Monday, August 8, 2011

The Finale - Benefits of Co-Promoting - By, Sarah Ballance

As we rap up our tour, Sarah and I both wanted to discuss the benefits of promoting together. If this is your first visit to our tour, welcome! Sarah Ballance and I over the course of the last four weeks have been promoting our charity short stories. Sarah's paranormal romance, Hawthorne benefits the victims of the Japan earthquake, while my contemporary romance, To Urn Her Love, benefits the victims of the Alabama tornadoes. As a token of our appreciation for showing your support, each comment on my blog or Sarah's counts as an entry into a drawing for awesome prizes, including a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Comment on both our blogs and be entered twice!

To those of you who've been following this whole time, your amazing support has meant the world to us! Thank you!

Benefits of Promoting Together
by, Sarah Ballance

Blog tours aside, this world tour to pimp charity novellas with Elaina has been my first encounter with co-promotion. And frankly this feels a little like the Newlywed Game because at the moment I have no idea what she has to say about our foray, but I'll go out on a limb and say co-promotion is fabulous. Although it's pretty easy to see how it could go south, I'm happy to report things with Elaina went quite well. North, even! (Because that's the opposite of south and, well, nevermind.)


Anyway, the basic beauty is this:

  • I didn’t have to think of everything. In fact, she came up with tons of great ideas while I nodded and thought she was making me look bad with her genius. (Wait … this is still a pro. Ignore that last part.)

  • Our respective audiences doubled. I hijacked Elaina's readers for the better part of four weeks, and she got her hooks into mine. (Not that we're toying with you like that … erm, no one took that the wrong way, right?)

  • It's easier to promote someone else's work than my own. It's even better to promote someone else's work for charity. Co-promoting totally dragged me out of my shell, but no worries for those of you who have had quite enough of me, thank you. I'm sure I'll dart right back in there when this is over. *grin*

  • Co-promoting leads to bigger and better things. But I can't tell you what just yet. ;c)

And finally, in this case I ended up with free use of Elaina's amazing artistic talent. I'd never scope out a target and hunt them down for such blatant self-gain (okay, seriously, what are you looking at?). However, it's yet another benefit when co-promoters can bring their various talents to the table. Elaina is so loaded with the aforementioned talent she kind of hogged the workspace and I'm not sure what I actually added to the equation, but hey. Co-promotion is GOOD like that! (Well, for one of us. …Um, me.)

I'm discussing how I felt about Co-Promoting over at Sarah's Blog. Be sure to swing by and check it out!

~About Hawthorne~

Blurb - After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home. She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.

Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace. In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything. What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?

Excerpt -

The car slowed to a stop and a decade's worth of memories tumbled onto the sun-blanched asphalt.

Hawthorne Manor.

The hand-painted sign hadn't changed in years. In the thick, damp air filling the Louisiana landscape, the wood display remain inexplicably unaffected. There it sat—every meticulously scripted letter as crisp and clean as the stark white walls of the manor it lauded, oblivious to the passage of time.

Emma Hawthorne tensed in the seat of the Mustang convertible, staring at her past with ice sluicing her spine Anywhere else, the view would have been gorgeous. The drive, lined on both sides with live oak laden with Spanish moss, was the South personified. At the end, Hawthorne Manor held court. Pristine, proud, the boastful antebellum home beamed, lording over its acreage.

But it harbored the unspeakable. No amount of time could erase what happened to her on the other side of the expanse of green lawn. Nothing could change what she'd seen there. Some might say she was crazy—that she'd imagined or invented the whole ordeal—but her scars were all the proof she needed. Whether the shadows lurking behind the fa├žade of the picturesque plantation were real or born of an overactive imagination, there was no way she was going back into that house.

Especially not for a dead woman.

Sparing a glance in the rearview, Emma steeled herself against a trembling in her hands that threatened to overtake her body. She released a pent-up breath, her heart settling into a less acrobatic rhythm at the thought of leaving. She didn't have to stay here.

Let the South win this one. She was going home.

A split second after she decided to go, something caught her eye. She blinked, trying to see through the swaying canopy of leaves and moss, certain a figure stood atop the widow's walk straddling the roofline of the house. But no one—

Something brushed the car, rocking it. Swallowing panic, Emma tried to tear her focus from Hawthorne Manor, but fear kept her from looking anywhere else. Time and distance hadn't done her any favors; she was a fool for coming anywhere near this place, much less with the ragtop down.

The car rocked harder. The something refused to be ignored.

Fighting the grip of panic tightening her throat—fighting the ghosts of her past—Emma forced herself to look away from the house, toward the intrusion over her left shoulder.

The first thing she saw was an aged set of gnarled fingers resting on the door, blue automotive paint showing through an ugly translucence.

The second was the face—withered, centurion, and expressionless. Haunting.



Emma screamed.


It couldn't be her.

Noah Garrett tore down the drive, slapping through a muggy afternoon haze comprised of mosquitoes and humidity. He couldn't know that scream, but he felt the connection the moment the sound of her fear pierced the thick air.

Emma Grace.

The one reason he allowed himself to stagnate on the old plantation, long after life and reason moved on without him. Long after she had.

A blue Mustang sat at the end of the driveway. He wondered if it could be hers—even as he knew it impossible—but she was nowhere in sight.

He slowed to a trot. The sprint left him drenched with sweat and not entirely disappointed his imagination had gotten away from him. His dream of one more chance to see Emma Grace had never included himself as a dripping mess. He wiped the moisture from his brow, fast concluding the car must belong to a tourist. They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful. He assumed the intrusion seemed small to their frequent guests, but the constant ding of the hidden bell announcing a visitor could drive a man to the edge.

As if losing Emma Grace hadn't already accomplished that.

Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation—or doing anything else—he didn't see them. But someone had been there, the seemingly familiar scream so real.

Wasn't it always?

Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted.

And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace.

Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn't much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue. "Em—"

Her expression cut him off. Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. "I saw her, Noah. She's back." The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening.

And ripping the heart from his chest.

Want to find out what happens next? Make your donation today and find out! Astraea Press, Amazon

Also, if you've purchased a copy of either Sarah or I's short stories through a donation, please fill out this simple form on my website for your FREE Thank You gift! We really want to show you our appreciation for your support!

Thank you!



  1. I hope both of you have had tons of sales. This is such a wonderful effort! :)

  2. Thank you, Gabrielle! I think we'll know this week or next how we did. :-D

  3. Thanks, Gabrielle! I'm so nervous about those numbers - much more so than when they're mine to keep. It's exciting, though! I really appreciate your support. ;c)

  4. It's amazing how well these turned out - and having Elaina as an artist is a double score!

  5. Thank you, Melissa! I had a great time doing both our covers and our promotional/thank you items. It was fun to do something that didn't just involve me, like Sarah said. *grin*

  6. Definitely a double score! (Wow, that phrases brings interesting thoughts to mind, LOL.) Anyway, Elaina definitely rocked it! Thanks for commenting, Melissa. ;c)