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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Barbara Elsborg Discusses POWER OF LOVE

…and offers a chance to win a free copy of the e-novel!  Read on.

I'm normally very busy reporting Barbara's new releases, rave reviews, and other news, but this interview is going to be a little different. Barbara is going to talk very candidly about her one novel that had less than stellar sales, despite getting some excellent ratings and reviews—POWER OF LOVE. So here's a glimpse into the business side of writing, explained from the author's perspective.

POWER OF LOVE is a Twilight line e-novel released on May 20, 2009 by Ellora’s Cave. It’s about love, loss, and the power of the human spirit to overcome death. Here's the blurb of the novel from the Ellora's Cave website:

Joe is a lost soul.

When Joe is killed in the line of duty, the result of a blunder by his girlfriend Poppy, he ends up stuck between worlds, not quite in heaven, not quite in hell. Heaven is Poppy lying in his arms, hearing the sound of his name on her lips as he makes love to her, again and again. Hell is the knowledge that to save Poppy, he must convince her to let him go.

Poppy is a soul lost.

Joe was Poppy’s heart, her soul, and since he died she’s lost it all, including her sanity. Everywhere she looks, he’s there—talking to her, touching her, sharing ice cream, showers and making love to her like there’s no tomorrow. But tomorrow does come, and letting go of Joe could destroy her.

Sometimes love lasts a lifetime. Sometimes love reaches beyond death. Sometimes…love lasts forever.

L: Barbara, can you tell us what inspired this story of Joe, who's an angel, and Poppy, his girlfriend who grieves him and may have been responsible for his death?

Barbara:  I’d wanted to call the book – Letting Go – but that title was already taken. It was the idea of letting go as a theme that started me off on the story – that Poppy couldn’t let go of her dead lover, that she HAD physically let go and let him fall, that Joe couldn’t let go of his feelings and admit what he felt for her. This was one of the few occasions when a title has come to me first. Then I couldn’t use it! But Power of Love works because the story proves how powerful love can be.

L: What about the characters will the readers find interesting or compelling?

Barbara: I do like to create quirky characters and I think despite the subject matter – these two are very funny. The scene where Poppy ends up in a tree and the first scene where Joe discovers he has extra appendages are some of the funniest I’ve written. But these two are also deeply in love, though one of them can’t admit it and I hope I show the depth of the passion between them.

L: Is THE POWER OF LOVE your only novel with an angel as a character?

Barbara:  It was but I’ve just added one in my WIP – titled tentatively Remember Me – for Loose-Id but if that title is gone, it will have to have another one.

L: What do you think are the strengths or highlights of the story?

Barbara: The humor in the face of adversity! The sex!

L: Using a point system that reflects sales, POWER OF LOVE only rated about 30 points where some of your other novels scored 300 or more. POWER OF LOVE got great reviews and I know from reading it myself that it's a wonderful story. Were you surprised by this, and why do you think it hasn't sold well?

Barbara:  Writers are very coy about their sales figures. I understand that. It would be very depressing to think your sales were good and find out they were less than average but the sales for Power of Love are awful. No beating about the bush. I’ve sold to date around 150 copies. That is staggeringly bad.

WHY? I wish I knew.

Well, I have a few theories but I’d love to hear from readers about this too.
  • The blurb – is it not enticing? Does it put readers off?
  • The extract – again – is it off-putting?
  • The cover – it’s not my favourite but there’s nothing too awful about it.
  • The subject matter – angel, death – maybe readers think it will be a depressing story – it’s actually one of the funnier ones. 
This story was the next one out after I’d been to the Romantic Times convention in Orlando in 2009. I handed out a lot of leaflets about Power of Love – with an extract to read. So I did more for this story than any other I’ve written and the sales were worse. Kind of ironic.

Although I’ve had a couple of reviews for the book, there was less take up than for some of the others. Maybe that made a difference. Yet – one of my best selling books – Susie’s Choice – has only had three reviews.

Basically – I’m baffled.

L: What would you be willing to do to give readers a chance to experience this wonderful story?

Barbara:  I’d love to hear from readers who decided NOT to buy this book. If they could tell me why that would be great.

I’d love to hear from readers who would LIKE to read this book.

If you comment on this post – I’ll send a free copy of Power of Love to one reader.

L: Thanks so much, Barbara, for taking time out from your busy writing schedule to give fans some insider information about Power of Love. 

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

READERS: Write a comment below and give Barbara your thoughts for a chance to win a free copy of the e-novel, POWER OF LOVE courtesy of the author! Be sure to include a way for us to contact you either via a user name linked to your profile that includes contact info, or your encoded and “unspammable” e-mail address. For instance: youremail (at) aol (dom) com.  Thank you for your thoughts!


  1. At the risk of appearing like some crazy internet stalker who has just suddenly appeared and started commenting everywhere....

    I haven't read all of Barbara's books yet (although I have read a number and I'm working my way through those I haven't) "Power of Love" is one I haven't read or purchased yet. And yet I have stories that were published both before and after. Why haven't I got to it yet? Probably the same reason as I haven't got to some of the LooseID ones -- I'm not a huge fan of paranormal, espcially erotic paranormal.

    I love a good vampire story (Hello entire Buffy and Angel series DVDs in my cupboard) but there are too many ordinary ones out there. Sexy vampires are a dime a dozen and few of them worth the money.

    Why is that important? Well, I'm reasonably familiar with Ellora's Caves lines, so I skipped Power Of Love for now because I thought it was a vampire story. I realise that not all paranormal is vampires, but from browsing, it seems if it's not vampires, it's werewolves and I really DON'T GET the werewolf thing. (Sorry, I know you have a werewolf story. As much as I love your writing, it might just be one I skip -- I simply can't get into it!)

    Another thought -- maybe I assumed the vampire connection is because of the "Twilight" thing? (No doubt Ellora's Cave was using it before all that hoo haa, but now it's indellibly linked in most people's minds.)

    Now, of course, that I have read your synopsis, I realise that the cover shows angel's wings. And I quite like the premise, so it's definitely going on my 'want to read' list. And I'm going to take another look at the "Twilight" line -- if there are other stories that aren't vampires and werewolves, maybe I'm missing out on some good stuff!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Emmie. I'm sure Barbara will be very interested in your reasons for passing over Power of Love and your thoughts on paranormal stories in general.

    I'm not a big fan of vamps and weres either, but Barbara's Trueblood series is an exception.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Oh that is interesting, Emmie. I hadn't thought about the Twilight thing.
    Now as for not being a fan of vamps and weres - I have to say - I'm not either. There are a few writers who use these paranormals that I love but far more that I just don't get. The problem with vamps is - it's all been done - or at least a lot of it has. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet - mine are different - partly because they're funny. I also - I think maybe apart from the first - The Consolation Prize - don't spend a lot of time on the vampy aspects. Big confession here - I HATE vampire films, I really don't like to see the fangs and the mad faces on the guys when they bite. I've never seen Buffy the vampire slayer. I DO watch Trueblood because that's quite entertaining but again - once they get that look on their faces and the teeth come out - I'm out too - straight out of the room.
    So, wandered right off topic there but I hadn't thought about Power of Love being the only paranormal. That really has given me food for thought because I'd intended to write a paranormal next for EC - maybe I shouldn't??

  4. Please, please, write from your heart like you usually do, Barbara, and dont worry if it's paranormal,meganormal,subnormal,or any sort of normal. I've read everything you've written and published. I LOVE Poppy. She is so funny and sweet. Joe is flawed, gorgous, and not in any way is Power of Love a cliched angel story. I suspect this book will be one that readers will grab as soon as they understand you dont write anything that isnt exceptional.
    I dont even bother reading blurbs on new releases, I just hit download. Write more!!!

  5. I purchased and downloaded "Power of Love" but I haven't read it yet. (Ducks behind a chair with a cringe.) This is from the gal who sent emails to friends telling them about Barbara's writing, in particular "Strangers" (yay, I was the first to write a review on Amazon for it! woot!).

    I expect that I am completely wrong on this but from the blurb I knew that it was going to be great (I mean, come on, it's a Barbara Elsborg story!) and I also knew before I put it in my online shopping cart that it is going to be an emotional read for me. I don't want to say that the blurb makes it sound "heavy" but I can't think of another adjective right now. And I have to be in the right frame of mind to read something that I know beforehand will cause tears. "Strangers" totally snuck up on me because it didn't seem quite as "heavy" because death isn't mentioned in the blurb. In fact, we know there isn't death because of the blurb. And of course "Strangers" wrenched my heart from my chest multiple times and I cried the "ugly cry" (as well as laughed out loud on several occasions).

    Just a question... From the blurb, it seems that any "spice" in "Power of Love" is from flashbacks. Is that the case? I assumed that the physical side of the protagonists' relationship isn't happening as the story develops but occurred previously. Now that I think about it that assumption may be another reason why I haven't read it yet. I think I can safely state that I like my hero and heroine to be corporeal.

    Digging deeper into my thoughts here... I believe subconsciously I think the outcome must be one of two things: heroine dies to be with hero or hero becomes corporeal. Even the hint of the former outcome as a possibility will create avoidance on my part. And neither of these scenarios may be the case in "Power of Love".

    I can be and am often completely wrong, but I offer up my thought process (and general psychosis) to you, Barbara, for your perusal (and possible entertainment) as a fan and someone who has bought the ebook but not ready to read it based on assumptions I made from the blurb.

    tiffany ;)

    ps - I've also bought "Finding the Right One" and haven't read it yet either because in my strange little world I'm punishing Will for repeatedly hurting my girl, Addie. I'm not ready for him to be happy yet.

    pss - And "Hello Emmie" - same DVD collections: all Buffy, all Angel, and Veronica Mars as well. I sadly quote Buffy in my everyday life.

  6. Hmm, no Angel or Buffy DVDs here. I have the other Joss Whedon masterpieces--Firefly and Serenity.

    Tiffany, thanks for your comments. I think you might be very pleasantly surprised when you read POWER OF LOVE. :)

    You said: Digging deeper into my thoughts here... I had to smile at that. Digging Deeper is the title of Barbara's next novel.

  7. Hi Tiffany,
    Interesting!!!Funnily enough there are no flashbacks to speak of in the story. Certainly no sexy flashbacks. I think the only one is where I have to tell what happened when I explain how Joe died.
    PLUS - NOOOOO - I won't let a heroine die to be with a hero. If there is one thing I can't cope with it's sad endings -even if they end up together in heaven. No - not going to happen. I might be the only person on the planet that hasn't watched Titanic. I didn't use to mind sad films but I just can't watch them now.
    The ending of this is - ah well, maybe predicatable given that I won't let Poppy die but it feels satisfying to me.
    Thanks so much for your comments because with you and Emmie, I'm getting a feeling of what people might have assumed when they read the blurb.
    Arlene - mega-star critter and pal - thanks for your words too. I think Poppy is one of my favorites!

  8. Barbara, you know next to Strangers, this is my absolute favorite novel of yours, I also own it, all of your novels, so please don't drop my name in the hat. This story reaches deep inside and grabs the reader with heart-wrenching emotion. As Barbara said, she's got a HEA on every story. This one I promise won't break your heart at the end, but it might tug on it in the middle.

  9. Along the lines of what Tiffany said ...

    I would guess these bits in the blurb could be the problem:

    "When Joe is killed in the line of duty.... Hell is the knowledge that to save Poppy, he must convince her to let him go."

    To me this says not only is Joe dead, he may not be coming back. Sad ending. I'm personally not bothered by sad endings as long as they feel satisfying (well, I'm LESS bothered by those sad endings), but I think it could be enough to put off some readers.

    Another point: it appears the heroine caused his death through a screw-up, and I think this could also be problematic for some readers. Now, I believe 100% you are capable of pulling off this scenario, Barbara! But someone not familiar with your work might not be willing to risk it.

    A few thoughts, for the tuppence they're worth! :)

  10. Thanks, Sharon and Dawn.
    Good points, Sharon. I wonder if rewriting the blurb would make any difference now??

  11. Can you do that? Might be worth a try! You could go back to the original if you changed your mind.

  12. Hi, Barbara,
    I don't mind saying that this is a blatant effort to win a copy of one of your novels, since I haven't yet had a chance to read one! But I would add my voice to several others here and say that the premise just seems to make it unlikely that there would be a happy ending here. And, as you know, you're not the only one who insists on HEA! Now if the blurb gave us a hint . . .

  13. Hi Donna. Ah, now I've taken the hint. I'll rewrite the blurb - I was told by EC that I could so I'll do that.
    Of course of all the tasks in the entire universe, writing blurbs is the one I hate the most. Even more than cleaning the bathroom. Arrghghhghghhg

  14. Does anyone like writing blurbs? I think I'd rather clean the bathroom too - with my tongue. Post your draft when you have it and let us throw darts at it. If you like. :)

  15. Hi Barbara. The cover of the book is lovely, so that wouldn't put me off. To be honest, the title did. It sounds like a song from the 80s and sounds melodramatic. The sense of drama was heightened by the blurb. After reading it, I was sure the story would be very sad and the ending very unhappy. These two things would put me off. It is interesting that you say it is a funny story, with lots of humour. I didn't get that from the blurb at all.
    I don't know if this helps.
    I would read anything by you.
    your huge fan,

  16. Thanks, Chrys. I wish I could have used -Letting Go - for the title but oh well.
    Looks like a thumbs down for the blurb. I'm off on holiday tomorrow but when I'm back - I'll try to write another blurb.

    I am soooo good at putting things off!

  17. Yes! There is one crazy writer out there that enjoys writing the dang things. Um, Ya know where to find me, Barbara.
    See you when you get back.

  18. Random drawing for those who don't already have Lucy ... and Sharon wins. A copy is winging its way as I type. Congrats!! Thanks to everyone who added a comment. I'll work on the blurb.