Monday, August 29, 2011
Now I know I promised Tina Sue I wouldn't get into the heavier stuff as an erotic fiction author, you folks may not be ready for it! *wicked grins* But she said A: fill the blog so we don't lose traffic, our SEO stays tight and yes you can promote your books.
After my last two informative posts, and the rather depressing intro I posted I thought I'd share an excerpt and premise behind my latest BDSM romance, "Forced Pleasure" out from Sizzler Editions.
When I started that book, I wanted to capitalize on the success of my other best selling BDSM stsory, "Gift of Her Submission." That particular collection of three stories revolving around the same dominant has been still, the number one seller for me even though it came out in 2009. I'm thrilled, believe me. But I had a hidden agenda when I started writing. The agenda was to two-fold. First, knock out the competition in BDSM, I don't like a particular style, quality or interpretation of What It Is That We Do, and it floors me that so many people purchase but I can't really do much about it. Other than outsell the author's work with something that has heart and is a more honest representation of the majority of people in the lifestyle. The other intention was to give back to my loved ones. See, my stories tend to feature people based on loved ones in real life. Two of my submissives at the time, plus a very dear friend from high school all needed happy endings and this was the quickest, easiest way to do it.
Sure I used some typical instruments associated with the Lifestyle. Ronan is a master with floggers, whips and the like But his speciality, another often not recognized aspect of BDSM, is his mental control. His perceptions of those who gift him their bodies, hearts and souls are rewarded with love, honesty, trust and safety.
Well fast forward two years later and I'm still trying to crack the formula of why Gift did so well. You know us authors, we want repeats! So Forced Pleasure was born. The concept was simple. Francine, the sexy little vixen, works for a man who pushes himself day in and day out, just as she does for their jobs. Neither enjoy much in the way of past time pleasures and Francine's boyfriend Nick travels a lot. Given a fairly long leash (something more typical in menage romances as of late) she has the idea of seducing her boss, but he won't play by her rules.
The story is loosely based on a lover of mine (lover in the broadest sense of the word!) who I adore dearly. She, like me works herself to the bone and beyond. Both of us should be dead by now. Seriously! So I wrote her a story with a rather happy ending, and decided to leave the heavy bondage to the heavy players. Instead of leather and metal, or whips and paddles, I went for more accessible restraints. The skirt (and more) wrapped around naked thighs, soft yet dominating words whispered as though they were secrets, and of course, hot sex. I wanted to reach a broader audience in that.
As authors, we must realize that our romance stories are great stories but the broader the appeal, the more likely it will be for us to have a sale. And pick up a lifelong reader. That is, the goal after all, right?
This gives us more options, including cross marketing which is something my publicist and The Author Success Coach talk of frequently. Hopefully you'll leave with the impact I hope for - picking up the two titles mentioned and learning that love is the ultimate in BDSM as it tugs our hearts, messes with our minds, bodies and makes us commit our souls to the very person we end up with.
And it's a blessed thing.
Buy Gift of Her Submission from Amazon
Buy Forced Pleasure from Sizzler Editions
Saturday, August 27, 2011
“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” ~Don Delillo
Yesterday, we sent out the new and improved e-newsletter and this morning, we were met with overwhelming positive responses and that sure makes us feel loved. The plan is to send out one e-newsletter per month, with updates on the APA Blog, snippets of posts, literary news and more. If you'd like to subscribe to our list, sign-up here.
Are you enjoying the posts from our new contributors? Thanks to them, APA keeps going strong. Click their images on the left-sidebar to learn more about the cast of talented, creative, writers we've let in.
We thought it was time for a good-old-fashioned Bragi!
With a twist.
In 50 words, promote your book. However you want to use those words, is up to you.
This could be your typical promo blurb, or your character convincing us to buy your book--heck, it can be in German or French, we encourage all kinds of off the wall creativity. Leave all entries on the comment-section of this posts and all comments will be rounded up a winner will be randomly drawn.
The "winner" of this Bragi Contest, will have their bookcover (or logo, badge) in our September edition of our e-news.This contest will be open until
So go on, Brag about it and try not to spill any mead...
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Good Morning and todays Food for Thought day, is going to be something different. First of all let’s talk about Authors promoting Authors. Founded by the industrious Tina Sue, who is also a publicist and offers PR for authors to help promote their books, it is also a place for authors to meet, get help, help others and connect with readers and the public.
So who looks at APA? Magazines, Publishers, Literary Agents, Theatres, Directors, readers and of course, the authors. From one blog last year I secured a writing position with a magazine, a radio slot and a publishing deal. That happened all in one day. It was purely from being on a well-advertised blog. So today I am inviting authors of all genres, to showcase their versatility with writing.
I will start with the first paragraph of a short story and every author who stops by must contribute to it. Please, no one liners. Make it about a minimum of 100 words. Throughout the day I will place the contributions on the blog so everyone can see the story’s progression. Then tomorrow I’ll place the whole thing on my blog to give your writing double exposure. Please, add your touch, add your flair, showcase your writing and make this story come alive.
Margaret West. (http://www.margaretwest.net/)
Carrie Sanders sat in the car, which rattled like an old tin can, as the rain pounded on the roof and sighed. What on earth was she doing at midnight, sitting in Rattlers Cove, freezing her backside off? Mist hung like a silken shroud across the shore line obscuring most of her view of the water. With camera poised in her hand, she squinted out of a window which had begun to steam up, annoying her further.
This would be a good scoop for the paper if she got a picture of the, so called, Selkie, who was said to visit the cove every year, for one week. So the locals had whispered to her. Too scared to say it out loud in case the mere mention of it reaped terrible luck on their fishing boats. Carrie didn’t believe a jot of it, but her editor had become intrigued and she had been sent out to investigate.
A flash of lightening lit up the sky, casting a hazy light over the water and it was then she saw it. A dark shadowy outline of someone on the beach. Carrie rubbed at her window to clear the fog, and squinted out. She held her wide angled camera up and looked through. Her eyes widened in shock and she blinked several times, hardly believing what she was looking at. There was a silkie and it was a man, who turned and looked straight at her, his red eyes flashing in anger.
Carrie's first inclination was to turn tail and run, to quail in the face of such obvious anger. But then she stiffened her spine, reminding herself why she was there, and the moment passed. Bugger all, the scoop of a lifetime stood within reach and damned if she was going to let it get away.The next flash of lightning to split the sky revealed an empty beach. Carrie swore under her breath, scrambling from the car. She'd never forgive herself if she let this one get away. She'd also never live it down. It would become part and parcel of the local legend that was Carrie Sanders. Local joke more like.Carrie Sanders was known for letting all the good ones get away. She couldn't hold a man to save her life. They all figured her out for what she was and ran for the hills.Putting such dismal thoughts behind her, she was thinking seriously of giving up when a blessed intervention in the form of a jagged flash revealed that the selkie, if indeed that was what it was, had simply changed position. He stood just outside her car, peering into the window. She worked hard not to leap back in fright.
Her heart pounding, she clutched her camera. The movement started him and he jolted back."No! Don't go!" she shouted and opened the car door and stepped outside. This was a photo opp she was not going to miss. Not this time."Carrie!" he said. "I thought that was you."She recognized the voice. It was Jack. Of all people! Stepping forward for a closer look, his face came into full view. Their eyes met and held for a long moment. They both saw it, then. Something moving beyond the rocks. Watching them.
Get back in the car." Jack's voice was rough in her ear, and Carrie's first instinct was to balk at being ordered to do something. But as his fingers tightened around her arm, tension ran through them both like the lightning that played in the sky above them. "Did you see it...him...too?"Jack didn't answer. He took a step toward the car, dragging her with him."You did, didn't you?" So it hadn't been her imagination. The red eyes, the anger...Yes, getting in the car and leaving would be the best thing for both of them right now. But this was the chance of a lifetime. How could she walk away?In a wrenching movement, she tore away from Jack's grip and ran, not toward the car, but away...toward the rocks, and the man who waited there. She was going to get her picture, one way or the other.
Through the pouring rain, Carrie ran hard and fast towards the rocks beyond. Lightning flashed over and over as she came closer to what, she knew not. Carrie only knew that she was not to be denied.Another flash of lightning, far closer that Carrie was comfortable with and the loud crash of thunder came barreling over the landscape, causing Carrie to shriek with fright and nearly drop her camera.Suddenly, she felt something soft and gentle on her shoulder and the rain-soaked young woman turned to tell Jack that she was just fine. The flash of lightning and crash of thunder revealed a sight far more frightening than Carrie thought possible and realized that the hand on her shoulder was not Jacks.
Ran towards the rocks she could feel her heart pumping. She could hear the voice of Jack in the distance calling to her as she ran. The thunder booming violently and lightning playfully dancing across the sky. The brief flashes of light to darkness made her even more determined in her pursuit. She never liked the rain but this story was to important to her. She continue to run towards the rocks panting but exhillerated. Suddenly she felt a blunt push knocking her to the ground. The rain soaked ground cold and unforgiving. Her drenched her covered her eyes but one thing she was certain of she had snapped a picture before the fall.She remembered pointing the camera towards the area she had seen the silkie and the only light the flash of her camera as she fell to the sand.She clammored to her feet and before her stood Jack. Jack did you see who pushed me she asked. Jack..The figure known as Jack stood there not saying a word. Jack she continued....
She and Jack had a shared history, not one she was particularly proud of but they had been very close over the years. There was a time when all of the locals thought they would be together, marriage, baby's,the whole shebang but that was before Carrie had been betrayed. Jack had wanted her but being aware that he was the most eligible bachelor in town,how old fashioned did that make her sound, he could not resist flirting with every woman he came across. Not in a sleazy way but with an air of confidence that danced in his eyes.Little by little Carries self esteem had dwindled as she tried desperately to compete with the prettier girls in their small seaside town.Her older brothers had made it quite clear that in their opinion their little sister was batting out of her league and should give up any ideas of hanging onto Jack and when She had turned up at his house unexpectedly that spring evening seven years ago they had been proved right.Jack was not to be trusted with her heart and now here he was again, as he was at every momentous moment of her life, trying to spoil things. She would find the Selkie and claim him as her own,that would show him.Carrie ran blundering into the dark her knees buckling as she clambered over the dunes the soft sand shifted under her feet. Despite the spiteful wind she could hear Jacks heavy breath behind her as he gave chase. Panic thumped in her chest as she pounded along the stormy beach.she had run from jack before and she would outrun him now, if he thought he was in a position to stop her he was sadly mistaken.She must find the Selkie man, he would be her champion, he would save her.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The goal of any author truly, outside of that little artistic nutjuob thought is to make money. The only way to make true money in this industry is to have a book that a LOT of people like, and that has wide appeal. The trouble begins when we're looking to NOT interfere with creativity. Writing for money means being able to on the fly, learn to plot and come up with stories that not only make sense but achieve the goals we set out to accomplish as writers . If we're in Fiction, we want to make our readers feel something, think about something, maybe even do something. Especially if we're romance writers, we want a reaction. A hot one ;)
Though, that idea you just had for a story? It has probably been done.
Now you groan. Then you think of another story idea that has a twist on what you came up with. Guess what, it's probably been done too.
You see where this is going.
If creativity stumbles, I would refer you back to these two posts on WriteSEX
But once you develop that personality you're still going to come up with plots that may seem new and original. And for all your readers know, they might be. I have very few references when it comes to storylines because I don't watch a ton of TV. If it weren't for Burn Notice or Case Closed, I wouldn't have a few of the stories I've written. Lucky for me there aren't a HUGE amount of anime fans (yet) that read my work otherwise they would totally pick up on the storyline I ripped and modified from an episode of Case Closed. (That story btw is Sacrifice, from Heavenly Bodies)
I pulled that storyline and took it apart to meet the needs of my genre. I needed romance to happen. In Case Closed, the romance is just between Jimmy Kudo and his girlfriend, until "Conan" appears and Jimmy disappears. Conan is Jimmy in the body of a ten year old boy, due to some drugs a crime syndicate gave him. They go about solving cases through the use of tech, science and Rachel's incompetent father.
What I pulled from that Anime was the detective part, because detective stories sell today still. And I pulled the love interest, but I upped it since my target audience is female readers. Oh and I pulled the actual case from the show too but combined my version with Greek Gods, a 1950's noir-ish theme and a traditional HEA. Viola, the story now has large appeal, gives me some marketability I'd never have thought of and I can take it to not just regular reader conventions but to science fiction cons, mystery cons, and anything that has to do with Greek Mythology.
The story may or may not go over so well at any of those places but you never know.
Readers want intriguing, authors want to write captivating stories. The two shall meet easily once authors figure out the secret formula for crafting well written stories that sell. What makes the difference between your story and mine with the same basic plotline will be the words used. Maybe I'm edgy with a hint of flowers and perhaps you're a writer that uses words that seem light and airy but make for a different but equally good read.
You never know.
Heavenly Bodies available at Amazon
Lifting Spirits, a gay romance available at Amazon
Monday, August 22, 2011
Last week we discussed the first few things aspiring writers needed to know about this business. Let’s recap:
- Decide if this is a career or a hobby.
- Decide your genre
- Decide the medium you want to be published in. Traditional Publishers are falling flat, e-pubs aren’t. Ultimately, you will probably end up in both if you sell well.
The next step I’d take as a new writer would be to learn my craft. Through our first step, we tell stories. Next up, we need to find critique groups. Again, this being geared towards romance writers, I’d suggest Charlotte Dillon’s Resource Page for starters. It’s a good primer for research, getting down formulas for query/synopsis letters and again, that all important aspect: the actual writing.
I’d also suggest you visit the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. They have very active mailing lists. You’ll learn craft, network, and find out about upcoming calls for submissions. Obviously this blog will help you here a great deal too ;)
At this point we have our target market, we’ve received some feedback, we’re ready we think to submit to publishers. If we went the e-route, an agent like Saritza Hernandez may be a good idea but isn’t required. More on why I chose her later. Most of the old standby e-publishers do not require agents to query the way many traditional print publishers do but turnaround time is lengthy in some cases. After you submit your manuscript to an e-publisher they’ll evaluate it in the SAME MANNER as a traditional publisher will. Upon acceptance, a contract is issued, signed by both parties and then the process of taking your story from your fingers to your readers for a profit begins.
Of course you are. You’re improving; you’re learning your craft. Each book gives us a new skill, lesson or piece of the puzzle that helps us become better writers. At the same time you’re crafting your environment and figuring out just how you write best. You’re doing more research on your characters, growing your story lines; do you see a pattern here? And then you’re submitting your finished stories to other publishers.
If you went the traditional route, the only step not included would be the solicitation of an agent who would represent your story or perhaps your entire line of work. Some agents will only pick up the one book from you and gauge future representation based on your track record and how well you work together.
In the end, this is a team effort. Your agent, publicist, publisher(s) all have one goal. See you succeed.
The two books in question:
Fang Bangers: An Erotic anthology of Fangs, Claws, Sex and Love at Amazon
Caressing Caitlyn - A sweet, erotic short story at Amazon
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Trying to make their unconventional arrangement work, Ryan's deep-seated fear of relationship failure continues to thwart everyone's happiness. When he finally walks away instead of confronting the emotional connection the trio share, he returns to find their lives flipped inside out. A sought after hotel and resort consultant, Ryan has yet to meet a problem he couldn't solve. But when it comes to his own heart, Ryan may be too late.
Gillian Winter, catering and banquet manager for the MGM Grand Hotel is nurturing her own deep wounds. Her beloved husband has died unexpectedly, leaving her with a young son whose one dream is to meet his hero: Number 17 on the American National Soccer team, Ramon Castillo. When a chance encounter in the lobby of the MGM reveals Ramon's presence in their midst, everyone's lives are changed forever. Is real healing possible for Ramon and Gillian after just one night stand?
Friday, August 19, 2011
The Side Door
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sit up, pay attention, because today I am asking the question why??
Why - banks leave both doors open and then chain their pens to the counter?
Why - 'abbreviated' is such a long word?
Why - the time of day with the slowest traffic is called the 'rush hour'?
Why – don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
Why - isn't there any mouse-flavoured cat food?
Why – do people leave their valuable cars on their driveways and fill up their garages with useless junk?
I found this quote in my travels that I thought was quite beautiful. So I’m sharing.
‘I write because moths drink the tears of sleeping birds.’
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This interview was a lot of fun. I always enjoy meeting authors and learning about their work, I especially enjoy putting together these interviews, when the author is so passionate and enthusiastic about their book.
Christi's enthusiasm jumped off the screen and we wish her much success with her new first book.
Christi's quirky fact: "That would be that I am a very random person. My husband loves to say that I have lots of "shiny" moments. We can be talking and if something catches my attention, I am instantly diverted to it. (That would be my add kicking in). I have to make a list every day of things I need to do, otherwise, none of it will actually get done."
Rayna is a writer that tends to stay away from people... just to keep her own sanity intact. She is a strong-willed woman who is happy with who she is but is surprised when she meets Detective Stone at the station. She's never had anyone be in her own head before and she isn't sure she likes it. Or him, for that matter.
Has Rayna ever had serial killers after her before? What did she do/what is it about her that has made her a target?
This was a first for her, no doubt. It was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and even though she knew the city was being terrorized by the killing duo, she was still out... by herself. One on the killers has become obsessed with her to the point of throwing away everything he & his brother have done, just so that he can have her. With Detective Stone protecting her, she has to watch out for the serial killers who are tracking her and try to keep her thoughts (and hands) away from Stone.
Do Detective Chase Stone and Rayna already have an existing relationship when the book opens ?
No, they meet at the police station when he questions Rayna about escaping the killers. No one has ever been able to live, much less escape the two brothers who have joined forces and he realizes pretty quickly that she has "special talents". He can't help but be interested in a woman who, not only can see his thoughts (and what he would like to do to her) but send her own sensual thoughts to him as well. He makes the mistake of thinking she can't take care of herself though and gets a painful reminder that she is not a "shrinking violet".
Can you tell us a little bit about Rayna's special talents?
Rayna is a girl of "all trades". She is able to read minds within a short distance, move things by telekinesis and even produce light from her hands. It saps her energy though if she uses too much so she does try to keep a tight rein on it. Sometimes.... She might have anger management issues that should seriously be dealt with. Then again, most people don't deal with what she has too either.
If Detective Chase Stone, invited us all over for dinner, how would he entertain us?
Oh, he is a definite meat & potatoes kind of man. He loves his steak rare but will eat the salad.. with enough dressing on it to cover the green stuff. Just watch out for the dessert~ and never ask him if he wants to dine in or eat out.
What makes A Fire Within stand out from other books in the paranormal/romance genre?
A Fire Within is a novella that not only uses the brains' mysterious abilities, it has a heroine that can stand on her own, if she has to. She depends on Detective Stone but he depends on her just as much. I am a big believer in equality for my couples and Rayna proves she is tough and can hold her own when she needs to ( but loves that he is there to catch her)!
Monday, August 15, 2011
All authors get asked this question from time to time and it's one most of us have to scratch our heads to answer. The reason being is that for many of us, that first publication step was so long ago. And so very important that we shoved it all in the back of our minds after the storm known as the whirlwind of being newly published.
We tell our friends and family (if we’re not blushing!) and everyone who would ask. Then we do what our mentors tell us, which is get your ass back in the chair and crank out another story.
Of course we don’t crank out stories; we craft them meticulously and polish them until they sparkle so some editor can shoot them back to us with revisions, comments, changes. But that isn’t the point. I’ll lay out the path to publication here because I’m getting an increasing number of followers in social media asking me for advice, tips, tricks, miracles and even the occasional bit of editing help. I can give the editing help but barely. I edit the new erotic romance line for one of my e-book publishers in addition to my own writing. This post is dedicated to one of the better paths to publishing and career writing.
The first question I ask any new writer is where do you see your writing in five years? Meaning, are you in this for the career and to make money? If not, all else means little to me and ultimately to you as well.
Once you know you’ll be making a career out of this, I suggest you continue writing. You know what you like, who you want to be like, and who your target market may be. The best way to figure out who your readers are, however, is to post short complete stories (or scenes) to sites like Literotica.com. By the way, this guide is geared towards erotic romance authors but it applies to authors of all genres in general. Find out who your audience is, as those readers will turn into buyers once you sell. You need to build your audience.
Target your publishing options. Are you avoiding E-books because you’re too stuck up and don’t realize they’re the wave of the future? I too like holding a print book, especially when it’s mine! But there is no reason to avoid what you can’t fight. E-books are here to stay and with many e-publishers delving into Print On Demand (known as POD) while traditional publishers such as Harlequin and Simon and Schuster are creating e-book lines, it would be egotistical to think you must go into print. That means researching the houses you’re targeting and emailing other authors, who are where you want to be. This is key. Get all the information you can about the house. E-publishers are in flux right now as are print and (this information is good until it’s not!) and finding a house that is reputable is NOT hard. But houses and writers are not always a perfect fit but once you find a house or three that works with you, for you, go with it!
I know the above information seems harsh but I’ve worked too hard as an e-book author. Take for example my very first book published, Sensualities that came out way back in 2001. I had NO idea what I was getting into but I knew what I wanted. Now I'm much closer to my goal.
Feel free to buy the books shown by the awesome cover art!
Blast from the Past: Sensualities: A short story collection by Sascha Illyvich at Amazon
Wolf Magic: Paranormal erotic romance from me! At Amazon!