Friday, June 19, 2015

Taylor Swift Concert

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I'm taking a diversion this week to show off my recent vacation to Charlotte, North Carolina to see Taylor Swift and the incredible Biltmore. TS was AWESOME! I think she's such a positive role model for young girls in a world where so many celebrities aren't. I especially liked Taylor's little motivation speeches in between songs.

"You are not the opinion of someone who doesn't know you."

"You are not a loser just because you haven't gotten to where you want to be in life...yet."

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Hope y'all are enjoying your summer! Would love to hear about your vacations!

Southern Smiles,
Casey Crow

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Catching up with Cinderella and Kindle Scout: Part 2

I’m back with part 2 of my Cinderella experience with my Kindle Scout book selection, LOVE ME FOREVER. It's been a wild ride, though the fairy dust makes me sneeze and my feet hurt from the glass slippers.

I wouldn't change it for the world, but I admit I wear my fuzzy, worn-out pink slippers when no one's looking.

So here's an update on my Kindle Scout experience since Love Me Forever was selected at the end of April. If you missed my last post CLICK HERE.

1.  I took the full 30 days allotted after my campaign was over on April 27th (my book was selected 2 days later) to go over my book before handing it in for copy edits. I found minor errors—punctuation, missing words, etc. I had to re-do some paragraphs, fix transposed sentences, develop a few things, and worked on my timeline and events from 1862-63 for 100% accuracy.

The m/s is 142,000 words, so you can see why it took me a month.

2. Soon after I received a phone call from the KS editorial staff. The editor said my m/s was “very clean and the team loves LOVE ME FOREVER, it’s solidly written, filled with intrigue, both romantic and non-romantic, and we love the story of two heroes and two heroines interconnected.”

3. She also said they have a Civil War buff on staff who couldn’t believe the layering and historical information being so spot on. He loves my book. Needless to say, I’m thrilled.

4. I get my book back from the copy editor around June 29th with any suggestions the staff has (style changes, anything I missed, etc.). I then have one week to accept the changes (using Track Changes)

5. My book goes on pre-order on soon. Everyone who nominated my book should get a link at that time where you can download your free advance copy.  

6 .LOVE ME FOREVER goes live on: July 28, 2015. Tuesday.

Unbelievable how quickly things move. Three months after the campaign ended, LOVE ME FOREVER will be on sale! 

7. I received the $1,500 advance—digitally wired to my bank account. It takes a while to fill out the payee forms since you have to do one for each country, but otherwise, it’s a very smooth process.

8. The Kindle Press editor also indicated my book would be eligible for Amazon promotions a month or so after its release. Wow, now that is cool. I’ll be busting my butt with promo to make my book look good.

What’s next? I’m writing a sequel to LOVE ME FOREVER. To be honest with you, I couldn’t let this family go…I have to know what happens afterward down the line, so why not follow a family through the decades who just happens to time travel? A new heroine…a sexy new hero…and a whole new time travel adventure in a different era.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say: “Time’s the family business."

Before I go, I want to say the Kindle Scout program has been an amazing Cinderella experience for me. If you're an author and you're wondering if you should try it, I hope my posts will help you make your decision. The KS team is awesome...the other authors are like old friends. If you're a reader, please nominate the books you'd love to see published. You'll receive a free advance copy if it's selected.

So I'll say au revoir...auf wiedersehen...arrivederci...till next time when I’ll have a new update for you.

And in case you’re wondering about the graphic in today’s post, the hunky guy and the luxury castle aren’t part of the deal, but hey, that’s the stuff dreams are made of…


She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

LOVE ME FOREVER is a Kindle Scout selection and will be published on July 28th, pre-order July 13!! You can read the first 5,000 words HERE. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt.

It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.”

This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!

I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:
And on Vimeo you'll find my videos--all 71 of them covering my books, poems, etc.:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I'm a Viking?

Ancestry and genetics have always fascinated me. My daughter may have inherited that trait since she’s been researching our family tree for years.

Recently she told me she was going to send her DNA to AncestryDNA (an offshoot of to find out more about her ethic background. I thought that sounded interesting since her father’s family claims they're quite the melting pot. Irish, German, French, Polish, and Native American.

Me? I was told I was half German and half English. Guess what? It’s not true!

I only did the testing so she could try to separate out what she got from which parent. We were both surprised when we saw her analysis, since it seemed her father’s family must have been confused or misinformed. We would have expected more German since it was on both sides. Uh uh. Her chart showed that about 72% of her DNA was from Great Britain.

Now that I’ve seen my results, I have to say I’m in shock. Either I’m adopted…(My brother always said so, because I was the only blonde in the family) or my family was quite mistaken too!  

My highest percentage is Scandinavian followed by Irish!  What the whaaaa????

My mind is blown.
As a member of my daughter is notified when a close relative shows up in the DNA people can share family tree info. She reassured me that we were confirmed as parent and child. Well, that’s a relief. I was beginning to worry that I had picked up the wrong kid from the hospital!

So, now that I know I’m this whole different person—someone with a majority of Scandinavian and Irish ancestry, what am I gonna do about it?

Other than asking some of my cousins if they’d like to test their DNA, I don’t know what I can do. My parents and siblings have all passed away. I know one of my cousins is very interested in this stuff--almost as much as my daughter is, so I’m pretty sure he’ll jump into the DNA pool with both feet.   

I’m just guessing that my Midwestern relatives may carry the Scandinavian DNA. I’ll have to chase a few of them down and see if we can’t get a test from that side too. This could really snowball. Kudos to for coming up with this! It’s got to be one of the best viral marketing ploys ever.

If only I could sell my books like that. Or is that what ‘word of mouth’ advertising is? Hmmm…I can see the similarities. Hopefully, those who read my books will recommend them to their relatives and friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…
Coming very, very soon! The Cupcake Coven!

“Entertainment abounds when a coven of witches whip up a few spells to help their friend hold onto her bakery while losing her heart. Can a long distance romance work between a cowboy and a baker if they believe in magic?”

—Dorine Linnen, Romance Junkies Reviews

*    *    *    *    *

Pretty Wiccan Rebecca Colby borrowed money from her father to start a bakery, and now he’s calling the loan due. When she learns he fell off the gambling wagon and owes big money to some scary people, she has to start making a profit—and fast—before the loan shark takes a bite out of her.

Hot Cowboy Dru Tanner is looking for his missing sister who left Texas to explore their New England Wiccan roots. She’s the only family he has left, and he’s desperate to find her. Dru has to hide the fact that he’s not a Wiccan long enough to infiltrate a coven in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s the only lead he has.

Dru needs a job and a place to stay while he searches for his sister. Rebecca needs cheap help so she can work some baking magic. Dru makes Rebecca an offer she can’t refuse—if only lust doesn’t drive them crazy first.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Interview with Grey Francis

So excited to have with us the fabulous Grey Francis! Let's give her a big Naughty Authors Chicks welcome!
Southern Smiles,
Casey Crow

Author Grey Francis Releases Bound to a Vampire, First in the Into the Dark Woods Paranormal Romance Series
This is first erotic paranormal romance novel in the Into the Dark Woods series featuring the vampire trio Cassandra Monteclaire, Killian Monteclaire, and Alastair St. Germaine.  A psychologically compelling and literary erotic novel, Bound to a Vampire combines the themes of sexual awakening with paranormal adventure and creates an admirable heroine in Cassandra, who must find her inner strength to combat demons from her past and her future.

Set in modern-day New York, Bound to a Vampire tells the story of Cassandra, a three-hundred-and-sixty-year-old vampire with healing powers. Her human life ends three centuries earlier when, condemned as a witch, she is rescued and turned by the sexually dominant and emotionally enthralling Master Vampire, Killian. Bonded in an erotic trio with their Protector, the brooding and ardent Alastair, the three live an exciting and dangerous life full of love, decadence, and dark passion. But when Killian suddenly vanishes, Cassandra and Alastair face an ever-changing and threatening world, where they struggle with the loss of their mate while trying to protect the vampire empire from destruction by human armies called Torians. Centuries later, when a close friend of Cassandra’s discovers that Killian is alive and executing members of the allied Sentient organization, Killian becomes a target for elimination. Cassandra vows to find him before time runs out, but she must first journey into her torrid past and face her own demons before she can save Killian and reunite the vampire triad.

Filled with erotic passion, great tragedy, and dark mystery, Bound to a Vampire is a turbulent thriller that delves into the history of vampires and the dramatic events that shaped them into the complex and powerful beings they have become. For fans of paranormal vampire series such as The Vampire Queen by Joey Hill and Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, Francis creates a vibrant world where secrets abound and the dominant and submissive power exchange between mates is as essential to their survival as the blood they drink.

Want to know more about Bound to a Vampire???????

1. Bound to a Vampire is an erotic paranormal romance that takes place in both modern-day New York and 17th century Europe. What inspired you to write a vampire novel set in those times and places?

I wanted to set my novel in the present and in the 17th century, going back in forth through memories, in order to show how the past shapes a vampire after centuries of living. This time-shifting allowed me to show vampires not only living, but being hunted, having love affairs and experiencing great tragedy.  I also wanted to take my readers deeper into my characters’ histories, exploring how they became vampires, how they found each other, how they lived, and ultimately how they lost one another. Since the 17th century is one of my favorite time periods, and a dramatic contrast to the times we currently live in, setting the book during that time allows us to understand the past, so we can sympathize with a particular vampire’s motivations and desires.

2. Bound to a Vampire features the female healer, Cassandra, who is turned into a vampire by the mysterious and powerful Master Vampire, Killian, and who becomes the member of a sexual triad that includes the dark and brooding Protector, Alastair. What’s special about Cassandra and how did you come to choose her as the main character for your first Into the Dark Woods novel? 

This genre is dominated by male vampire protagonists. What I wanted to see was a strong female vampire, who is driven by ambition, passion and romance and willing to fight for those she loves. As a 17th century human midwife, Cassandra’s talents were misunderstood and feared, and ultimately she is persecuted as a witch. As a vampire, her former talents are transformed, giving her ability to heal and create life, making her very powerful. She goes from a simple peasant to vampire royalty. Flame haired with an exquisite kind of delicate beauty, Cassandra is spirited, strong-willed, and nurturing. She quickly finds herself in a passionate love triangle with her Sire and her Protector. Cassandra is the perfect compliment to each of them, but her true gift is her ability to bridge the gap between these two powerful males, whose love for one another is dark, tangled and complicated.

3. There are strong erotic elements, including passages that describe submission and bondage, in Bound to a Vampire. What made you decide to pursue these thematic issues in your Into the Dark Woods series and in this new novel?

When I envisioned my vampires, I saw them as highly sexual creatures. But I didn’t think that vampires would express their sexuality the way most typical humans do. BDSM and the power exchange between a dominant and a submissive rang true to me in terms of the vampires’ natures and their ability to attain nourishment from that exchange. I also think there is a connection between pain and pleasure with vampires. The vampire bite, at least in my books, is both painful and euphoric. The pain some submissives crave, as Alastair does, is a component of that particular crossover. There is also a strong psychological component to BDSM that parallels the emotional bonds within my vampire world. Some vampires, like Killian, are Masters and demand ultimate trust and surrender from their mates. In return, their submissive mates feel protected and ultimately loved.  This dynamic felt so organic to me, I believe it was the perfect way to structure the sexual relationships of my vampires.

4. What do you find the most fascinating about the paranormal romance genre?

There are interesting fluctuations in what creatures are capturing the interests of readers. Recently, I’ve seen a popular rise in books about shape shifters, dragons, sexy demons and angelic warriors. A few years ago, the Fae world was popular.  Before that, it was witches. Many writers have been combining a number of different supernatural creatures in their books for years, creating very developed and complex worlds where vampires, shifters, Fae, and others creatures, co-existed to varying degrees of animosity and peace. I find many of them fascinating, and I faithfully follow a number of writers.  And yet, I see vampire stories enduring, being recreated, the rules of their worlds ever changing and expanding. For me, the vampire remains as intriguing and sexually charged as he was 30 years ago when I picked up Interview with a Vampire.

5. What would you like readers to remember most about you and your books?

The characters. They get under our skin and we can’t shake them.  What I would like people to remember are the emotional layers that exist between my characters as they develop and evolve. All three main characters go through transformations, be it with through love, sex, power, loss, or reconciliation. Their pain haunts us. Their love grips us. It is these emotional resonances that I hope stay with my readers. 

6. Are you working on a new Into the Dark Woods novel and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes. The second book in the Into the Dark Woods series is called A King in Chains, and it focuses on Alastair and his dynamic yet tumultuous history with Killian. The story also explores Alastair’s present day struggle to move forward as king without Killian by his side, while battling a powerful and malevolent vampire from his past who threatens everything he holds dear. In order to save his kingdom, Alastair must make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loves. That’s all I can say for now!

Grey Francis, a native of Los Angeles, has been writing since she was a teen, penning stories about ghosts, witches and vampires, among other denizens of the night. After graduating with a B.A. in Journalism from San Diego State University, Grey was employed in the New York publishing world before relocating back to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. She later explored her fascination with the paranormal as a screenwriter, but it wasn’t until the birth of her series, Into the Dark Woods, that she found her voice as an erotic novelist. When Grey isn’t writing her next book, she is busy full-time mother of two children.

For more information on Grey Francis or Bound to a Vampire, please visit: or

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Cinderella Story...with Kindle Scout as my Fairy Godmother Part 1

Psst...yes, it's true, I have a fairy godmother. She's smart, clever, and filled with magic!!

Her name is Kindle Scout.

What is Kindle Scout? you ask. How does it work? Is it right for me?

The best way I can answer that is to tell you my story. Adding tips and observations along the way that I hope will help guide you, whether you’re a reader or a writer…so here we go!

Once upon a time I had a book of the heart, a story I loved like a comfy, fave pair of jeans. I just couldn’t throw them away...

That book is LOVE ME FOREVER, a Civil War time travel novel that takes place from 1862-1863. It’s a big, family saga with two feisty heroines and the military men they love, coming in at 140,000 words. But as everyone knows, trad pubs don’t want Civil problem, I’ll self publish it, right?

Or—and here’s where temptation comes in, like circling the pastry case at Starbucks, should I try Kindle Scout? The Amazon publishing venture where readers pick the books they publish: 

So I did...and for thirty days I was on a wild rollercoaster ride during my campaign for LOVE ME FOREVER. I’d check the “Hot and Trending” List all hours of the day and night on my cell phone—fretting when I wasn’t on the list and cheering when I was.

Bonus: if you nominate a book and it’s selected for publication, you receive a free advance copy before it’s published.

Here are some tips re: submitting to Kindle Scout:

1 – Format your book as if you’re going to self-pub it. I renamed my original .doc and then took out the copyright page and TOC, links to my other books, no header needed (you can add the copyright, links, and TOC back in later if you're selected). I left in the page numbers (not needed for self-pub), but they don’t show up on the excerpt. If your book is selected, you’re ready to begin your final read-through. If not, you have your original .doc if you decide to self-publish your m/s.

2 – Don’t wait until you’re ready to submit to Kindle Scout to answer the questions, write your bio, description, etc. It took a lot of preparation to answer the questions in a way that highlighted who I am as a writer (3 questions), bio, description, logline—all have character length restrictions. I’d recommend getting that out of the way before you finish your book or do a final read-through.

3 – Cover: I did a dreamy Civil War lady cover with a beautiful rendering. It says “romance” right away so you can attract that reader. Also, keep it clean and simple with a strong focal point to grab the eye, but not confuse it. Be sure to adhere to the required size: 4500 pixels high and 2820 pixels wide (or a 1.5 height/width ratio). PNG (.png) or JPEG (.jpeg or .jpg) format, no larger than 5MB.

4 – Read the contract carefully – the percentage is 50 percent royalties instead of 70; you have to ask for your book back in writing if they don’t publish it after the 45-day exclusive; the $1,500 advance is against royalties; Amazon owns the exclusive digital and audio worldwide rights for 5 years in all languages—renewable.

Your book is published by Amazon Kindle Press in e-book, not print. Here is the breakdown from the Kindle Scout website:

Royalty Table:
E-Book: 50% of Net Revenue
Digital Audio: 25% of Net Revenue
Translation in e-Book format: 20% of Net Revenue

I believe they have 6 months to publish it or you get your rights back (you have to ask in writing).

5 – I see Kindle Scout as a new, exciting venture that combines both self-pubbing and traditional. You write, edit, copy edit, format your book and submit your own cover, but if you're selected, you have Kindle Press as your publisher with an additional copy edit, PR, etc.

For me, it was also the opportunity to put my story out there during the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. I blogged every day with stories and excerpts about the Civil War. I added graphics I did myself with Royalty Free stock I bought a while ago. I enjoy designing the graphics, so that’s a plus. You can see my graphics on my blog: 

6 – All in all, I’m extremely happy with the professionalism at Kindle Scout. I submitted my package online (very easy to fill out and submit) and my book was accepted within 2 hours and went live 2 days later.

Here is the link to my Kindle Scout page:

The selection process:

I was on the Hot list more than half the time during the 30-day campaign. I would get on the list, jump around for a few days from first to last (about 10 books average are on the list at any one time), drop off for a day or two, then pop back on.

I blogged, tweeted, etc. every day, which helped me get the message out on a consistent basis, but I believe support from good people like you was very important to staying on the Hot list. Again, thank you.

I’m not sure what other criteria KS uses to make their selection. I submitted the cleanest m/s I could. I spent a lot of time checking it after it was written and giving it a thorough copy edit before I submitted it, checked the timeline, looked for inconsistencies, etc. It’s vital to give them the best book you can.


After my 30-day campaign was over, I received the news: my Kindle Scout book, LOVE ME FOREVER, was selected for publication!

The next step:

After my 30-day campaign ended, it took only two days for me to receive word my book was selected. My book cover was up on the KS header almost immediately along with the other selected books. I had 30 days to make any changes. I went over my manuscript again for content, punctuation, spacing, etc. I also printed out a hard copy and gave it a quick read-through. You’d be surprised what you see on paper that you don’t see on a computer screen.

I submitted my Final m/s and within hours, I rec'd a email saying it had gone through the initial review, meaning that the editors could see my m/s adhered to the guidelines. A Kindle Press copy edit  follows. I’ve heard fabulous things about the Kindle Press copy edit from KS authors—everyone is pleased about the entire process.

The contract becomes active as soon as you receive their email. It also indicated the accounting team will contact me. I’m already self-pubbed with Amazon, so I have an account with bank numbers, tax info, etc. in place, but I believe this may be a different entity. I’ll report back on that aspect.

What I would have done differently:

I wouldn’t have waited so long to reach out to groups for help and support. I’ve always been a shy kid and still suffer from good girl syndrome after attending numerous parochial schools, but I credit the Sisters of Mercy with teaching me good tradecraft re: writing. I can diagram a sentence with the best of them and that’s helped me as a writer.


That’s it for now. I’m here for questions about Kindle Scout and anything you’d like to ask about the process. I really enjoyed writing LOVE ME FOREVER, about two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, who are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.

The men they love.

Do they get their men?

Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost… 


She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

LOVE ME FOREVER is a Kindle Scout selection and will be published soon!! You can read the first 5,000 words HERE. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.”

This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!

Thanks for stopping by.