On New Ventures: A Big Announcement

I made a vow not to go crazy on the swag and promo this year. For RWA, I would print out mini-books of “The Warlord and the Nightingale” to promote CLOCKWORK SAMURAI and I would order a box of Liliana’s Princess Shanyin trilogy to sign at the Indie Signing. That was it. No more promo.


Then when the THIS WEDDING IS DOOMED continuity was coming out, I vowed I would promote on release day only. One day. One blog. (We ended up doing four.)


Then I found myself plotting how to deliver cakes to giveaway winners.

That wasn’t all. Wouldn’t it be cool to try to create little cake wedding favors for the Berkley signing at RWA?


That was when I realized I was certifiable. I was a complete swag addict. But why? Why was I so pathological about swag?


People have told me time and again, swag doesn’t sell books. I know that. Do you think someone makes Asian steampunk books because it’ll sell more books? No!


The thing is, I love the romance reading community. I love the tropes and themes and the idiosyncracies. I love how excited readers get. Over books! And swag just feels like a fun way to reach out. To start a conversation. To celebrate romance. To enhance the experience around the stories. And it uses all those nooks and crannies of my brain that don’t get used often — the crafting, baking, graphics, artistic side.


I get to be a kid again when I make swag. Like I told my Little Girl, Mommy is doing arts and crafts for adults.

Anyway, long story short. While I was plotting how I would make little tiramisu jars at Nationals — involving packing jars into my suitcase,  procuring mascarpone and lady fingers in NYC–I realized I was CRAZY. @!*ing mad. I also realized I needed this. I also realized…


There was a place for this. Something people might appreciate, that would make them happy.

So there will be no cake favors at RWA. I’m not going to swag for myself anymore. I’m taking my swag addiction to a whole ‘nother level:


I’ve banded together with my partners in crime, Amanda Berry and Shawntelle Madison. You may not be aware that the three of us were involved in a completely non-profitable venture before that Romancelandia had a lot of fun with a few years back.


We’re in research and development now, and are planning to hit the pavement at RWA to network with authors and publicity folks. We’re even putting together a prototype box, what I dub “Box X”, to use in focus groups. (Looking for bloggers/readers/reviewers who would like to volunteer for that. Sign-up on the website link below.)

Unless the sky falls, we plan on making The Ever After Box happen.

We hope this is something people will want to join in and be a part of. Because it’s going to be AWESOME.

Sign-up for the RWA meet-ups and updates at: www.everafterbox.com

Cover Kibitz and Giveaway: A Dance With Danger

Tell you a secret: When I first saw the cover of my debut book, Butterfly Swords, I was kind of concerned. First of all, it didn’t look like anything else out there in historical romance. Second of all, I didn’t know if it was dramatic enough. It didn’t look action-y. It didn’t look romance-y. The hanfu, though red, was rather plain looking to me in the historical romance field where pretty dresses reigned supreme. It certainly was very bold-looking, but there were so many examples in Hong Kong cinema that to me looked so much more romantic and dashing than my girl in red.


I was wrong to complain even just a little. Everyone LOVED that cover. It really stood out.

But when I got my first glimpse of The Sword Dancer, I was completely blown away. The Harlequin art department had come MILES from Butterfly Swords. Then when I saw the cover for the sequel, A Dance with Danger, I couldn’t stop grinning. It looked exactly like a still from a Hong Kong, Crouching Tiger style action movie. I had to put them side by side for comparison.



So here’s my cover commentary for A Dance with Danger:


  • First of all, in a world of clinch covers and heated embraces, this cover shows the hero and heroine mid-sparring duel!!!! You know I love the flirtatious sword fight. Awesome scene. (Note: In the book, my heroine actually never touches a sword though she does spar with a staff. Whatever. The sword looks cool. Points for the sword.)
  • I do love the detail on the dress and the colors and the flowiness of it. My Little Sis was tickled that they even had the pom-poms in her hair. That’s not necessarily authentic to Tang Dynasty, BUT it’s very popular in HK depictions of imperial Chinese dress.
  • I like that this one has the hero in it. And that he’s wearing a shirt. Tee hee. And he’s scruffy looking, in a good way.
  • In my mind, Bao Yang, the hero of the book, is clean-cut and suave in appearance. The hero depicted here looks closer to what I imagined the outlaw Liu Yuan would look like. But that hardly matters. He’s attractive and it’s good to see an Asian male model getting work in Romancelandia.
  • Why are they both closing their eyes? Would have been nice if there was a shot of them looking at one another.

All in all, wow have my covers evolved since Butterfly Swords! It still looks like nothing else out there in romance or fantasy, and I have no idea if that will be a turn-on or turn-off for readers, but it certainly looks like a Jeannie Lin cover doesn’t it?

What do you think? Oh yeah, and I have a bunch of advance copies. Reviewers don’t seem to go for those much anymore. So I’ll be randomly drawing names from the comments to win advance copies. Let me know if you’d like to be entered and I’ll contact you via e-mail. If you are outside of the US or Canada, you may need to wait for release day and I’ll send via BookDepository.