On January 18th, 11 authors each released a short story ranging from 10 to 20,000 words. The stories all had something to do with Valentine's Day, and we named the series Red Hot Valentine. Would you believe me if I told you there were no snags? If so, allow me to show you this lovely swampland in Florida.
But seriously, considering how much there was no manage and navigate, the fact the Red Hot Valentine series went off with very few glitches is pretty remarkable. Here's how it happened:
- Randi Alexander was the brains behind the project. She contacted me, gave me the details, and I was in. A FB group for the authors was created and we began to plan. That was in December 2013.
- As a group, we talked about all the little decisions that come with a series the way we'd decided to do it. One thing that was true from the very beginning was each story would be offered for .99.
- In the end, each individual author was responsible for their contribution, from cover to editing to uploading. This was a great choice since it didn't put the onus on one person.
- We also decided to make a public FB page for the series so there would be one place for readers to go to find out more information about the series and the individual stories.
- We started creating our covers and writing our stories, comparing draft copies of covers and snippets from our works in progress. Randi started a document where we each signed up for a cover reveal day. The cover reveals then happened every day or two up to release day on January 18th.
- All of us uploaded our stories and waited for them to go live. A few authors had some glitches with uploading, but I think all eleven stories were up by 2-3 days after release.
- Some strange things happened, like Amazon putting an adult tag on Desiree Holt's contribution, Quarterback Sneak. If you're familiar with Amazon, you know if you get the dreaded adult tag your book stops showing up in searches and other bad things. It took Desiree a few weeks to convince Amazon her story was not, in fact, porn.
- The stories started selling, and personally, I'm really happy with my sales. This story is probably a little sweeter than some of my fans are used to, but they seem to be enjoying it.
Maybe this little behind the scenes vignette isn't that interesting, but I hope you liked hearing about the creation process for a series like Red Hot Valentine. For more information, you can check out our FB page at http://www.facebook.com/RedHotValentine
My story is titled Turnaround. The blurb:
Becca and James don't date. Both are in their thirties and neither has found anyone they feel is potential spouse material. Becca attends a "We Hate Valentine's Day" party at a local bar where James is bartending. He knows from the first day they meet that Becca is someone special, but Becca's more cautious. James sets out to prove to Becca there really are happy-ever-afters.
Here's the blurb for the Red Hot Valentine series as a whole:
All-new sexy stories from today's hottest romance authors, including Randi Alexander, Shyla Colt, Sable Hunter, Desiree Holt, Cassandra Carr, Graylin Rane, Michel Prince, Jodi Redford, Aliyah Burke, Christin Lovell, and Ty Langston. Don't have a Valentine? You do now! Eleven, to be exact.
An excerpt from Turnaround - it's the "cute meet" scene:
James hung another bunch of black balloons where they wouldn’t be constantly in his way while he mixed drinks at The Ale House’s annual “We Hate Valentine’s Day” party. The irony of having to work this
particular gig when he actually loved this holiday made him shake his head, but work was work.
Nice to have a day where it’s actually encouraged to tell your loved ones you care. Not enough of that in today’s world.
He knew he sounded like a stodgy old codger, but simply because he was thirty-three and still single didn’t mean he thought love sucked. It was more a matter of finding the right girl. James didn’t want to marry just anybody. His parents had been a great example to him and his sister and James refused to settle, even if that meant he stayed single. Doing the whole flowers-and-chocolate thing was often derided by other men, but he loved doing all that stuff. His friends sometimes made fun of him for it but, hey, most of them were still single too, so he ignored them.
“Hey, James,” the bar manager, Mick, said. “You got a copy of the drink specials?”
James held up the black sheet of paper with the annoying white script font. His graphic designer sensibilities wanted to beg those around him to stop using that particular eye-bleeding combination, but this wasn’t his primary job, where people might care what he thought of a design, and he needed this second job–for now–so he kept his mouth shut. Why can’t everyone else see how hard it is to read? Ugh.
“Yep. All set.” The specials, in keeping with the theme, were called things like Broken Heart and Love Hurts. Since they were expecting a crowd predominantly made up of women, most of the ingredients were geared toward them too–a lot of fruit juices and frozen drinks.
Mick called out, “Opening doors,” and immediately a stream of people burst into the cavernous space. Here in Austin, Texas, the temperature was in the 70s during the day and a little cooler at night so waiting outside wasn’t a big deal, but people sure seemed excited to get started on their own bitter version of “celebrating.”
They kept James hopping for the first half-hour or so. He was turning back toward the bar after using the blender when he spotted her. The slippery glass nearly fell from his hand and strawberry daiquiri dripped down the side and slithered over his fingers. She watched it and licked her lips.
He handed the drink, still thankfully mostly full, to the woman who’d ordered it and then grabbed a towel. Focusing his attention on the lovely vision before him, James asked, “What can I get for you?” Brilliant opening salvo, dude. Sure, it was his job, but he could’ve thought of something more witty than that if his brains hadn’t been scrambled by her sudden appearance.
She was clad all in black, so likely an enthusiastic attendee of this party, but there was something in her eyes that said maybe she wasn’t a lost cause. Bright red hair tumbled to her shoulders and was set off by her black, satiny top. Her skin was pale; her face dotted with freckles. His gut told him, despite her apparent distaste for Valentine’s Day, he needed to know this woman better.
She tilted her head at the drink specials menu on the bar in front of her. “I’m not much for these fancy drinks. How about a Stoli and cranberry?”
“A girl after my own heart.” Shit, I wonder if she won’t like me saying that? But a small smile appeared and he set about making her drink. “I’m James. You know, in case you need anything else.”
“Well, Becca, I hope to see you again.”
Dropping a ten on the bar, she smiled. “When I get thirsty, I’m sure you will.”
Copyright 2014, Cassandra Carr