Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Tamara Ferguson. She is the award-winning author of Tales of The Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the top-ten bestselling Kissed By Fate Series, and the #1 Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series. Tamara writes Romance and Suspense novels.
Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
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A member of the Romance Writers of America, Tamara Ferguson is the #1 best-selling, multi-award winning author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the Kissed By Fate Series, and the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.
Her latest wounded warrior romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is included in the top-ten bestselling Holiday Anthology, Mother’s Day Magic…With Love, which was also #1 in Wounded Warrior Fiction. Since being released independently, Two Hearts Unspoken has just become a #1 Best Seller at Amazon as well as a #1 Hot New Release in both Ebooks and books. It’s also been #1 in 8 Wounded Warrior categories.
The wounded warrior romance, Two Hearts Surrendered, was originally published in the bestselling Magical Weddings anthology, which included stories by fifteen USA Today, best-selling, and award-winning authors. Two Hearts Surrendered independently earned 3-5 star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, and has just become a double #1 Best Seller at Amazon. Two Hearts Surrendered was also a New Adult Finalist in the Romance Reviews 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Two Hearts Undone (Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance #3) was released in May of 2016 by AA Publishing and was #1 in 8 Wounded Warrior categories at Amazon. This short story is also included in the Annie Acorn 2016 Romance Anthology.
That Unforgettable Kiss (Kissed by Fate Book 1) was a top ten Amazon bestseller in Kindle Saga Fiction, earned 3-5 star editorial reviews from Readers' Favorite, and was the 2015 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Award in New Adult Romance.
That Unforgettable Kiss is currently featured in the #1 bestselling A Touch of Passion, 8 full-length novels by USA Today, New York Times bestselling and multi-award winning authors. This anthology is a #1 Holiday Romance (and more), and has just WON the 2016 Romance Reviews Reader’s Choice Award in Anthology Romance.
Tales of the Dragonfly In Tandem was a romance finalist at the 2013 Indie Excellence Awards, while Tales of the Dragonfly In Flight was a 2014 WINNER at the Readers' Favorite International Book Awards. In Flight is currently being rereleased by Blue Harvest Creative.
Since she remains a full-time caregiver for an autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects, because she's writing or helping other author friends promote their books on twitter.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Two Hearts Unspoken. Rumor has it that you have another book in the Tales of the Dragonfly Series on the horizon called Emergence. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
Emergence is my third Tales of the Dragonfly Novel. This is the story of Lucy Callahan, who was kidnapped and assaulted in In Tandem. The members of the human trafficking ring who were responsible for capturing her have remained at-large. It’s nearly a year later, and Lucy’s still having troubles recovering from her ordeal, when she realizes she’s being stalked by the man who raped her. Her inner strength shines through when she assists the FBI and confronts her rapist – while falling in love with a former FBI agent who’s acting as her bodyguard. Lucy lives and works in Gabe Giordano’s home, as his seven-year old daughter’s nanny, while attending the college where Gabe has become an instructor. My readers will get a glimpse of Kelly Callahan and Luke Bryant’s troubled past growing up together in Crystal Rock, before their Two Hearts Surrendered.
My Tales of the Dragonfly novels are much more complex than my Two Hearts and Kissed by Fate stories. Not only does my Dragonfly series include a distinct romance in each book, but there is an ongoing, underlying story about a human trafficking ring operating at Dragonfly Pointe. My series begins in the 1980’s, but might very well return to the early 1900’s, since there are many questions to be answered as the FBI moves forward.
What I’m working on now is a Christmas novella, yet to be titled, as well as another novella for the Wedding Pets & Kisses anthology coming out next spring.
I’m hoping to release Emergence in the summer of 2017, along with a revised edition of In Tandem, my first Tales of the Dragonfly Novel.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
Social media has made a HUGE impact on my life. I’m beginning to use Facebook a lot more now, but I spend a lot of time at twitter. Two and a half years ago, after spending a few months there, I didn’t particularly see how it would be helpful. By then I had a decent following, and spent most of my time chatting with authors and friends I’d made.
But I really wasn’t selling many books. One day I just decided to switch up my tweeting entirely and began doing shout outs for authors and organizations, by encouraging participation. It’s a little different now—I was spending too much time at twitter, and I’ve had to automate with the volume of tweets I’m sending out. But over these last few years, I’ve made a bunch of great friends in our writing community.
And If I hadn’t become so visible, I would’ve never been invited into my first anthology!
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
Because I’m the mom and caregiver of a severely autistic son with diabetes, I haven’t been pushing personal appearances. I’m an outgoing person, and have no problems with speaking or doing interviews. I was once very active in college organizations and was a horticulturist who dealt one on one with customers nearly every day. But it’s difficult and costly for me to be away from my son with his medical issues.
Online, it’s a different story. Besides being active on Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis, I’ve done numerous interviews and have a blog where I post author interviews too.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
I’ve actually been working with three different cover designers. But my go to person has always been Adriana Hanganu of AdipixDesign.com. Not only is she a lovely person to work with, but she’s become a good friend.
The process?? I can be very picky. Although there is sex in my novels, I consider it tasteful, so I want my covers to reflect the romance of my stories. Sure, I would probably sell more books with sexier covers, but what’s on the cover needs to reflect the characters in my books. So Adrianna and I sift through people pictures first, as I imagine my characters to be. And she works with the background, which I prefer to be outdoors. From there, we go back and forth.
I’ve also had the privilege of working with Angel Sefer, who’s an author and a cover designer with AA Publishing. She designed my Two Hearts Undone cover to resemble Two Hearts Surrendered and Two Hearts Unspoken.
And Blue Harvest Creative is working on my revised Tales of the Dragonfly Novels. I don’t have quite as much say so with them, but they design and format the interior of the book as well. I won a design package from Readers’ Favorite, and I’ve joined their author group.
I haven’t had readers involved in cover design at this point, but I have entered the covers in contest where I’ve asked followers at Twitter and Facebook to vote. In Fact, Two Hearts Surrendered won first place in the RWA Cover The Words Contest.
You have written several novellas. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?
I’d NEVER written a novella or short story before I wrote Two Hearts Surrendered for the Magical Weddings Anthology! (not counting high school and college, of course) Kind of crazy-isn’t it, considering all the opportunities writing this one story has created for me: Two Hearts Unspoken, for Mother’s Day Magic, and Two Hearts Undone, for Annie Acorn’s 2016 Romance Anthology, as well as being asked to write two other novellas for anthologies which will be coming out next year.
Yes, obviously short reads are becoming much more popular, and I do think it’s because of the convenience accessing technology. It’s so easy to download a story whether you’re traveling, sitting in a waiting room, or lying on a beach.
And working in anthologies has impacted my sales in a positive way.
I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called A Touch of Passion. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together?
The romance bundle for A Touch of Passion is comprised with full-length novels. When my dear friend Uvi Poznansky invited me into the group, I immediately said yes. She is the most amazing organizer I’ve ever met when it comes to putting together an anthology, and setting up promotions and Facebook events, and she’s very talented graphic designer as well. It takes a lot of patience to work in a group; particularly when some members don’t have the ability to contribute as much time as others, because of previous commitments.
The goal, of course, is to boost the sales of books for each author in the group. And, if in the process, we take it to the next level and become Amazon bestsellers (which we did), it would assuredly boost our sales even more.
What many authors don’t realize is the category rankings for anthology sales will also be associated individually with your numbers.
E.G. In Magical Weddings, we were ranked high in the paranormal category because of the authors in the group who did write stories with an element of fantasy. Even though I don’t write paranormal (at this point), I ranked at #105 in paranormal romance during our best week of sales!
A bestselling anthology can definitely boost your career as an author, and you should always think carefully before turning an offer down.
Besides the Romance Writers of America, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
As I mentioned earlier, I am now affiliated with Blue Harvest Creative and they will be publishing my Tales of the Dragonfly Novels. Not only will they format and design the cover and interior of my books, they will also offer marketing opportunities along with projects I can submit stories for, if I wish. Since I haven’t been working with them for long, I’ll have to see how this goes.
I’m an affiliated author with AA publishing, since they’ve published Two Hearts Undone. They’re a small publisher, and organize anthologies in assorted genres. They do offer some marketing.
I’m a member of IAN 1, which is an Indie support group. They offer contests as well as regular promotions for books. They have many members, so they can be a big help at twitter.
I’m also a member of (probably) 20 other author groups. It’s hard to tell which ones are helping me the most. Goodreads, of course, can be beneficial, as well as joining and sharing with Facebook groups on a regular base.
Truthfully, the best promoter of your books when you’re an indie author is YOU.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
Actually, I’ve only given away one of my own books for free, and that was two and a half years ago. That Unforgettable Kiss did make it into the top ten for Saga Fiction, which was great, since it’s a huge category. My books began to sell regularly afterward. Offering anthologies for free can really be beneficial, because an anthology can introduce several new authors to a reader. Readers tend to scoop these up because of the amount of extra reading material.
As far as individual books? I think that offering for 99c is the way to go. I’ve discussed this with other authors, and there tends to be more negative reviews doled out to free books. Also, achieving a rank of bestselling author is more beneficial with a paid book, because it classifies you more prestigiously at Amazon.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I’ve just begun creating a list in the last 6 months. I HAVE to get a newsletter out soon. Everything has just happened so quickly for me, my days whiz by in a blur. It’s difficult for me to get other things done because of it. The one thing I think that’s important is not to put people on a list unless you ask them first. Say, you have a giveaway? Don’t automatically assume it’s alright to add that person who wins onto your reading list.
I do regular giveaways with author friends on rafflecopter. These can go either way. Sometimes, everyone who wins contacts you right away for their books, other times you don’t hear from anyone. I think you get more benefit from promoting the giveaway, as opposed to giving away the books.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
It’s difficult requesting reviews one at a time, because of the extra time involved, so I’ve only recently begun to discover reviewers. An author friend of mine, Allyson R. Abbott, and I are actually recruiting a street team to help us find reviewers, along with assisting us with assorted tasks such as posting on our Facebook pages and our blogs. I’ve been using Readers’ Favorite for editorial reviews for a couple of years now, but am just beginning to discover some review groups out there at Goodreads. I’ve just tried out Ebook discovery, and I’m really happy with the results from submitting my two novellas to them.
Author's Book List
Two Hearts Undone
- Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 3
Located in the town of Crystal Rock, Wisconsin, Crystal Visions is a school and residence for the physically and mentally impaired. Now, a wounded warrior facility is being built nearby, for the military heroes returning home from war.
What drives the caring people behind the scenes? Meet Melinda McDaniel and Steven Ryder.
Mel’s an R.N., and Steve’s an ex-Navy medic and physical therapist. What’s their motivation for dedicating their lives to the care and rehabilitation of those in need?
Both have suffered incredible loss with the death of their significant other. They’ve known each other for three rocky years. Are they finally ready to recognize the attraction they’ve been fighting for each other just might be love?
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TWO HEARTS UNSPOKEN
- Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 2
The single mom of a severely autistic son, Elizabeth Bowen is a full-time accountant in Illinois. But the plant where she's been working will be closing soon, due to the struggling economy in Illinois. She's had her hands full with her son Kyle, since his father's been long out of the picture, so when the opportunity to enroll Kyle in a vocational facility in Wisconsin comes up, she gladly accepts.
Retired air force captain, Zachary Logan, is a wounded warrior, searching for anew life for himself outside of the air force. When he relocates to the town of Crystal Rock at the invitation of his friend, Luke Bryant, he realizes he's found it, and accepts the position of administrator at the recently built wounded warrior facility.
When Beth and Zach meet at the beach at Dragonfly Pointe, their attraction to each other is instantaneous. And the most wonderful thing of all? Zach is accepting of her special needs son, Kyle, for exactly who he is.
But even after getting to know each other better, and sharing an incredibly passionate kiss, Beth is puzzled by Zach's behavior. What's Zach hiding, that's preventing him from taking the next step?
Could these two lonely people discover love is that something unspoken, that's been missing from their lives?
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TWO HEARTS SURRENDERED
- Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Book 1
Luke Bryant and Kelly Callahan met on the beach at Dragonfly Pointe when they were only kids. And ever since thirteen-year old Luke saved six-year old Kelly from drowning, they've felt an undeniable connection. But Luke has a tarnished past, and despite his attraction to Kelly when they're growing up, he just doesn't think he's good enough for her.
When Luke comes home on leave from the Air Force, and attends the Magical Wedding of Kelly's sister Kate (Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Award WINNER-That Unforgettable Kiss), Luke and Kelly finally share an enchanting night of passion. They simply can't help themselves--they've loved each other nearly their entire lives.
College student Kelly has everything going for her--she's not only beautiful, but intelligent too. So when Luke eventually returns home from Iraq as a disheartened wounded warrior, even though he appears to want nothing to do with her, she refuses to give up on him. It's not about his looks, or his past--it's all about the connection they've shared since they were kids. Fate has always meant for them to be together--she's sure of it.
But will that past night of enchantment, be strong enough magic, for a military hero to finally surrender his heart to the woman he loves?
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That Unforgettable Kiss
- Kissed By Fate Book 1
Kate Callahan has always known that, someday, she'd run the family business. So men have always been merely a distraction for Kate; she just doesn't have time for love.
Until fate steps in by way of a prophecy foretold, years ago, by a friend who'd been blessed with a remarkable gift. Kate has been warned that, one day, she'll be kissed by fate. And love will happen with that unforgettable kiss.
Michael Murphy already has his life mapped out. After graduating with his degree in Architecture, he'll be working at a prestigious firm in Chicago. When he arrives in the town of Crystal Rock to serve as an intern at Callahan Construction, the last thing he expects is his instant attraction to lovely crew boss, Kate Callahan.
Kate's immediately drawn to Murphy, too. And sparks fly when they unite in an attempt to discover the identity of the thief who's been stealing construction materials from her family's company.
But how could a long-term relationship between them ever survive? They're both young, with different dreams and goals. So even after their unforgettable kiss, Kate lets Murphy go.
Six years later, Kate's finally admitted her mistake; she's just never been able to forget that kiss. Devastated when she learns that Michael Murphy's become engaged, Kate comes up with a plan to try to win him back. But will she be too late?
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- A Tales of The Dragonfly Novel
The dragonfly is said to be a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship.
A woman who’s afraid to trust. Successful designer, Penny Wentworth has arrived from New York to take charge of the wedding flowers for the new owners of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. As a single parent of a severely autistic and mentally impaired son, she has no romantic illusions; her experience with an abusive husband has left her wary of relationships.
A man who’s afraid to love. Haunted by his past since discovering a six-year old girl brutally murdered at Dragonfly Pointe over twenty-two years before, Sam had intentionally avoided returning home. But after resigning from his job as a homicide detective in New Orleans when his marriage fell apart, Sam is now the chief of police in Crystal Rock, Wisconsin.
An undying passion that’s endured throughout the years. Penny’s escort for the wedding, Sam had once been the object of every single one of her teenage fantasies. Despite his overwhelming attraction to Penny as a teenager, Sam had deliberately kept his distance because of their age difference. But from the moment Sam meets Penny again, he realizes she’s always been the only woman for him.
And when Sam and Penny spend the entire weekend of the wedding together, their sizzling attraction turns explosive.
But unaware his divorce was never legally finalized, Sam has no idea that Vanessa Gerard Danielson is on her way to Crystal Rock attempting for reconciliation.
And now there’s a killer in their midst. Sam is stunned when Vanessa’s body is pulled out from the Crystal Rock River.
Indian legend claims Dragonfly Pointe has a mysterious power to ensure new beginnings. When Sam’s search for a killer, astonishingly, leads him back through his own tarnished past, will a woman who’s afraid to trust be able to forgive a man who considers himself undeserving of her love?
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Tales of the Dragonfly Book I: In Tandem
Separated by circumstances fifteen years earlier, Jake Loughlin and Danielle Reardon are fatefully reunited at Dragonfly Pointe.
But the mysterious Dragonfly Pointe has a history of tragedy. An unsolved brutal assault and murder of a six-year old girl over twenty years before has remained unsolved.
A successful entrepreneur, Jake has hidden his status as a special investigator for the FBI. As owner of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn, Jake has returned to restore and renovate the abandoned property.
But, unofficially, he’s investigating the theory that a ring of human traffickers is operating in the area. With three to five kidnappings occurring at the end of each year over the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Jake can trace a pattern going back as far as thirty-five years.
And there could be a connection to the death of the little girl at Dragonfly Pointe twenty-two years earlier.
After the death of her grandmother several months before, Danielle has returned to the family cabin for a short vacation. A former model and vocalist for a band, Danielle escaped her chaotic life as a celebrity when her boyfriend died of a drug overdose. After obtaining her horticulture degree, she opened a successful landscape business in New York.
When Jake and Danielle finally meet again, it's magic.
But something odd is going on at Dragonfly Pointe. During the reconstruction process, not only is a strange vehicle noticed, several times, traveling back and forth to Dragonfly Pointe, but a suspicious stranger is sighted around the area.
When a young girl is kidnapped from a nearby community, the FBI investigation becomes official, and Jake is put into action.
Then lovely eighteen-year old Lucy Callahan is kidnapped. Granddaughter of the former police chief of Crystal Rock, Lucy is like a sister to Danielle.
When the FBI investigation leads back to Dragonfly Pointe, Danielle, herself, is put in danger.
Despite its tragic history, the beauty and power of the magic at Dragonfly Pointe enables new beginnings.
Suffering tremendous loss, or surviving abuse and tragedy, each character featured in the series will create their own new beginning, aided by the power of love.
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