Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm Back

So I accidentally took a month long break (I'm not sure of the exact amount of time, but it was about the much) without telling anyone from social media, but I am back now, although I hope to be on social media less than I was before (although still present on all the different sites on occasion!) So if I owe you an e-mail or a follow back or anything like that, don't worry, I am trying to get around to finishing all of that right now. And I apologized for that.

I got caught up in the holidays and also my mother and dog who are both sick right now with chronic stuff. My Mom is getting some surgeries in the upcoming months, so I might accidentally disappear again during that time.

I didn't mean to be gone that long or I would have told someone.

I don't know if people noticed I was gone and it's fine if you didn't, I'm just letting you know what happened in December if you happened to have noticed that I wasn't around much.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Right Way To Do Social Media

I've made lists before on how to get more followers on twitter and things like that, but everything boils down to one simple rule really: BE SOCIAL.

I know it sounds simplistic, but this seems to go over some authors' heads.

When you pay for an advertisement or book tour, you watch your sales while its running. You weigh the numbers against each other (the costs versus the downloads), take some time thinking about it, and decide whether it was worth it.

Social media isn't like that.

First of all, you're never going to know how many books social media has sold for you. You have no way to track it.

Secondly, everyone else is there to get to know people. Most of my friends outside of being an author do not purchase my books. I don't even ask them to. I tell them I'm an author and they let me know immediately (usually) that they don't like ebooks or that they don't read very much or that they'll read my books if I give them to them for free. So what would ever make me think that I could go on social media, shout at a bunch of strangers "BUY MY BOOK!" and get a better reaction?

Even if you sell zero books through social media, it's still worth it. By keeping up with other authors and readers, you find out about trends in the marketplace and news happening in publishing, which can help you sell your books. Opportunities come up for you, like blog interviews and guest posts that wouldn't otherwise be there.

But you have to not be searching for those things. You have to be just enjoying yourself on there.

Authors think they are so different than actors, comedians, and musicians, just because we don't sit in front of people and perform.  But we're not really that different. We're also in the entertainment business. Even if you write serious books with deep philosophical ideas in them, you want to do so in a way that will keep people's attention. You want to reach them at their level and make them feel something.

In the same way, you should be entertaining on social media. And you should give us a glimpse of yourself.

Yes, there is so much talk about not posting things online because the internet is forever, but you can't let people get to know you, unless you are willing to risk that. It's like falling in love. Your heart might get destroyed. In fact, most relationships end that way. But if you don't allow yourself the possibility to get hurt, you'll never get to know anyone.

Being a robot online will get you are far as being a robot in a relationship-nowhere.

And really, I've never seen someone's books sales hurt over going viral. Usually their book sales improve.

This came up because I got really irritated with a guy online. He was telling everyone to follow him and like him online, so on and so forth. So I agreed to it and he made it clear that he wasn't going to follow or like the people who follow and like him.

Immediately, I wanted to undo everything I'd just done. Because, like most people, I am on social media to socialize. If he doesn't want to like and follow people back, then he's just there to sell books and not to talk to anyone, so why should I even bother to talk to him at all? He doesn't care about me or want to get to know me.

What does it really hurt to follow people back and like them, too? Why is it upsetting to engage in conversation with them? Because you don't have time? Then delete all your social media accounts now. If you don't have time for social media, then you shouldn't be on it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Published Short Stories

It's been awhile since I last blogged, but I am still here, popping in and out of social media websites at random sometimes.

There's a few things I wanted to tell you about. Basically, a couple of my short stories got published last month. One, in an anthology, and the other as contribution to. another author's novel. I thought that maybe you would like to know about them.

The first short story I wrote was part of a bullying anthology. We were all told to write a story about bullying and since I can't write anything without including a bit of fantasy or science fiction, there's a bit of that sprinkled in there. I titled my story "The Magic Pen" and you can purchase the entire book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Authors-Against-Bullying-Isabella-Tredway-ebook/dp/B00O2BTXPQ/

I only had a week to write my short story and I had to really push myself to finish it, but I wanted to write it because it was important to me. I grew-up bullied all my life in public school. (It finally stopped in 11th grade when I started homeschool.)

This story is especially important to me because for the first time ever, I included details that were real to me in my life. Like being so scared of going to school and seeing my bullies that I'd have panic attacks on the drive over every day. I'd get depression and be unable to hear anything the teachers were saying because I was too focused on what my classmates were going to do to me next. My grades suffered as a result.

Also, I really did have a counselor who would force me to see him all the time and lecture me because I wasn't as pretty as the other girls or as tough as them. He'd tell me it was "my fault" I was bullied all the time (pretty girls who don't stare at the ground and look into people's eyes don't get bullied. To this day, I still try to force myself to stare into people's eyes when they are intimidating me because of his constant lectures) and he'd criticize me about my grades.

I also really had a friend who wore Marilyn Manson t-shirts and used to scare me all the time with her voodoo dolls and knives, but she also used to constantly stick up for me as well. So we had the weirdest friendship ever. I was terrified of her and I admired her all at the same time.

Her brother really was one of my bullies. He called me cuss words and she would scream at him back. Although I never thought he was attractive like my main character seems to think about her bully.

The reason I am saying all this is because it was a really liberating experience to include some of my real life experiences in a story. It felt nice to change parts of the story and rearrange things so that my school counselor got fired, instead of continuing to insult kids long after I was gone as I know that he did.

I don't really think about how I was bullied back then often. I just think about it when I consider this current generation and what they may or may not be going through in school. I would like it so we could have a world where kids felt safe enough to be able to focus on their school work and didn't have to have panic attacks every Monday on the drive over. But if there are kids going through that, I don't want them to feel alone.

I hope my story might help some kids that are struggling. I want them to accept who they are and not think that bullying is their fault. It doesn't matter if they don't know how to fight back or how to do their make-up right. They shouldn't be picked on anyway.

So that's why I decided to submit that story for the anthology. It was compiled by an author named Bree Vanderland who feels very strongly about bullying as well. She has several books up for sale on Amazon.

---

The other short story that I wrote was for a contest for one of T.J. Loveless' books. If you don't know who T.J. Loveless is, she's one of the best authors I've ever met. She writes well and is one of the few authors I can say that I trust.

She's been writing this book series called The Fortune Cookie Diaries. It's hilarious and one of the main characters named Miracai (who is my favorite) is an absolute riot. He's a unicorn that farts rainbows. That's all I am going to say.

Anyway, she held a contest for anyone who wanted to contribute to the series to write a short story about a brand new character that hadn't been introduced yet. She included my short story and one other story in her third book. (The books count down backwards, so it says "Book Four".)

Here's the link to it, but I highly recommend you starting at the beginning of the series.

http://www.amazon.com/Unlucky-Number-Fortune-Cookie-Diaries-ebook/dp/B00MSXXG6C/

---

While all this is happening, I am still slowly, but surely pecking away at the keys, trying to finish rewriting my God of Light duology. I'm still going to need critique partners to look it over one last time, but I am really excited about the direction it's going. It's turning out much better than when the books first started.

It's taking a long time, but I am choosing quality over quantity right now. If I wasn't, I could have had the books out six months ago.

Also, my downloads and sales are slowly increasing, which is exciting as well.

I've been experimenting (and submitting) some short horror stories to magazines on the side and I'll let you guys know if anything happens with any of those things.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Nowhere To Run" By Jeanne Bannon





What’s a girl to do when she falls in love with the man whose mission it is to bring her down?

With the murder of her only sister, Sara, just a few months past, Lily Valier—a woman of beauty and substance—tops the sheriff’s list of suspects in small town Maine, and for a very good reason. Dear old Dad had willed his fortune to Sara and only Sara, leaving Lily to fend for herself. However, with no murder weapon or witnesses, the evidence against Lily is only circumstantial.

Enter P.I. Aiden O’Rourke, black-haired and blue-eyed, charged with gaining Lily’s trust and learning her secrets, all to finally get the goods on her. Things move fast and feelings run deep, yet when Lily discovers the truth about Aiden, everything begins to come apart.

Aiden’s torn. Despite his feelings for her, Lily is the most logical suspect, with a great big fat motive. Except something’s not quite right. Aiden trusts his instincts and they’re screaming at him to have a look at a former suspect with far more to hide than first appeared. With little left to lose, Lily decides to stand her ground, and staying put has its consequences when the murder weapon finally turns up—and it’s Lily’s gun.

What happens to love, when trust is betrayed? 

Excerpt

The ghosts of those we love never leave us. They live on in our hearts but break them too, Lily thought as she flipped the sign on the door of the Higgstown Diner from “Open” to “Closed.” Then she sank wearily onto a stool at the counter, finally at the end of the workday. Now she could let loose the heaviness weighing her down. Hot tears stung her eyes and she let them. It was OK. There was no one around to witness her breakdown. She rested her head in her hands and heaved with sobs.

“Sara, please talk to me. Give me a sign you’re still around,” Lily said to the air. “I miss you so much.” More tears washed down her cheeks. It had been three months since her sister’s death, and there was still no escaping Sara’s ghost. Even the chipped Arborite counter where she now sat, with the wonky red upholstered stool that swiveled just a little too much to the right, brought back memories. Lily could see her older sister as plainly as if she were standing in front of her now, black hair piled high in a bun and that blue eye shadow she was so fond of. Lily smiled through her tears.

Sara had been a whiz at the grill, whipping up orders faster than Lily ever could. God, how long had the diner been a part of their lives? More than twenty-five years, she guessed. They were just kids when their mother, Nancy, bought the place—Lily, seven, and Sara, twelve.

A creak came from the back of the diner. Lily lifted her head to listen. Another small groan of the floorboards. Could Sara be giving her a sign?

“Sara?” Lily slid off the stool.

A tall, dark figure loomed in the doorway.

Lily froze, her heart near exploding. “What do you want?” she choked out in a thin voice.

He stepped nearer. “Open the register.” His voice was a deep whisper.

A balaclava hid his face; the seams of a dark gray coat strained over a thickly muscled physique. He aimed the gun in his right hand at her chest.

Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.

“I said, open the register.”

The man moved close enough for Lily to catch his scent—a mix of sweat and cheap aftershave. He shoved her forward, snapping her from her stupor, and followed as she made her way behind the counter to the cash register.

A glowing red light caught her attention. She hadn’t turned off the coffee maker! In one quick movement, Lily grabbed the pot’s plastic handle and launched the scorching brew at the woolen knit of the intruder’s balaclava. The gun landed with a thud between his booted feet as he clawed at the steaming mask plastered to his face.

Now was her chance. Lily shouldered past him to the front door. Her fingers, thick and clumsy with panic, fumbled as she tried in vain to turn the two deadbolt locks. She ordered herself to calm down. Take a breath. C’mon, you can do this, she told herself, but her heart jackhammered in her chest, and her ears pulsed with the rush of blood behind them.

Suddenly, a face appeared on the other side of the glass front door of the diner, sending Lily backward, nearly tripping over her own feet.

The stranger on the other side of the door took her in. A look of confusion flickered across his face. Then, as if coming back to himself, he yelled, “Hurry. Unlock the door!” The cold night air whipped his dark hair wildly around his face. His pale blue eyes locked on hers.

Panic had hijacked her brain. She didn’t know what to do. He could be an accomplice.



Bio
Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years, first as a freelance journalist, then as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer and is represented by Karen Thomas of the Serendipity Literary Agency.

Jeanne’s debut novel, Invisible, is a young adult paranormal romance, published by Solstice Publishing and has recently been optioned for film. Invisible is an Amazon bestseller both domestically and internationally and continues to receive wonderful reviews.

On October 3rd, 2014, Nowhere to Run, Jeanne’s latest novel, is set to be released by Etopia Press. Nowhere to Run tells the story of Lily Valier, a woman of substance and beauty, and her dilemma when she falls in love with a man whose mission it is to bring her down.

Currently, Jeanne is finishing up work on her third novel, Dark Angel, a paranormal thriller.
When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys spending time with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a cuddly and affectionate Boston Terrier named Lila and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.

Links:


Twitter: @JeanneBannon




Friday, September 19, 2014

Win A New Kindle Or $229! Month Long Giveaway!

For the next month, I'm participating in a Kindle giveaway. There are lots of ways to enter, including one free entry. Look at the rafflecopter below!

229 giveaway  
It’s time for the next $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader.
We are giving away 2 great prizes both valued at $229.
Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!
 
The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below.
The 2nd is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Win a Kindle Fire HDX 7", Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only) The price of this Kindle recently dropped to $199. The winner will still receive a prize valued at $229.
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
Each of these bloggers/authors paid to help sponsor this giveaway.   Sponsor List I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader Inspired Kathy Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance Bella Street Time Travel Romance Bette Lee Crosby BookBunnyPR SA Larsen Kindle and Me Alecia Stone Dana Masting Cynthia Luhrs Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek Jennifer Laurens Author Simple Wyrdings A Leisure Moment: A Casual Conversation about our Love for Literature Artist/Author BT A&E KIRK, YA Paranormal Authors MoreThanaReview Author Claudia Burgoa Laurie Treacy, Author Talia Jager, Author Author Zoe Forward Helen Smith (author) MyLadyWeb: Women's History & Women Authors Mini Myths: Be Patient Pandora! / Play Nice, Hercules! Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Author - Cindy A Christiansen Felicia Starr - Author C.M. Brown Librarian Lavender Romance Under Fire Megan Crane LeahSay's Views Laurie Here - Contemporary Fiction and MORE Author Kimber Shook MamaNYC Melissa McClone, Author Crystal's Tiny Treasures Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author Page Flipperz Ya Sarah Ballance C Family of 6 Danyelle Ferguson, Author YA Author Fabio Bueno Lori's Reading Corner Books are my life BookHounds Author Inger Iversen E.B. Black
Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only), $229 Amazon.com Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 10/27/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Authors Anonymous Review


"Authors Anonymous" is a mockumentary about an author group and how they handle it when one of their members gets a book deal.

It got terrible reviews on rotten tomatoes. In my opinion, it's because "Authors Anonymous" is not a movie that people outside of the writing community are going to understand. They might on a superficial level understand the things that the writers are experiencing and doing, but we've all been in similar situations or seen people in similar situations. Ironically, it would be nice to have an author group that I could have watched it with and discussed it afterwards.

I thought it was one of the best representations of writers in movies. Of course, it was mocking us and it's going to make you cringe several times while you are watching it (because it's showing the worst side of writers) and maybe even shout about how it's wrong (about things like self-publishing), but that's because the jokes are written by someone who's been through all of it before. So they know how to hit really close to home.

It showed how narcissistic, yet insecure we all are. The constant rejection we face. And even how sometimes, when we're doing really poorly, we'll cling to any little inkling of success like we're dying and it's a lifeboat.

I was happy to see that the cast included several familiar actors and actresses. They played their parts well.

If you saw the movie, what did you think of it?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Am Thankful For Kindle Unlimited

When I released Medusa's Desire, it was with the eagerness and excitement of a newly published author. I wanted to try every marketing trick because it was all new and shiny.

Book Tour? YES!

Offering a free copy of my novel to any book blogger or reader who wanted to review it? YES!

Contests on my blog? OF COURSE!

Author Interviews? THROW THEM AT ME!

Guest Posts? ANYWHERE I CAN!

And the evidence of this is available when you google "Medusa's Desire" and get several pages of blog posts related to my book.

A short time later, I released Pandora's Mistake. I wanted a free book to do my advertising for me and I have to admit that it gave me pretty good results, so I thought,"Hey! I don't need to market anymore. My free book will do my marketing for me."

I gave all that extra effort up and my days went like this:

Social Media. Social Media. Write. Rewrite.

I thought that all I needed to do was get to know people on social media and then maybe if they enjoyed my posts online, they might try reading my book.

Soon, it turned into a routine. Social Media is fun, so I go on there and call it "work" even though I'm usually just using it to entertain myself. I checked my downloads and sales on Amazon. They were pretty much the same every month. I grew complacent because I knew what to expect.

Then Kindle Unlimited was released and the days kept rolling by with zero sales. I was in denial. The sales are just slow right now. They'll speed up eventually. They always speed up.

But they didn't speed up and near the end of the month, I only had one sale. I realized in horror that things weren't going to pick up.

I thought,"Oh my God! This is the end. I tried to be a self-published author and failed. Kindle Unlimited has defeated me."

It felt like my heart was being crushed. This was my dream. I honestly don't know who I am to some degree without it.

So I mentally slapped myself and said,"Hell, no! You get up and you fix this!"

So I googled everything I could about Kindle Unlimited. I wasn't selling many books on Barnes and Noble, Itunes, etc., so I decided it was worth a try. Nothing can hurt when your sales are basically zero.

And so far, it's brought me back to the sales that I had before. That should be great, right?

Except it's not good enough for me anymore. Kindle Unlimited showed me that everything could be taken away from me with one simple change. I have to work hard to finish my manuscripts, but also work hard to promote each book I release.

Everything's new and shiny again! It's time to have fun promoting my books!

Friday, September 5, 2014

What To Do If You Make A Fool Of Yourself On Social Media

Things go viral unexpectedly and some of those things are humiliating. I think, as authors, we are always terrified of saying something stupid or making a typo (it happens to me all the time and it's no big deal) and looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of people because of it. Most of us are authors, rather than actors, because we don't like to be the center of attention. We prefer our characters to be. So being in front of all those people on social media is unnerving.

I will admit that this is even difficult for me. My books aren't me, so if you hate them, we can still be friends. But if I post something and you declare that everything I say is stupid and how could someone so horrible be allowed to live, then it's probably not going to lead to a deep friendship.

While, so far, I haven't had anything humiliating go viral, I have angered people with things I've posted and even had people threaten me because of it. Trust me, anything can anger people. I've even had someone rant about my cat pictures. In the past, as a regular person (and not an author), I've been flamed, bullied, stalked, and had my picture posted other places with rude comments. But I got over it every single time.

It's the internet and those things happen. Here's what to do if you find yourself in the situation:

STEP 1:

BREATH AND STEP AWAY.

Here's the great thing about the internet. You can shut it off and never log on to it. If your life lands on the news, you'll have reporters stalking you and harassing you. But when you anger the internet? All that you have to do usually is shut it off.

So take a moment to breathe. You're emotional right now and of all times in your life, you need to be in the most control of yourself right now. If you need to scream or cry, do it to people you know in person, but online, you must think before you type or say anything to fix this.

Making a fool of yourself online is actually the best place you can make a fool of yourself. I know people scare people by saying things like,"The internet is forever." But in real life, when you say something stupid, you're usually stuck trying to fix it right away and stuttering through the whole thing and failing to make anything better. And it's not like that person is going to change their mind about you later. You messed up their opinion of you forever as well.

When you mess up online, you can step away while you are still emotional to think before you type. If need be, type your whole message, with emotions in it and all, up first, and then delete it and write something else that you think will calm the situation down.

The fact that it's typing instead of speaking makes it easier to deal with at your own pace.

STEP 2:

DELETE AND IGNORE.


Even if what you said is getting passed around, deleting it will make it so that less people will see it because they can't find it at the original source.

It might feel like the whole world knows about it, but I guarantee you that there are still people out there who have no idea what is happening.

I know people worry that it will make you seem remorseful about what you posted and like you back down on your opinions, but that isn't true. Think of the last celebrity or CEO who said something that offended you. They probably took those words down and apologized. If so, did you believe the apology? Probably not.

Deleting isn't about apologizing. It's about calming everyone down. It makes it harder for people who are dwelling on the issue to come back and comment on it. While it's still up, people can keep replying to the original post and each other. It keeps getting worse.

A lot of times they are waiting for a reaction from you, so if you say nothing, then they'll quickly run out of things to say as well.

You can't control what people pass around, but you can control what is and isn't posted on your accounts. So surround yourself with positivity by focusing on the positive things, instead of the way people are tearing you down.

Because a lot of times when you try to defend your actions, you wind up looking more stupid to people and making them mock you more. The goal is not to win the argument. It's to make everyone forget, so you can be in peace. You likely can't win the argument. But you can make people forget that they were arguing with you in the first place.

All this reminds me of the time that I saw an author respond to a book review, flaming the person and insisting that they take the review down. At first, it was just an argument between the two of them. But she kept coming back, kept trying to defend her book and how the review was unfair.

Instead of winning people over, more people heard about the fight and started to join in, mocking her as well. If she had just shut up and deleted the first comment, it wouldn't have escalated to the point it did.

STEP 3:

APOLOGIZE.

If you hurt someone's feelings, sometimes the best thing to do is apologize, even if you feel like right now that you weren't in the wrong. Try to see it from their point of view and own up to what you might or might not have done.

You don't even have to retract what you said completely when you apologize. Even just wording the same thing in a nicer tone and apologizing if your tone came off poorly can sometimes calm people down.

It's humiliating, but sometimes we just have to own up to things and try to make people feel better. Your goal is to sell more books and that means meeting people at their level.

And it means more if you apologize to the person through a message rather than publicly. Doing so publicly makes it seem like you are just trying to win people back over. Unless you offend a large group of people, then this rule doesn't apply. But if it's a single individual and they are posting what you did everywhere, then go to them privately and see if you can calm them down.

STEP 4:

MAKE IT INTO A JOKE.


If you're the butt of a joke, sometimes it can help to go along with it. Mocking yourself shows that you have a good sense of humor and also makes people feel closer to you. Because you haven't made enemies out of them, you've joined in on the fun.

And they start to get to know you more for your awesome personality and not just whatever stupid thing you may have said.

But you should probably wait to do this until a significant time has passed and not when it's still fresh in people's minds.


STEP 5:

REMEMBER THAT SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MAKE IDIOTS OF THEMSELVES.


Famous people make idiots of themselves online all the time. How many celebrities have gotten into twitter fights and it been all over the news? Think of CEOs who have said controversial things and people have boycotted their companies.

Eventually, everyone forgets about it and moves on. The companies and celebrities rarely lose their jobs over it, so you'll likely be fine, too.

And the best way for this to happen is for you to stop dwelling on it and stop beating yourself up over it. If you stop talking about it online and instead talk about other things, people will get to know you for those other things. You'll stop being just the person who made a stupid mistake, you'll become more than that.

The only reason people are replying and getting angry at what you are saying is because it's relevant to them. Relevance is actually a good thing. It means people find you important.

Do you know how many people say horrible stuff on twitter and facebook every day and no one cares?

If they care about you, it means you are special and are given an opportunity to either sell a product or even deliver a message if you want to about something that's important to you. Because people listen to what you have to say.

It hurts, but it's also a gift.

Because sometimes you can take the lemons of life and make lemonade out of them. This is one of those instances. So don't be afraid of it. Embrace it.

----

I just want you to know that sometimes, even when you are not making a fool out of yourself, you might get into arguments with people online. That's okay. Just breathe and take breaks if you need to, like I said in step one.

Don't worry about whether or not you win an argument. Almost no one wins arguments online, we just make one another angry.

But it's part of openly expressing yourself. Everything is an opinion. Even this blog post is an opinion. And if you have an opinion, there is someone out there who disagrees with you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thoughts So Far On Kindle Unlimited

I can't say for sure at this point if the effects of Kindle Unlimited will be long term with my book, but so far, things seem to be going good.

My sales (including the kindle unlimited sales) seem to be back to what they were before.

So I wouldn't say that my book is doing better than it was before Kindle Unlimited happened. I wouldn't (at this point in time) recommend it unless you've seen a significant sales drop and aren't currently selling well on other sites like Barnes and Noble and Itunes.

I've actually been receiving more regular sales than Kindle Unlimited sales since I joined (I was getting very few regular sales before), which makes me think that if you are in Kindle Select, Amazon does things to make sure your book is more visible than those who aren't exclusive, even to customers who are not using Kindle Unlimited.

I would also recommend using either your free days or the discount days to help boost your rank, but if you are using the free days, it's probably a good idea to spread them out and only schedule one day at a time, since the free downloads natural drop after the first day.

I'll let you know more about it as I learn more.

And in the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts on Kindle Unlimited with me as well.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kindle Unlimited

One of the frustrating things about being a self-published author is seeing your sales fluctuate and not knowing why. We have data that tells us how many books we've sold and when, but not data that tells us why these facts are true. That part is a guess.

This month has been the worse month of sales for me thus far. Parts of July were pretty bad, too, but not as bad as this month. In total, I have sold exactly one book this entire month. It's better than nothing, but only slightly better.

I'm not going to tell you what I usually sell, but I have a free book and people download that a lot. Pretty consistently, I've been selling about 10% of the amount of free downloads I get. But for this month, for some reason, I sold a lot less than that.

I am working on writing my novels daily and I know part of the problem is that I haven't released anything new in over a year. But part of the reason for that is because when I release my next book, I will be releasing two books at once (or at least in a relatively short period of time.)

I'm not very good at writing book series. With the Greek myth books, they are stand alones that only mildly effect one another, so I can release them as I write them, but with most books, I need to write the entire series before I release any of the books or I will write myself into plot holes.

I thought I was done writing these books about 8 months ago, but then I showed the novels to my critique partners and their advice basically equated to "rewrite both of them", so now, here I am, starting from scratch with these two novels. I also plan to go through another round of critiques before I publish and send the stories to my editor. All in all, it will take me at least a few more months before they are done.

Anyway, it might be a coincidence, but I noticed that my drop in sales occurred around the same time as Kindle Unlimited happened. I get that if it's what caused it. Who wants to buy a book that costs 1/3 of their subscription, when they can get many more books than that with their subscription!

So after weeks of thought, I have decided to take down Medusa's Desire from everywhere except for Amazon and enroll it in Kindle Unlimited. You can officially download it for "free" with kindle unlimited, in fact, as of yesterday. (Thank you Smashwords for being so quick to take my books down from all those sites! It makes me sad to do this to you because you were so cooperative!) I was selling virtually nothing at the other sites anyway.

But I did it with a heavy heart, I will admit. Part of being a self-published author is enjoying the fact that you are free and in control of what happens to your novels. So therefore, I'm going to be pretty reluctant about throwing all my eggs in one (Amazon) basket. It feels like I am giving the reins of my career over to them. Because as they showed with Kindle Unlimited, they can change everything in a short period of time.

I don't even know for sure if Kindle Unlimited caused this. I don't know how many people are using Kindle Unlimited. (I know that as a reader it sounds like a wonderful deal to me and I am thinking about using it, which is weird and gives me conflicting feelings inside.) I also don't know how many people are actually going to read ten percent of my book.

It's kind of hard on the ego, worrying about that. When I make a sale, that's all I have to worry about. Someone bought my book and even though I'd like them to read it, even if they don't, at least they gave me money for it!

Are they going to treat my book like a lot of them treat my Pandora's Mistake novel? It doesn't bother me, but I know a lot of people download Pandora's Mistake just because it's free and never read it.

But when it's my paid book and the only way I can get income, it sort of does bother me. Will people even be motivated to read it if they don't feel like they had to spend that much money on it? Will they get bored before they reach 10% and I'll never see any of the money?

On Amazon's part, I think they're being genius by doing this. I think they're going to make a lot of money with Kindle Unlimited.

But what will it do to me? Will it help to enroll at all? Will it hurt me because my book is no longer available on Barnes and Noble or Itunes?

And it makes me want to write more short stories. After all, if you write a short enough story, then pretty much they only have to turn one page and they've already read 10% of your book.

Being a self-published author is a lot about experimentation. This is my latest experiment in publishing.

I know a lot of you don't want to try this, but seeing how bad my sales were this month, I am willing to be the guinea pig.

And I hope to tell you how it's going later. (But I might not mention it again if things go bad. That's not exactly what you look forward to admitting to in a blog.) I won't have maps and charts and numbers the way some authors do, but I will have a general idea of whether or not it's helping anything.

So how do you feel about Kindle Unlimited?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When You First Started Writing Versus Now

The more you write and publish, the more you improve as an author and the more your viewpoints on things change. Here's some examples:

1. When you finish the first draft of a novel...

The First Time: "Oh my God, you guys! Let's celebrate with some champagne! I just finished writing my first novel!"

Later Times: "Oh my God, you guys! Do you want to grab a beer? I just started writing this novel and I have a headache thinking about how much work it will still need before it's finished."

2. When you think of your strengths...

At First: "I'm such a wonderful writer! People will be amazed at my vocabulary and grammar! I will be on every bestselling list as people bow down and worship me!"

After Many Query Letter Rejections And One Star Reviews: "People hate my writing, but I love their hatred! Your mean words can't hurt me because I'm used to rejection, Neener-neener-neener! I dare you to write a one star review with more curse words than that last one. It's like jumping off a cliff, it gives me an adrenaline rush!"

3. When you get critiques back...

The First Time: "Everything is marked in red! Does this mean I'm terrible at writing?"

Later Times: "Wait, what? There's a whole page of my novel with no critiques on it?! You have to rip my story to shreds or I'll look terrible in front of my readers."

4. When you start selling books...

The First Time: "I am going to make thousands of dollars a month!"

Later Times: "Yes! I made $20 this month! That's a dollar better than last month!"

5. When you talk about your muse...

The First Time: "I sit down and try to write, but my muse doesn't come to me. I have to be in the right mood. She's so fickle."

Later Times: "The muse is my bitch! I hold a gun to her head and make her work with me every day or we don't get paid."

6.  Regarding Social Media...

The First Time: "You mean, I have to actually get online and talk to people sometimes? *gulp* I just want to write and not bother with that stuff!"

Later Times: "You mean, I actually have to get off social media and write sometimes? *frown* But I love talking to people and they need to see more of my cat pictures!"

7. Talking About Characters...

The First Time: "I created this character. She's so cool! Let me tell you about her."

Later Times: "I'm writing about this character and she keeps changing the story in ways that she's not supposed to. I'm the writer, but it feels like sometimes she's the one writing through me. Wait, don't go. I swear I'm not crazy! I only argue with my characters sometimes!"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Memory And Writing

Something that frustrates me is that when I watch movies and television shows, I forget a lot of the details soon afterwards. I have a terrible memory when it comes to these things, especially if I only watch them through one time.

I have seen all the episodes of Bob's Burgers, for instance, and I have a friend who is obsessed with that show and quotes it all the time. I laugh and pretend I know what she is saying, but in my head, I go,"What episode was that again?"

This extends to my writing as well. It's a gift on one hand. If I take a long break from writing a certain story, I can come at it with fresher eyes than many authors can because I've already forgotten most of what I was saying. But it's bad when I'm trying to write a book series because while I am writing it, I easily forget details sometimes from previous books (and have to re-read those) or my stories get riddled with plot holes.

Last night, I drank a caffeinated beverage. I never drink caffeine because I have anxiety problems, but I couldn't seem to help myself. I also decided to do this at midnight, which is a wonderful idea, especially since I'm not used to caffeine anymore and should have been going to sleep.

So I sat in my living room, wide awake and jittery, in the dark, with my kindle.

I was going to re-download my books. I keep hoping that re-downloading them will somehow update them on my device (but it never does), so that I can read what you guys are reading and make sure that the formatting is going well. I always preview the formatting, but I don't trust the preview for whatever reason. I make little changes on the formatting sometimes and I need to make sure those are translating the right way.

So I start rifling through Pandora's Mistake and instead of just glancing at every page, I start re-reading the story. And pretty soon, I am engrossed in reading it because I can't remember anything that I wrote the first time around.

I start laughing hysterically and going,"Pandora's so naive!" And I feel like a crazy person because I wrote this book and I can't even remember anything that I wrote. And people would probably think I was crazy if they were reading it outloud and I was going over and over again,"Oh yeah! I forgot that I had written that!" Because I finished writing it a little over a year ago, so how have I already forgotten the entire thing?

To me it's like looking through one of those old photo albums with your family while you nudge each other and say,"Remember when we did that!" And you go,"Oh yeah! I forgot about that!"

So I finished re-reading Pandora and will likely have to re-read Medusa as well. Because I am hoping that as soon as I finish writing these "God Of Light" books, that I can start working on my Sisyphus novel. (I wrote one chapter for it one time and that made me excited.)

 But I'm also trying to finish up critiquing two things and have a lot more work to do on the "God Of Light" books, so it might be awhile before that happens.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Guide to San Diego Comic Con

I went to Comic Con this year in San Diego (pictures of people in costume are posted on my facebook account if you want to see) and I've gone every year for the past several years. It's a lot of fun. It's one giant nerd party, where you can buy nerdy things, go to panels about nerdy things, and see people in all kinds of costumes.

But there was a lot of things that I never knew were true about Comic Con until I went several times. I decided to share them with you (including how to get a pass), so you'll know more if you ever decide to go:

1. Getting a ticket to Comic Con is hard to do, but if you know all the steps and follow them, you can get one every time. This year and last year, my husband had a professional pass because he works in the video game industry, but we've also purchased tickets the other way.

What you have to do is sign up for the web-site that you purchase them on months before it's time to purchase. Then find out the exact date and time where you need to buy tickets. Set your alarm at least 10 minutes beforehand and start refreshing the page when it gets close to the time to buy tickets. They'll put you in a queue. Wait in the queue and then make sure you have the money to pay for your tickets in your bank account ahead of time and that you have your card on hand.

Even when you do this, you might not get four day passes. The tickets sell really fast! But you'll likely get something.

If you buy a four day pass, but don't want to go all four days, don't ever sell your ticket to someone else after you are done. People will try to buy them from you for a lot of money, but if you are caught selling your ticket to someone else, you get banned from Comic Con for life!

2. Parking is horrible. It's really difficult to find a place to park and once you do, you're probably going to pay anywhere from $40-$60. That's per day, by the way.

But if you park in the right parking garage, there will be people in passenger bikes willing to give you a ride to the convention and a ride back once you are done. You're also going to probably have to pay them, though. And their rates vary drastically and they won't tell you until you are already done with the ride.

One guy made me give him $40 plus a tip for less than a five minute ride back to the parking garage, while another guy only made me give him $5 for the exact same thing.

3. It's normal to ask people who are in costumes to pose for a picture for you. Just know, if you decide to go in costume (especially if you have an elaborate or unique costume), you might be posing for photos all day. You also might be interviewed by several news crews.

But the cool thing is, they have a special station where you can repair your costumes if they break. It has things like thread and needles for you to use.

4. There is no air conditioning. Everyone is sweating and smelly. Less clothes is usually better and bring extra deoderant and perfume!

5. There are special items called "Comic Con Exclusives" that you can only buy at Comic Con. They are usually really cool things.

If you want to buy one of these things, make sure you find out as much as possible about how to purchase it ahead of time. Some items are easy to get. Like, I got a Comic Con Mad Libs for free this year and there was no line. Other items, like the Magic Cards exclusive are very difficult. We tried to purchase it and found out that you needed to be lined up at the right place at 5:30 in the morning to be able to get a ticket that would allow you to purchase the item later and very few people received tickets.

It's better to either try to buy these things on preview night or on Thursday because sometimes they sell out before you can get there.

6. There is hardly any seating in Comic Con. Your legs are going to hurt and when you try to sit against the wall for a second, there are going to be people yelling at you to get up. This is also true when you try to sit down and eat.

7. Some panels are easy to get into. The informative ones are usually easy-the ones about how to write well and what goes into making a comic, things like that. But if you want to get into a panel with any famous actors or anything like that in it (like the Firefly panel for instance) or about big Comic book things (like the Marvel panel), then you need to start waiting for hours, potentially a day, ahead of time. People who got into the Marvel panel this year had to wait for thirty hours to get in.

8. Bring food with you to Comic Con. They have a few different types of food stands, like Starbucks and things, where the food is okay. But to get any actual meals, you need to go to the food stand which is run by the convention and the food is so awful and very expensive. It's not worth it.

9. It's very crowded inside Comic Con. There are always people shouting at you to keep moving because there's so many people that things easily become congested. This makes taking pictures difficult and you might be shouted at to stop taking a picture and keep moving. You also might be shoved forward when trying to view something if you are doing so inside a heavily congested area.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Magic Of Speculative Fiction

I think the reason I love writing speculative fiction is pretty similar as to why a lot of people love to read happy endings to stories. Most people like happy endings because real life has so much tragedy and sadness, it feels good to read about everything working out in the end.

In real life, our world has definitive rules. In speculative fiction, I make up the rules. I can find the solution to any problem as long as I am creative enough.

If someone dies, the characters aren't as limited. In this world, we must accept death, but in speculative fiction, you have necromancers raising people from the dead, vampires living on past their deaths, ghosts bringing people's souls back, science using electricity to bring people back to life. Anything is possible.

And usually the things we find to be scariest have easy cures for them in speculative fiction. Like in science fiction, cancer has long been cured by doctors. Or in fantasy, hunger has disappeared ever since mages learned to conjure food from thin air. Or in paranormal/horror novels, vampires can be hit with bullets and not even flinch.

I want characters to go through similar problems as to what real people do, like facing disease or death or poverty or anything, but I want it to be so different than anything real, that it feels less personal.

Yeah, reading about a mage getting into a fight with a necromancer and the mage dying might make me sad, especially if I'm really attached to the mage. But nothing at all similar is going to happen in real life, so it also makes the situation less personal. It lets me empathize and feel without the story resembling real life.

It's easier to chew on real world problems like racism, for instance, when the two races don't exist in real life (like dwarves and elves for instance). It allows you to talk about real world problems such as this in a way that will offend less people. They'll be more open to hearing what you have to say because the story isn't about them directly.

And it has a certain feel to it. Even though there is dark fantasy and adult fantasy, which are both kinds that I prefer to write, it still reminds me of being a child a little bit. It broadens my imagination and enters me into a world with endless possibilities.

And it adds a more fantastical and exciting twist to things. People are no longer just people going about ordinary things. Their world is so different than ours that everything they do is extraordinary. There are gods. There are fates. People no longer just rescue people. They are foretold heroes who are here to save the world. People no longer just fall in love. The fates and all the universe brought them together. People don't just die. Their death changes the world. It can be the reason a kingdom falls or why a hero is able to find their strength and conquer evil. Things mean so much more in fantasy.

It's why I am a sucker for Disney songs and Disney movies. They bring a little magic into my life. And we can all use a little bit of magic.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Witch Crystal By Malika Gandhi

I'd like to welcome Malika Gandhi to the blog, who is here to talk about her book "Witch Crystal" today!


I love Witches, and not the normal kind. What do I mean by normal kind? Well, it’s not as if witches really exist to they? Far from it!

In the ancient and olden times (By this I mean the 1200- early 1900), when people believed Witches existed, they targeted normal women and some men, who helped injured people heal with herbs, and potions, amongst other things. If they looked ‘evil’ or wore certain clothes, they were witches, and must be killed! Witches – beware!

The Horrible Histories books informed me of the gruesome way they were killed, and I just shudder thinking about it!

But, I am not writing about historical witches, but fantastical witches whom I think are just brilliant. When I think of books I have read based on stories of witches, such as Roald Dahl’s the Witches, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and C.S.Lewis’  The Chronicles of Narnia books, it made me even more determined to write one of my own.

Where there are witches, there is magic and magical elements, that doesn’t exist in the human world however hard we try to create them. That’s why I love reading books that bring the imagination to life, where we see them as a film reel, running through our minds, and expanding our creative thoughts along the way!

So, I sat and penned the book Witch Crystal, something a little different but that would have you hooked. So what ‘s so great about this book? There are thousands of YA Fantasy books to read, why is this one so special? Well, without trying to blow my own horn, I will tell you some things about the book and the characters, and let you make the decision  - is it something you want to read or not? Does it sound like it may be something different?

So, Witch Crystal is about a witch – that bit is quite obvious. Where is it based? What elements can you look forward to reading, I hear you ask. So here are some of the tantalising facts!

1. Witch Crystal is set on two planets – our very own Earth, the location being Robin Hood Bay in North Yorkshire, and Norway. The second planet is fictional, called Zrotaz, where fictional or mythical magical creatures reside.

2. There is an abundance of magical/mythical creatures in the book, some talk and some don’t. One of my favourite is the Unisus – a cross breed of a Unicorn and a Pegasus – a magnificent creature, if I do say so myself. There is also, Luille, my lovely comedian owl.
There are also villainous creatures too, such as the vile werewolves, and the evil Merpeople. Look out for them!

3. Teen romance – there is a sweet little romance that is not so evident as yet but it is there in the background. I would like to say it is a subtle romance that will grow in the next two books.

4. Spells, enchantments, and magical visual scenes – there is plenty of this throughout the book, that will leave you mesmerised, and that will bring the story to life.
The magical waterfall that won’t freeze in freezing weather
The trees that grow tea that help sleep
The luminous river
Enchantments that keep away unwanted company, spells that will throw you, lift you, and take you away to another place, and magically treated buildings that is a source of power for all witches and creatures.

Nothing is normal in Larissa’s witch world!

5. The Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. This factor is very important to the book, and without giving too much away, let’s say without it, travel between Earth and Zrotaz would not be possible!

6. Some key characters to look out for:
The Witch Crystal
Larissa
Jake/Xyth
Zleus
The Earth Spirits
The High Witch
Abyliss
The Sacred Witch
The Unisus and the Witches Council

Witch Crystal, a story spells, charms, magic, and scenic locations!
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Malika Gandhi’s Links!

The Monsoon Writer: http://malikagandhi.wordpress.com/

Reviews: http://unicornsreviews.wordpress.com/

Unicorn Illustrations & Art work: https://www.facebook.com/UnicornIllustrationsAndArtWork

The Monsoon Writer: https://www.facebook.com/TheMonsoonWriter?ref=hl

My timeline: https://www.facebook.com/malika.gandhi

Twitter handle:
https://twitter.com/MalikaGandhi

LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/malika-gandhi/47/229/447






Where to purchase Witch Crystal!

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GX49RPQ/

USA: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GX49RPQ

Monday, June 23, 2014

Readers Who Are Friends

Recently, I went to one of my friend's going away parties. My husband was with me and everyone acted really crazy. Several people got drunk and danced around.

But me, being me, socially awkward and quiet, I danced a tiny bit to try to fit in (but felt like an elephant dancing with a bunch of beautiful butterflies), so I spent most of my time talking to people in the corner.

I met this one woman and she seemed really nice. She was a reader and she thought it was so cool that I was an author. I told her my pen name and that I wrote fantasy novels for women.

She said she'd read my books and that she would give me an honest review in person. Which absolutely terrified me. I know I can handle reviews online, but in person? I've never had someone do that before.

But I was okay with it. I'm an author. I can be professional. It's easy to separate friendship and my books. I do it all the time already.

But as I talked, she seemed so nice. And she kept telling me that I seemed like a nice young lady. Whenever people say that to me, it's when they think I'm a very innocent person. It's not that I'm evil and in my spare time hit babies or something. But my books are far from innocent. It's like I act all goody two shoes in person and then unleash all of my dark side into my stories.

I've offended family members by telling them about subjects I want to write about. Because I like to write about things that are difficult to think about or taboo. I want my stories to invoke emotion and to be unafraid to explore any area of life.

But mixing that in with people I know in real life is scary.

I don't mean to come across this way, but I come across as really innocent and naive in person. I don't know if it's because I'm a nerd and quiet or what, but a lot of people think that I'm really stupid. They explain sex jokes to me and don't believe me when I tell them that they don't have to explain the joke. They laugh extra hard if I say a curse word or make a sex joke because they are so shocked that I would say those things. But people also tend to find it easy to trust me. Like there were some little girls in my apartment building, who clung to me because they saw a scary man and I looked safe.

So I probably seemed naive and sweet when I met this woman. So if she opens up Medusa's Desire, for instance, and sees that the whole first chapter is mostly about brothels and rape in Ancient Greece, I don't know what she is going to do.

We exchanged phone numbers and I haven't heard from her since. Of course, I haven't texted her either (a lot due to social anxiety.) But I can't help but worry that me being an author possibly got in the way of the friendship. Did she not read my book and is afraid to tell me? (I wouldn't care.) Did she read it and hate it? (That would also be okay with me.) Was she creeped out that I wrote something like that? (My books aren't who I am, they are just something that I create.) Or is it none of the above and she just forgot to call me?

Not to mention that I am terrified she will read this post and think I am some kind of psycho for posting about her. It's kind of hard to talk about writing and how it effects my life without mentioning the people in my life though.

This is why a lot of times, I prefer to keep my author life and my social life separate. But it's pretty impossible to do so when the question on everyone's lips when you first meet them, appears to be,"What do you do?"

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Insanity

All authors must be insane.


All of us write books, query or self-publish, market ourselves, and start the process all over again. We do it repeatedly, hoping this time it will be different and we will sell more books. Like banging our heads against a brick wall.

I don't sell a lot of books right now. I self-publish, but I take it very seriously and hope someday that as I publish more, I will sell more. So basically . . . .


This is how I feel right now.

I don't work right now. My husband supports me and I was saying to him,"Maybe I should try to go into a different career."

A rational husband would probably agree. But an AMAZING husband would do what mine just did.

He told me,"No. You just need to keep working hard and finding new ways to market your books." He rattled off a list of ideas he had on how I can sell more books and he ended it with talking about going to book conventions. (Which we later couldn't find any of, but that doesn't matter!) And his opinions were actually good ideas, unlike most non-writers who try to give me advice.

He said,"I believe in your books so much that if it means we can't go to Comicon this year (even though we already have the tickets) because we're going to a book convention, I will miss it in order to help promote your books."

You need to understand that my husband is obsessed with Comic books. His one hobby is Comic books. He spends all his spare time reading them and studying them. We see all the super hero movies together. He even plays HeroClix, which is a game where you have little Comic Book figures that you place on a map and fight other people with other figures. And he said that he'd miss all of that in order to promote my books.

He's definitely a keeper. Good thing I married him!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

How To Write Hotter Sex Scenes

Here's a list of what you can add to your stories to make your sex scenes hotter:

1. Taboo

The characters really shouldn't...and that's what makes it so sexy.

Maybe their boss is in the next room and might overhear or they're trying to join the mile high club.

If it's against the rules, it's hot. Making the reader feel that maybe they shouldn't be reading this story either because it's so taboo, but they read it anyway, will add to the excitement.

2. Inconvenience

It's easy to write a scene where the two characters fall in love and then have sex. But the problem is, it's sweet, but not very hot. People want desire to be the driving force between the two characters.

To amp up the desire in the scene, you need to make the sex inconvenient. Because it's easy for two characters to have sex when the mood and setting are right, but it shows just how much two characters desire each other if the setting and mood are totally wrong, but they are still all over each other.

Like when two characters fight and that leads them to make love in the middle of the kitchen when they know at any minute one of their room mates might come home. It's hot because it shows that the two characters desire each other so much that they don't care if the counter tops are hard or if they are furious with each other or if someone might walk in. All they care about is having sex.

3. Kink

You don't have to go to an extreme to add some kink to your story. Maybe the characters don't use handcuffs, but the guy pins her to the bed with her hands over her head so that she can't move. Or he pulls out a vibrator because he wants to experiment on her.

Adding a little kink can go a long way to show just how much the characters desire one another.

4.  Emotions

Emotional turmoil will immediately make a sex scene hotter. She's not sure about a guy, in fact, she has every reason to hate him, but the way he pulls off his shirt and flexes his biceps as he does so is irresistable to her.

When a character feels tortured by her emotions, but still has sex anyway, it shows that lust is ruling her decisions. It makes the scene a little naughty because she's going against her mind to follow her desires because she feels so passionate that she just can't wait.

5. Torture

There is torture in BDSM, but that isn't necessarily the kind of torture I am talking about. (Although it can work, too.) I mean that two characters really want each other, but circumstances make it impossible for them to be with each other yet. Maybe they are in the middle of a crowd of people or they're driving somewhere or have immediate responsibilites that they need to attend to. They keep looking at each other with desire, maybe whispering about how they feel, but they have to wait and they can barely stand it.

After all that torture, when the characters finally get to have one another, the pay off is great.

----

On the other hand, you should avoid these crutches when trying to make sex scenes hotter....

1. Something New

A lot of people know what they like sexually and are just looking for a sexy story that satisfies those desires. They don't need something new to happen. They just need new characters and a new setting. The story will feel brand new, even if it isn't.

If you get too crazy about trying to add something new then that's when you have scenes that might scare your readers.

Like, imagine if a woman took a nutcracker and decided to use it on a man the way the name implies it should be used. I've never read a sex scene like that. It would be a very unique idea, but I would feel disturbed reading it.

2. New Positions

Some authors worry that if they always write sex scenes where the girl is on top or the two people are doing missionary that it will bore the readers after awhile. That's not true. It's the circumstances that surround the sex that makes the sex steamy.

Just do whatever fits the scene and makes the most sense. If the two characters are feeling adventurous, have them try out a new position. If they are having sex for the first time, though, they might stick to missionary. If they are having sex in a public restroom, missionary would be disgusting and likely lead to stickiness all over their bodies from rubbing up against the floor. In that situation only sex while standing up would make sense. If the main character is a strong woman, then maybe she likes to be on top, so she can take control.

Character personalities and setting will likely dictate which position is appropriate.

Friday, June 6, 2014

New Covers

It didn't seem like my old covers for the "God Of Light" series were well liked, so I decided to find some new covers to use instead.

These two books are the books I am working on right now and will be the ones I publish next.

What do you think?*





*Bright's Passion and Night's Lust aren't typos, by the way. Bright and Night are gods.

HERE IS WHERE I PURCHASED THESE COVERS:

http://telltalebookcovers.weebly.com/pre-made-covers.html

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cover Reveal for "Secrets In The Air" By Liz Borino

Title: Secrets in the Air

Author: Liz Borino

Cover Artist: Anthony Walsh

Blurb:

Wealthy family…
Childhood tragedy…
A love defying all odds…

Secrets in the Air

Flying is in Rhett O’Neil’s blood. And nothing makes this pilot fly higher than wrapping himself in his husband Kaden’s arms. He’s thrilled when his grandfather entrusts him with O’Neil Airways, the family’s charter airplane business. With a mix of humanitarian and corporate clients, Rhett plans a bright future where his success improves the world.

Elise, Rhett’s mother, begins offering advice to “help” her son through the transition into increased responsibility. As evidence surfaces that her words are escalating into devastating actions, the truth comes out about the death of Rhett's sister Annabelle. Kaden has to race to protect his husband and himself from the consequences of the Secrets in the Air before it’s too late.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Interview With Yelle Hughes


I'd like to welcome Yelle Hughes to my blog. Yelle is an excellent writer (I've read her books and the two of us have worked as critique partners) and likes to write about Greek Mythology like I do.

1. Tell us about your books. What makes them special?

My books are a mixture of genres. Fantasy, urban, romance, erotica, multicultural, humor and a little bit of Sci-Fi.
 
2. What inspired you to write about greek mythology?
 
I grew up on reading and watching the stories of Greek Mythology. I was pretty much a loner and a dreamer. Those stories always fascinated me.
 
3. Who is your favorite character in your stories?
 
They are all my favorite but if I had to pick one, I would choose Ariadne, she’s pretty much me, at a younger age.
 
4. How long did it take you to finish writing each book?
 
My first, took 20 years (not kidding) the second Eros, took me about a year to get it all done. My short Scifi took me actually a month to complete
 
5. What are you working on now?
 
Right now, Eros is getting the editing touch up and I just started the third in the series, Zephyrus.
 
6. What made you decide to self-publish?
 
It was a long and hard debate with myself, publishing companies I submitted to, when I first started to become an author full-time. Luckily, I joined the profession when self-publishing was made easier for people like me.
 
7. What have you learned about self-publishing so far?
 
That it’s hard work and everything is pretty much left up to you, but I have a great support group that has guided me the way.
 
8. Who is your favorite author?
 
There are so many out there, but the first name that comes to mind is, Sherrilyn Kenyon. She used Greek mythology as her base and her Dark Hunters series is the best out there.
 
9. What is your favorite novel?
 
My favorite novel is the Illiad. The lies, alliances, the stupidity and wisdom are all captured by Homer.
 
10. If you could live in the world you created, would you? Why or why not?
 
Who wouldn’t live in a world where you could do anything you want, be anything you want, live anywhere you want, but you were upheld to be a good, decent and moral person.
 
11. Who is your favorite Greek God?
 
I’d say Eros. It was his story, “Cupid and Psyche” that started me on my quest to learn everything about Greek Mythology. He was always portrayed as the chubby little cherub, but in his story, he was a man and a husband. In my story, I push him further away from that description. He actually quits his job as the god of Love.
 
12. How many books will be in this series? What will those books be about?
 
Right now, four books are set for the Aegean Chronicles series. If things go great and the readers would like more, I have an outline for the fifth book.
 
13. Who designed your covers?
 
A long time ago when I was dreaming of my characters, symbols of what they present came to mind. I have asked some graphic designers to help, only it seemed I wasn’t explaining the concept right because no one got it. So, I did some research, studied tutorials and created them myself.



 
What happens when your ancestor, who happens to be a pedophile, a rapist and a cold-blooded killer, tries to kill you? Even stuffs his daughter into a box and throws them into the sea?
 
Luckily for Ariadne Phillips, Triton, god of the sea, travels across the ocean to protect her. Reluctantly you might add.
 
Sent by his father to watch a silly mortal, Taz plans to ship her off to No Man’s Land, so he can go back home to max and relax.
 
When green eyes meet hazel, it’s a done deal. Taz wants to keep the only mortal who can make him laugh and cry at the same time, while Ari gets a dream trip to Greece, to be a model and finally use her self-defense training to kick some butt.
 
Happily ever after can’t be reached without Taz discovering his mortal flaw. Gods can and do die. Ari can’t join the immortal ranks without fighting the crockety Fates for her soul.
 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Self-Publishing On A Budget - Secret Ways To Save On Your Cover

Most of us do not make millions of dollars self-publishing. We're usually starving artists, rubbing pennies together to keep warm while we desperately pray that we'll have the money to fund our next book before we're finished with it.

I've created and purchased a few covers. I've had some trials and errors with my experiences. I've lost money because of it, but I don't want others to make the same mistakes. Here are some things I've learned:

1. Don't Make The Covers Yourself

Unless you know where to get fonts and pictures for free (or you are a professional graphic designer), don't try to make the covers yourself. I made my first two covers myself and I had no idea what I was doing. I bought expensive fonts and pictures that wound up costing more than if I had hired someone else to do it. The quality of the cover at the end of the project was inferior and therefore sold me very few books (so I lost money by earning less money.) Also, my time is precious and I would have been better off writing rather than working on my cover.

2. Premade Covers Are Cheap

Most cover artists like making covers in their spare time. It's nice to be able to ask for exactly what you want, but cheaper to purchase one made ahead of time. It may take a long time to find a cover that fits your book, but if you keep looking, you'll find something eventually.

Most premade covers cost about $20-$60. While most custom covers cost anywhere from $100-$200.

3. Purchase Several At Once

This is a huge secret that's really important to know. Most cover artists want to encourage you to buy several covers at once. They want to get rid of their covers, so that they can make new ones. It usually won't be on their web-site, but most of them have deals where if you buy more than one cover from them at the same time, you will get a certain amount of money off the total price.

4. Know What You Want

If you decide to get a custom cover, make sure that you know exactly what you want ahead of time and be detailed when explaining what you want. The less times that they have to edit the cover to meet your needs, the less they will charge you.

It's even better if you have a font or a picture that you can give them ahead of time.

5. Simple Is Best

The simpler the cover, the cheaper it usually costs. It takes less time to create and less images/fonts, all of which ramp up the price.

6. Search For Covers Before You Need Them

If you wait until you are done with your book before you buy the cover, you'll be in a rush to find one. You'll wind up paying more and getting an inferior quality product because you're impatient to get published.

It's better to search occasionally online for covers and purchase them as you find them.

7. Don't Be Impulsive

Unless you find a cover that's perfect or an artist that you like so much that you have zero desire to work with anyone else, don't be impulsive. Wait a few days when you find a cover that you like and see if you still like it. It will help prevent you from having to purchase a new cover later because you found one that you liked better.

8. Original Artwork Doesn't Matter

Most people want a cover that doesn't look like anyone else's. I have found authors who have the same art on their covers as I do on mine and it's no big deal. Until you are making a lot of money or are into photography already, it will cost you a lot to organized a photo shoot. There's the set, the camera man, and the model to pay. Original pictures drawn by artists usually look amateurish and are expensive. It's better to go with clipart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reality vs Fiction

Recently, I started reading "The Fault In Our Stars". I love it. It sounds like a depressing book because it's about teenagers who are dying of cancer. It is depressing, but not so sad that it's difficult to read because the author knew how to pull off the subject well.

The characters seem so deep and real to me that I immediately thought,"The author must have known someone who had cancer as a teenager or gone through cancer himself." I found out later that indeed, he had worked with young cancer patients. So in order to tell us a fictional story, he had to add a bit of truth in there from his own life experiences. That made his story seem more real to me.

It just made me think of the contradictions that exist in writing.

Like, that we work so hard to make our writing so easy to read. In fact, authors are so notoriously good at making writing seem easy, it's why most people don't realize how hard it is to write a book until they give it a try for the first time. I can't count how many times I've heard people say that they could write a better book than an author they hate. I would never say that! I know how difficult it is to write even a "terrible" book!

Another one is how we often make up these stories, which are basically lies (because they aren't real, but we are trying to make them seem real), in order to share with you truths about how we view the world. There are many famous religious figures who have taught people through stories. Because when you tell them your opinion directly, it can be more offensive than illustrating it with a hypothetical story. Hypothetical stories cause readers to think and draw their own conclusions even if you guided them there. And it gives a situation in which the truth you are trying to express is being applied to real life.