Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Boston is the Cover Model for My New Book!

When my e-book story, "I Heart Boston Terriers" comes out next month from Amber Allure, I will be especially excited because the cover model is none other than my own Boston Terrier, Lily. The photo at the bottom of the cover was taken in a sleepy moment on our bed by my partner, Bruce Moynagh.

I think it's adorable.

And here's what the book is about:

Love at first sight can work for dogs as well as humans.

When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and timid Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her—irrevocably.

When Christian, who is manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that fateful autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him—irrevocably.

“I Heart Boston Terriers” is all about embracing love, whether it’s for someone who walks on four legs, or someone who walks on two. The Boston terrier Mavis’ journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home runs parallel to the story of two men discovering one another at just that perfect moment—a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense.

But then when do the dictates of love follow a rational course?

Come along for a journey about a man and his dog and see how that journey teaches him the truth about love and making a caring connection that just might last a lifetime.
I hope you'll come along for the ride when the book debuts in January as apart of the "Heavy Petting" series.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

New Rave for CAREGIVER


Very stoked by this review from a site I had yet to hear of, "Butterfly-o-Meter Books" (thank you Google Alerts!). The reviewer gave CAREGIVER five butterflies and said:

"I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful this novel is, it's stupendous, you just have to read it or you'll be missing out big time. Don't shy away from the difficult points it raises, be brave and read it, feel it, live it in your heart, I'm sure you will love it just as much as I did..."

Read the whole review here.

Buy CAREGIVER: In ebook In paperback
For Kindle

SYNOPSIS
It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original—witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bring LGBT Couples Home for the Holidays


Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered an incredible speech to the United Nations, affirming that LGBT rights are human rights, and the international community should extend more freedoms to LGBT folks.

Of course, the U.S. still has a lot of work to do on LGBT rights.

Right now, my son Nicholas Reed is among the thousands of LGBT Americans living in exile across the globe because he happened to fall in love with a non-American -- and he's had to choose between love and country. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano could actually solve that problem *tomorrow* by issuing the partners of LGBT Americans humanitarian parole -- and we're petitioning her to do just that!

Will you join my son and me in signing the petition right now?

http://bit.ly/tbsWPs

Thank you!
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kindle Giving

Every day it seems there's a new innovation in e-books - and here's another. If your friend, relative, or loved one reads e-books, you can purchase a specific one just for them. Both B&N and Amazon.com have "BUY AS A GIFT" options.

For instance, click here http://amzn.to/tw8UEv and you can see in the right upper corner a button for "GIVE AS A GIFT." This works on any e-book in their systems.

Just an idea for all those scrambling for last minute presents!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Three Dollar Bill Reviews Likes CAREGIVER


It's not often you get just as excited about a positive review as you do about the quality of the review. Not only does reviewer Indigene give CAREGIVER a very positive thumbs-up, her reviewing, writing, and analytical skills are all top-notch.

In part, Indigene said:

"...Some readers may shy away from this novel because of the subject matter of HIV/AIDS. I encourage them to not do so because they will be missing out on a beautiful story. I recommend Caregiver without hesitation as one of Mr. Reed’s most heartfelt novels and at the same time one of his most life-embracing stories."

Read the whole review here.

Buy the book: Publisher (print and ebook), All Romance eBooks, Amazon (print and ebook)
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just in time for the holidays! MATCHES releases today.


I've always loved the darkly beautiful fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. "Matches" is my gay take on "The Little Match Girl".

SYNOPSIS
Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago's frigid chill, it's a fight for survival. Whether he's sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm-memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance-and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most.

EXCERPT
Anderson made his way down the stairs into the Grand Avenue subway station, the mildew smell of the station rising up as he descended. A rush of commuters passed him going up; a train must have just discharged them. People edged by, giving him as wide a berth as possible. Just as he neared the bottom, a young woman with short black hair, wearing a down coat trimmed in fur, stumbled on the concrete stairs. She dropped her purse and its contents spilled out. Anderson paused and spotted the makeup, the few dollar bills-and a CTA transit card. A part of him told him to grab it and run, that she could well afford another one. If there was enough money stored on the card, it could get him through a good part of the winter.

But no matter how cold it got, no matter how much snow fell, no matter how well the woman could afford to buy another card, Anderson couldn't do it. He just didn't have it in him to steal.

He reached down to help her gather her things and she recoiled, gasping at the sight of him and scooting back and away. "That's okay!" she said, quickly lowering her gaze to hurriedly pick up the things she had dropped.

It hurt Anderson to see the fear and disgust in her eyes.

In the station, Anderson didn't know what to do. To access the platform, you had to have a card. Sure, he could jump the turnstiles and risk getting arrested; he had seen it done. Some got away with it, more didn't.

Like stealing the woman on the stair's transit pass, it simply wasn't within Anderson to do something criminal.

Among the straggling commuters, Anderson spied an old woman who looked kindly. Perhaps she would take pity on him. With her upsweep of gray hair, her sensible wool coat, rubber boots, and hand-crocheted scarf, she appeared kindly, reminding Anderson of his own late grandmother. There was something lively and warm in her pale blue eyes.

Anderson stepped in front of her and smiled. "Excuse me, ma'am."

The woman stopped, regarding him.

"I hate to ask, but I need to get on the train and, honestly, I don't have a dime to my name." Anderson thought for a moment and came up with a small white lie. "I need to get to the south side, where my family is." He smiled again. "It's Christmas."

The woman didn't say anything.

"Do you think you could spare a couple dollars so I could ride?" Anderson gnawed at his lower lip, hating the position circumstance and the economy had put him in.

"Get the hell out of my way," the woman said quietly, edging by him. She called over her shoulder, "Get a job, why don't you?"

Anderson was taken aback by the coldness and the almost-hatred in her voice. It was so unexpected and so unnecessarily cruel.

Anderson felt the bright sting of tears at the corner of his eyes. His shoulders slumped. He was about to turn and leave the station when a young guy, about his own age, came up to him. Once upon a time, Anderson would have thought he was cute, and if he had opened the door a little, Anderson might have flirted with him. But now his only reaction was-what now?

"What a bitch," the man said, his gaze roaming over to where the old woman was mounting the stairs. He reached into the pocket of his worn denim jacket that looked too thin for the weather and pulled out a transit card. He held it out to Anderson. "Take it. There's only one ride left on there. I wish I could give you more, but I'm pretty strapped myself."

Tentatively, Anderson reached for the card. "Are you sure you can spare this?"

"I wouldn't have offered it to you if I couldn't." He wiggled the hand holding the card. "Go on."

Anderson took it, wondering if some guardian angel, or even Welk, was looking out for him.

"Thank you."

"It's nothin'. Merry Christmas."

Anderson swallowed hard, feeling a lump in his throat. "Merry Christmas to you too."

The guy turned and headed up the stairs, out into the snow.

And Anderson moved toward the turnstiles.

The card worked.

BUY From MLR Press
Kindle version coming soon!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Coming this Wednesday, December 7, from MLR Press

Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago's frigid chill, it's a fight for survival. Whether he's sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm-memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance-and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most.

Scheduled Release Date: 12/07/2011

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 Stars from MM Reviews for CAREGIVER

I'm pleased to share a wonderful five-star review for CAREGIVER from MM Reviews with you. The reviewer, Pixie, said, in part:

"Rick R. Reed, you do not get to do this to me. You do not get to write a book that is caring, beautiful, touching and wonderful. You do not get to write a book that even now has me trying to stifle the tears as I write this review… You’re supposed to write horror stories and if you change style it should be rubbish not this incredible piece of writing...This story gives you a range of emotions to experience, love, betrayal, sadness, happiness, guilt and hope, the love-making is wonderful, this is a true love story that is not to be missed so I recommend this to everyone and I hope you love it as much as I did.

Read the whole review here.

Buy from
Dreamspinner
Amazon Kindle

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CAREGIVER Gets a Rave Review from Amos Lassen

Just wanted to share with you a wonderful review I just got for CAREGIVER from veteran GLBT reviewer, Amos Lassen. In part, he said:

"Reed has written this book as a tribute to those who are gone and I am certain that each person who has been touched by loss because of AIDS will find a lot to identify with here.

"I have read so much about AIDS that I was not sure I could handle another book so I approached Reed’s novel with trepidation and knowing that I would be affected by it from the moment I opened the covers. Once I began, I was pulled into the story and I could not stop reading. There were moments that I wept as I read and I really went through a catharsis by the time I finished the book."

Read the full review here.

BUY from Dreamspinner Press
In ebook.
In paperback.

Kindle
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

NEW RELEASE! Win a FREE Copy of My Vampire Love Story, BLOOD SACRIFICE

UPDATE: Thank you all for entering! Through a random selection process, we have a winner: Erica Pike. Congratulations, Erica! Untreed Reads will be in touch with you to get you your copy soon.

Finally, thanks to the good folks at Untreed Reads Publishing, my terrifying, erotic, suspenseful and richly romantic vampire tale, In the Blood, comes to new digital life as Blood Sacrifice. The new e-book version contains exclusive restored material not included in the print edition.

To win a free copy of Blood Sacrifice, simply:

1. Leave a comment below.

2. Be sure to leave an e-mail address so I can get in touch if you're a winner.

3. Bonus points for reposting news of this contest/release on your Facebook, Twitter, group, blog, or other social network.
4. Even more bonus points if you click on the link at the right to subscribe by e-mail to this blog.

I will announce the winner on Wednesday, November 23.

Don't want to wait to see if you're a winner? You can purchase your own copy at the following:

From Untreed Reads here.
Kindle
Nook 

Synopsis
What Would You Give Up for Immortal Life and Love?


By day, Elise draws and paints, spilling out the horrific visions of her tortured mind. By night, she walks the streets, selling her body to the highest bidder.

And then they come into her life: a trio of impossibly beautiful vampires: Terence, Maria, and Edward. When they encounter Elise, they set an explosive triangle in motion.

Terence wants to drain her blood. Maria just wants Elise . . . as lover and partner through eternity. And Edward, the most recently-converted, wants to prevent her from making the same mistake he made as a young abstract expressionist artist in 1950s Greenwich Village: sacrificing his artistic vision for immortal life. He is the only one of them still human enough to realize what an unholy trade this is.

Blood Sacrifice is a novel that will grip you in a vise of suspense that won't let go until the very last moment...when a shocking turn of events changes everything and demonstrates--truly--what love and sacrifice are all about.

Excerpt
Elise Groneman stares out the window, stomach roiling. What she has is like stage fright. She gets it every night, before she ventures out of her tiny Rogers Park studio apartment on Chicago’s far north side. It’s always been amazing to her that just a few minutes’ walk to the north is the suburb of Evanston and a different world; there, the streets are tree-lined and clean, the homes palatial, the condos upscale, the restaurants grand, and the stores exclusive. Affluence and culture preside. Yet here, on Greenview Street, one encounters abject poverty, crime, the detritus of urban desperation: tiny brightly-colored baggies, fast food wrappers, condoms, empty alcohol bottles, even pieces of clothing. The sidewalks are cracked, the grassy areas choked with weeds and garbage. Here in Rogers Park, the normal folks―the ones who travel on the el to work downtown every morning―stay inside, so as not to mingle with people like Elise, or the man outside her window right now, who’s screaming, “What the fuck do I care what you do, bitch? It ain’t no skin off my ass.” Elise glances out and sees the man is alone. A boy cruises by on a bicycle that’s too small for him. The bike is stolen; either that, or he’s a runner for some small time dealer, delivering and making collections. Sometimes, there aren’t many options for moving up the ladder.

But this neighborhood is all Elise can afford, and, unless she picks up more clientele soon, she may even be crowded out of this hovel she begrudgingly calls home. Once, she shared the place with someone else, but those days, for better or worse, are long behind her.

Elise moves to the window, attempting to obliterate memory by the simple act of staring outside. Dusk has fallen and the sky belies the earthbound life before her. The sun is setting, the sky deep violet, filtering down to tangerine and pink near the horizon. If she keeps her eyes trained on the riot of color and shape to the east, she can almost forget where she is.

But the denizens of Greenview Street make sure she stays reminded. They stroll the night in an attempt to escape the heat, the hot, moist air pressing in, smothering. They call to one another, using words she had barely heard, let alone used, back in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where she had grown up: nigga, motherfucka, homey. Fuck used as an adjective, verb, and ejaculation (but rarely, ironically, utilized in a sexual context). Snatches of music filter out from apartment windows. Cruising vehicles pass by, bass thumping hard enough to cause the glass in her windows to vibrate. She has picked up names of artists like Bow Wow, Def Soul, and Trick Daddy as she walks the streets. Elise puts a hand to the screen, testing the air. Will there ever be a breeze again? She wonders if her neighbors would recognize any of the names attached to the music she loves, names like Vivaldi, Smetana, Bach. Other music fills the street: arguments and professions of love shouted with equal force. Headlights illuminate the darkening night, which is also lit by the flare of a match here, neon there, and sodium vapor overall. The world glows orange, filling up not only the streets of the city, but the sky, blotting out the stars.

East of her churn the cold waters of Lake Michigan, and Elise imagines its foam-flecked waves lapping at the shores. She’d like to pad down to the beach at the end of Birchwood Street, kick off her sandals and run across the sand and into the water, its cold obliterating and refreshing. She wishes she had the freedom, but east is not her path. Her way lies south, to Howard Street, purveyor of pawnshops and prostitution.

Her destination.

Elise turns to survey her cramped apartment. Near the ceiling, industrial green paint peels from the walls to reveal other coats of grimy paint no color describes. Metal-frame twin bed, sheets twisted and gray, damp from sweat and humidity. Next to that, Salvation Army-issue scarred oak table, small, with the remains of this night’s meal, a few apple peelings, a knife, and a glass half filled with pale tea, darkening in the dying light.

It’s a place no one would ever call home. Elise’s apartment is utilitarian, a place to work, to sleep, to eat. It’s little more than shelter.

The only sign of human habitation is her work: huge canvases mounted on easels, bits of heavy paper taped to her drawing board. Much of her work is done in charcoal and pencil, but the palette of grays and black remain constant, whether it’s a sketch or a completed painting. Her subject matter, too, is always the same, although the variety of choices she has to explore is endless. Elise likes to draw intensely detailed renderings of crime and accident scenes, aping the cold, clinical detachment one might find in a book of crime scene photographs. Here is a woman, slumped beside a corduroy recliner, a gunshot ripping away half of her head (the blood black in Elise’s rendering), beside her, a half-eaten chicken leg and the Tempo section of the Chicago Tribune, folded neatly and splattered with her gore. There’s a man lying beside a highway, the cars a fast-moving blurred river. His head has been severed from his body. On the wall she has masking-taped a nightmare in quick, staccato slashes: a young woman strangled and left to lie in the pristine environment of an upscale public washroom, clean, shiny ceramic tile, untarnished metal stalls. Another woman, looking bored, checks her lipstick in the mirror. Near Elise’s floor is a small, intricately detailed drawing done in charcoal: two lovers lie in a bed of gore, the aftermath―one presumes―of discovery of their union by a jealous lover. The woman has a sheet discreetly covering her up to the neck. The man lies splayed out in a paroxysm of agony. And why not? His offending penis has been slashed from his body. Is that it on the floor beside the bed, a smudge of black, nearly shapeless?

Where is all the color? Elise herself wonders as she dresses for the evening. Color has been leached out of her world; it is getting increasingly difficult to be able to remember what color was like and thus, increasingly difficult to duplicate its varied hues on paper or canvas. Color, it seems, is but a hazy memory out of her past.

Enough of art analysis, she thinks. It’s her days she has designated to her art. Nighttime is when she prepares for her other job, the occupation that keeps a roof over her head. The job which perhaps is responsible for stealing the color from her vision.

Enough! Enough! Enough! she thinks. Put the introspection behind you. It’s time now, time to become a creature of the night, an animal doing what it must to provide its own sustenance.

She rummages in the apartment’s lone closet, pulling out one of her “uniforms,” clothing that helps identify her occupation as much a mechanic’s jumpsuit, or a waitress’s ruffled apron and polyester dress.

Tonight, she dons a short black skirt bisected by a wide zipper ending in a big silver loop. Over her head, she pulls a white T-shirt, tying it just above her waist. In combination with the low-riding skirt, it perfectly frames her navel. Elise pulls the skin apart and plucks out a piece of lint. She completes her ensemble with dark seamed stockings and spike heels. These are the tools of the trade as much as the brushes, sticks of charcoal, and pencils littering her space.

Elise flips back her long whiskey-colored hair, and leans close to the mirror. She lines her lips with a shade of brown, then fills in with glossy crimson. Cheapens her green eyes with thick black kohl. Elise pulls her hair back, away from her damp neck, and up, pinning it all together with a silver barrette adorned with the smiling face of a skull. Pentagram earrings. Tonight a witch, creature of the night.

Then she turns, hand on doorknob. The night awaits: exhaust fumes, traffic, the chirping of cicadas.

Purchase your own copy at the following:

From Untreed Reads here.
Kindle
Nook 

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Letter from a Reader that Makes it All Worthwhile

Hi All,

Below is a letter I got yesterday from a reader in London regarding my AIDS-era love story, CAREGIVER. More than money, more than fame, it's this kind of connection to a reader that really defines what I do and makes me want to go on telling stories that matter...

Dear Mr Reed

I wanted to write and thank you for your amazing story. It was just so beautifully written and also appropriate 30 years on from the emergence of HIV and AIDS.

I am a part time priest in the Diocese of London and an African woman. I am also a community activist on the issue of HIV, and on the issue of LGBT human rights abroad. Part of what I do is try to mobilise churches here in London to respond to HIV both here in the UK and home in Africa. Sometimes it can be an uphill struggle and it is books like Caregiver that encourage me not to give up.

I loved Caregiver because it recalls the days before anti-retrovirals. It is also a reminder not to take treatment for granted. In the UK today many people have forgotten the eighties and early nineties when people were dying of AIDS here. I think it is important not to forget and to use the pain and loss from the past to continue to respond to HIV and to push for access to treatment for people everywhere.

There was a particular part in the book at the end where Dan had written to Adam saying that if he had stayed alive a few more years he would have seen the advent of treatment. Whilst I was reading your book the analytical part of me kept saying 'if only he could have lived a few more years he would have made it.' I just had a real sense of loss as I read the book.

You also touched on a very important issue about the treatment of bereaved gay partners who were often overlooked by their partners families. In all the debates we have today about the decriminalisation of homosexuality and gay marriage you have touched something very important and it is simply about the humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This is something I can hold onto.

I am not gay, but I am involved in the struggle for lgbt human rights in Africa and elsewhere because of this humanity. This is sometimes a very difficult path to walk as an African woman and as a member of the clergy. Holding on to the humanity of others helps me both to see and act.

I have so many friends who are alive today because of anti-retrovirals. There are many African women who are alive today because of the early struggles of white gay men. This might seem a controversial statement to make, but its true. African women are often invisible or not heard. We would have found it hard to struggle on our own. We have a lot to thank God for, and we still have much ground to cover and work to do.

You have told a beautiful story that reminds me that we must not take treatment for granted and that we must never forget those who were lost.

Thank you.

Regards
Ijeoma Ajibade

BUY from Dreamspinner Press
In ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2561
In paperback:http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2562

Amazon Kindle version: http://tinyurl.com/3flyqzr
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Win a FREE Copy of CAREGIVER


Member of Goodreads? Enter to win a free, signed copy of my AIDS-era love story, CAREGIVER. Just go here and click on the link to be in the drawing! Winner will be announced on November 22.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The 10 Deadly Sins of Website Design

From my friend and marketing guru, Penny Sansevieri:

Feature Article: The 10 Deadly Sins of Website Design
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Checklist to Help You Avoid Them

So, you're ready to create your very own author site, or maybe you're updating your old one. We all know there's a lot that can go wrong with a website (server gone down?) but there's also a lot you can do in the early stages to avoid some mishaps down the road. Here's a checklist that you can take with you as you work through the design elements of your website:

1. Cluttered: Let's just start there. A cluttered site is the kiss of death to conversion. Make sure the site you choose is clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate. If you can't figure it out, I guarantee you your visitor won't, either.

2. Confusing: Tell them what you want them to do. Several times. In order to make a sale, you have to tell your visitor what you want them to do - over and over and over. When we were redesigning our website, http://www.amarketingexpert.com, I kept hearing this from my web designer: let's tell them again and again what we want them to do. I responded to her, "But my visitors aren't stupid, they'll know what to do!" The problem is most surfers don't. We're busy, we're distracted, we want information and we want it now, also we want to know right away if we've landed on a site that can help us. If you repeat your primary message, they won't be able to miss it, and if the site is what they're looking for, they will stay. Which takes me to:

3. Too many messages: You must have one primary message and objective for your website. Yes, I know you want to do so much with it. You want to sell books and get speaking engagements and maybe even some consulting gigs. But all of this starts with one, clear objective. Take my site, for example. I have books, I am a speaker, I also sell marketing services and we are a full-service marketing and publicity firm. Wow, that's a lot, right? Yes, it is, but if you look at our homepage you don't see my books or my speaking. Why? Well, as much as I'd love to sell my books by the truckload, and speaking gigs are always fun to do, they don't keep the business going the way new business does. That's my primary objective.

4. Not knowing what your consumer wants: Once you figure out what you are selling, now you have to package it in a way that will entice your buyer. Knowing what they want and how they want it is key. Let's say you've written a cookbook for busy parents. And let's say your only objective is to sell books. That's a great goal! Now, your site needs to be designed around that goal. That means the book is front and center on the homepage, and because your user is probably busier than most, there's a big 'buy now' button just under the book that takes them to a page where they can purchase and download an eBook or order a print copy. Easy! You may also want to add a sign-up on the homepage so your readers can get cooking ideas, recipes and tips in their inbox a couple of times a month!

5. Cropsharing: This is what I call those folks who use other people's website domains. I seem to recall years ago there was something called Angelfire. Anyone could get a free site there. You could never own it, or upgrade, it was on their server and that was that. The problem is when their site goes away, so does yours. There are a lot of freebie websites out there, there's nothing wrong with this per se (other than I don't think we should design our own sites), and if you're strapped for cash this is a great, initial way to get started. But be sure that you can own the site at some point. Often free sites have an upgrade option, look into it before you build your website!

6. Copying your competition: It's great to love what your competition is doing, but don't copy them pixel for pixel. Not only is it not a nice thing to do, but consumers landing on both sites may not be able to tell the difference! Additionally, if Google spots this type of duplication, you could get your site pulled down.

7. Uh-oh, typo: Please spell check your website. Really. I don't understand why anyone would launch a site that wasn't spellchecked.

8. Staying static: No one likes a site that never changes, and a quick and easy way to make sure you don't have a static site is to add a blog to it. A blog is a fantastic way to keep your site looking fresh and it's great for SEO, too.

9. Not understanding your traffic: OK, I admit this has less to do with website design, but it all flows into the same pot. Get to know your stats, and if you aren't sure how to read your site analytics, get someone to help you. Many authors I speak to don't even know if they have traffic reports. To me, that's sort of like having access to a bank account you never check!

10. Nowhere to go: Regardless of how you will sell your book, you want to be sure that the sales process is super clear on the site. Additionally, you don't want your consumer to go through a lot of steps to buy your book; with each step you lose a sale so keep that in mind. Ideally, no more than three steps to a buy!

When you're going through your website - either building one, redoing one or making sure yours is in check, take note of the points I've shared here. It's hard enough getting people to come to your site; when they get there don't send them into "surf shock" and miss a potential sale.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Inspiration: CAREGIVER


Picture it: Tampa Bay, Florida, 1991. A young man flees a troubled life in Chicago to begin anew on the Gulf Coast of Florida. White sand beaches and azure waters beckon. Shortly after landing in Tampa Bay, the young man, in a gesture of solidarity with his gay brethren who are dying by the thousands, volunteers to become an AIDS buddy, focusing his attention on one victim of the virus…

Actually, if you’ve read the blurb of my new novel, CAREGIVER, you might think that the above is an alternate synopsis I wrote for the book. But the truth is it’s about me. Like my main character in CAREGIVER, Dan, I too fled Chicago for a new life in Tampa, FL and I too joined a program that supplied AIDS buddies to those suffering from the virus. In 1991, the afflicted had a very bleak outlook. But sometimes, we meet a person who can overcome that bleakness with biting wit, humor, grace, and style. My buddy was just such a man—he left a mark on me that has stayed with me until this very day and will always be one of the most special people I have ever met.

My book is called CAREGIVER, but by the end, the reader will wonder who really is the caregiver.

It’s taken me twenty years to write about Jim, my AIDS buddy from 1991 (who becomes “Adam” in the novel), my funny valentine who ended up dying in the Florida State Prison—but I think the results are ultimately worth it.

In CAREGIVER’s first review by fellow author (and icon) Victor J. Banis, he says:

"Reed has a fine command of words that sometimes approaches the magical...I think few readers will come away from reading this emotionally untouched... I could not stop reading until I had finished, and I don’t know how you can pay a writer any better compliment than that...I began by explaining my aversion to AIDS novels—but I’m not so great a fool that I didn’t know from the first page or so that this is a terrific work, insightful and bold, by a very talented writer..."

Read the whole review on Reviews by Jessewave.


SYNOPSIS
It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original—witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

BUY from Dreamspinner Press
In ebook.
In paperback.

Amazon Kindle version

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Monday, October 31, 2011

New and Notable: PREMONITION by DH Starr

I'm pleased to announce that my friend and fellow author, DH Starr's first foray into the paranormal has just been released by MLR Press. DH usually writes m/m romance, but with Premonition, he combines romance and psychological suspense with a touch of the supernatural. It should be a very interesting--and potent--mix!

SYNOPSIS
Martin Proctor has been on the Boston Police Force for ten years. His record is impeccable and he's helped his precinct and captain maintain one of the best crime records in the city. But no one knows Martin has premonitions which help him solve cases others find impossible.

Justin Franklin is also on the Boston force. Justin may not have supernatural abilities, but as an openly gay man, he possesses a courage that draws Martin in.

When Martin has a premonition about the death of Justin's brother and fails to save him, their lives become intertwined. As they work together to discover the truth behind Larry's murder, Martin foresees Justin's death.

The closer they come to cracking their case, the less time Martin has to piece together his fragmented visions and save Justin before it's too late.

Read an except.

Buy Premonition.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Check out My Profile in October's Lambda Literary Review

This month, LLR romance columnist and reviewer, Dick Smart, put some hard questions to me and the result was an in-depth and revealing portrait. I hope you'll take the time to give it a read. If you do, you'll discover what connection I think exists between horror and romance, what my early-life head injuries have to do with my creativity, and, finally, the truth about whether my own writing scares me.

Rick R. Reed: Master of Romance and Horror

by Dick Smart on October 26, 2011


Post image for Rick R. Reed: Master of Romance and Horror 

 

 

 

“When fiction is made according to its nature, it should reinforce our sense of the supernatural by grounding it in concrete, observable reality.” -Flannery O’Connor

Caregiver, the latest by the prolific Rick R. Reed, out now from Dreamspinner Press (cover art by Paul Richmond), is a straightforward traditional romance that may surprise his large horror romance fan base. But as Reed points out, “I am not one to stay within the lines when it comes to genre.” Readers who are fans of his horror romances know that they can trust Reed to deliver solid stories and strong characters and that trust is rewarded in this powerfully, satisfying romance set in the midst of the AIDS crisis in the mid-90s...

Continue reading the rest of the interview here.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Caregiver is Released and Reviewed!

I wanted to share with you fellow author (and icon) Victor Banis' 4.5 star review of my latest release (today, in fact, is release day!), CAREGIVER, on Reviews by Jessewave. What better way to launch a new book than with a review from a master of the genre?

In part, Victor had this to say about CAREGIVER, my AIDS-era love story:

"Reed has a fine command of words that sometimes approaches the magical, and I think few readers will come away from reading this emotionally untouched... I could not stop reading until I had finished, and I don’t know how you can pay a writer any better compliment than that...I began by explaining my aversion to AIDS novels—but I’m not so great a fool that I didn’t know from the first page or so that this is a terrific work, insightful and bold, by a very talented writer..."

Read the whole review.

SYNOPSIS
It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original—witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

BUY from Dreamspinner Press (the first 20 paperback sales will receive an autographed copy)
In ebook
In paperback

Amazon Kindle version


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Monday, October 10, 2011

Rave Review for My Paranormal Thriller ECHOES

Just wanted to share a great review (4.75 stars) I got from the Bookwenches for my paranormal ghost story, ECHOES. In part, reviewer Bobby D. Whitney said,

"Part ghost story, part suspense, Rick R. Reed’s novella Echoes tells a sad and very human tale about love, death, and closure...Not only did it send a shiver of unease up my spine, but it left me with tears in my eyes...There is no true villain in Echoes, unless you wish to count the seductress that goes by the name of Tina, crystal methamphetamine. Not only does she decimate those who abuse her, but the effects ripple down to friends, family, and in this story even unsuspecting strangers. She brings illness, death, and devastation into all the lives that she touches..."

Read the whole review here.

Buy Echoes.

SYNOPSIS

Rick and Ernie have found the perfect loft apartment on Chicago’s west side. But before they are even settled, Rick begins having strange “dreams” that seem all too real. A young man, emaciated, with sad brown eyes, appears to him, frightening and obsessing him.

From their next-door neighbor, Paula, Rick learns of the gay couple, Karl and Tommy, who lived there before them. Paula had been close to them and Tommy’s mysterious disappearance still pains her. When she shares a photo of her with Tommy and Karl, Rick is shocked and troubled. Tommy is the man who has appeared to him in his dreams.

The dreams and the revelation put Rick on a quest to discover the truth about Tommy’s disappearance. It’s a quest that will lead him to Karl, Tommy’s lover, who may know more about Tommy’s disappearance than he’s telling, and a confrontation with a restless spirit who wants only to, finally, rest in peace...
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Free Halloween Stories at Dreamspinner Press!

Halloween Howl from Dreamspinner Press

To celebrate Halloween, Dreamspinner is inviting people to come trick-or-treating at their web site throughout the month of October.

Look for my own free contribution,"St. Boniface Hook-Up" a chilling tale of love amid one of Chicago's oldest cemeteries! Click here to read the free story.


Thirty other Dreamspinner authors have donated free short stories. Search through the different pages on the web site for Gary the Gargoyle door knocker. Each time you find him, click on him for a free download by the author whose page he’s hiding on! And make sure to check out the end of each story for a discount code.





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Thursday, October 6, 2011

OBSESSED About a Rave Review!

I just wanted to share a wonderful five-star review my psychological thriller/horror novel, OBSESSED, got from the Bookwenches. In part the review said:

"A few nightmares later, and I still can’t get this book out of my mind...This story took me on quite a ride, and I can describe it as a delightfully insane psychological mind fuck..."

Read the whole review here.

Synopsis
I kill, therefore I am…

Voices slam through the corridor of his wounded mind. The words of his dead sister cry out. His parents' taunts fill the silent room where he sits and waits--waits for the murderous rage, filling him with strength, driving him to kill, to touch the cold flesh, taste the warm blood--to feel alive again… A witness has seen him, but his killing only turns her on and now she wants to protect him. His wife suspects him, but the private detective she hired cannot stop him. Joe MacAree fears nothing--except that he may no longer be human. The thirst that drives him is relentless, moving deeper and deeper into his own shattering, private realm, where each murder is a delicious new gift of life, where revulsion is beauty, and the obsession will never let him go.

Obsessed was part of Dell Abyss' remarkable horror line, lauded by none other than Stephen King.

The book is on sale now from the publisher, Untreed Reads, for only $2.99. BUY.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CAREGIVER To Be Released October 24

I'm excited. Caregiver, my AIDS-era love story is officially coming soon on my publisher's website (Dreamspinner Press). October 24 is the release date for both print and ebook! Check out Paul Richmond's amazing cover and read an excerpt here.

Description:

It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original—witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

My A DEMON INSIDE is a Finalist for an EPIC eBook Award

Just learned that my horror/love story, A Demon Inside, has been named a finalist in the EPIC eBook 2012 Ebook Awards in the Horror Romance category. Winners will be announced in March.

Below is a complete list of all the finalists.


Congratulations to the Finalists in for the 2012 eBook Awards.
Winners will be announced at EPICon in March 2012.

Anthology

Dame Topaz Treasures Carrie S. Masek Whiskey Creek Press
Dragon's Lure Neal Levin (Editor) Dark Quest Books
Winter Wishes Angela James (Editor) Carina Press

Childrens'

The Mystery of the Old Black Diary M. Leigh Ingles Self-published
The Weaver Kai Strand Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
What Kind of Turtle Am I? Donna M. Zappala Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.

Mainstream

Love, Sam Linda Rettstatt Champagne Books
Never Ever Suzanne M. Hurley Whiskey Creek Press
Perfect Score Susan Roebuck Awe Struck Publishing

Action/Adventure

Chasing Demons Christy Tillery French L&L Dreamspell
No One Lives Twice Julie Moffett Carina Press
Trail of the Tudor Blue Gwen Roman The Wild Rose Press

Erotica

Entangled Trio Cat Grant Ellora's Cave Publishing
Reconstructing Meredith Lauren Gallagher Carnal Passions
The First Real Thing Cat Grant Ellora's Cave Publishing

Fantasy

Psyche's Prophecy Ann Gimpel Gypsy Shadow Publishing
The Sevenfold Spell Tia Nevitt Carina Press
Thief of Hope Cindy Young-Turner Crescent Moon Press

Historical

The Flight of the Sorceress Barry S. Willdorf Wild Child Publishing
Tree Soldier Janet Oakley Createspace
Twins Katherine Pym Wings ePress, Inc.

Horror

Pillar's Fall Ben Larken LL-Publications
The Death of Lou Grant David Halliday Smashwords
The Last Vampire Kathryn Meyer Griffith Damnation Books

Mystery

A Wedding to Die For Heather Haven Muse It Up Publishing
Murder in Paradise Larry K. and Lorna Collins Whiskey Creek Press
The Dead Detective Agency Peg Herring LL-Publications

Paranormal

Healey's Cave Aaron Paul Lazar Twilight Times Books
One Blood E.F. Watkins Amber Quill Press, LLC
Piper's Fury Rachel Firasek Crescent Moon Press
Revelations Carrie Lynn Barker Eternal Press

Suspense/Thriller

A Little Death in Dixie Lisa Turner Bell Bridge Books
Becoming NADIA Cyrus Keith Muse It Up Publishing
Eyewall H.W. Buzz Bernard Bell Bridge Books

Science Fiction

Crewkin Rhobin L. Courtright Muse It Up Publishing
The Crystal Desert Catherine Wells epress-online
The Immortality Virus Christine Amsden Twilight Times Books

Spiritual/Metaphysical

A Mother's Eyes Karen S. Woods Sleeping Beagle Books
Paradigms Chris McKenna Gypsy Shadow Publishing
The Inheritance Donna Sundblad epress-online
To Dance With Angels Don and Linda Pendleton Self-published

Non-Fiction

A Blonde Bengali Wife Ann Hamilton LL-Publications
Shenandoah Watercolors Beth Trissel Self-published
The Indestructible Relationship Kimberly Pryor Self-published

Novella

Almost Heaven Kimberly Gardner Loose Id, LLC
Do Over Mari Carr Carina Press
Eagle's Redemption Cindy Spencer Pape Ellora's Cave Publishing
Hearts in Darkness Laura Kaye The Wild Rose Press
Jaq's Harp Ella Drake Carina Press
Song from the Abyss Margaret L. Carter Ellora's Cave Publishing
Stormy Wedding Kelli Scott Ellora's Cave Publishing

Contemporary Romance

A.J.'s Angel L.A. Witt Samhain Publishing
Hot Commodity Linda Kage Champagne Books
Life From Scratch Melissa Ford Bell Bridge Books
One Real Thing Anah Crow and Dianne Fox Carina Press
River Time Rae Renzi Carina Press
Woman on Fire Fran Lee Ellora's Cave Publishing

Fantasy Romance

Bound: A Faery Story Sophie Oak Siren Publishing, Inc.
Knightfall Berinn Rae Crescent Moon Press
One Thousand Kisses Jody Wallace Samhain Publishing
The Sleigh Maker Candace Sams The Wild Rose Press

Historical Romance

Five Card Stud Gem Sivad Ellora's Cave Publishing
For Love Is New Jean Hart Stewart Passion in Print
Healing Hearts Taryn Kincaid Carina Press
Passage to November Phyllis DeMarco The Wild Rose Press
Red Bird's Song Beth Trissel The Wild Rose Press

Horror Romance

A Demon Inside Rick R. Reed MLR Press
Demon's Dance Evey Brett Carina Press
Devil Music E.C. Stacy and Thia Myles Whiskey Creek Press
Endless Lust Lexxie Couper Ellora's Cave Publishing

Paranormal Romance

Blacque/Bleu Belinda McBride Loose Id, LLC
Capricorn: Forgotten Faces Vivien Dean Amber Quill Press
Dead Sexy Paige Tyler Ellora's Cave Publishing
Key of Solomon Cassiel Knight Samhain Publishing
Mask of Ice Elaine Lowe Ellora's Cave Publishing

Romantic Suspense

Absolution Kaylea Cross The Wild Rose Press
Courting Disaster Carol Stephenson Carina Press
Don't Look Back MJ Fredrick The Wild Rose Press
Fight or Flight Natalie J. Damschroder Carina Press
Flash Bang Melanie Atkins Whiskey Creek Press
Murder, Mi Amore Cara Marsi The Wild Rose Press

Science Fiction Romance

Outcast Mine Jamie Craig Carina Press
Silver Bound Ella Drake Carina Press
Steam and Sorcery Cindy Spencer Pape Carina Press
To Kiss Or To Kill Jean Lorrah Wildside Press

Spiritual/Metaphysical

Forgiven Michelle L. Levigne Desert Breeze Publishing
Lingering Spirit Marilyn Meredith Oak Tree Press
Passing Whispers Lisa Anne Vance Devine Destinies
Worth Fighting For Zena Wynn Red Rose Publishing

Short Story

Being Lead Celia Kyle Summerhouse Publishing
Chamber Music Peter A. Balaskas Uncial Press
Christmas Holly Sutton Fox Gypsy Shadow Publishing
Ruby Red Metallic Casey Sheridan Breathless Press
Seventh Heaven Cate Masters Self-published

Young Adult

Heir to the Underworld E.D. Walker Sapphire Blue Publishing
Land of Mountains Jinx Schwartz Treble Heart Books
Nightmare Interrupted Linda Palmer Sugar and Spice Press


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rave Review for TRICKS!


I was excited to awaken to a very positive review (4.5 crowns out of 5) for my opposites-attract love story, TRICKS. The reviewer, Jaymes, said:

"In Tricks, Rick Reed brings together opposites who overcome all of the distractions that could tear them apart. Sean and Arliss are such beautifully crafted characters that you want to see them succeed. The love story that started in Boystown and the potential for more are strong themes throughout. Rick Reed weaves all of it together to create a wonderful story."

Read the whole review here.

Buy Tricks here.

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