Tag Archives: Street Team

I Got a Brute Squad in My Bag, Swag

Happy March, my fellow intrepid writing adventurers!
What Fascinating New Thing is going on in YOUR life?

On today’s episode of The Alethea Show, I bring you: SWAG.

That’s right, in this fabulous day and age, authors aren’t just authors anymore (but you knew that). Authors are publicists and event coordinators and social media experts and editors and copyeditors…everything from Publisher to their own Personal Assistant.

A Small Business of One…but it still takes a village. And that village deserves SWAG.

One of the first lessons I learned being best friends with Sherrilyn Kenyon was that one should always have something to give the fans at an appearance. Not just chocolates or baklava (as much as I’m sure that would be appreciated), but something more important to them: something that has your name on it. An item as small as a sticker or button or postcard can make someone’s day.

It’s something authors forget when they are lost in edits (omg I just received edit notes for the first half of TRIX & THE FAERIE QUEEN and my brain might just explode) — our fans love us. LOVE. They want to read more books…but they’d also be happy reading poems or watching videos or hearing us tell silly stories while we live-stream a scrubbed rocket launch (I experienced this on Periscope just last week).

They are Fans, with a capital F, and they will wear the t-shirt. Especially if you make a few for them! If you know a little Photoshop (or know someone who does) you’re GOLDEN.

Princess Alethea’s personal Street Team is called the Brute Squad. So I created my first line of Swag in their honor!

As of yesterday, one can purchase Princess Alethea swag at Amazon, Redbubble, and Zazzle! (If you’re going to be in one store, why not be in them all, right?)

Here’s my experience with each so far:

Amazon: In order to have an Amazon Merch account, you have to apply for it. Once you are accepted, you can make T-shirts…and only t-shirts. They are plain, and the color selection is limited, BUT IT’S AVAILABLE ON AMAZON. With Prime shipping. The Women’s XL size is comparable to the Men’s L. Upon washing the Women’s XL I received (cold water, normal wash), the graphic on the back flaked almost completely off. Happily, Amazon is good about ordering replacements, but I’m still a little shocked at the poor quality so far. Profit margin, on the other hand, is quite high.

Redbubble: I only just launched this one last night, but already I’m blown away at the number of items available at this site! I want to order every sticker available…not to mention pencil skirts, leggings, duvet covers, and pillow cases…I do not have enough money to buy all the things I want!!! Profit margin: default 20% markup, which makes the prices high but not unaffordable. You are allowed to raise or lower this per item-type as you see fit.

Zazzle: Ugh, this site is annoying, and I’m still unsure if I’ve figured it out. But I chose it over CafePress because I’ve been a customer of both and know the t-shirts from Zazzle to be of far superior quality. It seems that instead of just uploading a pic (like to Redbubble) and having it available across all items types, one has to Create a Thing, and then list it for sale in your store. One at a time. Ugh. I’ve now put this on my weekly to-do list, because I don’t have time to Make All The Things. Item selection: AMAZING. Profit margin: small. Also, you only get paid via PayPal, and only when you have reached the $50 threshold. I’m not a fan of money thresholds, having been burned by YouTube (who will never pay me the $68 they owed me before they turned of my monetization for no reason). But I’ll give it a shot.

So…what Fasconating New Thing have YOU got going on this Spring?



Tawny Weber (aka Hot Sassy Romance Author) dips a toe in the water!

From Mermaid Susan:  The Mermaids are delighted to welcome author Tawny Weber to talk about her titles A SEAL’s Seduction, and its equally hot companion, A SEAL’s Surrender, both from Harlequin  Blaze.

  • Welcome to the lagoon, Tawny!  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to embrace the writing life.

Thank you for the lovely welcome! And what a nice lagoon you have here!  Can I get a frothy drink in a coconut shell?  I’m a fan of froth.  🙂

Here ya go!

I love the writing life. But I wasn’t one of those gifted writers born to it, or even one who discovered it in their early years.  Growing up, though, while so many friends worshipped actors or rock stars, my pedestals were all saved for authors.  I love books.  But it wasn’t until my husband asked me what I’d do if I could have any dream career that I even considered writing.  Once he’d prodded me in the right direction, I embraced the idea.  It took me 4 years and 6 books to get a strong enough handle on the craft, my style and find the right story to sell.

  • A SEAL’s Seduction is part of a series.  What is already out and WHAT COMES NEXT?

 A SEAL’s Seduction and A SEAL’s Surrender are a very sexy pair of Uniformly Hot Blaze novels.  A SEAL’s Seduction is Blake’s story – a good boy with a penchant for following the rules.  Until he meets a woman who makes them all worth tossing away.  He’s debuting on bookshelves this month (2/13). His best friend and fellow SEAL, Cade, will be on the shelves next month (3/13).  Unlike Blake, Cade is a lady’s man.  He’s got that slick, sleek appeal that makes women swoon.  Which becomes a problem when one of the swooning women turns out to be his favorite girl next door.

  • One of your recent blog posts discussed the use of theme in your story, and how you consciously used it in planning A SEAL’s Seduction.  Can you explain some of that thought process to our readers?

This was actually a different process for me, as I’m not an analytical reader or writer by nature.  I’m never strategic and don’t tend to see that big picture that theme usually embodies.  But A SEAL’s Seduction was one of those blessing stories.  The kind that just arrive in your head, fully formed with the scenes all crystal clear and the characters alive and dancing.  Because I could see the story so clearly, the contrasts were just as clear to me.  Hot and cold.  By simply keeping that contrast in my mind while I wrote, I was able to mirror a lot of the story elements between the first and second halves of the book.  In the first, she eats chocolate ice cream, in the second, it’s hot chocolate, for instance.  In the opening, Alexia welcome the concept of a hot, exciting relationship. She’s warm and caring, while Blake is hurt and closed off.  That switches in the second half of the story, while the setting changes from sunny San Diego to frozen Alaska.

The theme and contrasts aren’t overt or major forces in the story, but they were fascinating to weave into the elements as a supporting thread.

  • Most of us know nearly nothing about the world of Navy SEALs.  How did you do your research?

My husband is ex-military, so I relied on his expertise and research capabilities a lot.  And I spent a lot of time online staring at hunky pictures of military heroes *g*.  Yes, that is research!!

  • Plotter or pantser?

Plotter!  I need a solid direction when I write.  A map, if you will.  I never know exactly what the scenery or sights will be on the trip, but I have to know the destination, who’s driving the car and where the major stops will be.

And I love plotting boards.  The colored sticky notes appeals to my office-supply addiction *g *

  • Hot writing.  WOW.  Do you have a secret weapon for getting women to fan themselves?  Discuss.

We like looking at hot guys, too!

LOL –well thank you!  I’m glad you found it WOW-worthy.  I wish I did have a secret weapon!  And if I did, I wish I’d always remember to keep it in the same place so I could find it again next time.

But, sadly, no.  I write the love scenes the same as I write the humor and the suspense elements of my stories.  By focusing on the main characters and trying to stay true to their personalities, their issues and their fantasies.  Hopefully, that translates into characters that readers can connect with, ones they empathize with.  If a reader can see and feel the story through the characters’ eyes, then they will see and feel the same things that character is going through.  Which means if the love scene is hot enough to get the character all worked up, then the reader is on board, too.  🙂

At least, that’s the hope.

  • A little about your writing day?  What’s the weirdest thing in your writing space?  The most important to your writing karma?  (thanks to CTRWA’s February newsletter for this idea)

Oh wow, cool question.  I love the idea of writing karma.

So, lets, see. My writing day is really the middle of the night.  I started writing when my youngest was only 2, which meant my days were very busy and night was the only time I had to focus.  Most nights, I start writing around 10pm, after everyone has gone to bed.  I keep going until about 3am, unless I’m against the deadline wall or the story is flowing like crazy.  Those days are usually the ones that my husband finds me at my desk when he leaves for work in the morning *g

The weirdest thing about my writing space.  I’m looking around, but it all looks normal to me LOL.  I guess the weirdest would be that my office opens up from two doors – one has a view of the long hallway and loft area above the living room.  The other is to my bedroom.  And I never shut doors, so there is no such thing as privacy in my writing space.

Like these? Yum.

And oh wow –Writing Karma.  I think the most important thing for me, personally, is to remember that beyond any writing or career goals, it’s all about writing the story for the readers.  To bring them joy, satisfaction, happiness or just a good time for a few hours.  If that intention is in place with every story, then I believe that karma will find a way to return the same joy, satisfaction and happiness in return.

  • What is the best writing advice you ever received?  The worst?

The best writing advice I ever heard was to write what you love to read.  We spend an awful lot of time with a story, we should try to find a way to enjoy every second of it.    The worst, I think, was to accept realistic limits.  While I’m all for keeping it real, I’m not a fan of limits.

  •  Are there any teachers, books or courses that helped you refine your craft?

I love Romance Writers of America.  I’ve taken so many workshops and classes and met so many amazing writers through that organization.   In the beginning of my writing adventures, RWA provided the most instruction opportunities.

  • Do you or did you have a life beyond writing?  Crafts or hobbies?  Do they distract you now or offer a chance to unwind?

What’s this thing of which you speak?  Life?  Beyond writing?  LOL.  Actually, I try to keep life pretty balanced.  I don’t actually do it well, but I try.  My favorite hobby and other life-obsession is scrapbooking.  I do card making, too, but the scrapbooking of memories is my favorite thing.  I like to have a project going while I write, so when I get stuck on a page or scene, I can leave my desk and go play with paper and embellishments.  The act of creating in a different medium, especially such a visual one, always seems to shake loose whatever is stuck.  So after a ten, twenty minutes I’m able to go right back to writing with the scene unstuck and my scrapbook project closer to finished.

  • Last, but not least, please tell us about your path to publication.   Especially for our unpublished readers, how long had you been writing  before The Call, and did you ever wonder how it would take for the editors to wake up and see your brilliant talent? (heh heh heh)
I was always focused on writing for Harlequin, first for Temptation, and then when the line closed shifting my attention to Blaze.  It took me 4 years, 5 manuscripts and 3 Golden Heart finals from starting to write to my first sale.
This entry isn’t complete without a sincere note of gratitude to
the Navy SEALs
and all the men and women serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Your work keeps us free.  Thank you.
         Just one more!  (So much fun!  Thank you Tawny, for stopping by!)

Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook.

Tawny Weber & dogs 2012

Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, complete first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.  And for a limited time, she has a few open spots on her Street Team!

A SEAL's Seduction cover