So… I’m not actually sure how this is going to go, but I figured I’d try it. I just put up a listing for a request for a narrator for the full-length version of Hunted: An Erotic Retelling of Beauty and the Beast yesterday, and I’m hoping to maybe get that done by Christmas.
The thing with that is that uh… well, I never planned on doing an audiobook version of this one, per se. I mean, the idea was always in my mind and of course I was open to it. If a random narrator approached me about doing it, then I definitely would have said yes. That doesn’t really happen too often, from what I know, but I’d honestly probably be open to a lot of things like that.
For random reference, I like to do royalty shares with my audiobook narrators, since I think it’s more fair to everyone. The problem there is that a royalty share can be a good or a bad thing, you know? If the story doesn’t sell very well, then they’re kind of out some time and effort, which is sad. If the story sells well, they can make a good amount of money, though. On the flip side to that, if I paid them per finished hour (this is also relatively standard), then they could technically make more money if the story sells well, or a lot less of the story sells poorly.
As of now, most of my audiobooks have at least broken even, just about. I don’t know if anyone really cares about the business side of that, but the narrators and I have a 7 year agreement, too, so basically like… they’re all pretty much going to get paid more than the industry average, but it might take awhile for them to get it? So far they’ve broken even, or are very close to breaking even, and my first audiobooks ever were released this year, so it should work out for them in the long run. That’s kind of how this business is on all fronts, though. Not always, and sometimes a story sells really well right from the get-go, but not always.
Anyways! The point of all of that? I like doing audiobooks because it helps the narrators, gives them legitimate credits for their voice-over work, and kind of sets them up for more, you know? They can use the audiobook as a stepping stone to a better foot in the narration industry, or for acting, or whatever. I honestly think all of the narrators that have worked for me could do really well with this, either strictly voices or acting, or whatever. They have talent and drive to succeed.
So… saying that, I wasn’t going to do an audiobook version of Hunted at first, because I didn’t actually think it would sell amazingly well. I didn’t think it’d sell poorly or anything, and I thought it’d be a good book. Honestly, I like it a lot, myself, and I think it’s pretty sexy. It’s different and fun, with a bit of darkness to it, and more than its fair share of eroticism. That’s uh… well, that’s kind of the thing, I guess. I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward narrating it? Haha.
I don’t know why I think anyone would feel awkward with it, though. I’m pretty upfront about what it is and what to expect, so if they’re interested, then I think they should be given the chance to give it a try. And if I think it’ll be a decent seller and good for their career, then I don’t mind offering the opportunity to them, either, you know? I’ve been given some chances in life when I thought I could do something that others might think was too difficult or too strange, and I think those are the best types of chances sometimes. Just to get things out there and try something different, but also something good and useful, right?
So… well, Hunted is doing well. The e-book version is doing very well, and the paperback is doing pretty good, too. Paperbacks are honestly a harder sell, since, as an indie author, I can’t really get them into physical bookstores at the moment. That’s just an industry thing, and the big traditional publishers mostly have a stranglehold on that. E-books are a lot different, though, and I think I have a good understanding of that side of things.
For reference, Hunted is currently #16 in the entire All Romance eBooks store. They even sent me a neat little image thing for this site, which I’ll throw up on the sidebar soon! It might be there by the time you read this.
It’s also doing exceptional on Amazon, with a max ranking so far in the low ~1200s. This has translated into being on these best sellers lists there:
#4 Paranormal Romance > Angels
#6 Paranormal Romance > Ghosts
#6 Fantasy > Fairy Tales
#6 Paranormal Romance > Demons & Devils
#10 Paranormal Romance > Witches & Wizards
#11 World Literature > Mythology
#28 Paranormal Romance > Werewolves & Shifters
That’s just in the US. It’s ranking pretty well in Fantasy > Fairy Tales and Fiction > Fairy Tales, plus Myths & Fairy Tales in the UK, as well.
So… anyways, it’s doing well! Which is fun and great, and I really appreciate everyone’s support in this one and I’m glad to hear that a lot of people have liked it so far. I’m always kind of nervous about these things, you know? Like… I want things to do well, and I try my best to make them good and something that people will like and want to read, but I guess I’m sort of a pessimistically optimistic person. Like… it would be really nice if everyone loved everything I wrote, but I know that’s not how things work, and different things work for different people, so I just hope that at least some people will like some of the things I write?
I don’t know if that makes sense. Don’t take any of this as being especially pessimistic, because I’m not. I get really excited about things, to the point of being maybe too excited, but I try to have realistic expectations, too. The two things sort of clash sometimes.
I’m rambling a bit now, but the point of this whole thing is that I’m hopefully going to make an audiobook of Hunted, and I think this will be a great opportunity for the narrator. I like helping people out and in a creative entertainment sort of place, like with fiction books and everything, it can be really hard to get a foot in the door, you know? It takes a lot of time and effort sometimes. I’ve spent a lot of my own time and effort on all of this, so I’m hoping to share it a little by providing someone the opportunity to use some of my time and effort to help themselves out and to further their creative endeavors.
I will let you know if I find anyone! I’m still kind of picky when it comes to narrators, and I have a certain sort of voice in mind for this one, but I like to leave my options open, too. Sometimes people can surprise you, you know? I like when that happens, since it’s a lot of fun.
(This is a weird sort of post, but these are just some of the things I think about sometimes, so I thought I’d share for those who were interested in that kind of thing. I hope you liked it! What are your thoughts on audiobooks? They’re a lot different and they take a little getting used to, but I really like them)
A New Freebie!
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?
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.
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!
Massive Amazon Kindle Changes
I didn’t want to have to write this, but there’s a lot of information(and misinformation) going around about this particular topic, and I wanted to make a post to explain this better. It seems like something simple and minor at first, but it isn’t. It has very wide-sweeping effects and as a writer, reader, or just a customer who occasionally purchases things at Amazon, I feel that everyone should understand a little about what’s going on.
As an aside to that, no one but Amazon knows -exactly- what this is or why it’s happening. There’s enough evidence to point out a few of the causes and effects through observation, but Amazon requires strict NDAs from its employees that are in certain parts of the business, and so they’re never going to come right out and explain everything. Amazon is like Christian Grey, and we’re all Anastasia Steele from book one. This is new and a little frightening to a lot of us, with scary implications, but that Amazon sure is attractive and appealing beneath his veneer of mystery. I don’t know how the rest of this story is going to pan out, but I’d like to think there’s a happy ending by the time we reach book three.
Anyways, what’s currently happening is what’s referred to as the “ADULT” filter. I don’t know what Amazon refers to it as, nor do I believe they refer to it as anything in the public eye, but they have a filter that they put on content that is deemed “ADULT.”
You can’t see this filter. It’s impossible. It’s a very strange filter in those regards. If you do a search through Google, you know that you can turn your adult filter on and off(I keep mine off, personally, because I’m the only one who uses my computer and I don’t have children around my computer that often). This is how it is for most places. These filters are called a lot of different things, too. SafeSearch, Adult Filter, etc. It all boils down to the same thing. They try to filter out adult content that isn’t suitable for children.
I completely understand and accept the reasoning behind this and I have no complaints with it. It makes perfect sense when done correctly and the way that Google(and tons of other companies before them) have done.
Amazon has this filter, sort of, except they won’t tell you about it. They don’t even tell authors about it. If your book gets adult filtered, you might never know. There are some ways to figure it out, and many authors do know, but not all of them. The easiest way is to go straight to the Amazon homepage and search for an author. If you want to try it out, search for “cerys du lys.” As of me writing this, I have 50 various books available(this includes paperback and audiobooks). If you search for my name on the Amazon homepage, you only receive 33 options, though. That’s because the rest of them are filtered.
You can easily get around this filter, but the issue with it is that Amazon won’t explain that to you. The way to get around it(meaning the way you’d find books that are filtered) is to change your category from “All” to either “Books” or “Kindle Store.” This will bring up “ADULT” filtered books in your search results. Alternatively, if you search for books on your Kindle, you’ll automatically be in the “Kindle Store” and you’ll also receive filtered books in your search results without having to do anything.
This sounds kind of alright, maybe, except not really. If Amazon wanted to truly filter out adult books from being seen by children, this doesn’t do it. Children searching for books will find the adult books along with the regular books. They aren’t given a choice of “adult” or not. They’re given a choice of “books” or “not books.” That doesn’t seem like the proper way to institute a filter by any means. It’s akin to Google changing their SafeSearch to state “Do you want to receive websites with kittens or porn?”
I am a proponent of a filter. As an erotic literature writer, I obviously don’t have many issues with sex. I think sex is perfectly fine and people should enjoy it as adults if they wish to, in whatever ways they prefer. If they want to read about it in books, or watch movies, or think about it, or perform safe sex acts with their partner, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Sex is natural and fun and the majority of us wouldn’t be here without it(except for in-vitro people, sort of, but that’s something else entirely). Sex fantasies in a book are probably the safest form of sexual entertainment in existence, too. Absolutely no one was hurt or potentially harmed in the creation of it, nor is it likely that many people are going to be harmed while reading it.
I could honestly go on and on about that particular topic and how people who enjoy sexual entertainment are, on average, MORE sympathetic to people and appreciate and accept everyone more widely and treat people with more respect, but this isn’t about that. There are people who think sex is bad, and I have no issue with blocking sex from children, even though I think a better means of raising children to adults is to teach them about sex properly instead of throwing them into a sexually-repressed cage. That’s also another topic entirely. There’s plenty of articles about both of these things, and I’d be happy to share or talk about in another blog post or through email if anyone’s interested.
Anyways, blocking sex and adult content is perfectly fine, and I’m fine with that, but Amazon isn’t blocking it in a responsible way.
Besides that, they aren’t evenly applying the filter, either. If something is “erotica” then it’s likely adult-oriented, right? Except not all erotica is filtered according to Amazon’s standards. I can somewhat understand this, because there are some appreciable books in the erotica genre(like Fifty Shades of Grey). This book transcends erotica in some ways and switches over to romance aspects. There is such a genre as erotic romance, and lots of places categorize it as such, but Amazon doesn’t have an “erotic romance” category. They have a bunch of “romance” categories and then “erotica.”
Not filtering everything doesn’t seem -too- bad at first, except the filter does various things to books. Besides hiding them from the “All” search on Amazon(and making them show up only in “Books” or “Kindle Store”), the filter also removes books from Also-Boughts. What this means is that when you go to a book’s product page(or any product page, really), you’ll see something lower down that says “Customers who bought this item also bought:” with a list of items. This seems small, but it’s kind of like a sharing list of things that people enjoyed and also bought. It’s somewhat useful if you want to buy something similar to what you’ve already bought, but you aren’t sure what to buy. You can check the “Also Boughts” and see if something there is something that you’d like.
“Also Boughts” acts as free advertisement, basically. The issue with the filter and “Also Boughts” is that filtered books only show up in other filtered books “Also Boughts.” And, besides that, Amazon has been known to remove “Also Boughts” without notice or reason. I’ve had books on the “Also Boughts” lists of some BIG books and received a lot of attention for that, and then… whoops! All of a sudden my book was gone(even though it WAS a book that people of the other book would have enjoyed, as they were similar in the right ways and not some cheap copy/imitation).
The point there is that Amazon intentionally skews their advertisement of certain things and the “Also Boughts” aren’t actually “Also Boughts” anymore. They’re more like “Yes, these are things that people also bought after buying this book, but they’re the things we’ve decided to show you as opposed to the things that customers actually bought.”
(For anyone curious, one of the books this happened to me with was Soulless, my paranormal/zombie erotic romance, and Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies. Soulless was on the first page of Warm Bodies “Also Boughts” for multiple weeks, which made perfect sense. They are extremely similar books. My book was removed in favor of books like Nicholas Sparks’ Dear John. I enjoy Nicholas Sparks books, and actually I liked Dear John, too, but how is a contemporary literary fiction/quasi-romance novel at all related to paranormal romance? I have no idea)
If all of these things weren’t enough, Amazon’s searches typically end up showing “filtered” content below the unfiltered content. If they filtered everything evenly, then this shouldn’t be a problem, except they don’t do this. Many small publishers aren’t being filtered, despite putting books in erotica. I have nothing against these small publishers, but I prefer to independently publish because I’m kind of a control freak and I like to control everything about myself and my writing. I think that most of the time my results are very professional and on par with any small publisher, which is kind of saying a lot. There’s a lot of indie authors that you can barely even tell they were indie. I mean, Abbi Glines is pretty huge in e-books right now, and she’s an indie author, if that’s telling you anything.
What this ends up doing is that it hides content from everyone. Not only does it initially hide content from the “All” search, but it hides content on the “Also Boughts” and it hides content on searches when you’re specifically trying to find this content.
To be more forthcoming, the initial filtering seemed fine. Amazon was filtering books with titles referencing gangbangs or breeding. I’m not sure why those got filtered first. Lactation and impregnation and things like that came next. These are probably adult titles and erotica, so it makes sense, right? Now they’ve started filtering more, though. Titles that reference “menage” or things like that are being filtered along with gangbangs. There are a lot of nice romance books involving MFM/MMF dynamics, but Amazon has decided that sex with more than one person is more adult and should be filtered? It’s not even real sex, it’s fictional book sex. If three people want to be in a loving, committed relationship, and have sex with each other, this is apparently wrong to write about. I just can’t even begin to understand that one, but it’s definitely happening.
So, there it is. As people who use Amazon, I hope I’ve informed you a little. If you don’t use Amazon, it probably doesn’t effect you very much. To reiterate, I don’t disagree with a filtering system(in fact, I would welcome one), but the way in which Amazon is currently filtering things is irresponsible. Seeing as they’re a 107.09 billion dollar company, and still extremely alluring to customers, I don’t really see that there’s anything to do about this. What it does mean is that you’re going to see a lot fewer authors willing to push boundaries and write interesting things, though. We’re being penalized for it, and there’s very little we can do about it.
Why do you write in so many different genres and styles?
Hello! Happy Monday!
I don’t know if anyone is actually curious about this, but I feel like it’s an interesting topic, and one that you don’t see a lot of writers talk about or do. Mainly, why do I write in so many different genres and styles?
Well, honestly, I don’t think they’re all that different, but here’s what I’ve got so far. Monster stuff is a big one, and then contemporary romance is the next. I recently finished my paranormal romance series(Soulless, Heartless, Hopeless), which was fun. I’ve also got some fairytale stuff, too. Historical, romantic comedy, noir detective mystery, urban fantasy, and a few more things that probably fit into one of the above but are a bit different, too.
All of these have erotic content, though, so I guess that’s the thread that binds them? I don’t know if that’s a good reason and I don’t really accept it, myself, but it’s there.
Anyways! I write them because I like that. That sounds kind of like a cop out answer, I guess, but it’s just fun to me. I enjoy exploring new genres and taking my own spin on them. I think that’s what this boils down to, really.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I prefer medieval fantasy-style stuff. Or I used to prefer it, anyways. I don’t think that’s a good mindset to get into with this kind of thing. I mean, hey, if I just wrote medieval fantasy all the time, I’d have a lot of that, and that’d be great, but… then what? I know authors who do this and have read more than my fair share of books from authors who basically never branched out from any one genre. It honestly gets stale and you can tell in their writing.
One random example–and I’m only using her as one because I honestly really love her writing, so it was kind of a love/hate thing, but I’ve got tons of respect for her–is Elizabeth Haydon. The first three stories in her Symphony of Ages series were WONDERFUL. I absolutely adored them and I would suggest them to everyone and read them over and over again(and I think I have). They’re kind of fantasy romance with adventure and action and all of that. After the first three, though, it started going downhill. I believe I enjoyed the 4th, but the 5th was kind of lacking, and I can’t say I enjoyed the 6th at all.
After she “finished” that series(because honestly it just kind of stopped, and I’m not sure it ever really fully concluded anything), she started up a YA series set in the same world. I haven’t read those, but I think that’s an interesting thing to do. Mostly, the other books were VERY adult, with sex and violence and all of those kinds of adult things. I have no idea how her YA fantasy books are, but I’m sure they’re nice because she has a wonderful style and tells a good story.
That’s really the thing, though. She got herself stuck in the Symphony of Ages books and I think it showed. By the end of the 6 book series, I don’t think she was as into it as the first three books. It feels like she wrote more because she felt like she NEEDED to write more, and not because she wanted to. Sometimes this can work out, but I think a lot of times it leads to burn out and disappointment.
I’d still read her books if she continued with the series, but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea on her part.
In the same kind of genre, Jacqueline Carey does an excellent job of writing the same but switching it up, too. Her Kushiel’s Legacy books start with three wonderful books, then continue on with three more great ones(my favorites of hers actually), and there’s three more after that. They’re all in the same world, but each set of three switches the main character, and so provides a new and interesting fresh look at her world of Terre d’Ange. Though, to be honest, I’m not sure the last three worked out so well with that, but they -were- interesting, just not really my favorites. Or, I’ve only read the first on of there(the seventh overall), so maybe I’ll change my mind when I get to the last two? I don’t know.
And even still, she has other books that are great, too. Her more traditional epic fantasy books kind of fit with the Kushiel’s ones, and then she completely throws you for a loop with some urban fantasy/paranormal stuff later on. I think this is great and a good idea.
So that’s where I stand, really. For my own writing, I want to write interesting things and continue writing them. If I’m really into an idea, I think I’ll tell a better story than otherwise. I want you, as a reader, to love what I’m writing as much as I do. I do “force” myself to write things, also, but I try not to push it too far. I try to explore new genres and test out ideas because I want to. It’s more of a “forcing myself to do this because I want to” instead of a “forcing myself to do this and I hate it,” which I think is a key difference.
And, honestly? I think it’s turned out well. I never liked contemporary stuff much before, so I rarely wrote it, but I wanted to try one. My best friend isn’t really into reading anything fantasy and she sticks to just contemporary stuff when she reads(which isn’t a ton, but she does read a few books a year), so I wanted to do it for that reason, too. I wanted to write something that she would want to read, so I wrote my Billionaire’s Ultimatum series.
I didn’t really like it at first, truthfully. I didn’t like it because it was HARD for me. But, on that same note, I think it became a much better story because of that. It made me think and decide on different things and try out new ideas and a new style of writing. I never liked first person point of view much before writing that, either, but I thought I’d try that out, also.
Now? I like contemporary. I think The Billionaire’s Ultimatum is a fun story and I’ve received a lot of good feedback on it, so I think I probably did a good job writing it, too. I didn’t like how hard it was for me to write it at first, but I got better with practice and I really loved the idea of the story itself, so I kept up with it. It’s different, it tested me, and overall it was fun and a good experience.
The same with the Soulless series, too. The same with most of my stuff, honestly. The only thing I can’t really get too into is the gay shifter story I wrote, because it was just kind of difficult to really get a handle on the idea, but I think it turned out well. I’d like to write another gay male story in the future, or at least maybe bi-curious or something.
Anyways! I write in these different genres and styles because I like them and I want to try them. I don’t think any of my stuff is so far out there that you’ll be absolutely appalled if you see it in my catalogue along with something you’ve liked, either. I mean, some of it seems pretty far out there, but it’s still me writing it. I have standards and a general style and I promise to try to never disappoint any of my readers with sub-par, worthless junk.
Sometimes you just want to try something new, you know? Sometimes it’s easier to get eased into that new thing, though. If you like my writing, you’ll know generally how I write, and so it’s a nicer process trying something different as opposed to having to find a completely different author that you’re unsure about, and then reading their stuff, too. I know how much of a turn-off that can end up being, where you want to try, say, a science fiction book or something, but you end up finding the one that’s super confusing and weird and you have no idea what’s going on. Then you think you hate science fiction! And, honestly, I’m not actually a huge fan of science fiction, but I absolute love some of it.
It’s good to try new things sometimes. And maybe to take slow, baby steps, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
That’s the reason I do what I do, at least.
I’ve recently made a decision. It’s honestly a difficult one to make, because it involves a certain amount of risk, but I’m willing to do it because I think it’s a good idea. I had this in my mind the entire time I started this, but I was never sure if I’d be moving along as well as I have.
My writing has been going well, though. I’ve landed on some Hot New Release lists, a few best sellers(I need to update that, but so far it’s Fantasy Series, Gay & Lesbian, Comic Fiction, Fairytales, Erotica[Brazil only], and Fantasy Romance[Germany]).
I want to push it farther, though, and I think you, as my readers, deserve that, too. My catalogue will still mainly consist of fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance, with some other fantasy and paranormal things added in for fun, but I’m moving into something more.
I’m not trying to be vague there. What I mean is paperback books and full-length novel e-books. I’m working on some audiobooks, too, but those are mostly beyond my control. One’s available, though! (I’ll show that at the end)
Anyways! What does this mean for you, as a reader? Well, the first paperback book slated for release is the full-length Princess Miri book, “Princess Miri: An Erotic Coming of Age Monster Romance.” The title’s maybe a bit of a mouthful, but I wanted to sum it up in as few words as possible, and there it is. The paperback will be released with an initial price of $7.99, and the e-book will be released soon, too. I’m hoping to have both of them out in a week or two, but I need to wait on some outside things first.
And, next? The Billionaire’s Ultimatum series will be packaged up into a print book and e-book version. That’ll be a little farther down the road, in a couple months or so. I do most of this myself(and I still have to write new stuff, so there’s that).
I didn’t know where to price them, though. It’s honestly difficult. I think I’ve come up with a solution, though.
I’ll be pricing paperback books as low as I can for as long as I can, but I do want to reach a wider audience, too. I know most people use a Kindle and Amazon, but I have a lot of people who buy my books from B&N and iTunes, too. iTunes isn’t too important for this, but B&N sells paperback books, so I don’t want to leave them out. This is technical junk, but in order to sell to B&N, I need to raise the price a little. I’m -hoping- that the end price for most books will be around $9.99, but I can’t 100% guarantee that.
E-books are different, though! I can price those at competitive prices everywhere, with everything being relatively low. Herein lies the issue, though. The original Princess Miri series, bought as parts, is pricier than what I’d like to price the full-length novel version as. What I -want- to do is price it at around $4.99, with occasional sales dropping it lower. I’m almost positive this is what I’m going to do, but if anyone wants to offer comments or opinions, I’m willing to listen.
Mainly, the full-length novel is coming out approximately 8 months after the first Princess Miri story was released. The people who bought it then got to read it far earlier than anyone else. It’s the same story, and fully edited, everything professional, but I’m thinking for those people who wanted to read it early, it’s worth it. Anyone who waits and ends up wanting to read the full-length version can get it cheaper, but they need to wait months before that.
I wasn’t up front with this in the beginning, and I’m really sorry about that, but I didn’t actually know this was anything I was going to do, either. Going forward, my new direction, this is what I’m going to do, though.
Basically, if you want to read everything first, then you can buy all of my writing in parts. These will be full parts, with a story in each, with an estimated length of 8,000-25,000 words each(approximately 32-100 paperback pages). Once the entire story is done, I’ll wait a few months(at least 6 months, maybe more, after the release of the first “part” of any story), and release a paperback version and a novel-length e-book version.
I’ll make everyone aware of this in the future as best I can. The easiest way to learn about any of this is to follow my site(there’s a button on the side!) and/or sign up for my newsletter(there’s a link on the side!). Almost everything with multiple “parts”(though I’m transitioning to putting (#number) instead, because these are still full stories in their own right) will end up like this.
Again, I’m -VERY- sorry that I wasn’t crystal clear about this in the beginning. I completely understand that it might make some people upset. I know it’s not the best thing ever, but I’m working on getting some bookmarks and stuff like that to do fun giveaways, and if you’re angry about this, I’d be happy to send some your way free of charge. Just email me at cerysdulys (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know(they aren’t ready yet, but I’m going to get them set in a few weeks). You can also send me angry fanmail, or ask me questions, or just talk, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
So! Again! Going forward, new direction. If you want to read something first, you can. It’ll cost a bit more, but it will be available to you FIRST. This, in my opinion, is pretty neat. If you like the idea of something but you’d rather wait and get it a little cheaper, or you prefer a paperback version? You can do that, too, but you’ll need to wait 6+ months or so.
I’ll also occasionally be holding book giveaways and things like that. I’ll do the book giveaways through Goodreads, so if you haven’t signed up there before, now is a great time to do it! I’m not very good at Goodreads(it’s misleading!) and I have no idea what I’m doing yet, but I’d love to make more friends there. Here’s my profile so you can add me: http://www.goodreads.com/CerysduLys
And, to end it, here’s a sample for the first audiobook in The Billionaire’s Ultimatum series! I think Lauren did a great job. Give it a listen and let me know what you think? =)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(At the bottom of this post are some fun flash fiction pieces from some characters from my writing. Scroll down to the “Valentine’s Day Stories” section if you’d rather get right to those)
“A Note from Me” or “How to be Sexy and Satisfy People (in a happy way, don’t get dirty thoughts here)”
I hope everyone’s having a great Valentine’s Day so far, and hopefully it’ll be even nicer later in the afternoon and evening. I think even if you’re single, today is a fun day, and everyone should enjoy it.
So I have some things planned for everyone for this Valentine’s Day to make it more fun and exciting, no matter who you are.
First, some DOs and DON’Ts, brought to you by the Daily News (mostly because I don’t know anything about this and they have statistics which seem neat).
Apparently 85% of people say sex is the centerpiece of their Valentine’s Day. That’s quite a bit. I don’t know how that works for single people exactly, but don’t forget to practice safe-sex habits, people. Besides that, I won’t judge. Do what you like and have fun with it!
The Daily News article makes some really good points at the end, though. Don’t overindulge and don’t set your expectations too high. This is supposed to be fun! There’s no need to spend a fortune and it’s not -just- about sex. Talk and enjoy yourself and build up some excitement and anticipation. If it doesn’t work out exactly like you wanted? Well, that’s alright, because I bet it can be just as exciting if you just go with the flow.
I’d absolutely love if everyone’s relationships were as wonderful as some of the ones in erotica and erotic romance, but sometimes they need a bit more work than that, too. Why not talk about it with your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/whatever you have and figure out a way to make it happen, if just for a day?
One thing that I think could be really sexy/fun is to have your partner(whatever their gender) read aloud from one of your favorite erotic books and really try to get into it. Even if it’s a bit silly, that’s alright. Maybe act it out after, or fulfill some fantasies through that? Are you a girl and think two guys falling head over heels for each other is really attractive? Ask your partner if he’d be willing to read some passages from a gay erotica story out loud and imagine it’s him playing the role of one of the characters.
It’s not going to be perfect, but it can still be fun, and that’s what this is all about.
If you’re single, there’s a lot you can do, too. Ask someone out on a date or stay home and make a special night of it for yourself, or whatever you like. What do you have to lose? Single men and women all like going on dates, even if they don’t lead to anything, and a Valentine’s Day date is especially nice because it makes people feel even happier about the date than regular. I don’t have any real statistics here, but I bet people are more willing to go out on a limb for this kind of thing on Valentine’s Day and accept an offer for a date.
Just, maybe, don’t go overboard there? If it leads to some bedroom antics afterwards, I’m not going to say you should or shouldn’t do that but just be careful. And if it doesn’t, that’s fine, too, because it’s still a fun and nice thing to do.
Also, hey! Epiphora. I love this blog and I think she does a really good job of being down-to-earth and telling it like it is, without getting too crass and without the TMI moments that a lot of stuff like this could have. Check her out here if you’re interested (Please be aware that this is a sex toy review site, so the content is best not viewed in places where this could be potentially awkward).
If you need something to supplement your Valentine’s Day in a pleasant way, she’s probably got a million ideas ready and waiting for you. If you want some erotica/erotic romance stories to help out, too, I’ve got plenty of those, myself. Between my stuff and her site, you should have all your bases covered! (Haha)
Anyways, I think that’s it. Just have fun today! Do you have any plans you want to share, or other ideas, too? I’d love to hear your comments below(just keep them PG-13ish if you do share. Sneaky secrets are more fun than blaring ones).
And, without further adieu!
“Valentine’s Day Stories” (None of these are canon, but just for fun)
These include potential spoilers if you haven’t read the stories! Continue at your own risk.
Miri was sitting in her room in the castle, absolutely bored. Thump had left with Allysin for whatever reason, and no one else came to amuse her, and this really bothered her. Today was… well, today was a day when no one should be bored(especially her!) and… except maybe Thump didn’t know? Did trolls have Valentine’s Day where they were from? She’d never asked, merely accepted it as a universal truth that everyone should know about it.
But he didn’t, apparently! Ugh! So she was the only one on Valentine’s Day stuck without a lover, was that it? What had Allysin needed to steal him away for, anyways? The cursed servant girl barely touched upon the subject and just skirted around it like it was some vague, unknowable thing. “Oh, yes, I need to borrow Thump to do a few things and then I’ll bring him back.”
Miri needed Thump to do a few things, too, and she needed him now. She could do a few things with herself by herself, but she just didn’t want to.
Someone knocked at the door.
“Go away!” Miri screamed.
They didn’t listen to her and opened the door anyways. Ignoring them, Miri heard Allysin whispering something to Thump, and Thump quietly arguing and sounding rather bashful. That was her favorite thing about him, actually. He acted innocent sometimes, sort of, but then… well, later in bed he was anything but. Dominant and strong and willing to take control!
Except he wasn’t that now, and it struck her as curious, so foregoing her attempt at ignoring the both of them at the door, she glanced up. Allysin pushed the ten foot tall monster into the room and slammed the door behind her.
In the doorway, blushing, Thump held a pretty pair of white panties with the cutest little blue bows on the sides by the hips.
“Are those for me?” she asked. Oh, she hoped so, and really, who else would they be for?
“Allysin tell Thump give to Miri and say Happy Valentine’s,” Thump said, shy. “Here is!” He held them aloft in both hands, stretching them out for her to see them better. “Happy Valentine’s, Miri.”
“Come! Come here! Let me see them. Ooh… they’re cute! Did you pick these out yourself? Do…” She didn’t know why she felt so shy all of a sudden, but she did. “Do you want me to try them on right now?”
Thump smiled at her with his toothy, ugly grin, but in her mind it was the most handsome thing she’d ever seen. Eyes glimmering, mischievous, he said, “Yah.”
His Absolute Valentine’s Day: The Billionaire’s Ultimatum
I knew Asher needed to work, since it was Thursday, but I really wished he didn’t. It was Valentine’s Day–our first together–and I had kind of hoped we could spend the entire day together. Maybe a little unreasonable, but… no, I told myself. I couldn’t begrudge him for working, because he loved his job and I didn’t want to make him feel bad about it no matter what.
That didn’t help me right now, though. Sitting in his guest house, re-living old memories, nostalgia slipping in, I remembered everything we’d gone through. Worrying about this one thing seemed so silly and inconsequential when I thought of it like that and it made me laugh. Valentine’s Day, really?
We did have plans, but I didn’t know how I felt about them. Asher wanted to take me out to the restaurant we’d gone to the day after I met him, which was nice. I told him I didn’t need anything fancy, though; I just wanted to spend time with him. He nodded and smiled and laughed it off.
I half-suspected he had some secret plan, but neither he nor Jeremy would tell me what it was. If there even was one, I reminded myself. Sometimes I ended up expecting so much from Asher–though honestly, he never really disappointed me in those regards, either–but I knew I shouldn’t.
Well, it didn’t matter. It bothered me, but what was the use in that? Was I going to mope around the house all day, hiding away here instead of staying in the main house where I could find more people or things to occupy my time? No! I refused.
But I wanted to look upstairs once more. Awhile back, Asher asked Jeremy to buy me new clothes, and I’d kept some of them here in the closet in the master bedroom. There was one thing in particular that I’d hidden away on the outskirts of the closet because…
Just because. I couldn’t wear that! My gods, it made my cheeks red just thinking about it.
Except I could wear it now, since no one was around. Sneaking up the stairs, slipping into the bedroom, I opened the closet and pulled out the beautiful red corset. I’d never really worn a corset before, but I loved the look of this one. And, made by Frederick’s of Hollywood no less! My heart quickened imagining myself wearing it, laying in bed while I beckoned to Asher, seeing the expression on his face when he saw me there and then wondering what else he might do afterwards.
I nearly tore off my clothes in order to try on the corset. It wasn’t a real corset, not really. It looked and acted like one, but without all of the boning that trained your waist to look thinner. I thought my waist was fairly nice as it was, so I didn’t really need something like that, but the look of it… shoulderless, pushing up my chest, giving me a more accentuated hourglass figure…
I dressed, now wearing only the corset and a matching pair of red underwear. I skipped to the bathroom to inspect myself in the mirror, except…
Asher stood in the bedroom door, watching me. I stared at him, mouth wide open, aghast.
“Asher! I thought you wouldn’t be back until later?”
“I wanted to surprise you for Valentine’s Day,” he said with a grin. “Apparently you’ve got some surprises, too.”
I blushed and tried to cover myself with my arms, for all the good it did me. Asher strode over and grabbed my wrists lightly, pulling my hands up and over my head. Leaning forward, lips so deliciously close to mine, his breath hot and heavy and wonderful, he said, “I had plans to take a long weekend and bring you somewhere special, but we don’t need to leave for a couple hours…”
“We don’t?” I asked, feeling shaky, my voice fluttering.
“No,” he said. He picked me up by the waist and tossed me onto the bed, admiring me.
Right about them I was pretty sure I loved Valentine’s Day.
(More to come later, possibly! Check back soon!)
A Zombie Romance Story
There’s been a lot of talk about that new zombie movie, Warm Bodies, lately. I haven’t gone to see it, nor have I read the book, but I think it’s a really interesting concept. The trailer for the movie looks awesome, though. I love the idea behind it and the different take on zombies.
Warm Bodies is, of course a zombie romantic comedy. It’s cute, funny, and I bet there’s a lot of interesting subtleties there wrapped into the romance plot.
So, thinking about this, I decided to write my own zombie story! Easy, right? Except I write erotica and erotic romance. Comedy is alright sometimes, but that’s not really what my stories are about, so I can’t fall back on that.
Anyways! Long story short, I came up with this:
This was one of the most interesting and different stories I’ve written. Zombies are commonplace and probably everyone knows about them. I couldn’t take regular zombie lore for my zombie romance story, though; it just wouldn’t work. It took me awhile, but after thinking about it and planning things out, I came up with a way to redefine zombies for my story so that they would work in a serious, romantic sort of way. This is way harder than it sounds, but I believe I did a good job of it. I even talked with my friend who’s a Physician’s Assistant(PA) to get some of the inner details down. I didn’t bog the book down with crazy sci-fi stuff, because I don’t think anyone cares about that, but in my personal notes I have science-y reasoning for what exactly happens in the story.
I don’t want to brag, but honestly I’m pretty sure this story is unique(and in a good way). If you enjoyed my Billionaire’s Ultimatum series, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this story. I would -love- to turn Soulless into a series, too, but I just don’t know yet. It’s one of those things where I think it’s an amazing story, but I have no idea what other people will think of it, you know?
I’m pretty sure it’s nothing like Warm Bodies, but if you’ve gone and seen the movie or read the book and think a zombie romance could be interesting, I bet you’ll love Soulless.
Currently it’s available for $0.99 at most of your favorite eBook retailers! Check it out =)
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