Of Frustration and Temptation by Lisabet Sarai

lisabet

Being an author is not for sissies. You pour your heart and soul into your stories. You spend hours of your scarce time and more money than you can afford on marketing. With each new release, you hope you’ll finally grab the attention of the book-buying crowd, that you’ll get the readership and the remuneration you deserve.

If that doesn’t happen (and given the number of people publishing books these days, odds are that it won’t), you’re stuck with the bitter knowledge that all your passion and effort were for nothing. This can be deeply demoralizing, even if you’re not trying to make your living as an author. If you depend on your writing to pay your bills, you’ve got financial anxiety added to your frustration.

I know this frustration only too well. My books receive consistent five star reviews, but somehow I’ve never been a commercial success. Thus, Damned If You Do is a rather personal story.

What would I do if I could magically turn my books into best sellers? How much would that be worth to me? That’s the question my romance author heroine faces when a mysterious stranger shows up waving a contract and promising her fame and fortune, sensual pleasure and the fulfillment of her most secret desires.

All he asks in return is her soul.

Crazy. Dangerous, maybe. But so, so tempting!

DamnedIfYouDo_400

 

Starving author Wendy Dennison signs a contract with a charismatic stranger, exchanging her soul and her body for fame and commercial success. When she discovers her mild mannered agent Dan has a dominant side, she’s forced to choose either celebrity and wealth, or obscurity and true love.

 

5stars

 

My Review: 5 Stars

Wendy is an author struggling to get noticed and hit big. She makes a comment that we all make so often ‘I’d sell my soul for…’ You can fill in your own blank but, as an author, I can totally relate to Wendy’s wish for best seller status. Lo and behold, a gentleman makes her an offer, but not just the fame and fortune kind—he offers to master Wendy. That is, perhaps, even more tempting than the money and recognition combined.

I love Lisabet Sarai’s stories. They are so richly crafted, the characters so real. In this one, Wendy pores over the contract for her soul, negotiating like the pro every author needs to be. She drives a hard bargain, but in the process begins to lose herself and her autonomy. She does top the charts, however fame and fortune isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Damned if You Do is about more than just another Faustian bargain. The hope of every author is burned into the pages, the ambition, the fear and the unlikelihood of ever reaching the heights you’ve dreamed of. It’s also about counting the blessings you have already, appreciating them and enjoying them, rather than focusing all of your time and energy on one thing. And there’s sex—lots of steamy sex that will have you squirming in your seat, and a surprise Dom you can’t help but root for.

BUY LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Excessica

Goodreads

 

Giveaway!

I will be giving away three $10 bookstore gift certificates during my release blitz, and three free ebook copies of my BDSM erotic romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. I will also give a $5 GC to a randomly selected host. The blitz ends June 1st.

To enter, readers must:

Sign up for my VIP email list:  https://signup.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

AND/OR:

Leave a comment with their email address on my release day announcement page:  http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2017/04/out-today-damned-if-you-do-bdsm-pnr.html

About Lisabet

LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Every one of her nine novels includes some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter.

Readers, Reviews and Reliance

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.

Michelangelo-David

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?

Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci

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…

My Stranger - 2000x3000Never 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…

Flesh by Dylan J. Morgan

flesh

I am exceedingly happy that Flesh was my first experience of Dylan J. Morgan’s storytelling. Flesh is a story about a creature I have long been fascinated with, and I was not disappointed with Mr. Morgan’s telling of the tale. He had an unusual spin on a legend too many fail to relay properly and developed an excellent mystery that I didn’t figure out until very close to the end.

Flesh takes place in a tiny little town of apathetic murderers. There is something stalking the woods, eating people, and the panicked townsfolk are saving themselves by baiting the creature with visitors and passerby. Personally, there has always been something about cannibalism that has touched a core of horror deep within myself and so Flesh really sent some chills down my spine.

“In the darkened corner of her living room the same white illumination she’d seen beyond her window drifted into the room: a thin tendril resembling a wisp of fog.”

Taken out of context, this line from Flesh may not seem terrifying, but when I read it I broke out in goose bumps. It’s a scene that destroys the illusion of safety a home provides and emphasizes a feeling of inescapable horror. And that speaks to the theme of this book; Dylan J. Morgan did a wonderful job of flaunting the impossibility of success against what the townspeople faced.

If you’re looking for a hero, it will take you a long time to find one. Mr. Morgan starts his book off with a scene that not only wallops you over the head, but creates a mystery that drags you deeper and deeper into the events taking place. Admittedly, the next few chapters are very descriptive, which slows the story down, but I believe that description was necessary to provide insight to the characters and their actions. Things speed back up in Chapter 5, a place where I found myself completely hooked, hoping Sheriff Andrew Keller could rise to the occasion and save the world. But, like I said, it takes a while for a hero to emerge.

There were a few things that struck me as inconsistent in the timeline of events, but these were easily moved past in favor of the story as a whole. Mr. Morgan does a great job of packing emotion into every scene and more than once I found myself sitting up straighter, fidgeting in my seat, and taking deep breaths to calm myself. While too many books are predictable, Flesh kept me guessing and I truly enjoyed not knowing which way Mr. Morgan’s story would go.

In short, Flesh is a wonderful example of its genre and I look forward to reading everything else Dylan J. Morgan has to offer.

Buy it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Flesh-Dylan-J-Morgan/dp/1494952424/

 

Review for Demon’s Bond

Reviews are always a little scary. You’ve poured a piece of yourself into a book, polished it until it shines, found the courage to publish it…and now you’ve got to get feedback. That takes even more courage. Reading is subjective, someone may not like your novel. So far, I’ve had two review sites give feedback on Demon’s Bond, my debut novel and a book I bled for.

I am ecstatic at the response.

Sexyways of Reading gave me 4.5 stars out of 5. The fabulous Heather P. said:

This was an awesome read, and I mean awesome! Lola gives you a great plot that flows really well. She grabs your attention
from the start and never lets it go. The ending of the book leaves me thinking about it for awhile because I loved how it ended. Talk about steamy, and I’m not talking need a drink of water steamy, I’m talking cold shower with the A/C cranked up steamy.

You can read the full review here

http://sexywaysofreading.com/2014/02/08/review-demons-bond-by-lola-white/

Read Our Lips! Book Review Blog gave me 4 kisses out of 5. The wonderful Linda said:

Demon’s Bond is a great read filled with horror, suspense, sexy scenes, and a threesome all wrapped up in a quick read.

You can read the full review here

http://readourlipsblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-giveawaydemons-bond-by-lola-white.html#more

3 Chicks After Dark gave me ‘Bad-Ass Boots’ (4 out of 5). The amazing Pam said:

One thing I have to say about Ms. White is that she is phenomenal at world building. She is incredibly descriptive and can paint a very vivid picture. Add to that an intriguing storyline. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going she surprised me…

You can read the full review here

http://3chicksafterdark.com/2014/06/demons-bond-by-lola-white/

I’m over the moon! I appreciate every review, when someone takes the time to give feedback it should be valued, but to have two great reviews on my debut novel is just fantastic!