Every year I see a thousand posts about NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Established authors and aspiring writers both seem excited about it and flood social media with word counts and updates.
I always thought, why bother? That’s how long it takes me to write a rough draft anyway. Why should I get involved in this activity and put added pressure on myself to hit a goal, especially when I’ve usually just finished writing a novel. November is for editing—with good reason considering that’s when my holiday rush starts. Time seems to move faster and there’s never enough of it.
I’m calling her back this month. I’m begging my muse for a moment of her time. Or, barring that, I’m begging my motivation to come off its hiatus.
I’ve had a hard year—really starting last fall, so not just this calendar year. Everything has slowed down, everything has been stressful. Personal issues have overtaken my schedule, there’s no time to write and, when there is, I have little motivation to do so. I’ve been exhausted, running from one catastrophe to the next.
I’ve been working on the same rough draft for four months now. I’ve put aside one book completely and haven’t released anything new since the last of The Double O Saga, which I wrote last year (a struggle, as my year of hardship had just begun). I don’t feel like releasing new stories, I don’t feel like marketing, I don’t feel like participating.
I am working on a book though (see above) but I’m only halfway through. I need roughly 40,000 words to make it a full-length novel. But finishing a work in progress is not the point of NaNoWriMo, is it? You’ve got to start fresh, with a new story and not a single word written before November 1, correct? This counts out a lot of projects I’ve started where I’ve got a few chapters, or whatever.
I have to finish the one book. But I’ve got to shake things up too, maybe remember why I started writing in the first place. So I’ll be starting a second book. That one needs 50,000 to complete NaNoWriMo. That brings me up to 90,000 words? Different stories, different techniques, different motivations…same goal: Finish.
My plan is to buckle down and finish the first, but also taking my time with that story the way I usually do with all my stories. Some days, I really can’t write. Life happens. Plus, I’m a writer who needs a little bit of self-editing along the way. I can’t progress if something feels out of place or fits poorly.
So I’m also going to wake up earlier every single morning, write a chapter of my new one without stopping, without looking back and without caring what I just wrote. No matter what, every single day. I’ll outline every chapter, decide what needs to be done in each beforehand, then simply write it. No looking back. I’ll fix it later.
And that’s the point, right? Just write. Nora Roberts said
‘I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.’
Something has to shake loose around here. I started writing because I love it, because there were stories in my head clawing to get out, but somewhere along the way it got so commercial. I chose to write erotica because it was the most challenging genre I tried (seriously, you write about sex without sounding ridiculous then get back to me with your condemnation, mmkay?) But this NaNoWriMo, I’ll be writing something totally different. Might end up being YA but probably NA.
It’s something I’ve been tossing around for a very long time, a romance where the two lovers truly can’t be together. They can’t be together physically, they can’t even touch physically, but the emotions are there…and maybe that’s the thing that saves them both.
It’ll be challenging. I’m used to creating physical interludes between my characters to express a range of emotions, but what if it all just boils down to tension? I have to find a new way to show the emotional connection, longing and understanding. What if it’s learning how to love another that teaches you how to love yourself? And that opens the future’s possibilities…for them both. I mean, just because you love someone, doesn’t mean that’s who you belong with forever, right? This ain’t your typical romance.
For the first time all year, I’m really excited. Even if I fail, I can’t wait until November 1, when I’ll wake up too early to be rational, only half-functional, and write just for me. Even if no one ever sees it, even it’s awful, I’ll be putting words on the page, creating something. Something new, something I haven’t done before.
That’s the point. Just write. Create.
Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone. Good luck to the participants, and you’ll find my word counts and maybe some excerpts on my Facebook page and my website if you feel like stopping by to check it out. Leave your own word counts and excerpts in the comments, if you want. We’ll help each other through it!
I jumped into the story too soon. I had an idea for a cuckquean serial and writing a chapter every week was fun, for a little while. But I didn’t do it right. I was disorganized, without a strong idea of what I was writing or how I would end it. Vague notions…
You live, you learn, right?
I’ve spent the past four months working on Avis. Nothing else has gotten done. Three stories have been halted and more story ideas are piling up. I’ve developed anxiety—some of it because of this book. It’s simply not right and I’ve been turning backflips trying to get it together to update what’s already out in the world.
I’ve ripped it apart three times and put it back together twice. I keep doing it wrong. I want to write a strong story, one that shows the emotional journey of Avis and delves into her psyche a bit. I’m not trying to justify or even rationalize her actions and desires, but I do want to touch on what she likes that might be unique to her (though I’m betting many others feel the same way).
Now I’m taking the fragments and redoing it for real. So, once again I have to let everyone know of delays with this book, and again, if you email me with your order information I’ll gift you a copy of the final version when I get it done. My apologies to everyone, but Avis deserves it, and so do my readers. I don’t want something that’s less than my vision demands out in the world mucking things up.
First, let’s get this out of the way. I have a hard time getting reviews. I’m not holding onto any sour grapes about that, though it’s sometime frustrating. I also appreciate every blogger, reviewer and reader who reads, and especially the ones who review. Thank you for taking the time to do that.
That being said…
When I was growing up, an avid reader, always at the library or a bookstore, literally filling shelves and bags/boxes/whatever I could find to hold my haul, I don’t remember reading a single review. Maybe there was a blurb on the cover by an author I maybe heard of. Maybe. I didn’t care, because their opinion wasn’t what I based my purchase on.
I read the back cover of the book. I looked at the first chapter. Sometimes I flipped to the last chapter…I know, that’s terrible. But that’s how I made my decision. I didn’t ask my friends if they’d read it, hell, most of my friends don’t even read picture magazines today, let alone torrid romances when they were teenagers. And I found great books. A few I didn’t like, but generally I loved every book I bought or borrowed.
Now we have online places where other people give us their opinions of a book like we’re all shopping for vacuum cleaners. Does it suck, or doesn’t it? What’s funny is, I’ve never bought a book based on a good review, but I did buy a book based on a bad review—K.F. Breene’s Darkness series and I have bought every single book…all because a reader mentioned a rape whistle in a 1 star review. It made me curious.
How’s that for perverse? Or maybe this…How would you rate Michelangelo’s David? One star for the penis, you trolls? Or 5 stars for the determination of the artist and the beauty of the male form carved into solid rock?
How would you rate Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa? 1 star because she looks like a bitch, or 5 stars because the painting itself is a magnetic piece of artwork that draws you toward the mystery of the lady’s smile?
That is perverse in a way, right? How can you tell me what artwork I would like? Let me clarify this whole post right now—I have no issue with anyone giving their honest opinion about art, and that most definitely includes any piece of literature, no matter what genre it might be. You didn’t like a story? I’m fine with that. But don’t you think it’s a little weird when other people read the review and think, ‘Whew, glad I dodged that bullet. That character sounds whiney…Not gonna get that one.’
Grammar, okay, I get that. When a review says something like ‘This was really hard to get into because of all the spelling mistakes…’ I know to check out the sample (because let’s face it, some of those people who reviewed wouldn’t know good spelling if the dictionary smacked them in the face). Something like that is very helpful, though. Your opinion, however, should not influence mine.
Let’s take A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. I hated that book. I hated the story, the characters, the settings, the long-windedness…but the ending of that book is, in my opinion, the greatest ending in literary history. Les Miserables is my second all-time favorite novel, EVER. Loved it…and hated The Hunchback of Notre Dame (same author) with a passion that kept me from finishing it to this day. Oh, and I adore Stephen King, except I’ve been unable to finish Pet Semetary every one of the ten times I’ve tried to read it, and I never can get past the first chapter of Salem’s Lot. Should my opinion tell you whether or not you like the story? No, you better read it for yourself.
What if the author is going for some theme that no one else, or few others, picks up on? Does that mean the author’s intent is wrong or unimportant? My own book, My Stranger, was written as an erotic horror. It was written to be uncomfortable, it was written to get the reader hot and then leave them wondering what the hell was wrong with them that they would go off with AJs stranger too…Because I know you would. You know how I know? It’s an almost-true story, based on questions that came up after a woman left her children behind (in that culture, she wasn’t allowed to take them) to live with a man who gave her sexual pleasure because her husband didn’t. And, also, because I was a juror on a case where the girlfriend swore her boyfriend gave her permission to cheat, though he denied it. Inspiration comes from strange places…
Never underestimate the power of a good orgasm. They can be life changing. They can make you stupid. To me, AJs decision at the end was the horror, but no one else saw it that way, in fact, the majority of readers who have reviewed spoke of the ‘mystery’ I’d never intended and labeled the book romance. I went with it because that’s what stood out to them, I suppose… Or maybe they’d already had a preconceived notion of what the story was before ever starting it. And how did that happen? Reviews, perhaps? (you can read the wide variety of them on Amazon or Goodreads)
That’s the beauty of books, the beauty of art—it’s subjective. No two people read the same thing or see the same thing or hear the same thing.
So why does your enjoyment of the story have anything to do with mine? How many times did a movie get rave reviews, but it sucked? Or vice versa. How many books have you picked up based on a bad review and fallen in love with? Or, ahem, vice versa.
You know why reviews are so damned important now? Because Amazon said so. There are perks for getting reviews and a fake sense of competition to foster consumer spending sprees. Because online book promo companies won’t take your book without a certain amount of 4 and 5 star reviews. Seriously, reviews should be a checklist of yes or no answers rather than an opinion column: Was it well written, was it entertaining, would you recommend it to a friend, and then stars can be generated based on those answers.
Hmmm, let’s get to a point, shall we? Every week I do a writing advice column, but this week I’m doing a reader’s advice column. Figure it out for yourself, not just because I don’t get a lot of reviews, but because no one else can tell you what you’ll enjoy. You might agree with 90% of something a reviewer might say, and therefore it seems natural to buy accordingly in this overcrowded marketplace…but that 10% region where your taste and the reviewers diverge can be a glorious, thought-provoking, entertaining place.
But you’ll never know unless you try…
The world is in flux right now. All over the planet, various governments, nation-states and peoples are…well I could make a list, but we all know, the issues have dominated world headlines for a long time already, and I have limited space. Besides, this is about books, not world affairs.
Authors play a really important role in society. Throughout history, we’ve written truth in a way people found relatable, we’ve fought for change in ways people could empathize with and we’ve warned of factors detrimental to society, whether or not the message was received. We’ve been banned and exalted, we’ve been mocked and admired. We’ve been limited, and we’ve been given free rein to expand however we wanted.
We’ve come through a golden age of literature, and are now hurtling into a faux-competitive unenlightenment period where prices are lowering and trolls are increasing. There might even be new limits on what we can write soon—new censorship. I suppose there’s always backlash against an economic revolution, and that’s exactly what we’ve been experiencing, in terms of authorship and literature. The evolution from traditional publishing to self-publishing. We’ve gone from too few books in the marketplace to too many, both limiting in their own ways, and with new regimes coming to power, who knows what other restrictions may soon apply.
And where am I going with this? Most people consider books a luxury item, and technically they are. Food, water, shelter—those are the necessities. Books, toilet paper, soap—those are luxury items. So why are we paying more money than ever for certain luxury items, and yet book prices continue to fall?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a person willing to pay a fair price for a good story. It might even surprise you to know that some people out there refuse to pay for a book, and they never have to, thanks to various programs, author incentives, etc. But plenty of other people have posted on this topic already, so what is my point?
In the First World, which is where most of us reading this live, we are moving toward a new era. Everybody has their own theories, and God knows I’m no economist, but I see a trend toward artisanship, a return to personal touches and fantastic customer service. Big chain stores are great for some things, but we’re willing to pay more for something special, something handcrafted, something of quality.
With the world in flux, truth becomes its own commodity, as does fiction, entertainment and escapism. Everything you find in a book. This is why authors are so important—in every genre—and many of us are crafting quality items to serve a grand role and not getting much in return, and not just financially. Books push us past our boundaries, they give us the world, a new understanding of ourselves, they help us empathize…the list goes on.
And yes, I believe this is true of erotica, as well. Erotica, which has always been under attack, digs into the human psyche in ways that make many people uncomfortable, laying bare secrets and desires, needs we’re too afraid to admit to. That’s why this genre has always been as censored as it has—not because of nakedness and sex, but because ‘obscene’ has always secretly included ‘things that make you ashamed of yourself.’ With the explosion of Erotica into the light, people finally understand that their ‘deviance’ probably isn’t so deviant, after all.
With all these changes in the world—political, social and economic, we must adapt, as artisans and businessmen. So, my point is, predictions have been made that prices will now begin to race to the bottom, and to some degree, they will. But the cream will rise, as it always does. If you, as a reader, want quality books, you will pay for them, and we, as authors committed to giving you quality books will work ever harder to provide you with entertainment worthy of your time and money. Not every book will be for every person, but the craftsmanship inside the covers will excel to new heights.
A very smart woman I know recently pointed out the difference between a writer and an author. Her definition has to do with honing your craft, and that goes hand-in-hand with my point above, that authors play a very important role in society. I plan to accept that challenge, and I think the majority of readers will, too.
This book. Dear God, what is it with this book?
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
You see, Liah came first, and she’s something of a wild child. But, a few chapters into her story, her brother, Levi, started yelling at me. I had to switch focus, and once that happened, everything changed.
What started as a naughty idea for a kinky tale took a hard right turn into romance territory. But what can you do when your characters are determined to write themselves?
Levi became the hero of the first book in my new series, The Garguiem, and he decided he was an honorable guy, a man of faith, though his faith may not look like yours or mine. His respect for the Church is skewed by the nature of his job, but his faith is unshakeable.
Marcella’s a bit more traditional…which is fairly common for nuns, right? She’s always been a believer, but she turned to the Church in the darkest of times and found refuge. Levi is trying to convince her to leave the convent, as he’s convinced she’s his other half.
Marcella’s faith is tested in ways she never expected. With demonic influences sweeping through the city, she’s roped into helping Levi with his investigation—and soon realizes she has a very important part to play.
As I said, Levi is the first in the series, and each novel will build upon the last in an overall story arc. While each book will be complete in its own right, not every loose end will be tied in a pretty bow, leading you farther down the path of temptation, conviction and duplicity.
The Garguiem fight evil and corruption with weapons of faith, duty and love – necessary munitions as, one by one, they pull together to expose and confront the greatest threat the Church has ever known.
When I began my story about a witch with no magic, I pictured an event so rare, though naturally occurring, that it would have to be destiny, and have to speak of destiny. I chose a full moon, and called it a Bane Moon.
In my Magic Matched series, Georgeanne Davenold is a Bane-born witch, born under the very rare Christmas full moon, but in the book, this corresponds with the winter solstice.
No, I didn’t get it wrong. I had decided to give my witches a combination of beliefs and customs that would set them up as the forerunner to the neo-pagan religions, traditions and lifestyles we still have around us today. But I also wanted my witches to have a greater, though subtle, influence through history.
Now, we celebrate the solstice, or the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, typically on the 21st of December. But over the centuries, the calendar has gone through changes, science has advanced and timepieces have become more accurate. Back in the olden days, they were using sun-lit rocks, stars and seasonal cues, and it turned out the ancient pagans were pretty spot-on, all things considered.
The winter solstice, in ancient days, was celebrated on December 25th. (This is fairly simplistic, but trust me, okay?) In the general timeframe of what we now know is the shortest day of the year (northern hemisphere), the ancients celebrated with a wide variety of customs and rituals meant to bring people together during the darkest of days (literally!) and share a communal sense of optimism for brighter days to come. (Ahem, again, literally…) Examples include Yule and the Feast of Saturnalia.
So when the early Christians began making inroads, they saw a way to insert their own rituals and beliefs into the festivities, and voila! We got Christmas.
I think that’s pretty fascinating, but also really important. Think about how many cultures and religions all celebrate holidays around this time, and think about why. For me, it goes back to the need of being with friends and family in the darkest of days, sharing a communal sentiment about optimism, hope and love. This is the season where we gather together, we eat, drink and be merry (hopefully), knowing that the dark days are just about behind us, and soon the sun will shine bright and warm.
Twenty-three years ago, my witches had a full moon on Christmas. For Georgie, the moment of her birth set her destiny. Bane witches have no magic…or do they? Bane moons are very rare, after all, so who can say what magic she has or doesn’t have? She’s the key to unlocking Silviu’s ability, so maybe she’ll find a bit of her own somewhere in the mix.
This year, we have a full moon on Christmas. My wish for you, no matter what holiday you celebrate, is that, like Georgie, you can meet your destiny in the coming days, that you, too, have/find/accept the gifts you’ve been given and look forward to brighter days ahead.
I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a season filled with joy and love. And hope, because, for me, that’s the whole point.
I’m gonna get a little metaphysical on everybody today.
So I wrote a story…like forever ago. I wrote it for a specific submission call for lesbian short stories for a publishing company that closed up shop before I could even submit it.
Having never written a lesbian sex scene before this story, I was nervous. But I had a plot and a vision, a whole tale spinning out in my head, though it ended up being a ménage story, F/M/F. I liked it—and as a bonus it can stand alone or be expanded into a great many tales.
On a whim, I submitted it to a publisher I consider a powerhouse in my genre and they accepted.
Here is some advice for aspiring authors—be willing to walk away if you can’t come to a contractual agreement. That’s what I did, and though it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done career-wise, I also know in my gut it was the only thing I could do to preserve my vision and my story. As an author, your business is your intellectual property, your asset. Your imagination and your voice are what define your business and passion. That’s worth a lot more than most might think.
Sometimes I get superstitious about the craziest things. I read my horoscope every day, though I don’t believe it. They’re never right for me, but on the day I got my acceptance letter for my story, my horoscope said I would get a second chance at a missed opportunity.
The horoscope thing is just eerie, right? But I refuse to sign my story away with no protection for it. I can’t throw it to the wolves and wonder if it’ll ever come home. Can’t do it…
Plus, I was completely unenthused about the whole thing. I felt no particular joy in the acceptance. Many times, I thought of withdrawing the submission. It took forever to hear back from the publisher, which wasn’t too surprising considering they’re facing some major legal hardships these days, which I spent far too many hours researching online. I knew right away I wanted a lawyer to go over the contract. There was very little communication about how the company operated and what they expected.
Obviously, there was doubt. It’s not that it felt wrong…just that it didn’t feel right for me. I chose to listen to that initial sense, rather than talk myself into believing it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The day I sent my ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ reply to their rejection of any and all changes to the offered contract, my stomach squeezed up and my hands shook. I wondered if it was the stupidest decision I could ever make. And yet, in the midst of that chaos, I was very calm.
I have a bad habit of ignoring my gut instinct. I always rationalize myself into situations that sound great on paper, and yet I know it’s not going to work out well. This time, I’m pretty sure I did the right thing.
Even if I didn’t, it’s too late now, huh?
I still have that superstition swimming through my head. But maybe it wasn’t the publisher that was the second chance, but the story. Maybe that story would have sat on my flash drive forever, without me ever looking at it again. And maybe it should be brought out into the light. Maybe that’s the second chance.
I’ve decided to put it in Kindle Unlimited rather than sending it to one of my other publishers. I’ve never had anything in KU, but I know a lot of people like it. I also know a lot of people aren’t so happy with the changes that have recently been paid to the program, but I’m willing to take my chances.
Writing is my passion, and I’ll even toot my own horn and claim I have talent and skill. But I also want it to be my career, which is a difficult thing to achieve, and so I must turn my mind to the business end of things. I need to focus on name recognition and giving readers a chance to discover my talent, give them a chance to find out whether or not they like my voice. KU does that for a lot of people because they take the risk out of buying.
I’ll be putting Beloved Priestess out this month. It’s F/M/F ménage, a high fantasy taking place in a world not our own.
Beloved Priestess: Her duty—their pleasure
Dahlene is an acolyte of the rain goddess, tasked with the responsibility of bringing hope to her drought-stricken people. She is faithful in her duty – even if it requires her to give up the man she loves. Prince Valeran chooses Carani as his bride to be, but he has no intention of giving up Dahlene. That suits Carani just fine – she wants them both.
A jealous brother and an old pact with the fire god has left Valeran’s kingdom wasted. It will take all three –groom, bride and priestess– to right past wrongs and bring the rain.
Do you love cowboys?
I’m taking it back in time for my next release, Outrageous Offer, featuring an unlikely hero – a down-on-his luck cowboy with a penchant for taking in strays…
Hyacinth Woodley is a desperate woman. Officially deemed a spinster with no marriage prospects in sight, alone after the death of her parents and out of money, she answers an ad for a mail order bride, only to be rejected by her groom upon her arrival in Creek Bend. She has a choice to make — work in the saloon or accept an outrageous offer of being one man’s unpaid mistress.
Offer O’Neal is the new, less-than-proud owner of the Double O Ranch. After sinking every cent he had into the property, he’s left pinning his dreams of success on stud fees from his horse, the only thing of real value he’s got. He can’t afford a wife, but a willing woman in his bed is an appealing prospect, and Hyacinth’s got nowhere else to go.
Just as Offer starts thinking of Hyacinth as the one bright spot in his otherwise stressful and unlucky life, the bridegroom who rejected her returns demanding repayment for his investment. Ernest Horsham feels he’s spent a lot of money getting the woman to Creek Bend under false pretenses, and the judge is on his side. But it’s only when Hyacinth is arrested as a thief and a fraud that Offer realizes how much he values her company.
This is the first novella in The Double O Saga, which follows the O’Neal family through the generations. From the American frontier just after the Civil War to the modern day, each family member has one thing in common — a dream of making the Double O ranch a success.
The problem is, the O’Neals are constantly down on their luck. Work on the ranch is never done, and money is always in short supply. Stress, they have in spades. This family brings a whole new outlook to ‘living on love’ because love is the only thing they seem to do right.
Get ready to follow the O’Neals through the generations and witness their determination at both overcoming their bad luck, and in finding love.
Outrageous Offer will be released through Totally Bound this May!
I lived in Africa for several years, and ‘witchery’ is fairly common—as a belief, if not a practice. Being that I love the paranormal genre, I took notice, and when I set out to write Betrothed the idea of witches drew me in, especially because I had firsthand knowledge of how another culture viewed witchcraft.
But witches alone are not enough for a paranormal romance. I needed a romance, and that got me thinking…
My friend met her husband when she was fifteen, and the very first time she spoke to him, she knew she would marry him. No one thought her certainty would prove to be prophetic, but they’ve been together since then, defying the odds, and that made me wonder, too…
What if you knew who you would marry before you were even grown-up enough to understand what marriage was? How would knowing exactly who you were going to marry affect your life, especially if the two of you were very different—raised with different goals, ethics and expectations? And what happens when you grow from childhood innocence to adult challenges?
Betrothed, the first book of the Magic Matched series, grew from those questions. Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold are the rarest of witches, which puts their lives in danger, and prompted their families to form an alliance that defies divisive coven politics.
Silviu is from a patriarchal coven, raised by his ruthless father and manipulative grandfather. He’s expected to use everything at his disposal to rise to the top of the witching hierarchy—including Georgeanne.
Georgeanne Davenold is a matriarchal witch. Unlike the Lovaszes, her family is influential and Georgie has been trained to excel at both politics, and family leadership. She expects to take over as the matriarch one day, and broaden her family’s influence even further through Silviu’s rule over the combined covens.
We all have goals and a desire to be successful in life, and for Silviu and Georgie, it would seem that their path was clear, predestined. But human beings are rarely simple, and these two witches are no exception.
Silviu and Georgie must face life beyond childhood. They have moved from the simple times where their innocence forged a bond that resulted in a ten-year separation, to adulthood, where politics breeds distrust and the division between the covens tests everyone’s loyalties. They must learn to open their hearts to each other in order to wield the magic that is rightfully theirs, and they must learn to trust each other in the face of lies and betrayal in order to achieve the power they’re so determined to win.
Zahra is addicted to human magic. Sick with craving, charged with a capital crime, and with her sister being held as leverage by the Djinn King, Zahra is forced to join the team as the tithe collector, the one position certain to deepen her addiction.
Niccolo is a vampire who, after failing out of the military, became the lover of his goddess, only to commit an act of adultery that left him handfasted to a bouda shape-shifter and filling the role of enforcer on the team, a position Nic knows he is inadequate to fill.
Beryl was the most feared Fae assassin of all time, but she’s been demoted to the team’s investigator. Like Niccolo, she committed an act of adultery, but for Beryl, the punishment is especially humbling, having lost everything she values and forced to work with people she considers lesser beings.
Wade is the only member of the team honored with his inclusion. He is human, Blessed by the king of gods and exploited for unfathomable purposes. Wade was saved from death and meeting the king of gods has made his faith unshakable—which he’ll need because his mission is to create a viable squad out of the misfits he’s been assigned.
Magic is necessary to all things, but like any other source of power, it can be abused. The king of gods has created a Special Collections Team to deal with illegal magic users, those who break the law set forth by the Council of Five. Being part of the team is not an honor however, but a punishment for the crimes the teammates have committed themselves.
From tragic romance to zealous belief, the Special Collections Team is in over their heads, but still must find a way to be successful in their investigations, pay their penance and learn to work as a team.
In Santeria & Sorcery, their first case finds them in Miami, where trouble has come to the attention of the Council of Five. A sorcerer is stealing magic to set himself up as a god, but the team is new and each are unused to working well with others. Their personal issues also hinder their investigation—dealing with bloodthirsty boyfriends, jealous fairy kings and a dangerous fallen angel on top of their own emotional deficiencies take a toll.
Changelings & Champions, Book 2
Magic is necessary to all things, but too much of it is sending the emotions of the Dark Fae Court to extremes.
The Fae Nation’s championship boxing match is the highlight of the year, but there’s a chaos-creating surge of energy accompanying every exhibition bout leading up to the main event. With the championship looming, the Special Collections Team is called to Las Vegas to investigate the magical disturbances at the Red Raven casino, the home of the volatile Dark Fae Court.
But the fae are not the only ones affected by the instability. The Dark Court is a hostile environment for the team, dragging them closer to emotional breakdowns and lines drawn in the sand. Dangerous royals, randy revelers and relationship dramas have the Special Collections Team close to folding, until a pair of changelings ups the ante.
Santa is missing, and the Special Collections team has been called in to find him. While investigating the candy cane factory he disappeared from, two teammates are caught in a conjurer’s trap, and only quick thinking, and a lusty wish, can set them free.
In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.
Silviu and Georgeanne have been betrothed since Georgie’s birth. Their Families are determined to see the two witches combine their magic into a force that will rule over all the covens. They are two witches of myth and legend, Magic Matches. Ten years ago, the pair broke all the rules, resulting in a separation that left Silviu hungry for reunion and Georgie distrustful of her betrothed.
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. Ambitious 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. Ileana embarks on a bold plan of seduction to tie Eliasz to her side, and her brother’s politics, but she never imagined the man would seduce her, in turn.
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.
This is the cover that landed Lured From the Path in the Amazon Dungeon.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. That girl’s naked! Well, almost, but you know…crack kills, right?
I knew when I chose that cover that lots of places weren’t going to like it, and I accepted it. This is not a post about censorship, or banning/burning books. Adults can read what they want and children should be protected, and hopefully we will all find ways to promote our hidden books so that our audience can find them.
Hmm, back up a minute. Protecting our children…yeah, I’m all for that. But, for sh*ts and giggles, I typed ‘dildos’ into the general search on Amazon. Having never bought a dildo from Amazon (‘cause, I mean, really?), I was amazed to find them, right there where our kids can both see the wide variety available, as well as buy them – whoops! Damn that One Click…
In all fairness to Amazon, anal lube was the first thing that popped up when I searched for dildos, unless you count the suggestion that kicked in after ‘dil’ which was ‘dilddos vibration cheap in all departments’. But that begs the question, how many of you had to explain what anal lube was to your precious angel who has a minor problem with proper spelling?
No, this isn’t about censorship. This is about a hypocritical rule and a seemingly easy way to fix the whole problem. Listen up, Amazon, I’ve got a suggestion to throw into the box.
Log into your Amazon account and they already have your info. And don’t talk to me about privacy, what’s a question about your birthdate when the company already has all your credit information? Amazon can add a little button somewhere that simply says ‘Adult.’ Click it and, lo and behold, there are all your erotic books, sex toys, R-rated-or-more movies, maybe even the really risqué lingerie, etc.
NO MORE BANNING OR BANISHING
For added measure, Amazon could set the whole thing up so that another password is required before the customer is redirected. Adults with no children can use the same password while adults with children would have the option of adding another layer of protection by choosing an alternate password.
Whoa, power to the people. And, Amazon wouldn’t have to keep doing backflips to keep the smut off the front page while letting 9 inch jelly dongs slide through. Quite frankly, I’d rather explain to my child that the lady on the cover of the book is naked because that’s a book for grown-ups, than explain exactly what a giant dildo is good for. Or anal lube.
So how ‘bout it? Amazon is raking in more money in an hour than I will ever see in my life (most likely) so I can’t imagine that they can’t afford to include an Adult section in their site. Authors would be happy, parents would be happy, Amazon would be happy because happy people would spend more money…
It’s a win-win.
But, in the meantime, if you want to buy Lured From the Path on Amazon, you must follow the link directly. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GYIMUAU
Feel free to share that link far and wide. No, really, please share the link.
Lured From the Path is based on the legends of the Vila, supernatural women who abduct men in the forests…
Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:
He followed her through the trees, listening to the tune of her laughter and song. The deeper they went, the more she sang. David’s thoughts slowed, focused entirely on the sounds of her simple enjoyment, but energy flooded his body, loosening his muscles.
They stopped in another circle of trees. She spun toward him, stepping close. He could feel the heat of her lithe body as she stared up at him. Lazy spirals of desire worked up his spine as he became entranced, lost in her moss green eyes.
“Dance with me.”
Distantly surprised by her request, he barely managed a nod. His arms came around her, his palms soaking up the silken feel of her skin like a sponge as she lifted to her toes and leaned her body against his. So delicate, so warm, she felt perfect against him.
Slowly, she began to hum, swaying her hips to her melody. Her body became fluid against his. She dipped and twisted, rubbing her breasts over his shirt, her flat belly sliding over the cotton. Her hands smoothed over his shoulders, his chest, drifting over his ribs as she moved around him.
His groin grew heavy. David’s world narrowed down to her and her song, moving his body to her rhythm as they danced. She pressed against his back, lifting to her toes as her soft lips drifted over his tingling nape. Her fingers trailed through his hair, tugging the short strands, fingertips stroking heat into the curve of his ears.
She spun until she faced him. Together, they swayed. She lifted her hands, plucking at the fabric of his shirt until it lifted to his ribs. Obeying her silent command, he pulled the shirt off, letting it fall from his fingers to the forest floor.
She leaned forward to trace a swirling design across his chest with her tongue. Fire trailed after her, branding his flesh, sinking into his bones. Lightning swept through him, sparking in the heavy sac between his legs.
Willa pressed closer and parted her thighs to straddle one of his. She rocked against him, shifted side to side and twirled her hips until his pants were wet with her need and his cock ached for freedom. His arms wrapped around her and he drew his fingers over her spine, enjoying her soft skin.
Hours passed as time stood still. David’s heart thumped with heated pulses in perfect measure to her tune. His veins ran with molasses, slowing him and his thoughts, weighing him down. Utterly entranced, he watched Willa dance for him as she slowly commanded his devotion.
Lured From the Path by Lola White
My novelette Lured From the Path features a mythical creature called Vila. I thought I’d give a little background on this creature.
I scoured the internet for information on the women of the forests. I found many places, including a couple of Eastern European chat rooms where people told and retold many different versions of the Vila myth. I take little pieces from everywhere, never big chunks, and write it all down. Then I go through the list and pick what strikes me and weave it into my own imagination. (Smorgasbord storytelling.) This is why most of my stories will have a sentence in the very front explaining that literary license has been taken, resulting in an amalgamation of whatever myth or legend I’m writing about.
If I did my job right, the reader will never know what came from research and what just popped out of my head.
So the Vila stories are told throughout Eastern Europe and each country seems to have its own take on it. These are the most popular:
1. They are nymphs who lure men from the forest paths. The stories that focus on the nymph aspect is very typical of what you’d find in Celtic fairy tales. They can hurt you or they can help you. They could play practical jokes, cause mischief or simply satisfy their own curiosity. Sometimes they are associated with fairy mounds, or forest clearings, especially where lightning has struck. These stories claim the women have control over wind.
2. They are female spirits who have been too frivolous in life to move on after death. Their voices are beautiful, like a siren in the woods, and this is how they lure men from the paths. They make the men dance with them and can help them, but will kill the man if he defiles them or breaks a promise. They also have clearings where they’ve danced, and to step on one is to bring bad luck. These spirits also have power over the wind, cause the ground to shake and have prophetic gifts.
3. They are spirits of women who were engaged, but died before their wedding could take place. This is the saddest version I found. Some stories say they make the men dance until they die of exhaustion.
Those are the main three, the most popular versions- or at least the most told. There are countless other stories, though, everything from mean witches to gentle protectors of nature. Some say the Vila can be kept if you take a piece of hair, or killed if you burn a piece of their skin. Some say men should leave offerings for the Vila, in the form of cakes, fruit, flowers and ribbons, at sacred sites.
There have been countless stories, ballets, and plays written about the Vila. When I stumbled across the mythology, I was captivated. I grew up on Celtic fairy tales, so I was actually a bit surprised to find something so similar in the Eastern European culture, although I shouldn’t have been. Celts were in Eastern Europe too, after all.
I thought the very idea, and especially the three versions mentioned above, were beautiful. They are sad, they are strong, they are tragic and playful and lovely. They dance and sing, they shape-shift into swans, wolves and snakes. They are all about female empowerment, and yet are still romantics at heart.
And that, is the mythology of the Vila. If you want to know more, do an internet search and you will find many places where the stories are told and debated.
If you want to read my version, you can find it on