the Christian category
I’ve previously posted here and here about the challenges of publishing gay Amish romance on Amazon without being put in the Christian/inspirational categories, even though I pointedly do not choose these categories or keywords.
Okay, it’s not that bad, but dealing with loopholes in Amazon’s system is an exercise in frustration for me and the service reps. After I uploaded A Way Home, the third book in my gay Amish romance series, earlier this week, I immediately emailed KDP support to have the Christian categories removed. As usual, they were very quick to reply, which is one of the great things about Amazon — they are very responsive.
Wow! Could it be that easy? Could it?
More than a week later, I’m still rocking the Christian Books & Bibles category, inspirational romance, aaannnd gay erotica:
One of these things is not like the others. But it’s the others that don’t belong. Last time it took weeks for Amazon’s tech teams to be able to override the system. I feel bad having to bug them about this, but I hate having misleading categories on my books. Ah, the mysteries of Amazon. I shall continue to battle the beast…
Adventures in Amazon algorithms part deux
As the author of a gay Amish romance series, here’s the problem with the term “Amish romance.” To most of the world–and most vitally to Amazon–an Amish romance is automatically Christian/inspirational. I have nothing against Christian romances, but that’s not what I write. For starters, I think most Amish romances have approximately 100% less sweaty mansex than my books do.
While some of my characters might be religious, I am not. There’s no Biblical moralizing in A Forbidden Rumspringa or A Clean Break. The characters struggle with issues of faith, but these are not inspirational Christian books where we’re all going to learn a Very Important Lesson from Jesus.
A few months ago I struggled to get book #1 into the correct Amazon categories. The key issue here is Amazon’s mysterious algorithms, and making sure my work finds the right readers. Even though I purposefully hadn’t chosen the “Amish” category, my book ended up there. Eventually I honestly just gave up because Amazon could not seem to figure it out.
Here we go again
For the past month, I’ve been trying to get Amazon to put both my books in the correct categories that I chose for them when I uploaded the files. They belong in Gay Romance, not Christian Books and Bibles. And it’s not that Amazon is arguing that fact, but it took WEEKS for their “technical team” to fix the problem. Naturally they fixed it on book #2 only, so I had to reply to remind them I needed the categories corrected on both books.
This part of the journey shines a spotlight on the biggest weakness in Amazon’s customer service, which is always courteous and usually timely: the inability to reply directly to the CSR who’s helping you. I received a polite response from another rep telling me their technical team would look into having the categories fixed on book #1. I replied (fruitlessly, I know) that this famed technical team had JUST FIGURED OUT THIS PROBLEM AND PLEASE GO ASK THE OTHER CSR I’M BEGGING YOU OMG.
But no, instead of the left hand talking to the right, it took two more weeks for book #1 to also be removed from the Amish category. I’m not sure exactly why it’s so difficult and technical to override the system and get a book into the correct categories, but apparently it is. Amazon also provided this info:
Please be aware that the incorrect category path reflected for your book, due to the series title, “Gay Amish Romance”. In future, if you are publishing a new book in the same series, please make sure that remove the word “Amish” from the series title, to avoid the “Amish” category.
So even though I choose Gay Romance and Gay Fiction as my categories (you chose two primary categories for each book), having the word “Amish” in the series name overrides that and automatically throws the book into the Amish category, which segments it into Christian Books and Bibles, and Inspirational Romance.
Now, it’s a little late to be changing my series name. In this day and age of SEO, I chose the series name because it tells readers in a glance what these books are about. It may not sing, but it gets the job done. There’s a reason a Harlequin book that in the past would have been called something like Tuscan Seduction is now The Italian’s Inexperienced Mistress.
Well, I guess the technical team will be getting another workout trying to corral the system in a couple months when I release book #3. I imagine it going something like this:
Have you had any struggles with Amazon categories? I’m all ears.
Adventures in Amazon algorithms
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my gay Amish romance ending up on the inspirational romance and Christian books and bibles bestseller lists. I removed the word “Amish” from the product tags. But lo and behold, the book was still showing up in the Christian categories. So I emailed Amazon.
The first rep explained:
The category “Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Amish” was added automatically because you had added “Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Inspirational > Amish” in the Kindle store. Books categories will be added automatically according to the category that you select from the Kindle store.
The only problem is that I didn’t add that category. Nope! So I contacted them again. Rep #2 replied:
I’ve checked and can see that the category Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Amish was added automatically because you initially had a keyword or tag as ‘Amish’.
When you add certain keywords or tags, your book would be listed in certain sub-categories automatically depending upon the keyword. In this case, as you used Amish as a tag and as it is a keyword for Romance > Amish, the above category was automatically added.
By the way, both reps were very nice, and the responses to my queries were prompt. So, even though I’d deleted the tag “Amish,” the system was still wanting to use it. I was told that they’d remove the categories and it could take 72 hours. That timeline has now passed, and as you can see, I’m still rocking the Christian charts as of Sunday, Sept 7.
Not that I have anything against Christian books and bibles, or inspirational romance, but for those readers:
I don’t want to upset customers, and I want to reach my target audience. So far I haven’t had any outraged reviews from readers who expected an inspirational romance, so maybe I should just make it my goal to be on the gay erotica and Christian books and bibles charts simultaneously for as long as possible! 😀
Have you had any adventures with Amazon that you’d like to share? Let me know!