Why isn’t anyone Enthralled?

This book. Dear God, what is it with this book?

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Enthralled with Visions…used to be Ties of Family. Suck-ass title, I know, that’s why I changed it. The story was simple enough—a psychic medium is hired to investigate a family curse, but instead of dealing with the man who hired her, she gets stuck with his son, a world class skeptic. Except, traveling to the familial estate opens his eyes…and he’s the last generation, so all the shit comes down on his head, and she’s the only thing that can stop it.

Or can she?

Ah, a possible plot twist.

Well, this book was hard for me to write. No, not really…this book was hard for me to organize. I had all the pieces to it written in fine time, but figuring out where everything went was a hell of a process. I moved chapters several times.

It’s also really tricky because I open with a masturbation scene. Why? Nina is tough as nails, a turtle—hard exterior, pulls into herself for protection. Nobody gets close to her. Except, with Michael Marsden, she always gets caught on her back foot. She’s always vulnerable around him, starting with the very first chapter, where she mistakes him for a ghost and pays him no mind while she pleasures herself.

Needless to say, that gives him something of an advantage. Nina never really recovers from her embarrassment, and that opens doors she never expected.

So maybe that’s part of the problem? People read the sample and think ‘No way. No way am I reading this book that starts with sex—Jesus, so cliché!—and not just sex, but sex with one’s lonesome…’

*Ahem, ‘Lonesome’ being a key word*

Nina is lonely, and frightened. She puts up a big front—nothing scares her! She faced down a demon, she handles ghosts and Ghoulies with ease! She can even deal with crazy family members…but she’s terrified of having a relationship, terrified of having sex because she’s convinced no one can handle her kinks, and—most especially—she’s terrified of Michael, because he sees through all of it.

Nina, above any other character I’ve written, needs the emotional connection to another in order to find pleasure. For her, pleasure comes on the threads of pain, there are scenes that walk the dubcon line, but Michael brings out her vulnerabilities. He digs into her from the very first, and keeps on going until she has no other choice but to surrender—her pride is on the line, after all. It’s something of a triple dog dare…but he’s earned a measure of her trust and has offered a shoulder for her to lean on.

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Nina has a lot of heart. She’s protective and wants to help. She wants to get to the bottom of the Marsden family curse, she wants to set the bloodline free. She does what she must, even when it’s not in her best interests, or makes her uncomfortable…

And Michael? He’s stubborn, but he’s a man who appreciates strength, and Nina has that in spades.

Will you like this story? I really don’t know. I’ve given out over 300 copies of this book and haven’t gotten more than one review on it yet, so I have no idea what hits and what misses in this one. But it is currently on sale at Amazon, so now is a good time to see for yourself. (Um, and if you could let me know whether you liked it or not, that would be awesome!)

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enthralled teaser

Sexy Authors of November

meet them sa

 

Get to know some new-to-you authors! These interviews ended up being as different as the women who gave them, with bonus material, exclusive content, excerpts, teasers and even a secret or two…

ardentmini

My pen name is Ardent Rose, but you can just call me Rose. I bring a bit of classy southern sass to a genre of naughty stories. My heart is filled with romantic fantasies conjured up from years of reading these kinds of books. I am passionate about writing and supporting other authors.

You can read Ardent Rose’s interview on Always Sexy

di annemini

Di Anne is originally from Wheeling, West Virginia and now lives in the central Florida area with her husband Sig and their chihuahua Lola. Two years ago, when she started on this writing journey, she walked away from watching television and made big changes in her life. She opened her mind and her heart and music became her motivation and muse.

You can read Di Anne’s interview on Always Sexy

bellamini

To call Bella a ‘hopeless romantic’ would probably be a gross understatement. She loves to write books with a ‘happy ever after’ ending as she feels it is important to finish reading a story with a smile on your face. Her tag-line ‘Relishing Raunchy Romance’ sums her up beautifully – a few steamy sex scenes never go amiss, although her emphasis is usually on the word ‘romance’.

You can read Bella’s interview on Always Sexy

leoramini

I spend my time reading and writing while making sure my two kids (and alarmingly accident-prone husband!) don’t kill themselves or each other. My addictions include: tattoos, cursing, good food, and good company, though not necessarily in that order.

You can read Leora’s interview on Always Sexy

ashantaymini

Ashantay Peters lives in the North Carolina mountains, the perfect location to escape into a well-written book. Killtless in Carolina is her first erotic novella, but her other books include steamy scenes and humor. What’s life without a hot hero and hotter sex life? And someone to laugh with? She loves to hear from readers and promises not to stalk anyone who contacts her.

You can read Ashantay’s interview on Always Sexy

Thanks to all these amazing authors for letting me interview them!

Conjurers & Candy Canes

Looks cute, right?

candy canes

Well, it’s not.

Not really. I mean, maybe you’ll think it’s a cute story. It’s quick and lusty, but Conjurers & Candy Canes is part of The Tithe Collector series, which is deceptively bright. Three magical criminals and an ‘ordinary’ guy have been handpicked to join the Special Collections Team, solving crimes of magic. It’s a punishment…

A djinn addicted to human magic, determined to find sobriety but relapsing every time her abusive boyfriend comes back into her orbit

A cowardly vampire who committed adultery against his goddess lover and is doubly punished by a forced handfasting to the man he cheated with-a fearsome hyena shape-shifter who is the only voice of reason in this group

A disgraced fairy who has secrets too deep to reveal here, but is infamous for her ability to kill with a single finger, which has kept her isolated and friendless but for one man who misused her

And a veteran left with a homicidal case of PTSD after he blew up in the Middle East and was saved by the king of gods, for some purpose the other can’t fathom yet

And sex. I was told there was ‘just so much sex’ in this series. Well, I’ve got news for everybody. There is a lot of sex. There will always be a lot of sex, because this mismatched group of strangers doesn’t trust each other, they hardly know each other, and their crimes and lives still need to fit into the conflict. The only time the let their guard down is when the fuck, so every time they fuck, the reader learns something new.

This is a dark series. This isn’t about kidnappers, it’s not about the sex slave trade and nobody’s been tied to a bed…yet. This one is all psychology, wrapped in a fluffy exterior that wears off a bit more in each book. This is the dark side of the truth concerning what it means to be a family, and how far people will go to form a tribe.

And how much farther they’ll go to keep it.

Get Conjurers & Candy Canes Cyber Monday on All Romance with a rebate that makes it just 49¢

Or start The Tithe Collector series for free with Kindle Unlimited

S&S3a (1)

Their first case finds them in Miami, where a sorcerer is stealing magic to set himself up as a god. The Special Collections Team is in over their heads.

Amazon / Goodreads

Changelings & Champions

The SCT is called to Las Vegas, where a pair of changelings ups the ante

Amazon  /  All Romance  /  Barnes & Noble  /  Smashwords

Release Day for Liah!

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liah-2000x3000Synopsis

She’s an empathic warrior who refuses to feel her own emotions. He’s an abomination hiding his truth within the robes of a priest.

When Liah travels to Red Leaf City to investigate a group of clergymen she believes might be corrupted beyond forgiveness, she meets Father Anthony Angelli, a man who sends her suspicions—and her libido—into overdrive. He’s hiding something, but Liah can’t find any evidence of wrongdoing and she’s got her own issues to deal with.

Tony can’t drop the matter. Refusing to let his colleagues get away with their crimes, he starts his own investigation, dragging Liah back to town even as he vows not to fall to the temptation she embodies. Unfortunately, his interference puts them both on display at a wicked gathering, and the only way to get out alive is to expose the truth—then pray for mercy.

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AboutTheAuthor

Delve into the emotions, dive into the erotic.

An extensive traveler who loves to incorporate various legends from around the world into her tales, author Lola White likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses and seeing how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can.

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Sexy Authors of October

meet them sa
Get to know some authors who might be new to you, but are best-selling in their genres. These interviews ended up being as different as the women who gave them, with bonus material, exclusive content, excerpts, teasers and even a secret or two…

 

felicimini

I’m Felicity Brandon – writer of salacious, erotic and romantic tales. As a Golden Flogger finalist (2016), my books explore and celebrate the themes of BDSM, spanking and submission. My tales are strictly for adults (18+ ) and contain explicit material!

Read the rest of Felicity’s interview on Always Sexy

anglemini

I was Born and raised in NYC…The Capital of the World. As a child, I loved to draw. I spent most of my time drawing instead of playing with dolls. As I got a little older, around ten, I started to write cartoons and plays to act out with my friends on the block. Then, it all stopped. I continued to draw, tried out for a specialized Art High School, but wasn’t accepted. So my dreams of becoming an artist fizzled away. My life took a totally different path and writing just wasn’t a part of it, unless I had to write a paper for College. Marriage, two kids and three college degrees later, I decided to start writing in 2007 while taking online classes for my next degree. Then, I stopped writing… Life took over. 🙁 (Sounds like my next suspense book…LOL!)

To my surprise, I found the book one day, hidden away in the closet and started writing again in 2014. With a little push from my best friend, I finished the book in 2015 and took a chance on self-publishing it. I self-published in August 2015 and…here I am!

Today, I am married and reside in upstate New York in the sticks with my husband and teenage sons! This author life is a hidden treasure. The second part of my life has just begun…Follow me. I would love to share everything I do with you. Let’s take this journey together. 🙂

Read the rest of Angel’s interview on Always Sexy

judymini

I’m Judy Jarvie and I write fast banter keeper heroes with killer lines and hot humor. For years I tried to resist my inner rom com nut but eventually I woke up to the fact that I like wild banter as much as I adore sizzle and scorch.

Read the rest of Judy’s interview on Always Sexy

 

scarlmini
Scarlett Knight is an equal rights advocate, an environmentalist, a dreamer, an adventurer, an avid reader, a movie buff, an art lover, and an author. She got her literary start by publishing erotic short stories through various small presses and on a number of websites. Over time, she found herself compelled to write about more than just sex. She now also uses her writing as a vehicle to explore the more complex mental and emotional aspects of love, both romantic and platonic, straight and LGBT, in contemporary and futuristic/paranormal settings. Self-discovery is one of the major themes in her newest contemporary novel, THE ART HOUSE(Dark Hollows Press, 2016), which is currently an “Honorable Mention” contestant in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. Readers have hailed THE ART HOUSE as “steamy,” “refreshing,” and “profound.” Scarlett Knight’s books are available in multiple e-book formats. She lives in the Dallas Metroplex.

Read the rest of Scarlett’s interview on Always Sexy

Thanks to all these amazing authors for letting me interview them!

The Psychic Trilogy

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Demons, monsters and ghosts…three psychic women must face their deepest fears, because their freedom can only be found in the dark.

Seduced in Dreams

Free on

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Apple / Kobo

After years of denying her psychic ability, Meggie must now face her deepest fears…

When reluctant clairvoyant Meggie Kain absorbs the memories of an erotic encounter with what she mistakenly believes to be a Succubus, she finds herself claimed, tainted with its darkness and fighting for her freedom.

Roommates Jim and Kyle need help banishing the sex demon binding itself to them. Meggie has only ever wanted to be normal, but now that the demon is transferring its attentions to her, she must delve into the darkest parts of her psyche and sexuality, breaking down barriers she’s spent her life hiding behind.

Joining together in a carnal triangle is the trio’s only hope in their battle against an entity that literally wants to love them to death.

About Lola White

Delve into the emotions, dive into the erotic.

An extensive traveler who loves to incorporate various legends from around the world into her tales, best-selling author Lola White likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing (and showing) how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can.

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Sexy Authors of September

meet them sa

 

Get to know some authors who might be new to you, but are best-selling in their genres. These interviews ended up being as different as the women who gave them, with bonus material, exclusive content, excerpts, teasers and even a secret or two…

rachel

I don’t like to reveal too much about myself. It’s not that I am excessively secretive, but I prefer to let people know me through my writing.  I write using a pen name (two in fact), and prefer to keep my real identity separate.

Having said that, I can tell you that I am female and live in the UK, and have been writing off and on throughout my life, but only began writing erotic romance two years ago, under the names of Rachel de Vine, and, most recently, Juliette Banks.

Apart from writing, my passion is travelling, which I have done all my life. I used to travel alone, but twenty-five years ago I began travelling with a friend, and we have been to some amazing places. Our last trip was to China and Tibet two years ago. Apart from travel, my other interests are walking in the beautiful British countryside, reading, music and gardening.

MEET RACHEL! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

shelby

Born and raised in sunny Southern California, I dissed the beach scene at an early age, preferring to while away the hours scribbling stories in my room. Very little has changed. I’m still the geeky gal who rarely tans, drinks too much coffee and believes that making love – not war – will save us all.

 

I penned my first short story at ten, a woeful little tale about a girl searching for her boyfriend in Calais, France. To this day, I have no clue why or how I picked that venue but there it was. More stories followed. Some made their way into local papers and scholastic magazines and some my mom had bronzed. Thanks, mom.

In one capacity or another, I’ve been writing all my life, everything from screenplays to political speeches and mainstream fiction, but my favorite guilty pleasure is Erotic Romance. If there is anything more wonderful than exploring the eternal dance and love between those destined to find each other, I can’t imagine it.

MEET SHELBY! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

charlotte

Charlotte is an erotic romance author and poet living in the heart of the Shropshire countryside in Great Britain. She’s lived all across the United Kingdom due to her previous employment as an Event manager but finally settled in a small town that still reeks of old school England. She graduated from college with a degree in Business and her Horse Riding Instructors Qualification which eventually led her into the very bizarre world of outdoor pursuits’ event management where she trained to instruct all sorts of equipment. Some of which included crossbows, shotguns, quad bikes, 4×4 driving and archery, she’s not entirely sure how any of it happened but knows that she adored every minute.

When not writing she enjoys socialising with close friends and travelling to all the major cities across the globe, travel has always been a constant companion to reading throughout her life and only increases her thirst for stimulation.

MEET CHARLOTTE! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

dez

With a bachelor’s in biology and a Master’s in psychology & Family Counseling, Dez Marie is a city employee working as an independent substance abuse counselor. When she isn’t working, she’s writing, and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. She keeps herself busy traveling when she can, meeting some of the very people who inspired her to turn her first novel into a trilogy.

MEET DEZ! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

 

Thank you ladies! Your interviews were very sexy!

 

Editing is hard work…

Editing is really hard work. I know this because I’ve had to edit many things by now. Most recently, Enthralled with Visions, and my God how I winced at what I’d written before. I needed a better editor back then.

My first ‘real’ edit, by which I mean someone under the gun from an actual publishing company and not just a median-price proofreader I hired, taught me more about writing well than anything else before or since. I will forever be grateful to her because her critique and requests and the tears I shed, helped me progress to the next level in my writing.

The experience was awful, wrenching…then I saw one author’s post (and I was really dumb back then and never made a note of who, so I can’t give proper credit). She saved my sanity, so I’m passing on her advice:

 

editors dont know

 

You’re hearing a hallelujah chorus right now, aren’t you? I did too, when I read that. They will often suggest changes, and as time goes by, I find that more helpful. (Previously, I did not) They will tell you something is awkward, impossible, weird, overwritten, underwritten, etc. But you are the writer…so write something to fix it. In that vein, there were very few changes I resisted in that first edit, or since.

NOTE: this next section does not apply to Beta Readers or Critique Partners! That is a more personal relationship and you’ve got to work out between you how you’d like information to be conveyed. Me and mine write directly into the text, but highlight it, and I have no problem with that even though…

I once had an editor decided a word needed capitalization, and so she did a Find/Replace for that word that wasn’t meant to be capitalized which led to utter chaos, including strange uppercase letters in the middle of other words. Over 300 instances where I had to fix what someone else wrote into my novel. She probably thought she was being helpful, but a note at the beginning asking me to change it would have been better, right?

A certain level of vagueness is, in fact, the mark of an excellent editor. If you find someone who tells you something’s funky but doesn’t try to tell you how to fix it, you might be paying the right person.

gaiman quote

 

Remember, you are the writer. Your creativity did not, hopefully, exhaust itself in the writing of your story, so dig a little more, fall out of love with your own words, and change what needs to be changed in a manner your heart can bear. When you first write your story, you will be ridiculously resistant to cutting out words or rearranging sentences, etc. You want to keep them so badly, you know you just NEED them. If you’re like me, you’ve always got an eye on word count, too, right? You need to stretch a little, make that quota you set for yourself…

That was my problem with Enthralled. I had a difficult time getting that one in shape. I remember rushing to get it out in time for Halloween when I wrote it, and I apparently thought it was in competition with Tempted by Nightmares in terms of word count.

Thankfully, a couple of years really gives you a bit of space to see your mistakes. Plus, I’ve learned so much. I was able to cut out a lot, and add in necessary explanations I failed to include the first go-round. It is now streamlined, more cohesive. If I’d had a better editor before, I wouldn’t have had to go through this now.

Look, editors are expensive, and maybe it’s hard to tell the difference between proofreading and content development by someone’s profile…but try. Use that free sample, and know the difference between an editor preserving your voice and just doing a lazy edit. And when you get your first round back and feel like giving it all up, dry your tears and remember…by the time you finish doing all that’s necessary, not only will you have a better book, but you’ll be a better writer.

Buck up. It really is worth it.

 

Sexy Authors of August

meet them sa

Get to know some authors who might be new to you, but are best-selling in their genres. These interviews ended up being as different as the women who gave them, with bonus material, exclusive content, excerpts, teasers and even a secret or two…

A note to begin:

I am grateful to these five fabulous, wonderful, amazing authors who were so brave as to let me interview them first, before any precedent was set. The Sexy Author interviews have been designed to show a bit more of an author’s personality. These are not the standard questions of a basic interview, these probe a little deeper…In fact, they aren’t even questions, except for one. What I was aiming at was a glimpse into the values and preferences, and even the kinkery, behind some of the brightest up-coming authors in the Romance & Erotica genres. And these first five did not disappoint!

 

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vicweb

Former Director for a major corporation, Victoria has spent most of her life inside of a book. When she wasn’t reading, she was busy scribbling down stories of her own. Meeting her husband while he was in the United States Army, Victoria quickly adapted and learned the role of the military spouse.

After finishing her Business Management Degree in college, she spent years working in the corporate world where her writing quickly fell to the wayside. Finally, taking time away from the corporate world, Victoria has been able to dive into her stories and create a whole new world for you to live in.

She now resides in the sunny Tampa, Florida area with her husband, son, and two amazing boxers. When she isn’t writing, you can find her on the beach or hiking. Maybe even writing on the beach …

MEET VICTORIA! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

 

niaweb

 Nia Farrell is one of Mr. Blackthorne’s Wicked Pen Writers and a multi-genre author who is published in nonfiction, poetry, music, and children’s books, with one documentary screenplay under her literary belt. She’s an old soul and a period reenactor who’s been into corsets for centuries, although she wears them more to Civil War events these days. Nia has been involved in the metaphysical community for over twenty-five years. She is a Reiki Master and crystal healer whose work encompasses this and other lifetimes. In her book SOMETHING MORE, BDSM and submission are tools for healing post-rape PTSD.  SOMETHING MORE is a Finalist for Best BDSM Book of the Year, Ménage Category, in the 2016 Golden Flogger Awards.

Her debut books from The Three Graces Series, SOMETHING ELSE, SOMETHING DIFFERENT, and SOMETHING MORE, are kink with a paranormal twist. Soul mates, reincarnation, karmic fallout, shamanism, and psychic abilities come into play. Personal experience and extensive research go into crafting her characters, but it’s her sense of whimsy that has made fictional Posey, Minnesota, the ménage capital of the United States with a Monty-Python-themed diner that’s central to the plotlines.

Nia was fortunate enough to meet her soul mate early on. She married her high school sweetheart, raised two children, and began writing at her husband’s suggestion. She has been published in erotic romance since 2015.

MEET NIA! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

jennaweb

Jenna Fox is a civilized hillbilly and doting mother residing in the deep South. Besides juggling a busy family life, Fox reviews and critiques for other authors and crafts her own dark erotic tales. Stories always feature a mysterious alpha male with unexpected twists to shock the reader. She believes in HFN and HEA endings, although not always in a romantic or conventional way.

Her work is born from real life experiences, an overactive imagination and a consuming caffeine addiction.  Sometimes she finds herself writing sex scenes on fast food napkins and store receipts while waiting in traffic. Fox is a listener of bad-ass music and a watcher of classic slasher films. In short, she’s a multi-tasker – a writer, a storyteller, able to make a boo-boo all better with just one kiss and a proud, world class expert at screwing up recipes and scaring away closet monsters.  She believes in ghosts and God and is absolutely convinced chocolate soothes the savage beast.

MEET JENNA! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

 

lisweb

I’ve been addicted to words almost since I was born. I began reading when I was four. I wrote my first story at five years old and my first poem at seven. Since then, I’ve produced plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than fifty single author titles including nine full length novels – in almost every sub-genre including BDSM, gay, lesbian, paranormal and scifi. I’ve also edited a number of acclaimed erotica anthologies, including volumes for the charity erotica imprint Coming Together which support causes such as Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood, and Doctors Without Borders.

I have more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by my chosen genre. Aside from writing, travel is one of my most fervent passions. I’ve visited every continent except Australia, though I still have a long bucket list of places I haven’t been. Currently I live in Southeast Asia with my indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where I pursue an alternative career that is completely unrelated to my creative writing.

MEET LISABET! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

 

kaitweb

An inveterate traveller, Kait has set foot on three continents and has the other four on her bucket list (yes, even Antarctica). Until she can see them all, she writes romances that take readers to far flung locales, often to places she’s been or hopes to one day go. For now, she’s settled in England where she spends most of her time plotting, scribbling ideas on every available scrap of paper and trying out dialogue on her cat.

MEET KAIT! See the rest of her interview on Always Sexy

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Erotica: Down & Dirty

Erotica is literature or art that is designed to arouse you. That’s the definition.

Erotic literature, until recently, specifically used sex to tell the story.

sex

I’m not one of those people who argue the difference between porn and erotica. Quite frankly, I don’t care, but I respect that other people do. That’s not what this post is about, however. This post is about sex in stories, in books, even in movies, maybe.

When I wrote my psychic trilogy, I did what all brand new, aspiring authors do and researched everything I could about my genre, how to tell a story, etc. Generally speaking, I wasted a lot of time, because there is no piece of advice in the world that is as helpful to a writer as simply sitting down to write. (But we keep giving it, and we keep trying to get it, too…Even me! Check out my advice posts on Tumblr) That being said, I did stumble on to something that changed my outlook, especially for those first novels, but it’s something that I cling to, even today.

take out

If you can take out the sex scene and still follow the story completely, it’s not true erotica.

I anticipate a lot of emails about that statement, but suffice it to say it’s not exactly mine. It’s something I came across a long time ago, and I wish I knew where I’d seen it so I could give credit where it’s due.

I will never be ashamed to be an erotica writer and I will never let another shame me for being an erotica writer. I love erotica and romance. I love the sex scenes, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t write in the genre. I don’t care if they move the story in an obvious way or not, because if there is sex in your story, you’re probably showing something about the characters or the plot. Even in a twenty three page short story.

Most of my stories follow the premise above—without the sex scene, you’re missing something. You can skip the sex …but if you’re skipping those scenes, why are you reading erotica? Granted, I take pride in having a great story too, but that story is told in the context of sex. It may not be obvious right away—especially in my Tithe Collector series—but eventually, the piece of information I have conveyed in each, individual sex scene, will be necessary to the whole story. (The Tithe Collector is a long story…it might take a minute, but I promise, you’ll eventually be like, OMG, I remember, and so THAT’S why…)

In some of my other stories, the sex is there in the same way it’s present for other romance novels. To show relationship, communication, forgiveness, a deepening of emotions, or even a lack of emotion. Humans are complex, and sex is just as complex for them. That is why so many romances include graphic scenes.

So what does that tell you about the definition of Erotica?

WRONG

It tells me the dictionary can be wrong! Erotica is more than just trying to get your readers off. It’s about conveying the most complex human idiosyncrasy. Sex is joyful, it’s communication, it’s a promise, and it’s a weapon. Sad, lonely, vulnerable, weak, strong…all at the same time, too. A connection between two people, or desperation on behalf of one. Sex is beautiful and horrible, pleasurable and harmful.

It is all these things, and Erotica is the only genre fighting to show every nuance.

There isn’t a lot of advice about REpublishing your work.

I’ve been editing the first novels I ever released. The Psychic Trilogy is getting updated, and it’s more challenging than you would imagine.

this to that

First of all, my brain balks at having to read them over again. They were my first and I read them a hundred times each—especially Demon’s Bond, about to become Seduced in Dreams. It’s not like it’s my favorite story, I will admit. But it is, hands down, the book I’ve read most often in my life. That’s hard. Let me be honest about that—I don’t want to read it ever again.

But I am. I am reading it, and wincing…and impressing myself. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing back then. I wrote what words came into my head then I used a thesaurus, then I changed everything back to regular words. I mean, come on…a thesaurus? How obnoxious. On the other hand, it did help me broaden my vocabulary, so it served its purpose. (Maybe I’ll write a post on the topic, one day)

I think I asked for ten reviews, and got three or four for Demon’s Bond, which isn’t actually a bad return. They were good reviews. God, for Monster’s Chains, about to become Tempted by Nightmares, I only asked for one, and I got a five star return on that. But then I stopped asking for more, I didn’t even try with Ties of Family (soon to become Enthralled with Visions), and I didn’t know how to promote (I still don’t, but I’m a little better at it. Not great, or I’d be on the NYT Bestsellers list, but better…)

There isn’t a whole lot of advice concerning updating your old books. Sure, there are plenty of posts about cleaning up the interior, or changing the cover. But new titles? I found a few places that tell you to just change them, the metadata (ie how the online bookstores present your particular URL address) will reflect the changes. Hopefully. Otherwise, there isn’t much, as if everyone was entirely happy with their first attempts at publication. Yeah, okay…unless they’re all secretly unpublishing, then putting their updated version back up.

I’ve seen posts warning authors not to unpublish then republish their updates. Some people think that means you’re gaming the system, working your old book into the new releases. So that’s another worry I’ve got on my plate. Authors always have to think about the perception of others, because others’ opinions are what sells books. I’m going to try to upload the changes, even if just to preserve my few reviews, but if things go wrong, I’ll take them off and republish, and worry about losing respect if that issue ever materializes.

prose is architecture

So what am I doing? Cleaning them up, tightening the prose. I ran across this quote—that’s right, I’m not really a Hemingway fan so I hadn’t seen it before—and it pretty much serves as my inspiration. “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” I went a touch overboard in the first editions, but I’m not stripping out my description entirely. I don’t write ‘stark’ I write stories you can see, stories you can fall into.

For these books, I want to keep the voice I’d started my career with. I want to honor the place I began, but I want to marry it to all that I’ve learned so far. I don’t want to change the books dramatically, there will be no drastic overhauls. The plots remain, the elements are fixed, but the prose is tighter. Hopefully, it will flow better, seem shorter. It’s always good when a book seems shorter than it is—that means you enjoyed it.

They’re not bad books, I’ll toot my own horn. Sometimes it’s hard for a writer to understand that they do, in fact, have talent. Your book could be the #1 seller in the world, and you’re still going to wonder if it’s any good. You’ll also have the added pressure of wondering if that was the peak of your career, if anything else you write can measure up. Authors live in their own strange, little paradoxical hell.

I’ve created my own hell by choosing to update, but I think it will serve me better in the long run. At least I’ll wince less, if I ever have to read these books again.  I’ve got a lot to do with my Psychic Trilogy in time for the blog tour I want to set up in late September. Just in time to promote these stories for Halloween. They are dark erotica/erotic horror, dealing with demons, monsters and ghosts. They’re hot, they’re compelling, and they’ll be updated.

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You want to write a Romance?

I’m not going to lie. This is about a post I saw giving some ‘basic concepts’ to writing Romance. Except what the author of the post wrote is backwards. It holds just fine if someone is writing a different story and there HAPPENS to be a romance in it, but not if you’re actually writing a romance novel. I’m not going to rehash the points made in the other post, I’m just going to offer a little wisdom on the Romance genre for those who wish to write an actual romance.

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The ROMANCE is the story. This is, apparently, quite a hang-up for those who don’t read or write romance. It’s nice to add outside plot elements, those can really spice your story up…but the focus is the relationship. Romance is not used to set the mood or describe the customs of your time or place. It is not there simply to raise the stakes so the hero has to rescue the heroine and the heroine can then rescue the world. Nope—the ups and downs of the relationship are the core of your story, it is the world, it is the suspense, the conflict and the resolution all wrapped into one.

Follow the tropes, and a few clichés aren’t bad either. It’s one of the few places where ‘expected outcome’ is a necessary, though you may feel free to twist other things however you please. Try not to be overly dramatic, but that’s still much better than being too subtle to feel the chemistry between the characters. If you begin with insta-love, make sure the characters FEEL it all the way through—they can have doubts about the direction of the relationship, what they truly feel and even if things can work out (etc.), but their mind should be occupied with this other person, they should agonize a bit over things. Love at first sight isn’t all that common, so if they feel it, make it special.

Erotica and romance aren’t the same thing. There is a bit of cross-over. They can be connected. They can both be present in the same story. But for the love of God, please stop confusing the two.

Finally, I will add, as so many others have, that romance and its authors take shots to the chin a lot. On the flip side, every time some author from a different genre sits down to write a romance they feel the need to then blog about how difficult it was. Yes, prepare yourself, it is difficult finding the proper balance of things, but if you keep looking at the events of your story through the prism of falling in love, you’ll stay on the right track.

Secret Babies and Stolen Goods

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I write a lot of darker stories, serious issues buried behind terms like ‘erotic romance’ and ‘paranormal suspense.’ I love exploring those subterranean emotions, the things so many of us hide on a daily basis with wide smiles and gentle lies. Things like distrust and greed, perversion, obsession, unhealthy love…these things we have to face within ourselves. Or, at least, my characters do if they want to find their happy ending, or whatever they’re striving for.

And sometimes I just want to write an easy story. Stories that are just for fun, entertaining and quick. Others that are romantic and sweet. Sometimes, my brain starts churning with happy thoughts, though it can’t help but put a little bit of the darker edge on just about everything I touch.

My beta readers tell me Stolen Goods is cute, and I’ll take that. It’s exactly what I was going for. A sweet story with a happy-ever-after dripping in syrup. I’m pretty sure everyone who glances at the cotton-candy cover knows what to expect, right?

Ah, but I can’t help myself. He’s a little obsessed, she’s a little untrusting. After all, what is sweetness without a little sour?

Weslyn Moon is a woman who has not only fallen on hard times, but doesn’t even know what good times are. She’s got a history that makes her men-shy, she doesn’t want much to do with them but she does want a baby, and the unconditional love one would offer. Agent Nolan Findley has a failed marriage behind him. He and his ex had tried to have a baby but failed…and yet his attempts left a forgotten semen sample at the Barre Birth and Reproductive Center.

Findley gets a call about replacing his stolen sample and learns a doctor was blackmailed into an illegal IVF procedure. He starts tracking down the culprit, art forger Weslyn Moon. But is she even pregnant? Odds are—no, but Findley’s determined to find out, just like he’s determined to bring Moon to justice.

But then his investigation turns into so much more…

Stolen Goods 2000x3000

 

Amazon  /  Amazon UK

Magic Matched: Motherhood

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In witching society, there is a strict hierarchy. Family covens are ruled by Mothers or Fathers who hold the bulk of their bloodline’s power and archaic rules are enforced, disregarding modern sentiments. Magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

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Christiana Davenold doesn’t want to be Mother, but her husband is pushing for her to be named heir. Milo just wants to protect his wife, and he believes the position of leadership would keep her, and their unborn child, safe from the challenges of her cousins.

But Mother Madeleine refuses to name a successor.

As the Davenolds gather in the hopes that they can heal their Mother from the dark magic attack that has left her weak and near death, Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold find themselves at a turning point neither could have expected. Troublesome Family members, secret alliances and the unexpected arrival of Father Daniel Levy cause an emotional upheaval that will test them both.

Only love can see them through the danger, but in witching society, magic and politics are all that matter. The connection they’ve managed to forge will be tested as suspicion grows and trust is broken by the ultimate betrayal.

 

won't let them teaser

~~Excerpt~~

Frustration heated the back of Silviu’s neck. “I’d hoped for a little more than a small moment, love.”

“Make an appointment,” she snapped. “Silviu, I have a lot going on right now. I appreciate you doing what you can to help my grandmother, but while she’s ill the Family problems come to me. I have a job to do and I can’t let everybody down.”

“They could solve most of these problems themselves.” He shook his head, irritation tightening his muscles. “They bring you silly things for no other reason than to occupy your time.”

She steered him to the right and opened an inconspicuous door. Inside wasn’t what he’d expected, until he reminded himself that the estate belonged to the secondary branch and wasn’t Madeleine’s primary residence. In New Hampshire, the Davenold Mother had a bright, opulent office, but the space he followed his betrothed into was dimly lit with a single, narrow window and filled with an overly large desk.

It was perfect.

“You have to understand how nervous they are.” Georgie’s tone turned mildly scolding, “Our Mother is ill with no cure we can find and the Family is frightened. I must provide them with the leader they need.”

Put that way, the Davenolds’ dependence on her made more sense. “You are the natural choice,” he conceded.

“Yes, and if I’m not available, the witches here are more likely to go to Suzette than Christiana. Most of the people running around here belong to the secondary branch. What did you need to talk to me about?”

There was no way he could tell her the truth. He knew she would reject him outright if she had even a hint of his plans. He would scare her off and offend her at the same time.

A flick of his fingers locked the door before he leapt on her. Silviu trapped Georgie against the desk and hauled her to his chest, his mouth coming down on hers before she could protest. He crushed her close, pressing his rigid dick to her belly and smoothing his hands down her back in a single, hard stroke.

He wondered if she could taste his desperation as he twisted his lips against hers and thrust his tongue into her mouth. If she could feel the thrum of his magic sliding over her, sinking into her, and if she would understand what it meant, if she understood what he was doing. He wondered if he cared what she thought as she went to her toes and moaned. Silviu pressed his advantage.

Her lack of magical knowledge was his saving grace and he fully intended to use it to the best of his ability while he still had the advantage. Before her suspicions became engaged. He gripped her hips and dragged her against his cock until Georgie was clinging to him for balance. He kneaded her ass and bit her lip.

She broke the kiss with a gasp. “Silver, I don’t have time—”

“Make time,” he growled, attacking her mouth again. He licked and rubbed, used the hard edge of his teeth against her soft curves and sucked her lower lip. “I need you, Georgie.”

Milo teaser

Totally Bound  /  Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Barnes & Noble  /  Kobo

Magic Matched

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The game they’re playing turns treacherous

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A minefield of lies and betrayal

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adDelve into the emotions, dive into the erotic.

An extensive traveler who loves to incorporate various legends from around the world into her tales, Lola White likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing (and showing) how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can.

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Magic Sale!

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Magic and politics are the only things that matter…until love comes into play

Magic Matched: Betrothed

SALE!

99 cents for a limited time only!

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In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

But neither Ileana Lovasz nor Eliasz Levy are looking for love. Humiliated by a string of broken betrothals, Ileana only wants freedom from her manipulative grandfather. Eliasz simply wants an alliance with Ileana’s brother Silviu, a man rising through the witching ranks. That is, until the Lovasz woman arrives at his home and stirs up emotions he’d never thought to feel.

Silviu has bigger things on his mind than his sister’s marriage. Georgeanne Davenold, Silviu’s betrothed and the key to his rise in power, is back in his life after a ten year separation that left her distrustful of his intentions. Their union is a novelty, spanning the divide between Matriarchal and Patriarchal Families. Their union is also alarming, combining the influence and magic of two witches only heard of in myth and legend.

Ileana, Eliasz, Silviu and Georgie must build an alliance that will help them all get what they want but, with too many lies and too many enemies, the game they’re playing turns deadly. When the two women come under attack, neither Silviu nor Eliasz knows which is the target. They only know they will protect the women their hearts have claimed as their own, even though that means defying the traditions of witching society, risking every goal they hold dear and confronting the dangerous members of their own families.

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Amazon  /  Totally Bound                                                   Amazon  /  Totally Bound

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$3.99 / £2.50

Limited time only!

In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

Tulah Ngozi doesn’t want to go home, but she’s being forced to attend the wedding of the man who killed her father years ago. The Ngozi men are determined to use her in their plots against each other, but she takes her future into her own hands when she learns that Adam Davenold will also be in attendance. Adam is a powerful man in a matriarchal Family, used to being seduced by women looking to gain power. He’s good at guarding his heart—until he meets Tulah.

Diplomacy demands that the Davenolds attend the wedding and, in the company of their Matriarch, Adam and Georgeanne travel to the Ngozi residence, where they become embroiled in a frightening power struggle. Georgeanne is grateful for the unexpected presence of her betrothed, Silviu, who arrives uninvited after he learns she will be there. When the groom proves disturbing and the Davenold Mother falls to a suspicious illness, Silviu’s magic is the only thing Georgie can depend on for support.

In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love. But more than politics is at stake in a minefield of lies and betrayal. Death and dark magic stalk the Ngozi–Levy wedding, and only Silviu and Georgeanne’s Matched magic has a chance of getting everyone out alive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Christiana Davenold doesn’t want to be Mother, but her husband is pushing for her to be named heir. Milo just wants to protect his wife, and he believes the position of leadership would keep her, and their unborn child, safe from the challenges of her cousins.

But Mother Madeleine refuses to name a successor.

As the Davenolds gather in the hopes that they can heal their Mother from the dark magic attack that has left her weak and near death, Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold find themselves at a turning point neither could have expected. Troublesome Family members, secret alliances and the unexpected arrival of Father Daniel Levy cause an emotional upheaval that will test them both.

Only love can see them through the danger, but in witching society, magic and politics are all that matter. The connection they’ve managed to forge will be tested as suspicion grows and trust is broken by the ultimate betrayal.

Totally Bound  /  Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Barnes & Noble  /  Kobo

Three Acts

Here’s some free advice for every aspiring write out there: Write a three act story.

3 acts

(super simplified, but you get the point, right?)

Even short stories follow the format, though some have more events and others have less. Hell, even non-linear tales have this format buried somewhere in the back and forth of chapters. You need a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of those needs build-up and a challenge the character(s) must face.

The beginning should have at least some build-up, though not an info-dump of backstory. We should get to know the character, start understanding what the problem of the story will be and at the end of the beginning, the first major turning point of the conflict should occur and draw the character into the drama. Like a mini cliff-hanger.

Middles are tricky, don’t let yours sag. The middle needs some backstory and character insight so the reader continues to care and root for success. The middle needs some action—whether that’s actual plot events or emotional action. The middle also still needs world-building or some setup, basically some driving details to pull the reader ever further into the conflict, the struggle, the feels…and it needs to contain the MAJOR turning point somewhere between halfway and three-quarters of the way through the whole story. This is where everything changes, and if it’s somewhere in the middle of the middle, you’ll still need a cliff-hanger to push the character into the end.

The ending should, of course, have a resolution, even in the case of actual cliff-hanger endings! (A cliff-hanger still resolves one problem before introducing another, usually larger, challenge. That gives a sense of satisfaction for the reader. Ah, problem solved…OMG, look what happened! Get it?) The ending must have a conclusion for the character, and preferably at least a little extra to tie up any loose ends, unless you’re carrying it on to a new story.

Remember that not every major plot point will necessarily concern the major plot. These turning points can be also be emotional turning points, places where the characters learn something about themselves, etc…Think of them as ladder rungs, adding or subtracting from this diagram as needed, but each rung takes the characters farther and gets them closer to their ultimate goal.

TOC drama, and how to avoid it all…

The word of the day is TOC…which really isn’t a word, but an abbreviation. Table of Contents.

Why is TOC the ‘word’ of the day? Well, scammers are using them to skip to the back of their books for big payouts so Amazon has to change some things around to slow that bullshit down. (Can’t stop scammers forever, but you can throw a wrench into their monkeyworks.) Now the Zon may or may not be pulling titles with a TOC at the back of the book or without TOCs altogether. The writing community is in an uproar, and rightly so, as they are any time Amazon does something wonky, because it will directly affect so many authors’ ability to pay their rent, or feed their children.

(Yeah, that’s a dig at the asshats who want to belittle other people for getting (admittedly dramatically) concerned at frequent changes to the Zon’s TOS. For some of us, this is the difference between being able to afford real vegetables to add to your Ramen dinner, or moving into the local homeless shelter. At least for me it is…)

But that’s not why I’m writing this. No, this post is pure procrastination and broken concentration. I’m getting emailed, tagged and DMed about this TOC thing…and I have to look it up because most of my books don’t have one.

Because…well, why should it? Okay, I’m just going to put it out there: Why the fuck does your novel need a table of contents?

Yes, some of mine have it. If the publisher requires a TOC, then I put it in. It’s not like I have a moral objection to it, I just don’t see the appeal in any way, shape or form. In my many years of reading (since I was 3 years old!) I had never seen a TOC in a fiction book. Ever.

In my straightforward, linear fiction erotica, will a reader feel the need to skip ahead to Chapter 10? I doubt it. Shit, even in books with a TOC, I’ll be damned if I can access it easily. Maybe that’s just my Kindle app, but it opens wherever it feels like, regardless of where I’ve bookmarked, and I’ve never been able to find the TOC without swiping for several minutes all the way to the front or all the way to the back.

(This is actually why I haven’t read nearly as many books over the past year as I would have liked to. My Kindle app makes me hesitant to start a book unless I know I have the time to read it straight through. Anything else starts turning into Too Much Work, which means I’ve been reading a lot of shorts lately, but I really miss the longer, let-you-get-into-it novels I grew up with. In fact, I’ve been mostly rereading my favorite, physically-on-my-bookshelf novels this past year…)

My point is…why do we need a TOC? And if you have it, why should Amazon care about where it goes? It didn’t seem to me that the scammers were manipulating the TOC links, so what’s the point of cracking down on this non-threat?

Come up with a new way, Amazon. Surely someone over there can be innovative toward book sales and not just drone deliveries, right? Get rid of the Kindle Unlimited pay-per-page rule and start paying per book again…but qualify the page count. Books between 10 and 20 pages get paid X amount per borrow, books with 21-40 pages get Y amount, 41-60 pages gets Z amount…etc. Price accordingly. Those who write shorts will be happier, those who write epic novels will be happier, and this straight-to-the-back-of-the-book scam will be profitless. As an added bonus, my system would be easier to keep track of the scams that simply stuff a bunch of words into a thousand pages without rhyme or reason…

Dust, Depression and Love

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The 1930s was a difficult time for most people living in America. For those in the western and Midwest states, the Great Depression was compounded by terrible dust storms, brought on drought, which led to famine. People left the Dust Bowl in droves, because the land their families had occupied for generations no longer lent them a sense of hope.

Women were forced to knead bread in dresser drawers to prevent dirt from being on the menu. Men worked in dusty conditions that had them choking behind the handkerchiefs they tied around their faces. Children walked miles through the driving grit to get to schools in danger of collapsing under the weight of the wind. The government began initiatives that may have done more harm than good and creditors fought loan forgiveness all the way to the Supreme Court. These were dark days.

The Double O Saga is all about hope, though. In the face of great challenges, insurmountable obstacles, the O’Neal family holds tight to their hope, and in the process finds love. Opal is no different than her grandfather in this regard. She’s been abandoned or betrayed by every man in her life, has taken on the responsibility of single-handedly raising her young nephew and is left the burden of dealing with her family’s broken-down ranch, The Double O. She’s a fighter and she doesn’t trust anyone, but Sam Hollister, the bank auditor, is determined to gain her heart, no matter the danger to himself.

~~Excerpt~~

Samuel Hollister fell in love at first sound.

The sound of a shotgun being cocked, a bare second before the cold barrel came to rest against his nose. Though stillness reigned in his chest—his heart had stopped dead—there was a whole lot of movement in places much farther south. Places he couldn’t adjust due to the fact that his hands reached for the sky, in spite of the iron grip he maintained on his briefcase.

He cleared his throat and tried not to look as fascinated as he felt with the rough-edged beauty on the other side of the shotgun. “This isn’t exactly a warm welcome to the Double O, ma’am.”

Dark blue eyes narrowed, emphasizing the lines around them created by too many years squinting against the sun. “Who said you were welcome?”

The woman had the voice of an angel, if an angel had been forced to spend a great deal of time in the constantly swirling dust that had descended on Creek Bend over the past few years. She was a bit hoarse, but so were most of the people in those parts. At least she wasn’t gargling with the effort of dislodging the grit from her lungs—probably due to the protective handkerchief she’d pulled down below her chin when he’d emerged from his automobile.

Fighting to keep his gaze on hers, rather than dropping it to run over curves barely contained in a ragged pair of men’s breeches, Sam did his level best to seem professional. “I’m looking for Opal O’Neal.”

“Why?”

The woman gave no quarter, and if the situation hadn’t appeared so dire, Sam would have leapt up onto the rickety porch the woman defended so fiercely and taken her into his arms. And kept her.

“My name is Samuel Hollister. I’m an employee of the River’s Edge Bank and Loan. I’m here to begin auditing the Double O ranch.”

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Totally Bound  /  Amazon

Ten Long Years…

In the course of a decade…

That’s right, a decade. Ten years. Not ‘last year’ or ‘so quickly’ or ‘slapping stories together.’ I don’t write 10,000 words a day, I’m ecstatic if I write a whole chapter. This writing thing isn’t something new, it isn’t something I just took up last year or the year before.

10 yrs

I’ve been writing for ten damn years. But some people think just because you publish a lot in one year, you’ve written a lot in one year. Last year, 2015, I wrote two novels and two novellas. That still makes me a fast writer, but I’m not writing a book a month and throwing it up on book sites without even reading it over a second time.

I’m just doing what most people are doing, which is finally finding the fucking courage to put my books out in the world.

Ten years ago, I started writing stories for real, with the intention that I would try to get them published. I’ve written things my whole life—short stories, poems, essays—but ten years ago I set out to write a novel. It was horrible and I doubt it will ever see the light of day. But I learned I actually could do it, that I had 80,000+ words inside my head that could come together and tell a story.

So I wrote another. Then I wrote two more. That took me nearly four years. At the end of those four years, I took the biggest, scariest step I’ve ever taken (and I moved to Africa with nothing more than a suitcase of clothes!) and published them. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t get an agent, no publisher I queried wanted them—so I rewrote them and got awesome beta readers and self-published. They have not been a ‘success’, but they got some good reviews and taught me a valuable lesson.

10 yrs

I have a backlist. Really, I’m reaching the end of my backlist, but over the past few years I’ve edited and published many things I’d written in the course of reworking that first trilogy. I’ve grown and developed as an author and an editor, which has also helped me write faster. I never-ever submit the first book of a series to a publisher unless I have two or more books ready to be edited, at least. I don’t want to be scrambling to write the sequel if readers are excited about the first. I want to have it ready so I can get it out there in good time, and then slow it down a little to give me some more breathing room to write subsequent books. Also, I have pages and pages of outlines and research for books I’ve half-started or intend to start. I have snippets and character descriptions, scenes that have already played out my mind, genealogical charts and word lists, genre tropes and a database of mythological creatures.

We all do things differently. Some of us write one book at a time and carry it through the process before starting the next. Some of us write erratically, multiple books at a time, and then we don’t market at all in favor of writing more. *raises hand guiltily* Some of us are ridiculously busy and others have willingly made sacrifices that give them more time to write. But very few of us are writing just any old thing without caring about the actual story.

I’ve been writing seriously for ten years and I published my first short story as an experiment in late November 2013. I’m holding on to my patience with the process by my fingernails and if I do manage to reach a level of ‘success’ I guarantee it won’t be labeled ‘overnight.’ Although this year I intend to do things differently. This year, I have a strong backlist and feel that I can market more effectively with a lot more things readers can choose from. So, maybe, if readers finally figure out I exist, I will be an overnight success…after years of hopes and prayers.