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Why I Love To Give Free Stuff

I’ve been giving stuff away lately, and I have to admit, it feels pretty good! And I’m not even concerned about getting anything back. That’s the best way to give, isn’t it? Pay it forward and all that. So when I give I try to do so with pure intentions and hope karma does the rest.

Free Works, Apparently

I was pleasantly surprised this month when I had my “free days” on Amazon. My first book, Unexplained, had almost four thousand downloads! I had run some promotions on social media and a few newsletters, and it seems to have paid off. All three of my Higher Elevation Series books are in Kindle Unlimited right now, and the sales and page reads have been better than I ever expected. The idea of giving away that many copies felt weird to me at first, but at least my books are out there, finding an audience. So I consider this a win.

I’ve also given away paperback copies, signed, of course. I ran Goodreads Giveaways, I gave away books through my Facebook Group, Renee Regent’s Readers. I gave away an Amazon gift card when I did a takeover on Facebook. This is nothing new, authors have been doing this and more for years, but I never realized how good it would feel to do it. I knew giving things away was a good business strategy, but it’s more than that. It’s something I actually look forward to. Even though it’s common now to hand out swag and free books, people still get excited about it, and for me, seeing their excitement is the fun part.

But Wait, There’s More!

All this giving away of goodies had me thinking, “What else can I give?” While looking through the statistics report of my blog for ideas, I decided to compile a free mini ebook. Or two. Well, I ended up with five, actually!

I’ve been blogging since 2013, and according to WordPress, I have over 2,400 followers. I’ve written over one hundred posts on various topics, some of which have been viewed thousands of times. I love blogging and have covered diverse topics over the years, so I compiled some of my most popular posts into mini ebooks by subject. They’re a quick, easy read, and I hope readers will find them fun and informative. Here’s a rundown:

Romance Novel Trends– a (sometimes humorous) look at the trends shaping Romance Novels today, from those ubiquitous “Ab Covers” to Seasoned Romance

Writing Tips on Marketing– the elusive Holy Grail of discoverability, and ways to find it

Writing Tips on Craft– Useful and practical information I’ve learned along the way. I put myself through the ringer so you don’t have to!

Supernatural/Metaphysical– curious about the Law of Attraction? Wondering if ghosts are real? Find out in this exploration of the unexplained, which often end up in my stories

From the Heart– In which I share stories from my real life experiences. There’s some humor, some heartbreak, and of course, love.

 

Whether you are a writer, a reader, or both, I hope you’ll find something interesting in these posts. They are available exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. If interested, you can sign up here.

There’s also a page on my website called “Free Reads”, where you can read the first chapter of Unexplained.

When it comes to giving, I feel like I’m just getting started. I have plenty of stories and blog posts still in my head, so don’t worry, there’s more to come. If you were one of the readers who downloaded or bought my books, or read them on KU these past few weeks, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

That’s the best gift anyone could give me.

 

 

 

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Paranormal Investigator Interview- A True Ghost Hunter

Have you ever wondered what a Paranormal Investigation is really like?  Are the ones you see on television and movies close to reality or are they exaggerated?  I sat down with Paranormal Investigator Brandon Keeler of He’iau True Ghost Hunters, and we had an interesting conversation. Since I often write about the supernatural (ghosts, psychics and witches) in my novels, I was personally excited to find out what PI work is all about.

How long have you been performing paranormal investigations?

I’ve always had a love for the paranormal. My first real investigation was when I was 21. There was an old house down the road from my girlfriend’s house, which had burned down. I asked her about it, and she didn’t know much other than the entire family had died in the house. I did some research and found   the older son had actually killed the mother and two sisters, the father, and then killed himself because his girlfriend had left him. So I’d have to say about 11 years. What was really cool during this investigation was I took some still pictures, and was able to catch what looked like two kids in the pictures.

What prompted you to begin doing PI work?

My grandpa died in 1998. One evening about two weeks after he passed away, I was in the living room, and smelled his scent that he always had on around him. I thought I heard someone walking up the stairs, so I turned my volume off on the TV, and that’s when definitely I heard footsteps going up the stairs. I got up thinking it was either my sister or my mom and went around the corner, only to see my grandpa walking up the stairs.  I froze and said, “Pawpaw”, and he stopped and looked at me and smiled, then continued walking upstairs and disappeared. I screamed and ran out of the house. Funny as that sounds now, that’s really how paranormal investigations started for me. I always wanted to find ways to reach out and talk to my grandparents again, and as time went by, I learned other ways to attempt to communicate with the dead.

How many site visits have you done?

Officially…5… Unofficially, 15.  From simple things like graveyards, to houses, all the way up to old school buildings that have flooded, to an old mental hospital.

What equipment do you like to use?

I love my SB7 Spirit Box, and my Full Spectrum IR Digital Camera.  The SB7 scans through radio frequencies at a rate of 7 sweeps per second, and it goes backwards to wash out normal sounds you get from radio stations. Anytime you use it, and you get full voice responses forward, that’s usually a spirit.  My camera is very helpful because I see in the full range of light spectrums, most of which we cannot see, and that’s how I am able to see spirits.

Tell us about your most successful investigation.

Well, I cannot say the name(s) of the family because they requested I not share the full information about it, but I can tell you it involved a very tragic situation─two young kids who happened to have their lives taken in a horrible accident.  I was able to contact the family, and with their blessings, was able to reach out and contact the kids and put to light what happened and let the family know they’re always there and are ok.

Has your work led you to develop any theories about the supernatural?

I think it’s like a script the spirits have to follow with regards to what they can or cannot say to the living.  I often feel that there has to be a place they are when they aren’t visible to us.

What is your dream job scenario for a paranormal investigation?

I have so many of those.  I would love to go to Scotland and England. There is an old Inn call the Ram Inn. There are so many stories about it that I want to find out more. Scotland has so many that I cannot list. Let’s just say it’s a good five or six months of non-stop investigations and that I’d get my own evidence.

You don’t charge for your work, but ask for donations instead.  Tell us about the charity you support.

This again goes to the beginning of my most successful investigation.  It’s in a family member’s name so all the funds I receive, go directly to them.  Let’s just say it goes to a great cause. I’m always welcomed to accept donations for them only. I must explain that 100% of any monetary contributions that come to me, go directly to them from me. You know you see some of these TV stars who have their own shows and make tons of money and expect more because they’re showing off things.  I’m not that way. Would fame be great? Heck yeah. But I’m not about money in this. I want families who have had tragic events take place to get answers they deserve, and not have to pay anything to have my company go out and investigate for them.

Please let all your readers know, in the Atlanta area especially, they can contact me at any time at keelerbr1986@gmail.com. I’d love to help them out. I like having help come along with me too on investigations.  I hope they know that Spirits have voices too. They often just need to know they’re being acknowledged, and that can help them pass on to the next life. Thanks for having me. I plan on doing a lot more investigations in 2017!

Good luck Brandon with your upcoming investigations and with the charity efforts. I’d love to go along on a job someday, especially if you go to Scotland! If I get the chance, you’ll hear about it here on my blog.  And if you’d like to know more about my books, see my website at http://reneeregent.com

Have you ever been on a Paranormal Investigation? I’d love to hear about it!

Upcoming Series Release- Three Retro Romances With a Supernatural Twist

Couple holding hands rear view against sunrise over mountains

Are you tired of the same old tropes and settings in Romance novels lately?  Do you like a steamy romance that also leaves you wondering about the mystical side of love and life?

If so, you might be interested in my upcoming three-book series, Higher Elevation. The first book, Unexplained, is due to be released this fall (date to be determined). The other two books will be released within the months following, so readers won’t have to wait long to read the whole series if they enjoy the first book.

The Waiting

My strategy with this series was to have all three books complete before releasing the first one, not only to ensure continuity with the characters and their stories, but to make sure they would all be available in a short time frame. Personally, if I enjoy a book, I hate waiting too long for the next installment. It meant reigning in my excitement to finally be a published author, but I am so glad I waited. By taking my time, I was able to “flesh out” the stories, and add layers and references that make the series a cohesive whole.  That said, each book can be read as a standalone (no cliffhangers), but reading them in order will create a richer experience for the reader.

The Genre

So what does this series have to offer?  The official genre is Paranormal Romance, but there are elements of suspense and mystery.  I often use the term “Supernatural” to describe the stories, as my characters are ghosts and psychics, rather than the usual Paranormal creatures (ala shifters, vampires, etc).  Other themes explored are astral travel, remote viewing, soul mates, near death experience, and the afterlife.  I love exploring the unexplained, but don’t worry, it never gets too deep or heavy!  Just enough to make you wonder…

The Time Period

What is also different about the Higher Elevation Series is that it is set in the twentieth century─in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties. If you lived through that period, you may enjoy the nostalgia factor.  There are lots of pop culture references because they affected the lives of my characters.  If you weren’t around then, it might be a way to experience what life was like with less technology, without having to invent a time machine.  (I can’t believe no one has done that yet, by the way….)

The Description

So, here’s my official series blurb:

 

The Higher Elevation Series- True Love Transcends All Boundaries

Three Retro Romances, set in the 1970’s to 1980’s, about the power of love, with a supernatural twist

Fort Winston, Colorado is a small town nestled against the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Maybe it’s the wind that howls down the plains, or the jagged peaks that cast eerie shadows over the land. Whatever the cause, there’s always something going on there that not’s quite right…or easily explained.

Can love alone prevail against strange psychic powers, tortured ghosts and the secrets of the past?

 

Here’s the titles and a short description of the books:

 

Book One, Unexplained

When it comes to love, some things just can’t be explained…

Can a skeptical journalism student and an astral-traveling psychology major investigate their weird psychic connection (and their scorching attraction for each other) before his talents put them both in danger?

 

Book Two, Untouched

Love isn’t always what it seems, when you’re living in the past…

A hippie photographer with a painful past is haunted by a ghost only he can see. When the ghostly girl shows up in his photos, his beautiful but off-limits (because she’s a virgin) friend agrees to help him solve the mystery. Overcoming his past and getting rid of a ghost won’t be half as difficult as resisting his gorgeous read-headed friend, Amanda.

 

Book Three, Undeniable

Time and distance can’t break an undeniable bond…

After eight years apart, can two people rekindle a love that disappeared? It’s going to be tough, for a psychic astral-traveling dude and a lonely single mom who have lost the sexual-psychic connection they once had─or have they?

 

Okay, so there are some common tropes─opposites attract, trying to resist someone you shouldn’t be with, and taking a second chance at love.  But being set in a time when we didn’t exactly have the world at our fingertips makes the quest for love and solving mysteries a bit more difficult.  Plus it was just plain fun to write!

 

Stay tuned for upcoming excerpts, teasers and a cover reveal date.  I am so excited to share my stories and will be posting more information soon.  You can follow this blog by signing up at reneeregent.com, or my old blog at reneeregent.com/worpress.com.

 

I’ll leave you with the first line of Book One, Unexplained:

“There’s nothing in the world that can’t be explained, eventually.”

 

 

Oh, really?

The Power of Love, With a Supernatural Twist- Higher Elevation Series

Students holding hands against lake

Do you like romances that have a happy ending, but leave you wondering about mystical side of life? If so, you might be interested in my upcoming series, Higher Elevation. It’s a three-book series (so far) about ordinary couples who experience extraordinary things on their way to happily ever after.

So, yes, I am doing more with my writing time than blogging!  I’ve been hard at work on the Higher Elevation series, and I hope to self-publish the first book in the series in 2016. All three books are in edits right now, and I’m very excited to share my stories with you!  Here’s a little bit more about it:

Garden of the Gods

The series is set in Fort Winston, a fictional small town at the foot of the Colorado Rockies where strange things have been known to happen. This series is also set in the twentieth century- in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties, a time when we didn’t exactly have the world at our fingertips…

 

Book One, Unexplained– When it comes to love, some things just can’t be explained…

Can a skeptical journalism student and an astral-traveling psychology major investigate their weird psychic connection (and their scorching attraction for each other) before his talents put them in danger?

 

Book Two, Untouched– Love isn’t always what it seems to be…when you’re living in the past

A hippie photographer with a painful past is haunted by a ghost only he can see. When the ghostly girl shows up in his photos, his beautiful, but off-limits (because she’s a virgin) friend agrees to help him solve the mystery. Overcoming his past and getting rid of a ghost won’t be half as difficult as resisting his gorgeous red-headed friend, Amanda.

 

Book Three, Undeniable– Time and distance can’t break an undeniable bond…

Can love transcend the bonds of time and distance?  After eight years apart, can two people rekindle a love that disappeared? It’s going to be tough, for a psychic astral-traveling dude and a lonely single mom who have lost the sexual-psychic connection they once had…or have they?

 

Stay tuned for excerpts and more information on the Higher Elevation Series.  I’ve also updated my website, http://reneeregent.com, and will soon have a newsletter sign up and other good stuff.  Drop me a line or comment and let me know what you think!

Psychics in Fiction vs. Reality

Tarot Card And Candle

It’s been said that everyone is psychic, to a degree. But most people don’t use their latent psychic abilities, so the ones who do seem extraordinary. In fact, we are more likely to gain any knowledge or awareness we have about people with psychic abilities from fiction, television, and movies, rather than true life experiences. Though we are fascinated with the idea of being able to use our minds in unusual ways, it seems to be more acceptable as a fantasy than a reality.

Real-Life Psychics

I have met several “real” psychics in my life, so I know they do exist. I enjoy having a psychic reading now and then, and at least half of those turned out to be accurate, meaning whatever they told me was to happen was specific and verifiable. I’m not talking about generalizations that could apply to anyone, but names, dates, circumstances that no one else would know about in advance, including myself! It seems that some people can “read” you, and tap into something where they can tell you what’s ahead. Sort of like a psychic GPS.

An example- after my husband died, I got a psychic reading in Sedona, Arizona (mother of all psychic places to visit). This was actually a friend of a friend, and I did not pay her, we were just hanging out. She tapped into all kinds of stuff that was going on with me at the time, most of which was so accurate got chills. She even predicted that I would remarry, and she also saw a child involved.

I had just started dating again and being childless all my life, was against dating anyone with children or even contemplating marriage (see my earlier post on that subject here). Well, she told me I would meet him within nine months, but it only took six before I met the man I was going to marry- and his son.

Fictional Psychics

So…that is only one example, and I think it is extraordinary when people can do that. But in fiction we must have conflict, and so here are the most common types of psychics used in fiction:

Crime solvers– can “see” where the bodies are buried, find missing children, etc.

Ghost whisperers– can communicate with the dead

Evil psychics– played for the fear factor, abilities used to hurt and /or control others

Comedic– played for laughs, as in Beetlejuice or Ghost (Whoopie Goldberg)

Being a romance author, I am particularly interested in psychics as people; how they interact with others, how it affects their relationships. But the nature of psychic phenomena lends itself to building tension, or conflict, since we don’t know how it really works or why some people have it. It can be used for good but also things can go horribly wrong, and that is what I am looking forward to exploring in my stories.

Have you ever had a psychic experience? What types of psychics do you enjoy reading about?

Paranormal vs. Supernatural- Time for a new Subgenre?

Teenage me reading fortunes

Teenage me reading fortunes

As a reader of Romance Novels, and even more so as a writer, I am fascinated by the ebb and flow of the market. Genres and subgenres of Romance rise to power and then fade away, and everyone is desperate to determine what will be The Next Big Thing. Cashing in on a wave of popularity can and does happen; many authors do it, but they will tell you it’s not easy. So I just observe what’s happening, and keep it in mind, but as most successful authors will tell you- you should write what you want, and then try to find an audience.

I can’t write to a trend yet, can you? My respects if you can do that, if you are prolific enough and have your process down to a science, and can crank out as many novels as you want per year. I’m not there yet. I may never be. There are enough stresses with the business side of writing, social media, research, and then finding time to write the actual book itself, that the added pressure of having to be sure it’s trendy is too much at this moment in time.

I’ve talked about Romance genres and subgenres before, and even though I have done hours of market research, I am still not sure where my stories will fit in when the time comes to market them. In my last post I talked about my author tagline, “The Power of Love with a Supernatural Twist”. There was a distinct reason I chose the word “Supernatural” instead of “Paranormal”.

The subgenre “Paranormal Romance” is a pretty wide umbrella. Surfing through Amazon and Goodreads you are likely to find stories about all kinds of creatures and extraordinarily gifted humans. But for the most part, the word “Paranormal” usually brings to mind vampires, demons, werewolves, shifters, dragons, fae, etc., as those have been some of the most common characters in Paranormal Romance stories the past several years. The word Paranormal is defined in most dictionaries as, “of or relating to the occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation; phenomena not of this world.”

Witches, ghosts, and psychics have been huddling under the Paranormal umbrella, too, but I think it’s time for differentiation.   The word Supernatural is defined in most dictionaries as, “Above nature, transcending nature, belonging to a higher realm.”

Sure, ghosts and psychic phenomena have not been explained by science (yet). But Paranormal characters are often other-worldly, or complete fabrications of imagination, whereas witches, psychics and ghosts are (or were) mostly human, thus based in nature. (Of course there may be exceptions to this, as they are millions of books in the world, but I am simply looking at trends).

So if we break it down to where Supernatural is human, or nature based, and Paranormal is for anything beyond human, would that help to differentiate stories, so readers could find them? I know keywords and other marketing tools will also help, but the Paranormal genre has become so massive. I believe it is going to splinter into more specific subgenres as popularity of the genre itself reaches critical mass.

Most of the projects I am currently working on feature ghosts, witches, and psychics, and I have been looking for ideas on how to market to the folks who prefer reading these types of stories. I know they are out there, and I know I’m not the only one writing Supernatural Romances. Here’s hoping we find each other when the time comes!

What do you think? Any new genres or subgenres that you think are the next wave? If you could invent a hot new genre or subgenre, what would it be?

 

 

 

The Metaphysical Side of Love

pages of a book curved into a heart shape

Are you fascinated by the unexplained? Do you enjoy reading about concepts that expand your mind? I must confess, I have always been curious about the supernatural, the metaphysical, and unexplained phenomena that have caused humans to wonder for centuries now. What is even more fascinating is the fact that what was considered unthinkable as little as a hundred years ago, is commonplace now. Just take a look at your smart phone, and think about it for a minute. What would the folks in 1915 say about it?

The umbrella of “paranormal” covers quite a bit of unexplained phenomena, at least in the Romance Novel world. Vampires, shape shifters, angels, demons, witches, fairies and ghosts are only the tip of the iceberg. As I examined in an earlier post, folklore and legends abound featuring these types of entities, providing fodder for endless stories. Add to that, humans with supernatural capabilities, such as elementals or psychics, and there is no end to the variations one could write about.

So how are smart phones related to paranormal entities? One is science (technology) the other, fantasy. But wouldn’t it be cool if science and fantasy were combined?

That’s what happens when we read about paranormal situations and creatures. Our disbelief is suspended as we are drawn into the story. We get to experience what it might be like if something unbelievable were true. Add to that the relationship of the Hero and Heroine, and the result can be something truly magical.

That is the type of stories I tend to write. I have several works in progress at present, and all have some metaphysical aspect to them. All are Romances, but they have a supernatural twist to them. A Contemporary Gothic ghost story; a Fantasy family saga about elementals; and a story about a couple who can astral project together (for an earlier snippet, click here). All projects are in various stages of writing or editing, and I hope to have something ready for publication this year.

I read primarily romance, but I love science fiction, and some fantasy. I like my romances on the steamier side, so I tend to combine esoteric concepts with the erotic. It seemed to work well with my astral-projecting couple, who had some unique, metaphysically hot sex scenes!

Most of all, I want to have fun with it and maybe learn something along the way. If combining science, fantasy, metaphysical concepts and hot sex sounds interesting to you, stay tuned. I’m just getting started….

What kind of interesting, unexplained phenomena would you like to see in Romance Novels?