A New Freebie!


Hello!

I mentioned in my newsletter this week that I was going to put up a new free story in the freebie section soon, and… well, hey! It’s there now. This is a sweeter one, and some of you may have read it already, but for those who haven’t, I hope you’ll check it out and see if you like it. I won’t spoil what it is, because it’s kind of like a present, I guess? You know, like… it’s fun to find out what it is after you open it (after you go to the freebie page), and then you can either get really excited or bemoan receiving a fruit cake for Christmas (or whatever holiday, I guess. I kind of like fruit cake, though, so maybe that’s not a great example).

Anyways! It’s there, so go check it out.

For those who can’t figure out how to get on the freebie page (because I haven’t figured out how to put good directions for it yet. Sorry!), you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter, which you can do on the side over there somewhere (—->). I send out newsletters on a weekly basis, and include the password to access my freebies from there. You also get fun information about stuff! What kind of stuff? Well, it varies a bit. I’ll mention my new releases and how I’m doing on specific stories, or what’s coming soon, all of that. I like to talk about other random things, too, like what I’m reading, or what I think of book things. And, I include fun little tips and tricks about sexy things (or things I think are sexy, at least. They aren’t always strictly tips, I suppose).

So… yes! Newsletters go out on Tuesdays, generally, and I’ve got two freebies available as of now, so… if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?

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To Plot (or not)


I’m really bad at plotting out my stories. This should not be confused with being bad at thinking of things to write. I think that’s probably the problem I have with all of this, though.

I don’t really have any problems thinking of things to write. Sometimes I don’t know the exact thing I want to write, but if something is an issue, I’ll leave it for a bit and come back to it. Usually my issues there arise with connecting things, and figuring out the details. Not with the actual plot, but just how to connect one thing to another so that it has purpose, you know?

I can’t really give any good examples of this in my books without spoiling things completely. I’m going to use the Fifty Shades series, since I think that’s well known enough that it won’t really spoil anything (and if it does, I’m sorry!).

In the Fifty Shades books, come to find out, Christian is attracted to brown haired girls that remind him of his mother. Now… that’s kind of creepy, but oh well, that’s how it is. To be fair, they say that people are attracted like that anyways, I guess? Like, if you’re a woman, you look for someone who has similar traits to your father? I guess it’d be the opposite for a man, too. I don’t really know how that works.

Anyways! This ends up explaining why Christian is incredibly attracted to Anastasia, who is otherwise seen as somewhat plain and ordinary. We don’t really get it at first, but then all of a sudden it makes some sense. It’s still kind of creepy, but we’re invested enough in the story to be alright with it to some extent. Or, I was, at least. Christian’s mother is the reason for a lot of other things, too, and if you’ve read the books then it’ll make sense.

So that’s kind of what I do. Like… I might have had part of it planned out for later, at least in my head, and then the beginning works fine, and I connect the dots to bring the beginning to the end in some meaningful way. Before I write, I might know that I want Christian to be incredibly attracted to Ana, and I might know that he had unresolved issues with his mother, but then as I was writing, I’d think, “Oh, hey! What if his mother’s looks remind him of Ana, which is where the initial allure came in?” And I’d go with that. I didn’t really plan that to begin with, but it makes sense and it adds depth to the story, you know?

I don’t know if E.L. James did that or not, but if I were writing Fifty Shades, that’s what I’d do.

Some people think that’s a weird way to write, but I like it. I think it’s more fun and interesting sometimes. I’ve tried doing a general plot outline for what I want to write, and I can see the use in it because it gives you some structure for where to go and all of that, but… every time I’ve done it, I don’t actually stick to it.

Ember of Ecstasy is a good example. I was trying out the plotting thing again, for no real reason I could think of. I hadn’t written in The Monster Within series for awhile, so I thought it might help. Before I started, I reread all the other ones to get myself caught up somewhat, so I didn’t really need a plot outline or anything, but I figured I’d do it anyways.

It wasn’t bad, but… I kind of ignored half of the things I wrote because I thought of better things to write as I was going, and then it ended entirely different than what I expected.

In the newest one, which I’m tentatively calling Rise of Spirit, I even started it somewhat differently than I planned. Solace is in a forest, right? If you haven’t read it, this isn’t really a spoiler, and if you have then you’ll know why she’s in a forest. So I was going to write this, and do that, and all of these things, and…

“Hey,” I said to myself. Myself perked up and looked at me curiously. “What if there’s a spider?”

“A spider?”

“Yes, a spider. But a big one. A giant spider, and there’s a web.”

“A giant web, of course.”

“Yes, right. And…”

“Hey! What if the spider can talk? It’s fantasy, right? And there’s demons and seraphs and goblins and stuff. So maybe there’s a talking spider?”

And now, as you might have guessed, Rise of Spirit has a talking spider. I don’t really know where that came from. It just sort of happened. That’s about how my plotting usually goes, too. I have too many ideas sometimes, which is a good and a bad thing. Occasionally I need to get rid of some ideas, because too many ideas is just confusing, you know? But sometimes I get to add in the random talking spider and then make it important somehow (so then it’s not random, because just having a random talking spider is kind of weird. No one would like that).

So if you ever wondered where I get my ideas or how I do my plotting, I couldn’t really tell you. It comes to me somehow, and I just write it down. I think a lot and I’m kind of a strange person, so that might help. If you think a lot and you’re strange, maybe you have the same problems? They aren’t the worse problems to have, I’d say. Rather amusing ones, actually.

Oyster


Hello!

I’ve been excessively ill as of late, so I haven’t really gotten to do as much as I would have liked. This is a bit unfortunate, but there’s not much I could do about it. I’ve mostly been huddled up in a sweatshirt and pajama pants, feeling achy and cold. Not too fun. I’m working on carrying on now, though. I don’t usually get sick too often, and not for multiple days when I do, so it kind of bothers me, but I know to take it easy or I’ll just keep staying sick.

Anyways! Besides sickness, a lot of things are happening in the e-book world, of which I figured I’d chime in and talk about. The bigger one as of now is Oyster Books and their Oyster reading app, which will be available for the iPhone supposedly sometime by the end of the month. I don’t know their exact begin date, so it could be more like the beginning of October, I guess, but it’ll be here soon.

For those who don’t know, Oyster is going to be a buffet-style e-book subscription service where you can read as many books as you like for only $9.95 a month. It’s similar to Amazon Prime in some ways, and not really in others. Mostly the borrowing. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you get to borrow one book a month that’s in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL for short). Most of the books in the KOLL are from indie authors or Amazon imprints from what I know, though I believe a few are from traditional publishers.

Now, random side trip here, but the KOLL is good and bad in some ways. First, you can only borrow one book, and it costs like… $80 a year or so (or $40 if you can get the student discount, which is a great deal). If you consider anywhere from $1 to $5 being a good price for most e-books (that’s what I consider a good price, at least), then you’re looking at anywhere from $12 to $60 worth of free books over the course of your subscription. This sounds weird at first, because you’re paying $80, but… you also get a ton of free streaming video through Amazon’s video thing (I totally forget what it’s called, I don’t use it), and you also get free 2-day shipping on a ton of Amazon products (I love this!). If 2 days isn’t fast enough, you can upgrade it to 1 day for $3.99.

So Amazon Prime isn’t just for book borrowing. Also, the only way you can borrow books is if you own a Kindle device. I have Amazon Prime, but I don’t own a Kindle, so that’s kind of sad, but I order a lot of stuff because I’m weird, and the free 2-day shipping is great, even if the UPS and Fed Ex delivery men probably don’t like me by now (I order a lot of small and dumb things).

This isn’t about Amazon Prime, it’s about Oyster and their e-book subscription thing, but I thought you should know what the only other real competitor is as of now (that I know of) and what they offer. Amazon Prime gives you less books in your subscription, but you get more other things, which is neat.

Oyster is just books, and you get as many books as you want. You aren’t going to get the same books as what’s on Amazon, though. You aren’t going to get those, because for the most part, for a book to be in the KOLL, the author has to agree to an exclusivity clause stating that they can’t make their book available in digital format anywhere except Amazon for 90 days (after which they can lose their KOLL “membership” or renew it for another 90 days). So Oyster just won’t have the same books as Amazon does ever, or at least not at the same time. That’s not a positive or negative, it’s just how it is.

Now… Oyster also offers you unlimited books for only $9.95, but… as an author, I have issues with this. Or, rephrasing that, I might have issues with this. Amazon Prime pays authors for borrowed books, and they pay at a really competitive rate. If you borrow one of my books for free (I have a couple that you can if you want), I get pretty much the same amount as if you’d bought the book. So you get it for free (for awhile, at least. You have to “give it back” eventually, but you can read it for free), and I get paid the same. That’s pretty neat, huh? I think so!

Oyster won’t announce their payment to authors yet, which is kind of a huge red flag. Smashwords, my potential distributor for them, also won’t be announcing the payment structure until 3 days before Oyster goes live. I write because I love to write, but one of the only ways I can continue to do this and provide quality material is if I’m paid for it, you know? I would seriously like nothing more than to live in some Bohemian society where everyone can do the things they like, and no one has to pay for anything, and we can all be creative and do whatever, but… my landlord prefers that I pay him my rent and the electric company doesn’t like it if I don’t pay them for the electricity they send me, and so on and so forth.

So I try to price my books as cheaply as possible, and sometimes I even give them away for free, but this is my career, so I can’t do that Bohemian lifestyle romanticized thing, you know?

I don’t know if that’s what Oyster wants me to do. I couldn’t tell you what they want me to do, because they won’t even tell me. They would like my books, and a lot of other people’s books, but they won’t tell us what they’ll give us in return for having our books available to their subscribers, which is kind of scary. It’s like going for a job interview, and the hiring manager says he definitely wants to hire you, but he won’t tell you what he’s going to pay you for working. Do you do it anyways, and then hope for the best? Or do you decline and go somewhere else?

It’s not exactly that, but it kind of is, too.

It’s not my favorite situation to be in, to be completely honest. I would love to offer you all my books on a subscription service basis. I know some of you could probably read a ton of them and get a great deal from it. I would be happy to do this if Oyster is offering competitive payments to authors, but I’m not sure if this is the case. If they were, why are they hiding it now? There’s really no reason to, from what I can tell. Or, there’s no reason to hide something unless you have something to hide, and… in this case I don’t want that something hidden from me.

Because of this, I don’t think Oyster is going to be very good. I know this is premature and I know a lot of people might be excited for it (because, honestly? It sounds really exciting), but I just wanted to go at it from another point of view as a “content provider.”

I love when people read my books. I give books away quite a lot, and I offer sales on books, too. I have paperbacks that are discounted, e-books that are discounted, permanently at $0.99, or some are even free. I have freebies I give away to you all if you’re a newsletter subscriber, too.

The thing there is that -I- and giving them away, and thus I’m not making anything from it, and that’s my choice. I do it because I like to, and I know that not everyone can afford to buy everything they like all the time, so I try to make it a little easier for you to buy the things you want if one of those things is something I have. I like doing that.

I don’t like giving someone something and then them turning around and selling it for a profit without providing me with anything, and I’m afraid that’s essentially what Oyster is going to become. It’s extremely unlikely they can stick with the same terms as Amazon has, and with an all-you-can-read subscription service, it’s unlikely they can do even half that. (To be completely honest, I’d go for half that, personally, at least for some things) So… for all I know right now (which is nothing, because they won’t tell me, or you, or anyone, really), they want me to provide them with free content so that they can charge for it and make a profit off of it.

I don’t like that and I don’t agree with that. It’s not a really nice thing to do, first off, and second it’s somewhat manipulative and rude (which are not nice things, so it’s like triply not nice, I suppose). It may turn out that they’re NOT doing this, in which case I’ll admit that I was wrong, but they literally just won’t tell anyone, so…

If you want some great deals, and free content, and all of that, I’d personally suggest you just sign up for my newsletter. My newsletter is 100% free, and if you like my sales and what I have to offer, I can basically guarantee you that you’ll get around ~$12+ worth of savings -at least-. And then my freebies (that you can download whenever, and keep forever), would add more savings to that. And I’m planning some holiday sales, and other sales… you’re looking at a pretty good deal. Free or drastically discounted e-books for… free. No subscription necessary, really (or, well, my newsletter is kind of a subscription, but it’s a fun one, and different than other stuff).

Also, honestly? I know not everyone likes buying e-books at Amazon, but Amazon Prime is a great deal. You can even get a free 30-day trial, which is kind of amazing. (Oyster doesn’t have any trial, from what I know, though they haven’t fully released yet, so I don’t know the full details)

This was way longer than I expected, but I just wanted to inform you all of Oyster and why I might not be participating (and why other authors you enjoy might not, either). You’ll still be able to find most of my books at the same places you always have, though. I currently have two shorter titles enrolled for the KOLL, so if you’re an Amazon (Prime) type of person you can buy (borrow them for free) there, plus I will be offering them for free on a rolling 90 day schedule (5 days at a time) whenever I can.

Random side note to that, but I’m actually hoping to eventually have enough of those so that I can have one story free on Amazon for 5 days at a time on a permanent basis (so one is free for 5 days, then another is free for 5 days, and then another… and so on and so forth), to provide you all with an even better deal. Anyone can read Amazon books with their Kindle app, PC reader, or on the Kindle Cloud servers on your computer, so even if you prefer to shop at B&N most times, you can grab them on the free days and check them out if you want.

Besides Oyster, would you like an e-book subscription service? I think it could be neat in theory, to be honest. I love my Netflix account. I also watch shows on Hulu a lot, but I don’t pay for Hulu+(or Plus, whatever they call it) so I get ads (like commercials), but I don’t mind them. I used to pay for Pandora for music, but they got rid of the monthly limit and added ads instead, so I just do that now. I know not everyone likes ads, but I don’t mind them if I get the content for free. I actually kind of like it. Hulu pays its content providers a pretty good amount per ad (I believe they split the profits 50:50, but don’t quote me on that), and it’s a really fair deal, so by watching the ads I honestly feel like I’m really helping the producers of the show (and then I get to watch the show for free, too!). Kind of a win/win/win there (Hulu wins, too, because they put the shows up, you know?).

I think I might like something like that, if it was possible. Like… if you could read e-books for free, but they had ads in them? And the author got paid for those ads? I envision it somewhat like watching TV and seeing commercials. I mean, I might skip the commercials, but sometimes I don’t mind commercials. Sometimes I really like commercials if they’re interesting, too. Is that weird? I don’t know.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Kings and Outcasts


Since I’m working on The Monster Within at the moment, I figured I’d take some time today to talk about Solace and Bastion (and maybe Faith or others. We’ll see how it goes). I’ll be trying to keep things as spoiler free as possible, but if you’d like to make absolute certain that you don’t have anything spoiled, then you might want to consider skipping this one. I’d mostly like to discuss concepts and my ideas, so it should be relatively safe, though.

Anyways!

Solace is an outcast in the town of Glenwood, for (currently) reasons unknown. There are some reasons, and they’re pretty good ones once the story gets to it, but for now they’re secretive. I’ve dropped a couple of hints in Ember of Ecstasy, and there’s more to come soon, too.

The thing I find interesting about the whole thing is that Solace doesn’t know why everyone hates her, though. I really enjoy this concept and theme, because I think it’s easy to relate to that in a lot of ways. Why does anyone hate anything? I have some reasons for why I dislike things, and then I have reasons for why I hate things. I try to reserve really good reasons for the things I hate, but I don’t know if everyone does the same. As to the things I dislike? Sometimes I honestly couldn’t tell you why I do or don’t like something. It’s just personal preference and opinion based on bias and preconceived notions a lot of time.

Solace deals with it, though. She deals with it even though literally almost everyone in Glenwood hates her. She never questions it, nor gets upset, she just tries to become better. I like that about her. I can see where some people might think she’s a weak character or a bad one, because of all these bad things that happen to her, but she doesn’t let it get her down. I think there’s a huge difference there, you know? A character who has bad things happen and then just drops into depression is maybe “real” but not very fun? One who has bad things happen and then strives to overcome them, become better (even if there might not be a better), and just continues to live and try despite the odds being against them… well, I like characters like that.

Solace might seem weak or bad or a bunch of things at times, but honestly I think she might be one of the strongest characters in the story. She continues to try when she has no reason to, and I envy that somewhat and would like to replicate it in my own life.

As to Bastion, he’s in somewhat the same position, except backwards. As the Demon King, no one really hates him. I don’t think they can afford to, as there’s bound to be consequences. At least openly, you know? I mean, the occasional disagreement or dislike is probably fine, but open revolt? There’s got to be a huge reason to resort to something like that, and then the consequences could be huge, too.

The thing is, Bastion isn’t a mean person or a tyrannical Demon King or anything like that. He’s relatively nice, all things considered. He and Solace got off to an odd and rough start, but I think that’s understandable. I mean, she’s a human who was sent as basically a sacrificial bride for the ruler of the monstrous host in Runehaven. In her mind, he’s a monster. In his mind, he’s being sent some woman in order to maintain the peace, and he’s expected to marry her, but where is the love?

(Random side note field trip)
Arranged marriages are interesting in those regards. It’s one of those things that isn’t really applicable to a lot of countries nowadays. On a random side note to that, while I have no reference at hand, I’ve heard that arranged marriages that occur in India (I don’t know if they still do, but these were older statistics I was reading) actually have a high percentage chance of working well, and the two people who become married eventually come to enjoy it. I’ve always curiously wondered if it has something to do with the whole Kama Sutra love-making lesson and teaching thing, at least in part. The Kama Sutra isn’t that entirely, but I really like how it teaches and advocates pleasure in intimate unions, you know? I think other places should teach people these things, because to be completely honest a lot of people are oblivious about sex and how to make their partner happy, which is sad.
(Field trip is done!)

And… they’re trying, you know? Bastion and Solace are, perhaps, not compatible at all. They don’t know much about each other, nor do they know if they can even love each other. They aren’t sure if they have a future, or what their future is, or anything like that. They’d like to try, though. Together. Bastion finds that he enjoys Solace and the fact that she’s curious and unsure. I think he might see some of himself in her in those regards. As the Demon King, he’s not really allowed to be unsure, and the fact that Solace is, and is open about it, kind of complements him in a way. Bastion is strong and caring and treats her fairly when no one’s ever treated her that way in her entire life, which is interesting to her, but also leaves her feeling wary and cautious. Is it a lie? A ruse? Demons have a reputation for being less than respectable, at least according to the human books she’s read, and so you can’t really blame her for her initial wariness.

They work together, though. I think they go good together, too. They aren’t the same, not by a longshot, but the similarities that they have are a great base for a potential relationship, and the differences they have complement each other well, in my opinion. There’s a high chance for love there, blossoming and burgeoning.

Except there’s that whole issue of a human inevitably dying when she gives birth to a demon’s child…

Something Different


I wanted to write this post yesterday, but I thought it best to wait. Sometimes I get really excited about things and don’t think much on the specifics. It’s gotten me in trouble before, somewhat, where I think I can just jump right into something, do something, and… nope! Sometimes you just can’t do that, you know? So I thought I should just think a bit first, figure everything out and the logistics behind it, then go from there.

Anyways! Saying that, I basically ended up with the same conclusion that I had before, so I guess I didn’t really need to wait all that much, haha.

I write erotic things. I like erotic things. I think sex is fun to write about and talk about from a logical point of view. I’m kind of a strange person in those regards. In my personal life, I don’t really feel very comfortable with “sexy” conversations, but I’d be more than happy to have a conversation about sex. I don’t know how that works exactly, but let’s just go with it.

While I like sex and writing it and all of that, it’s not the only thing I like, of course. That’d be kind of weird if it were, I’d say. I like a lot of other things, too. To be honest, in general, I like writing. I think that’s one of the only constants in my life, for a long while now. I get really into it, and whenever I stop doing it for a day or two, I get kind of nervous to get back to it. I don’t like to not write and if there’s ever a time where I can’t write, I get antsy to get back to it.

I started writing a long long time ago. I don’t remember exactly when, but I’ve always loved writing. I never realized it exactly until later, but I think deep down I just always did. I mistook it for other things, somewhat. I knew I wanted to tell stories, but I didn’t link that with writing for awhile.

I started writing more seriously (much more seriously) after reading On Writing by Stephen King. I don’t really know what it was about that book that did it for me, but everything just sort of clicked in place after I read it. There are a few things that I really enjoyed about that book and that I’ll always remember.

First and foremost was that he never thought of writing as a job or a chore or anything like that. I don’t remember the exact specifics, but Mr. King likened writing to taking a nap. It’s a nice, relaxing thing that he enjoys doing. That shifted something for me, and afterwards I thought of writing differently. I liked it. I knew I liked it. And then why was I treating it like an arduous task? I don’t know.

Another was the concept of just writing. Sounds dumb, but you need to write, right? Yes. He suggested just going at it, doing 2,000 words a day, which he considered a good pace of things. I don’t exactly know if I agree with that now, as I think in general 2,000 isn’t too much, but in the beginning it was my milestone. I wrote 2,000 words a day, almost every single day, for a long time after reading that book. I don’t write 2,000 words a day now sometimes, but I try to do more when I can. I have editing and other writing tasks to take care of, which puts a damper into that, but it works out for the best. I think on my best day I wrote something like 9,000, though, so maybe it makes up for it? I write more than 2,000 a day now, when I can get straight to writing without worrying about other stuff, so it evens out.

And finally was something that I think a lot of writers struggle with. Again, I don’t remember the exact wording, but in the book he mentions that if you wrote something, and then sold it, and with the money you paid your electric bill, he considers you a talented writer. That last one is difficult for a lot of writers sometimes. We get stressed a lot. I think it’s an occupational hazard. Is our writing good enough? Do people like it? I still feel a sort of sense of relief when people tell me they like my writing, and my heart clenches a little when someone says they didn’t think it was good enough. I want people to have their opinions, regardless, and I want people to be able to freely say if they like or dislike something, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt a little bit, you know? We put our hearts and souls into writing something, worrying that we’re just some talentless hack, and…

But, well, Stephen King considers me a talented writer, even though we’ve never met, and I appreciate that. I’ve paid multiple electric bills with my writing money, and I hope to pay all the rest of my future electric bills with it, too.

I mentioned up above that I wrote 2,000 words a day for a long while. That was something like 2 years worth of writing. I guess I consider it my “dues” in a way. I never published any of that. Unfortunately I didn’t edit much of any of that, either. It’s not bad writing, and in fact I think the stories I wrote are wonderful, but they need some work in the editing department.

The other “unfortunate” part is that nothing that I wrote was really erotic. There were some sex scenes, sure, but not a lot and not really often. Mostly flirting and stuff like that. It was more standard YA in a lot of ways, with a fantasy hint. Some of it was with older characters, but even that was closer to what New Adult is now, though without a lot of the elements that are popular in current New Adult things.

I’d really like to do something with that writing, and I guess I’ve planned to all along, but I never knew exactly what to do with it. I don’t even know what my initial plans were, but I just wanted to write it. I wrote over a million words, and it’s just sitting on my computer, collecting digital dust.

My plan is to work through that slowly and release it. Back then, I had this huge issue with editing. I don’t really know how to explain it, except to say that editing really is work, and it takes a long time to get used to it. I tried a lot of things to get better at editing, and the only thing that really worked was just to do it, and do more of it. I’ve been doing it a lot for the past few years, preparing myself, and I have a good handle on it now. It takes time, but not nearly as much as it used to for me (mainly because it seems difficult and boring at times, but it’s not really, you know? I don’t know how to explain that very well. It’s more of an acquired taste that you -need- to acquire as a writer, so you just do).

I’m going to be branching out a little because of that. None of that writing belongs grouped together with my current writing, so I’m going to be starting a new pen name to do that. This isn’t really anything new and writers have been doing it for awhile (Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb is a great example that I can think of off the top of my head). If it were anything but YA stuff, I’d probably just go with it, but I don’t think YA belongs in the same catalogue as erotic things. Once I have my book(s) up, I’ll gladly let everyone know, though. I think some people who like erotica and erotic romance and all of that will also enjoy YA things, I just don’t think the YA crowd would/should know about the erotic stuff, you know?

I’m really excited about this, though. Excited and a bit nervous. Those original stories are kind of like my hidden secret, I guess. You know the type, where you don’t tell anyone, because you’re afraid of getting hurt? I want to share, and I want to tell that story and let people read it, but like I mentioned above, I’m scared of being considered a “talentless hack” still. A lot of me and my time was put into these stories (two years, and more by the time I’m done with them), and… I don’t know, if you spent two years doing something because you enjoyed it, and then you showed someone the fruits of your labor, and they said something mean about it, how would you feel? I guess that’s it, but it’s just something writers need to deal with, too.

So that’s where I’m at! This shouldn’t affect my other writing in any way. I’ll just be slowly going through my older writing and editing a little here and there. I actually really enjoy editing sometimes, and some days I’m like, “Ugh… I need to finish writing this thing I’m working on, because I really just want to spend a day editing…” And now I can! A lot!

Feeling Good


Hello!

So, I’ve done a lot of website updates recently, in terms of infrastructure. Now, infrastructure is probably boring to most people, unless they’re the one who did the changes to the infrastructure, but just know that a lot of it is done and available. A part of that is the neat little “Book Categories” thing on the left side somewhere over there (<—-).

Unfortunately I don't have much in those categories yet, but those are what I wanted to set up initially in order to just um… set stuff up? Most of my books/website posts will fit in those categories, and if not, I can add more.

Now, what's different about these categories, is that they aren't going to lead you to books, per se. It's not like Amazon or anywhere else where you click them to get a listing of books, you know? That'd be neat, and I do plan on having some things like that, but if you want to browse for books, you can do it on Amazon or B&N or wherever pretty easily. (Just for completionist's sake, I'll add iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, ARe, Sony's Bookstore, a bunch of libraries, Diesel… Audible? I think there might be more, but I don't know all of the tiny ones).

Anyways! The categories over there will lead you to posts about books in those categories. Or just posts about stuff that could fit into those categories. It should be fun to explore. Want to read some things about paranormal romance? Just head on over to that tab I have and, voila! You've got it.

I like this set up because I can add things that I think should be added, too. With that last one, you'll notice that I have "Zombies" listed under paranormal romance. Now, generally speaking, you might say that's an odd choice. And, yes, I agree with you. It is. The thing is, though, I wrote one because I wanted to. At the time, Warm Bodies had just come out, and people thought it was so interesting and neat. I thought it was interesting and neat, too, so I decided to see if I could take a different twist with zombies and try to make them more romantic. It's weird, sure. I won't deny that. I think I did alright with it, though. I've gotten some good feedback about it, at least.

(Quick field trip side note)
For random reference, because people ask this a lot, my version of zombies aren't dead. There are lots of versions of zombies, and some are dead people who came back to life, while others just suddenly became zombies because of some kind of disease or virus or plague or what have you. Some are a mix, like The Walking Dead, which is sort of virus that brings people back after they die. Mine is just a virus, so the "zombies" aren't dead, but they're somewhat bewildered/cold/all of that. There's a pretty good reason for it, and it's hinted at in the Soulless series, but I didn't want to come right out and say what it is exactly. I don't know if I ever will or not, either. I do plan to write a sequel book/series eventually, but it's on the back burner for a little while until I finish up some other things. I just don't want to get the story bogged down by some paranormal science fiction information and all of that, you know? I guess I could do a side story style quickie e-book for those who might want to know all of the details, though.
(Field trip is done!)

Being able to make my own sub-categories within pre-arranged, standard categories gives me a lot of leeway in those regards. As another example, Amazon didn't used to have sub-categories to paranormal (or not many), so vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, all of those… were just stuck under Paranormal Romance. They still don't have much in the way of historical romance, so like… Victorian era is mixed in with Regency, with Medieval, and with Colonial/Civil War/the 80s/everything.

How do I plan on filling these up? Glad you asked! (If you didn't ask, let's pretend you did)

I read recently about this thing that some people do in order to warm up for writing. It makes sense to me, too. I type very fast, because I've been doing it for um… forever. A very long time. I first took typing classes in my Freshman year of high school (1997 or 1998, I think). I've been typing ever since, and have owned a computer for most of that time, so I've gotten kind of good at it, I guess. I can usually manage about 80+ words a minute (sometimes closer to 100 if I'm on a role and warmed up). Creative writing is a bit different because you're not just directly transcribing, and you can only type as fast as your thoughts are, but usually I can still manage pretty good. That's a bit more mentally tiring, but it's not too bad.

So the thing I read is to basically write ~750 words as a warm up, and then get on to the rest of your writing. I used to kind of do that, but I'd use the big writing as a warm up and the main thing. I don't know if doing a separate warm up will be better or not, but 750 words doesn't take that long to write (according to WordPress website editing thing, this post is currently 907 words long, but I think they're a bit off sometimes).

Basically, I'll do some warm ups (this is my first), and talk about things going on. I might do these every day, or every so often, but I do want to update my website more, so I'd like to get in the habit of doing these things anyways. I'll categorize them with those neat categories on the side, which are currently a bit barren, so if you ever want to come by and find something neat that I have hidden away, or if you want to spend awhile browsing through things, you can. I like interactive websites like that, and that's kind of what I want to make mine into. I like updating people with information, but that doesn't really give anyone a reason to play around with the website too much, you know?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! I tend to ramble a bit sometimes when I get excited about things, but I think that kind of rambling is interesting (I like when people ramble like that, at least), because it's usually something they're passionate about, you know?

What Romance means to me (Insatiable Reads Blog Hop)


Hello! This might be your first time to my website, and if so, I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by. I know you’re probably here for a chance to win some prizes, so I’ll put that info right at the top after this introduction. I hope you’ll consider checking out the rest of the post and some of my books, too, though.

Anyways!

Blog Hop Grand Prizes (2):
A Kindle Fire
A $50 Amazon.com Gift Certificate

My Blog’s Prize (1):
A $10 Gift Certificate to either Amazon, B&N, iTunes, or All Romance eBooks (Your choice).

To enter to win a prize, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. The more participating blogs that you leave comments at, the more chances you have to win (and each blog has their own special prizes, too, so that’s ~150+ chances to win something!). The giveaway will end on 7/21 at 11:59pm EST. For more info, check out http://www.insatiablereads.com/

Not sure what other blogs are participating? Go here:

Isn’t that blue monster guy face cute? I think he’s cute. He looks so happy.

Now that that’s all set and I think you have a good idea of what to do to enter, let’s get on to the post!

I’m going to go at this kind of like one of those school assignments. You know the ones, right? What does mean to you? Well, seeing as a write erotic romance and erotica with some romantic themes, I thought it’d be fun to do that.

Romance is a really interesting genre, because it can include so many different ideas and concepts. Even erotica is similar, where it’s a general theme, with so many various sub-genres that it’s a little scary sometimes. How do you know what you’re getting or what to look for? It’s hard! (Sometimes literally. Those heroic men, oh my. *fans self*)

One thing you should find in most romances is a happy ending. I know some people might disagree and think that you don’t necessarily need one, but I think you definitely do. It doesn’t have to be the happiest ending, but it’s got to be pretty happy. This one’s kind of a given, though.

And what else? Um… well, that’s about it, actually.

Some people say that you can’t have the main lovers partake in sexual relationships with anyone else, but I’m not entirely sure if I agree there. Why? Because sometimes it adds something necessary to the plot and it makes the story a lot more real. If the heroine(h) and the hero(H) are having some rocky times, adding a little sexual tension with some other characters can enhance that a lot.

It also hurts. What do I mean by that? It makes the fantasy a little more and less at the same time. We want to see the h and the H get together, but… now the h is sleeping with another man. Is this a permanent thing? Is the story over? We’re supposed to have a happy ending, right? We need that, and I just told you we’re going to get it, but…

Sometimes a story is happier when there’s some trouble involved. Sometimes it takes making mistakes to realize what your true feelings are. It’s difficult, and sometimes it hurts to see people make mistakes like that, especially in romance books where we desperately want the h and the H to get together and be happy. If they don’t make mistakes, then the happiness isn’t as great, though. That’s what I think.

That’s not to say that the h or the H need to make the same mistakes all the time, because that’d get boring, too, but the whole point of mistakes like this is to make the reward at the end so much better. Kind of like some mental BDSM sort of thing, maybe? A little bit of pain can increase sensitivity and sensation and make the pleasure so much better.

And, honestly? I think that’s what romance means to me in a lot of ways. It’s about experimenting, maybe stumbling, and then finding that one person who accepts you and your mistakes and loves you anyways. They’re there for you, and while it might have involved some hurt in order to get to where you are in the end, it’s worth it because it made the happiness a lot better.

Romance is about perfection, but it’s not about being perfect. It’s about the characters realizing their flaws and then realizing that they like each other, flaws and all, and they’ll help each other move past that to become a better person. Together. Separate, life can be really difficult, but when you’re together with someone, sometimes you can grasp at a little bit of perfection.

What do you think? Do you agree, or do you think there’s something else to it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you’d like to check out some of my romance-themed books, here are some of my suggestions. I adore plot, but as a warning my sex scenes are explicit, some more so than others.

Princess Miri: An Erotic Coming of Age Monster Romance Novel (Medieval Fantasy Erotic Romance, involves taboo themes)

The Billionaire’s Ultimatum: His Absolute Need (Contemporary Erotic Romance, with BDSM and forbidden love themes)

His Absolute Obsession: The Billionaire’s Paradigm (Contemporary Erotic Romance, the first in a completed series of novellas/novels, with BDSM and obsession themes, the standalone sequel to The Billionaire’s Ultimatum)

One Year Personal Review


I’ve been deliberating over actually writing this or not. I decided to go for it, because I don’t think it can hurt, and I think some of you would be interested in reading it.

Before embarking on my journey of self-publishing, I used to work in some not so fun places. Lots of customer service and all of that. Just plain, basic things, and nothing very entertaining, but I didn’t mind it. I didn’t really like it, though, and I’ve always wanted to write, so on July 10th, 2012, I published my first e-book. I think I did it on Smashwords first, then I put it up on the other places after, so those places didn’t have it until July 11th, but I like to think of my “official” indie author anniversary as July 10th. It’s a pretty nice day, generally speaking.

So, anyways! I’m sure everyone’s done them, but a lot of places I’ve worked at like to do those yearly reviews, you know? I never liked those, and I’m sort of argumentative about them. I once marked down that I thought I went above and beyond in regards to dress code, because I try to look nice, right? Except, no, I was told that it’s impossible to go above and beyond on dress code. If you come to work appropriately dressed, then that’s it. Why did they have little check marks for anything besides “acceptable” then? I have no idea, and I asked that, but no one gave me a good answer. Just because. That’s just kind of silly, but I digress…

Now, as an indie author, I’m going to evaluate myself. If you’ve been following me for awhile, feel free to chime in, too. Let me know if you agree or disagree. I’d be happy to hear it!

First off, I initially planned to just write erotica shorts. My very first stories were Princess Miri, Moonlight Secret, Burning Need, Princess Miri’s Wet Sticky Mess, all written within the span of a couple weeks. I kind of cheated there, because I’d written the Princess Miri and Moonlight Secret stories a long long time ago, but I fixed them up and changed some things, and *POOF*, published!

Out of all those, I honestly didn’t know what exactly I was doing besides with the Princess Miri stories. I love all my stories, don’t get me wrong, but Moonlight Secret and Burning Need were kind of difficult for me. I think they’re good stories, and lots of people have enjoyed them, but I probably won’t be writing much more in the same vein as those.

Mostly, what I noticed within a few weeks was that I liked to write longer things. Hunted by the Beast and Dominant Dreams came up soon after those first ones, and both of those are noticeably longer. They aren’t long by any means, but I got to delve into more of what I liked.

And, basically, what I really like is plot. I think plot is kind of sexy, you know? I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense. Some people like to just read stories with an idea, but I can’t do that very well. A decent, popular example is something like… let’s say, the barely legal babysitter and the single father (or maybe not single? Scandalous!). It’s just the idea that arouses people, which is perfectly fine, but I can’t really get into reading or writing that too much. Something like that is more writing towards kinks or fetishes.

I won’t lie, I do it sometimes. Generally I add some plot in there, too, though. To a lot of people, that’s weird, but it’s just how I like to write. I think I provide something different and entertaining for anyone who wants a little more with their story.

That’s basically when it began. After feeling things out and getting more accustomed to what I preferred and how I preferred to write it, I went on to continue the Princess Miri series, Hunted by the Beast, and I started The Billionaire’s Ultimatum. These were all great choices for me. I did write some standalones in there, and to be honest you can read most all of my stories as a standalone if you like, but the plot was what drove me onwards, and I think people like that, too. The characters can build upon themselves and their world and explore it more, you know?

Miri started out as a bratty princess who was targeted by the daughter of one of her father’s vassels, but she became something else entirely. I mean, sure, she’s still kind of bratty, but I like Miri. I think Miri’s a really fun character. Thump grew, too. Then Allysin came into the picture, and we got to learn a little more about the castle from her perspective. Fleur evolved into… well, we won’t talk about Fleur (she’s kind of a bitch). The King, the citizens, Roy, all of it.

I do that with all of my stories now, and I’m trending towards longer, which I think a lot of people prefer. I want you to know the characters and feel more intimately about them. When Miri clears out the dungeons and takes them over for her and Thump to use, and then she treats it like a very private place where they can hide together, be alone, talk and learn and explore their sexuality safely, I want you to kind of realize how Miri feels, you know? She’s a princess, and sort of a brat or a bitch, but she’s a human, too, and she’s not immune to weakness. She just doesn’t have anyone and she’s not sure how to relate to anyone, and so Thump being hers and exploring with her and letting her have her moments of being a spoiled princess while also being the dominant monster troll that he is, well…

I find that a lot sexier. Miri’s emotions and need and desires, and her shortcomings and fears and worries; it makes the entire scene more intense to me. It’s sexy and erotic, but it’s also something more, too. That’s how I feel about that, at least. You can’t get that in a quick barely legal babysitter story, you know? You can get the sexy and erotic part, but you can’t get the “more” that I personally want to go along with it.

I could give examples of this sort of thing throughout all of my stories, but if you’ve read them it’s probably easy to see, too.

In addition to all of that, I’ve started working more towards adding paperbacks, novelizing my serials, and working on audiobooks. The paperbacks and serials-to-novels are somewhat obvious, but one thing I’ve noticed is that I need to have a good schedule of this. I have a “Publishing Schedule” tab on my website, but I need to fix it up a bit. My general plan when I started, and what I want to do now, is to have a new novel for you all every ~2 months or so. The paperback first, then the e-book after. I have a lot of reasons for why I do it in that order, but they’re kind of boring marketing stuff, so I won’t go into that. What this generally will mean is that ~6 months after the start of a series, the novel version should come out soon after. That won’t always be exactly the case, but I should be able to stick pretty closely to that schedule for the foreseeable future.

Audiobooks are interesting and difficult, but in a good way. The thing with those is that I really want to find narrators that bring the characters to life, you know? Sometimes I go searching for the perfect narrator, and other times I’ll put a story up and let people send in their auditions. The audiobooks I have so far are good, but some of the auditions really miss the point. They aren’t bad by any means, and these are professional narrators, but I can tell when someone’s not really into the story and only wants to make money.

I want to provide you with an amazing experience, and so I will only produce audiobooks with narrators who can put the necessary emotion into the scenes. You’ll find a lot of audiobooks that lack this, and some of those audiobooks are alright. If you just want to “hear” the story, they’re perfectly great and I’ve got nothing against that. For what I do, because I want to provide you “more” in the e-book and paperback versions, I want to find narrators that will help you experience the story, too. Overall, I just want to give you more, because that’s what I would want.

And so! That’s about it. That’s where we’re at so far. I appreciate everyone coming on this journey with me, too. As an indie author, I think that the reader/writer relationship is a bit closer than with a big publishing house’s authors. I try to be a little closer, and like my stories I want to give a little “more” than what you’d get otherwise. I just want to let you know about what’s up and I like to provide you with as much as I can. I’m writing more, working on more, and will continue to try and discover ways where I can improve this in the future.

Also, my business attire is impeccable lately. Far above and beyond! (I like to write at night a lot while wearing pajamas. Shh, don’t tell anyone!)

What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions. Whether as a new reader or someone who’s just started checking out my stuff, I think all opinions, feedback, questions, or comments are useful and valid, and I like to hear them!

On Ghostwriting and Jordin Williams


I usually do my best to try and avoid drama. In fact, I basically just ignore people who try to cause drama, or I separate myself from any excessively dramatic situations. I’m perfectly content with having the only real drama in my life be in the stories that I write, because that’s a fun kind of drama, you know? It’s not tiresome and it doesn’t get old.

My one main exception to this rule is when someone says something that’s harmful to others. If someone wants to be involved in drama on their own, that’s their prerogative, but don’t drag in hundreds (thousands, millions?) of people into your issues by making mean, false statements about other people. It’s not only rude, but it’s damaging.

If you’re unsure exactly what I’m talking about, here is the quick version. There was a “new” author named Jordin Williams who released a New Adult Romance book titled Amazingly Broken. This book did very well and got some great reviews right off the bat from a marketing program they had where they contacted a bunch of book bloggers to promote their book. At one point it was close to #50 in the Amazon Kindle Store, which is A LOT of copies sold a day.

This went on for approximately 6 days before someone realized that whole paragraphs (many, many, much more than one or two or “accidental” mistakes) were plagiarized from Easy by Tammara Webber and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Mcguire. Basically, what it seems like is that this Jordin Williams person cut/pasted segments from each book together, did some minor additions for cohesion, and “created” a new story that… was basically the same as those other two stories. Amazingly Broken wasn’t just similar, it was exactly the same as -at least- those two books. The cover is also the same as HM Ward’s The Arrangement 3 (with extremely minor changes), but that’s at least somewhat forgivable under regular circumstances, since many indie authors purchase the same photos from photographers. We pay for the rights to use these pictures, so it’s different. It doesn’t change the fact that the book was basically a copy/paste job of at least three different books.

So, that’s the story. Lots of people have talked about that, and you can find a ton of posts if you want to search around. I think the most prominent is at the Dear Author site where I first heard about it. This might actually be the first place to release this info, too, though I’m unsure of that.

Anyways!

The thing that bothers me the most about this are some of the Twitter comments that Jordin Williams tossed up in some attempt to mitigate her blame. One in particular essentially said, “Most/Lots of New Adult Romance authors don’t write their own books and hire ghostwriters.” Their defense towards extreme plagiarism before this was that they “hired a ghostwriter” to write their DEBUT NOVEL and didn’t realize the person they hired had done what they did.

First off, this makes no sense. A ghostwriter is basically someone who writes something for someone else for a price, and lets the other person take credit for their work. It’s kind of shady sometimes, but it’s useful in quite a few cases. The most common example is a celebrity’s book, since… honestly, most celebrities probably have an interesting story to tell, but they probably couldn’t write to save their lives. That’s fine, and we want to know their stories, so they chat with a ghostwriter, who takes their life story and writes it up into a book. That’s a perfectly great use of a ghostwriter.

Other places use a ghostwriter for big campaigns, which is also fine. I can’t give any good examples of this, but fantasy books for kids sometimes do this. Basically they want to have an entire “fantasy world” and keep it written by the same author name so that kids can find the books easier. So they have one or two (or more) authors who ghostwrite these books. That example is more like a pen name, but not quite, since some of those authors move on to do their own thing, or quits writing, or (hopefully not, but it happens) dies, and another takes their place. There’s nothing wrong with this, either.

This doesn’t happen for new authors (because why would it? There’s no audience, and there’s no point), and it’s almost guaranteed not to happen with indie authors, either. Indie authors, myself included, work so hard to tell a story, write it to the best of our abilities, edit it, get cover art done, formatting it for e-books, and so much more that people don’t even think about. To claim that a lot of us ignore all of that and have our books written by a ghostwriter is extremely disrespectful and rude. To me, it almost feels like Jordin Williams slapped all of my books out of my hands and told me that none of what I’ve been doing for almost a year now is real. All of the work I put in is a sham, and everyone should know it!

It’s not, though. The work is real. I do all of this myself. I don’t hire out a ghostwriter to write my newest novel. First off, I’m kind of bossy and I micromanage a lot, and I really don’t think a ghostwriter would want to work with me (haha). They’d probably get tired of it fast. Besides that, though, I love writing. I love making the stories my own. I don’t copy/paste people’s ideas. Some of my books might seem similar to other books, and I might have found inspiration in something I’ve read, or watched on TV, or listened to on the radio, but every single word I write is purely my own, and I would NEVER want it any other way.

I think a lot of indie authors are like this, too. It’s honestly a lot of hard work, and some of us have been rejected by big publishers in the past. I’ve never sent a book manuscript into any of the big publishing houses for this reason, too. Lots of people in the world want to make you feel inadequate and bad, just because it’s their job. I doubt that any of the editors at Random House or anywhere have anything against me, but if they don’t think my books will sell hundreds of thousands of copies, then they don’t want to see them and to them, that’s not good enough.

I have books that have sold less than a hundred copies, and I have some that have sold hundreds of copies. I even have some special books that have sold thousands of copies. But, you know what? I like all of them, and someone, somewhere, has also enjoyed each and every one. A big publishing house might not care about a book that’s only sold 83 copies (just making up a number there), but the 83 people who bought that book enjoyed it, and I love that. I love that I’m able to do that.

I admit that I want to write books that more people enjoy, and I’d love to write books that thousands upon thousands of people buy, but I just love to write. I love the time and effort put into it, and it’s extremely enjoyable to me. I love everything about being an indie author, even if some of it’s difficult or confusing or it upsets me sometimes. It’s a good kind of upset most of the time, you know? It means it might be hard now, but I’m doing something right, and in the end it’ll be more satisfying.

Basically, Jordin Williams ignored all of that. They plagiarized some books and published it as their own, and if that’s what they felt like doing, I don’t want to be a part of the drama involved. But the fact that she came out and BASHED other authors, taking away all of their hard work and effort, all of the time they spent perfecting a story, hoping that readers would like it… just throwing it out the window and claiming that lots of us hire ghostwriters?

It’s rude and disrespectful and mean. Most of us don’t do that. Most of us love our stories as much as you love our stories, and we wouldn’t disrespect other authors or readers by trying to place the blame on someone else.

A Slight Delay – His Absolute Seduction


Hello! I planned to have the next Billionaire’s Paradigm novella out by this Friday or Saturday, but I’ve needed to push it back a little bit. I had the unfortunate accident of needing to deal with one of my cats who apparently has asthma and hasn’t been doing very well in the heat and new pollen and everything. It’s been kind of rainy here, too, so that hasn’t helped. I know my allergies always get worse with the rain, since I think it spreads around the pollen more and all of that. I’m no pollen/plant scientist, biologist, or whatever, so I don’t know how exactly this works, but I don’t think that matters too much.

Anyways! He was breathing very heavily and panting last night, and he’s been having coughing fits, so I’ve been keeping an eye on him, but… I ended up bringing him to an 24/7 emergency vet just in case. Fortunately it’s just asthma, so it’s not terrible, but I still need to give him some pregnisone pills every so often to make sure he’s doing alright for awhile. I put in the air conditioner and bought a HEPA filter to help out with anything that might screw him up, too.

He’s good now, though! Just a rough couple of days. I’ve been keeping an eye on him and had a vet visit planned, but it’s still been a little stressful, you know? I planned to finish up a lot of writing stuff last night, but then… emergency vet visit.

So I hope everyone’s alright with a slight delay to my newest release. To hold you over in the meantime, I will provide you with a cute picture of my cat being cute. His name is Coffeeshop and he’s a seal point Siamese(not purebred or anything, but generally that), with half a mustache. He’s very nice and loving, but now every time I bring anything next to him(even treats), he thinks I’m going to poison him. He doesn’t like pills, I guess.

Coffeeshop

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