Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Guest Post: Anne Conley

To use social media in selling books, you have to remember what you liked about social media before you started selling books.  Why did you get on facebook in the first place?  For myself, it was to find out what people I admired were up to, comment on their interesting photos, and answer the questions they posed.  People I admire include my friends, family, celebrities, and others of the sort—really, anybody falls under that umbrella.

So in using social media, you need to remember your audience, first and foremost.  If you have an account specifically for selling books, you can’t just SELL, SELL, SELL.  Undoubtedly, that gets annoying.  Sure, let your acquaintences know when you have new releases, but make the majority of your posts about something that will interest the people you are trying to connect with, because to sell stuff, you have to connect with people.

This is an old rule. And most assuredly the number one rule of sales in general.  I have sold everything under the sun in my lifetime, and that’s what I know.  When I sold mobile homes, an old grizzled man who’s been selling forever said that.  Every time he was out on the lot with a customer, if they lit up a cigarette, he lit up a cigarette.  I know.  Gross.  But it was a way to relate to the customer, and if you know anything about smokers, they form a camaraderie around those little white tobacco sticks.

Of course, there’re reader groups, street teams, blog pages, fan pages, everything you can imagine when it comes to online activities.  But the number one rule is connecting with people.  Once you make that connection, it’s like using a wedge to split wood.  The connection is the maul, and the sledgehammer you use to hit it is your book.  Hitting a piece of wood with your sledgehammer is useless without the wedge.  Use the wedge, make a connection.


Falling for Heaven Excerpt:

He shifted again in his seat and looked at the ground, as if debating what to tell her.  “I help people.”
She raised her eyebrows.  “Help people do what?”
“Find themselves,” he said simply.
“Like a self-help guru or something?”
He looked amused.  “You could call it that, if you wanted to.”  He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.  “So, what did you go to school for?”
She looked down at her feet.  “Dance.”
He looked surprised.  “Classical Dance?”
“Yeah, ballet.”  She was embarrassed.
“Let me see.”  He leaned back in his chair, and she laughed. 
“I can’t do ballet to a Nine Inch Nails song.  Sorry.”
“Tune it out.  I’ll hum for you.”  He finally looked comfortable, as if he'd discovered something.  His eyes danced as they looked at her, and she felt a rare blush steal up her cheeks.  Her second thoughts about being in a back room with a Bible-thumper dissipated.
“There’s not enough room,” she protested, gesturing to the tiny room they were in.
“Just do what you can, okay?  Please?”  For the first time tonight, he looked like he wanted to be here.
Reminding herself that this man had just paid three hundred dollars to watch her dance, she nodded reluctantly, before taking off her high-heeled platform shoes.  Bowing her head and closing her eyes, she prepared herself to dance in a way that she hadn’t danced in over five years.
From the chair across the room, the most beautiful tenor voice she had ever heard came from Uri’s mouth, as he began humming Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.  Not daring to look at him, afraid that she would lose her nerve, Heather began dancing.
Uri’s voice was astounding.  But even more astounding was the fact that Heather soon lost herself to everything else but the smooth tenor tones coming from deep within him.  Rising almost to her toes, Heather danced around the room, bowing, lunging, pirouetting.  For this one moment in time, she was a ballerina, and she held her head high, in the posture of a real dancer.  She was under a spell, and the raucous sounds of the club disappeared, leaving Heather in her own world, a world where she danced as she'd never danced before. 
Heather allowed the freedom of dancing to take over her body.  She was the instrument, Uri's voice the muse.  The notes from his mouth flowed over her body, almost palpably, and encouraged her to move in ways she hadn't in years.  The wave of heat that his presence brought to her body spread through her limbs, warming her, making her stretch further, extend herself.  Heather felt a euphoria that she'd never experienced in her life.
It was as if she were under a spell or in a dream.  She was watching herself dance in a tiny room for this beautiful man with the amazing voice that was doing things within her that she couldn't name.  It was the knowledge of dreams, where Heather knew this was right.  This was what she was supposed to be doing with her life, but she had gotten off track somehow, and couldn't go back.  If only she had stayed her course back when she was younger, this was what she'd be doing.  If only…
Uri seemed to know the entire ballet, as he didn’t just sing the main sequence.  He began at the beginning and hummed all the sequences of the piece.  The few times that she dared to look at him, she could see that he was as engaged in her dancing as she was.  The humming seemed second nature to him.  He watched her with open-eyed eagerness, until she was sweating and breathing hard.  Finally, he stopped humming and held out his arms for her to sit back in his lap.
            She sank down as his arms enveloped her, gratefully taking a sip from the bottle of water that he offered.
            “Wow.  I haven’t danced like that in forever.”  She breathed.
            “It was beautiful.  I haven’t seen dancing like that in…years.”  Uri murmured.  He was looking at her with new eyes, an appreciative gleam visible, and he seemed excited.

Falling for Grace:
Her scent wafted up to his nose, smells of the sun and the sea, and his heart pounded in response.  The tightness in his chest hadn't faded, nor had the heat in his belly.  His gut stirred again at the memory of her skin under his fingers at the dance club. 
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“I couldn’t just do a casual thing with you…You would need more from me than I’m willing to give you.”  Her voice had dropped to a whisper, and he breathed in her exhalations, trying to taste her.  His finger was still on her chin, but it snaked around to caress her jaw, then her neck, going around to the back of it, pulling her closer.
"How can you tell that?  We’re just talking."
"It's not the talking; it's what we've been talking about.  Intimacy and all that."  He could barely hear her, her voice barely above a whisper.  “Nobody’s made any declarations, but I can just tell…”
"It does feel intimate, doesn't it?"  Rafe leaned closer, until their breaths were comingling. 
Concentrating on the rain and the candle light, instead of his nerves, he steeled himself.  Rafe had no idea this would be so hard.  "You said nobody had made any declarations.  Well, I'm declaring that we're not going to be just friends.  Just so we're clear on that."  He lowered his mouth to hers, just for a little taste.  He couldn't stop himself.
As soon as their lips touched, her hands went to his chest, clutching handfuls of his tee shirt.  Her lips were warm and smooth under his, and a raw need consumed Rafe.    A roaring filled his ears, and he raised his other hand to caress the smooth skin of her shoulder.  The tumult of emotions inside Rafe came to a fever pitch, drowning out everything but the touch of Grace, the scent of Grace, the taste of Grace.
Her lips were moving against his mouth, and he succumbed to the ripples of desire shuddering through his body.  Her skin on her shoulder was so soft, and he caressed it, feeling her tremble under his touch.
The roaring got louder, more intense, and Grace mumbled something against his mouth.  He groaned in response, pulling her soft little body tighter against him, as she pushed him away.
"Tornado, Rafe," she gasped.
His eyes snapped open, and he realized the roaring he'd heard was indeed a tornado.  Jumping up, he grabbed her hand and pushed her toward the bathroom. 

Falling for Hope:
The next morning, Hope was watching her feet as she climbed the steps to the library.  She cursed to herself as she tasted the tangy-sweet saliva in her mouth again.  Maybe it was some sort of building issue?  She'd never heard of asbestos making people taste funny things, but she'd be sure to ask the other employees today, just in case.
      As she neared the top of the stairs, Hope felt the prickly feeling yet again, and her gaze rose to the man standing in front of the library doors waiting.
      "Aren't the doors open?"  She tried to sound solicitous, but the truth of the matter was, this guy took her breath away.  It was the man that had watched her all day yesterday.
      "Yes, but I won't be staying today."  The low rumble of his voice greeted her a cheery good morning unlike anything else she could ask for.  Just the sound of his voice made her day perfect.
      "Oh."  Disappointed that he wouldn't be in her little room of the library bit through the fog of his voice.
      "Come to dinner with me tonight."
      Shocked speechless, she stared at him.  He had an air of expectation about him, and his forehead crinkled in thought at the same time that she heard his luxurious voice rumble inside her head.
      Come.  Say yes.  His sexy-as-sin voice resonated inside her head.
      Hope's eyes darted around, making sure there wasn't anybody else who could have done that, before she looked back up at him.  "You don't have to use the force on me.  I'm thinking.  I was just taken by surprise, is all."
      Both of his eyebrows rose, almost to his hairline and his eyes widened in surprise.  "You heard that?"
      "Didn't you mean for me to?"  She countered, putting a hand on her hip.
      His face remained impassive.  "Well…yes.  But usually it's not so obvious."  His tone of voice suggested he wasn’t expecting Hope to call him on his little trick, and seeing that gave her a little boost of confidence.
      "You go around using Jedi mind tricks on women to get dates often?"
      He chuckled, and his eyes dropped to the ground.  "No.  I've never done it for a date, no."
      Hope's eyes roamed his body from his feet, clad in shiny leather loafers, up his gray woolen slacks (Hello, Fifty), to the black sweater vest he wore over a white long-sleeved button down shirt, open at the collar.  His face held strong features:  a square jaw with a small dimple in the middle, high, obscenely high cheekbones, a rather large mouth that made her mind travel to erotic places, and those eyes…  The man exuded a strength that wasn’t visible.  Well, it was visible, he looked like his muscles had muscles, but he had an air of intense power and vigor about him that told Hope he expected people to do what he said.  Often. 
      Then her eyes traveled to herself.  She had worn black dress pants today, with a shirt that actually sort of fit her large breasts, although it showed a little more cleavage than she was comfortable with.  Hope looked at him again, and his eyes held the question.  What was her answer?
      The question in his eyes turned to surprise.  Apparently, this guy didn't get questioned very often.  An image flitted through her mind, the two of them together at a table, lit with candles, Hope's head thrown back in laughter.
      She narrowed her eyes at him.  "Did you do that, too?"
      He had the grace to look sheepish.  "Will you go to dinner with me?"
      His head snapped up, and his mouth fell open.  "Why not?"
      "Because I'm having dinner with my parents tonight.  But you didn't answer my question?  Why do you want to take me out?"
      It was his turn to peruse her.  His eyes started at her feet, and slowly worked their way up her body.  By the time they reached her face, Hope was squirming.  "Why not?"  The timbre of his voice washed over her, like it had yesterday, and Hope actually felt her breasts get heavier, as if they were swelling out of her bra.
      Why not, indeed?

Falling for Faith:
“Ballsy… breaking in with a house full of people.”  The quiet voice behind her had her heart pounding before he’d even finished speaking.  Spinning on her heel, she turned to find an exquisite man lounging on the chair in the middle of the room, watching her with interest, if not amusement.  Something else shone in the depths of his eyes, though.  Anger?
“It’s actually easier this way,” she whispered.  He’d caught her in the act, there was no use denying it.  And his relaxed posture, legs casually crossed, leaning back, stroking his chin, told her he wasn’t in a hurry to turn her in.  Did he want a cut?
Nope.  She wasn’t going to let him screw this up.  This was her last job for Shamus, and she’d be damned if she’d let herself get caught now.  Security.  He had to be on security detail here, and she must have done something to give herself away.  He had followed her.  She wasn’t sure how, but he had.  And now she was busted.
“Who are you?”
He didn’t answer her, which was irritating, but she wasn’t exactly in a position to force the issue.  As tall and fit as she was, she could see he was taller and fitter, even from his seated position.  She didn’t need a scene here tonight.  Maybe a distraction would work.
Licking her lips, Faith eased her hip to the side, revealing a leg.  She watched the man’s eyes snap to her shoes then reached behind her head for the clip holding her chignon in place, releasing it.  Her hair fell in waves to just below her shoulders, and Faith swung it around, fluffing it with her hands.  The man stood.
“What are you doing?”  His voice was rough, scraping across her skin to leave delicious abrasions behind.  No longer pretending, her breaths came in raspy gasps.
“Subduing the enemy without fighting.” Faith spoke to herself more than the man, but he seemed to hear anyway.  She always turned to Sun Tzu when she was in danger.  Eli had ingrained it in her.  Sun Tzu knew everything.
He moved closer, gliding, with the grace of a predator, and Faith saw she was in some serious trouble.
His sensuous mouth quirked into a smirk.  Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”  Laughter filled his voice, and she saw amusement twinkle in his eyes, crinkling around the edges.
Shit.  He knew Sun Tzu too.  Undeterred, she continued, using her sexuality as a tool.  She pursed her lips and forced a breathy quality to her voice. “To avoid what is strong, strike at what is weak.”  His silver eyes penetrated into her, looking deep inside her.  She felt naked under his gaze as it traveled across her face.  She was so intent on those eyes that she didn’t realize his hands had moved.
A knuckle grazed her cleavage, and she lost her breath.  She inhaled deeply, trying to get much needed oxygen into her system, but it only served to raise her breasts higher, into his touch.  It burned.  The humming in her body was louder than ever as if it was connected to this man’s presence.  She could feel it in her bones, her cells.
The man’s perfect face lowered closer to hers until their mouths aligned but didn’t touch.  She could feel his warm breath on her lips as they moved.  “The expert in the battle moves the enemy and is not moved by him.”
He hadn’t moved to subdue her, but neither had she.  Faith was paralyzed by a sudden lust coursing through her veins.  With all of her being, she wanted to grab this man and smash her lips into his, feel that little scrub of hair on his chin against hers.
With every ounce of will she had, Faith turned away from him, back towards the safe in the wall.  She could only hope to get out of here without police involvement at this point.  “The wise warrior avoids the battle.”  She heard rustling behind her, and when he spoke next, she realized he’d moved back to the chair.
“I can see it.”  He spoke as if to himself, murmuring so quietly she almost didn’t hear.  “We’d make a decent match.  You’re almost as irreverent as I am.  And you know your Tzu.”
Without a word she slipped her hand back under her skirt again and retrieved her multipurpose tool.  She’d have to come back, but she wasn’t going to let this asshole get what was hers.  Doing her best to replace the faceplate in a hurry, she left the wall safe a ridiculous mess, not having taken anything from it.  Super.  She could hear him muttering behind her about thieves and Jezebels and tamped down the flash of irritation that flared to life.
“I work alone.”
“For now.”  He chuckled as she darted out the door and back downstairs.  She didn’t dare glance back.

Falling for Cyn:
“Oh God…” she murmured under her breath.
“Are you alright?  Do you need the hospital?”  He knew what was happening to her, and it was probably embarrassing to her, but he was turned on beyond belief, and it was something he’d never felt before.  Sure, he’d indulged in carnal pleasures with women before, but this was something completely different.
“Yes…  No… Oh God…”  He steered her out of the restaurant, and as soon as they made it out the door, Cynthia pushed him against a wall.  “Stupid tumor…” she moaned as she threaded her fingers around his neck, pulled his head down, and crashed her lips against Damien’s.
The feel of her lips on his took his breath away.  The soft heat of her tiny little tongue as it swept inside his mouth with a whimper caused him to lose all semblance of control.  He didn’t know what came over him, but he had to have this woman.  Now. 
His hands immediately grasped her ass and spun her around so she was against the wall.  He lifted one of her legs, wrapping it around his hip, and ground his erection into the warmth separated from him by their clothes.  He’d never felt anything like this lust before.  He needed her with a burning fire that he wasn’t sure one night with this creature could douse.
She responded, pressing against him wantonly.  Her fingers tangled in his hair, and the prickly pain made him groan.  He pushed the vision, knowing the image of them in her bed—a mass of sweaty tangled limbs—was undoing her, the same way his mental fondling was.
The same way it was undoing him.  A torrent of lust wracked his body, and he fairly shook with it.  He wanted her.  Right here. 
Damien so wanted to do some real-life fondling, to sink his fingers inside her wet heat and feel her pulse around him, but some conscious thought told him that wouldn’t do.  Not on the first date.  He knew enough about good women to know that wouldn’t further his purpose with Cynthia.
She was whimpering into his mouth, and he swallowed the sounds eagerly.  He continued his grinding, building her to heights he couldn’t even imagine.  His own erection was painful, but he held back doing anything to relieve it, knowing this was for her.  He selfishly wanted to show her what they’d be like together.
She flew apart in his arms—on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant—with a muffled cry which he devoured with his kisses.  He could kiss her forever, he realized.  As she came down from her climax, he slowly lowered her but didn’t stop kissing her, wanting her with every fiber of his being.
When she pushed him away, a sinking feeling flooded him, dousing the fire with disappointment. 
“Um… I’m sorry.”  She was straightening her hair and smoothing her pants, refusing to look at him.
“Don’t be.”  He couldn’t keep his hands to himself, so he cradled her face with his palm, thinking that may be a classy way to reassure her.
“I have to be.  That was really embarrassing.”  Her eyes darted around to see if anyone had seen them, but he chucked her chin with a finger.
“It was beautiful, Cynthia.”  Beautiful wasn’t the word for it.  It was magnificent, celestial.  She glowed with an inner light that nothing could extinguish, better than any fantasy he could conjure.


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