Tuesday, December 27, 2011

X-M@$ Is Fun, Really

Since the in-laws arrived for their holiday visit today, I'm a little behind and crazed. So, in lieu of a blog post, please enjoy this lovely video. (It seemed appropriate :P)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Am Not a Muppet

First and foremost, the winner Stockings and Suspenders
from the blog hop is Judith Hulley! Congrats, Judith!

Now, onto the rest of today's post. On Sunday, I made my husband a very happy camper when I said we could go see The Muppets. He's been waiting patiently for me to decide it had been out long enough that it wouldn't be filled with screaming kids (and we still ended up with a lot of talkers in our theater...). We took our kids and went, and... he loved it. The Boy loved it. Mini-Me liked it a lot. And I... didn't hate it. The continual singing and muppetry that followed the movie, however, had me ready to run the car into a tree.

When Mini-Me asked, "If you could be a Muppet, which one would you be?" I couldn't answer. I don't want to be a Muppet, at all. They're just too freaking happy for me. Don't get me wrong, happy is good, but that level of happiness doesn't fit in my reality (or any of my alternate realities).

The people who read my work regularly know that most of what I write doesn't fall easily into romance. There's always romance in what I write, but a large chunk of my work is "strong romantic elements" instead (this is especially true of YA me). One of the reasons for that (or for steampunk romance, sci-fi romance, paranormal romance) is that I like action and suspense. Always have, always will.

I'm a written-word danger junkie.

And I cuss like a sailor if I don't keep close tabs on myself.

Those things and the Muppets just don't gel together. I mean, I'm the girl whose favorite holiday movie is Die Hard. But getting back to romance...

The project I wrote for NaNo (and am still writing) is a contemporary romance. Not a romantic suspense, mind you, straight contemporary. I have a love-hate relationship with this manuscript. I love the characters and I think their story is one that needs to be told, but... I want to blow something up. I had to take a break from the manuscript and write a piece of flash fiction just so I could kill someone.

Which means I am neither a manly Muppet nor a Muppet of a man.

And while it may make my little family sad, at the end of the day, I'm okay with it. After all, I never much wanted to have strings someone could pull anyway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Every once in a while, I get really excited about a project and impose a timeline on myself that is... less than realistic. (Okay, I do it all the time). This time though, I figured I was on a roll. I finished my 50k for NaNoWriMo on November 23--a week early! So, it seemed perfectly logical that if I continued writing at that speed, I could have the first draft done sometime between Dec. 5-10.

It was a no brainer. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming...

Except, there's one thing people don't tell you about NaNo (and especially about what happens if you finish the day before Thanksgiving). As an author, 1667 words a day is not a lot. On a good day, I can do that in an hour. On an average day, it takes 1 1/2-2 hours, but you get the point. As long as I'm rolling, that is totally attainable. But, anyone who has done NaNo a few times can tell you--the world doesn't always cooperate with your schedule. That means you try to get ahead, because you don't know when you're going to get sick, have sick kids, have guests, have another project that people are paying you for so it has to take precedence...

So I was cruising along at at average of about 2250 words a day through the 23rd. Again, not an extreme amount--a couple hours of solid work a day. But doing it day in and day out takes a toll. Not because it's a large amount but because there's a deadline, and you're in a race, and whatever else causes you to panic. So when you "win," all this weight falls off your shoulders and you can breathe.

And you let yourself have a day off (and in this case, it was Thanksgiving...hello...). But when you're dealing with a holiday weekend, and/or a manuscript that is something you aren't used to or is giving you problems, a day off easily turns into two. Or three. Or hell, at that point why not take the whole four-day weekend like everyone else is? You deserve time off for good behavior too!

The thing is for me as a writer, time off makes it harder to get back in the swing. Words don't come easy, if at all. Characters I loved annoy me with their stupid decisions. I start to want to inhabit a different world--any other world. So, my long weekend "off" turned into a week and a half where my writing was off. I think I'm back on my game now, but I've trimmed my expectations back from the 2-2.5k a day to the 1667 of NaNo. Yes, my calendar still has goals in 2k increments, but that's just easier for me to keep track of.

All this means that the manuscript will not be done this week. Maybe next week. Hopefully for sure by Christmas. Definitely by New Years. But yeah... not this week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop--Day 5

Welcome to DAY FIVE and my part of the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

We're talking about Evernight Publishing's Holiday anthology, Stockings & Suspenders, a set of steamy stories, including one form me! Each of the contributing authors are talking about their stories leading up to release day on Friday, Decmber 9.

My predecessors:

If you haven't already, please visit their blogs for more blurbs, more excerpts, and more chances to win (see the end of the blog for prize info!).

I get to tear stocking number five off our cover. Look at those biceps! Rawr! I do so love a man with great arms, don't you? Well, enough about the hotness on the cover. Let's take a peek at what you'll find inside Stockings & Suspenders:
As the temperature drops, the women in this collection of stories find naughty and delicious ways to warm up for the holidays.

A boss with a proposal to make her sweat, a promise from an Italian assistant, a cabin in the middle of nowhere with two men waiting to cater to her every desire, a special surprise for a lonely solider...

All of these encounters and more from ten talented authors. Get ready for some holiday loving...Evernight style.
My story is number five in the collection, and it's called "Making the Naughty List" (Something some of us strive for every year, I'm sure.)

Daisy gave up on her wish to find the elf who rocked her world with a kiss so long ago. This year, all she wants for Christmas is time with her best friend, but he keeps leaving theNorth Pole to be with his girlfriend. Still, when Santa gives her a special assignment—get Gage Thomas off the naughty list—Daisy doesn’t exactly jump. Then again, once the old man makes a decision while you’re under his employ, you don’t get much say.

She figures meeting Gage will fill in all the blanks Santa didn’t bother with. Too bad the guy with the steely blue eyes and brilliant smile seems anything but naughty. At least until the two of them end up in her hotel room alone. Then it isn’t so much a question of whether or not Daisy can get Gage off but at what point she’ll cross the line and make the naughty list herself

“Look, Daisy, we can just hang out or call it a night if you want.”
Damn. Damn. Damn. I can build an XBox360 from a box of scraps but screw up what has to be the world’s easiest seduction. “No, I don’t want you to go. I just…”
He closed the distance between us and, shaking his head, tipped my chin up. “Breathe. I’ll stay.”
I exhaled, not realizing I’d held my breath when I stopped talking. With his hands on me, I couldn’t think though. I needed space. No. What I needed was for Santa to send a fucking sign of how to play this. I slipped from under his touch and moved to the bedroom. “I’ll be right back…”
As soon as I had the door between us, I could focus. I suck at interrogation. But the seduction thing isn’t off the table, right? I just need to woman up and try not to lose myself in the sex. Then I turned around. Goddamn mother-fucking son-of-a-bitch. Santa sure as hell didn’t believe in subtle signs. I yanked the leather corset, boots and whip off the bed and threw them in the closet.
With the dominatrix outfit off the table—or the bed—I felt better, like the pressure was gone. Just talk to him. Let one thing lead to another. Get him to spill everything he’s doing wrong so I can fix it.
In the other room, he stood by the window, his reflection showing worry lines still. I eased up next to him and laid my head on his shoulder. “Sorry about my freak out.”
He turned, his steely gaze meeting mine as he brushed my hair back. I forced myself not to flinch when his fingers brushed against the tip of my ear. “We just met. I get it. But it is nice to know that you’re as attracted to me as I am to you.”
“I am. I most definitely am.” The same stupid heat and electricity I felt every time I was too close to him flowed through me again. Damn it. I didn’t want to seduce him for information. I kind of just wanted to seduce him. Were Santa’s wants really more important than mine?
Then he turned and wrapped his arms around me. “Then why don’t we just see where the night takes us and not try to push it there?”
Before I had time to think about a response, I stood on tiptoe and brushed my lips against his. I froze an inch from him. My lips felt alive; every kiss until that moment faded as if they’d never existed.
Then he moved in and pressed his mouth against mine. The old kisses had faded before, but this… this made the world disappear. Gage and I were the only things that existed. His hands tangled in my hair, and I opened to him. Lips, tongue, fingers, skin… all I knew was his touch, and what I knew was incredible.
Oh yeah, that was the moment when I thought the one thing guaranteed to get my name on the naughty list right next to Gage’s. Fuck what Santa wants.
Letting that go freed me in a way I never expected. The next thing I knew, we were against the wall again, my hands clawing at his t-shirt until I could get my palms underneath. His skin was so hot, like he’d been lying out in the sun all day. It melted the sliver of North Pole chill I still carried, warming me to my straight to my core and then some. I wanted his heat, yearned for it. His shirt was off and tossed to some corner of the room or other. I pressed the length of my body against his, savoring the sensation along with the feel of his growing erection.
“You’re so warm,” I murmured against his neck as I trailed kisses against that gloriously fiery skin. I teased his nipple with my tongue, the light salty taste of sunshine and sweat did nothing but make me want more.
“And you are making it nearly impossible to behave myself. All I want to do is take your clothes off, throw you down on the bed and take you.”
“Not happening.” My hands slid along his back while his stopped inches from anywhere interesting.
He gave a throaty moan when my hips ground against his. “Why not? You’re sure as hell acting like you want it as much as I do.”
“Because you missed a step.” I nipped at his chest. Whatever it was about this man, it drove away all those silly concerns about what I did or didn’t know how to do. All that remained was the heat, the electricity, and the want. “If the rest of your clothes stay on, all your other plans are pointless.”
A low growl rumbled through his chest as he fisted my hair and tugged my head back until I met his eyes. “Any other complaints about my plan?”
“Only how long it’s taking you to get to it.”
The muscles in his arms bunched, and he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. My instinct from years growing up on the streets was to kick and yell, but I’d asked for this. Fuck. I wanted this. He kicked open the door to the bedroom and flopped me onto the king-sized bed.
The chill hit me an instant before the panic. Without his heat around me, everything I was doing roared back—disobeying Santa, having sex with a man I barely knew… A really wonderful, sweet, incredibly sexy man who made me forget about everything else.
Then he was on the bed next to me, teasing open the buttons of my blouse as he kissed me. When I tried to take over, to get closer, he pinned my hands over my head. “Oh no. I let you lead out there. My turn. I figure it’s the only way to be sure I control how fast things go.”
He let me go and in my attempts to do what he asked, my fingers brushed against something, making metal clank against metal. Gage lifted his head from my neck and I wanted to scream. Then with a beautifully evil smile, he reached up near the head of the bed and lifted a pair of handcuffs. My breath caught. “I… I… I…”
“And you said I was naughty.” He dipped his head and gave me a phoenix kiss—all feather-light and on fire. “Thanks for giving me a way to be sure you don’t try anything funny.”
Before I could put up more than the tiniest protest, that I wasn’t sure I really felt in the first place, Gage had shifted me up the bed, and the cuffs snapped around my wrists.
All those years on the street and my first time in handcuffs was in a posh hotel in Florida. If this was the naughty list, I never wanted off.
Please leave a comment (with your email address) for a chance to win prizes from the drawing on December 10 (the twelfth day of Christmas!), including a copy of Stockings & Suspenders and a $15 Evernight Publishing gift certificate (for more details, visit the Evernight blog). I'd also love it if you felt so inclined to join my blog with Google Friend Connect in the sidebar.
Tomorrow is DAY 6. I really hope you'll visit Carolyn Rosewood to read more about her story, "A Very Naughty Christmas." (See? We all want to be naughty.) Plus, you'll get another peek at that yummy cover model.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day Late...

Sorry, this should have gone up yesterday. No excuse other than I forgot and when I remembered it was late and I was feeling lazy.

Since tomorrow NaNo is over, I'll leave the final NaNoReb check in for my other blog (where I haven't posted hardly at all this month). For today, I want to give people a heads up about something.

Starting tomorrow and running through the month of December, my Blood Kissed novella The Ghost of Vampire Present is Decadent Publishing's Read for a Cure book.

What that means is for every copy purchased in December, Decadent is donating all of their proceeds to the American Cancer Society. In addition, I'm donating fifty cents from every copy to my sister's Relay for Life team (in addition to my regular donation, which any other money I might earn from sales helps to fund :P) This is a LOT of money that can be earned for cancer research.

If you're buying someone an e-reader, please consider including The Ghost of Vampire Present with it. Or if you get one as a gift. Or encourage people you know to buy it. They get a book and can possibly help save a life.

For more information on WHY I volunteered to do Read for a Cure (along with a giveaway of the first Blood Kissed story and a vampire-themed care package), check out the 30 Days of Decadence blog: http://30daysofdecadence.blogspot.com/2011/11/family-mattersso-does-cancer.html
Also, be on the lookout for a special Saturday post here. I have another holiday short in an anthology that comes out next Friday. On Saturday, you'll get a blurb, an excerpt, and a teaser of the cover. Talk to you then!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNoReb(el)s: Three Weeks In--Time for Some Wins?

***In case you didn't see it in last week's post,
due to a troll crashing our party we have a new chatroom.
It's password protected, so you'll have to DM me for the password,
Please ignore the other room. Thanks. ***

It's the 22nd, and I know at least a couple of our people who still had the 50k as their goal (or more) are nearing the mark. This is the week to let us know if you've hit it.
As I write this, it's midnight (yay procrastination!), and I'm barely at 43,500. Still ahead of the game, but I really wanted this puppy fully drafted by month's end if nothing else came in for me to deal with. I'm hoping once the post is up, I'll push on for another hour and hit the magical 45k before bed. I doubt it, but I'm going to try anyway. I'm at a scene that I've envisioned so many freaking times it should be pouring out of me, but for some reason...it's just not.

I think I've been letting too many things slide this month, and I think it's starting to affect my productivity. I'm finally feeling better, so there's no excuse on the exercise thing anymore. I'd go work out now, but it's midnight, and if the hubs hears me, he won't be very happy about it, so that's my #1 goal tomorrow after I get the kids off to school.
Then it's hitting 47,500 :P

So? Have you won yet?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoReb(el)s: Two Weeks In--Update time!

***Note: The chat room for write-ins will ALWAYS be http://us2.chatzy.com/38968453185748***

***Not sure how to strike that out,
but due to a troll crashing our party we have a new chatroom.
It's password protected, so you'll have to DM me for the password,
Please ignore the other room. Thanks. ***

Two weeks into the madness, and I'm busy as fuck (Hell, I didn't even say how I was doing last week I was so swamped). So...this is going to be a quickie (hehe...quickie).

Anyway, I'm still about 3 days ahead of the curve. Not where I want to be, but two bad and several mediocre writing days over the last week killed my 2500 a day average. I'm still around 2k a day, but I need to have a couple REALLY good days to make up for it. Plus I just got back final read-through on Making the Naughty List, so I need to find time to do that.

In other news, I'm going out tonight, so if I want to stay on track AT ALL, I need to write now. Fill us in, how is your NaNo going?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoReb(el)s: One Week In--How You Doin'?

Last night ended the first week of NaNo! If you are doing the full 50k, that means you "should" be at 11666.
But we're rebels. Fuck that shit. I don't care where you "should" be. I care where you are.

So spill. Remind us what your goal was and let us know not only how you're doing, but how you're feeling about where you're at. Have you hit stumbling blocks? Walls? A really hot minor character who you've started falling for and really want to write about because he's smoking and deserves a HEA too? *cough* That's...uh...just an example. *cough*
I want to kind of do a weekly goal too. This is where I am now, this is where I want to be at check in next week. (Do not make this crazy, the point of being a rebel is to remove some of the pressure.)

Also, we are still doing the nightly write-ins. Chat room opens around 9:30-ish eastern time. Please, if you WANT a write-in at a different time, post it here. I will advertise and help get people to show up, even if I can't make it!

The NaNoRebs:
Julie Particka(Seleste deLaney) / @Selestedelaney
Gareth / @FalcataTimes
Noelle Pierce / @NoellePierce
Danielle LaPaglia / @Dannigrrl5
J.A. Campbell / @PFirewolf
Terri / @Angbuf
Tammy Crosby / @CrosbyWrites
Misha (CanadianSportsChick) / ?
Katee Robert / @Katee_Robert
Kelly Metz / @bwlrgrl300
Rae Lori / @RaeLori
Chrissey / @ArcadeStarlet
Donna / @DBReynoldswrite
Todd DeSilva/@todddesilva
Janelle Alexander / @janellealexandr
Sean Hayden / @ShaydenFl / eastern

The unofficial Rebs who sneak into our write-ins and steal our vodka (but we like them anyway):
Skyla Dawn Cameron
Dina James
Mel Hay
Suzanne Lazear

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoReb(el)s: Start Your Engines

Last night's chatzy write-in went swimmingly. We'll be doing it again nightly (10pm-midnight eastern time) for the foreseeable future. Since I may not always be around to open it, watch the #NaNoRebs feed on Twitter for the specific chatroom link!

It's here! It's here! It's NaNovember and I'm already ten hours behind. It feels weird to not have frantically started my project last night at midnight, but I was busy frantically finishing the last one. And I have a bunch of blog posts to get done today, so those are happening before I jump on my NaNoRebellion.
This week, for me, is all about doing the revisions on Badlands 2 and

getting it sent off. I'm hoping to get a jumpstart on the new novel too, but submissions have to take precedence. So. I'm giving myself the next two hours for blog posts. One hour for new novel prep-work, and then I'm diving into edits. I want to get a bunch done so I can write for at least an hour tonight at the write-in.

Speaking of, not too many people commented on their schedules at the other blog last week. So, I ran with the times I had. Our first virtual write/edit/whatever-you're-doing-in is TONIGHT, 10pm-midnight eastern time. I'll be opening a room in Chatzy at 9:30 and I'll link here and twitter. Remember, our new hashtag is #NaNoRebs. Also, if I'm not following you, please @mention me (@Selestedelaney) that you're a #NaNoReb and I'll follow back.

Starting next week, this is the blog where we'll do our status checks and everyone re-posts their goal (whatever it is) and how they're doing (word count, pages edited, whatever). I want to discuss more options for write-ins at tonight's, so if you can't make it, please include your input here so I can have a list ready to go for Thursday's post at the other blog. And remember, you don't need me to run a write-in. Anyone can step up and say "I'll start the chat page. We're doing a write-in on __(day)__ at __(time)__.

Until tonight, that's it and I wish you words :)

(If I missed you, please let me know!)

Julie Particka(Seleste deLaney) / @Selestedelaney
Gareth / @FalcataTimes
Noelle Pierce / @NoellePierce
Danielle LaPaglia / @Dannigrrl5
J.A. Campbell / @PFirewolf
Terri / @Angbuf
Tammy Crosby / @CrosbyWrites
Misha (CanadianSportsChick) / ?
Katee Robert / @Katee_Robert
Kelly Metz / @bwlrgrl300
Rae Lori / @RaeLori
Chrissey / @ArcadeStarlet
Donna / @DBReynoldswrite
Todd DeSilva/@todddesilva
Janelle Alexander / @janellealexandr
Sean Hayden / @ShaydenFl / eastern

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NaNoReb(el)s: One Week Countdown

REBEL CHAT at 9:00pm est (10/26/11)! Click here!

Hi all! It's less than one week to NaNoWriMo 2011. Do you have your plans ready?

For those not in the know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing

Month, and it takes place every November. The goal is, within the month of November to write 50,000 words on a novel. Some of the #NaNoRebels here have actually signed on for that. Others have signed on to do something a bit different (lower word count, finishing a story for submission, editing...). But we wanted a place where all the Rebels who wanted could gather together, plan some virtual write-ins, offer support on Twitter, etc. So, I volunteered my blogs: this one and JulieParticka.com. I'll be posting stuff here on Tuesdays, there on Thursdays.

What I want to do right now is talk about Twitter (by the way, if you haven't yet, go ahead and follow this me, @SelestedeLaney, just so I keep everyone nice and organized). A lot of us use it and love it already. Some use it and hate it. Others have accounts but don't use it at all. And some of us just haven't gone there yet. There was a request for me to do a quick Twitter class. Since life grabbed me by the metaphorical balls and didn't let go, I lost track of time and now we're down to a week before. So... Twitter class will be tomorrow, Wednesday, October 26, at 9:00 pm eastern time at Chatzy. I will put a direct link to the room here tomorrow evening. Please make sure you have created a Twitter account in advance of the class and please download tweetdeck. I don't normally use regular Twitter, so it'll be a much more productive class if we're all on the same page.

For those of you who know what you're doing Twitter-wise, just remember to use the hashtag so everyone sees your tweets. And... speaking of the hashtag. *sigh* #NaNoRebels is already an official NaNo thing. So, by all means use it too, but I'm shortening ours to #NaNoRebs just so we have a thing just for those of us in the group. (Yes, it's an open group and everyone can join, but if we're all talking, I don't want it to get lost in a larger twitter feed).

*Big exhale*

Okay, now that that's out of the way, how about we all talk about what our goals are for NaNo? Is it the 50k? Or is it something else?

And if you haven't signed up to join us, click the NaNoRebels thing in my right sidebar and comment there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Ever After? No. Happy Anniversary!

No, I didn't say blogoversary. Honestly, I don't keep track of such things (and since I moved, when do I start counting from?).

Anyway, tomorrow I will have been married for fifteen years to a wonderful man who puts up with all my idiosyncrasies and madness. Hell, he even puts up with my friends! People often ask me why I don't write more blatant happily-ever-after stories (at best the HEA is usually implied). The answer to that is simple, I don't believe in them.
I can hear you now "Wait a minute, Seleste, you just said you've been married how many years?"

Yes, I've been married a decade and a half, and I hope beyond hope that we last a lot longer than that. But it isn't going to be because we met, fell in love, the stars aligned and everything was sweetness and light from there on out. That shit only happens in fairy tales. Real people work to make a lasting marriage (or union or whatever you want to call it). There are happy days and happy moments, but there are also a share of times that suck ass. I honestly worry about people who say they've never had a bad moment in their marriage (and seem to mean it). That either means they've never been tested by life (and can't even pretend they'll know how to handle it if they ever are) or--and you can refer to my as Dr. House for the rest of the post--somebody's lying.
I've said many times that I like my stories to reflect reality. And in my experience, reality doesn't involve happily ever after. It involves fights about money and in-laws and kids and sex and what to watch on television. But it also involves working through those things to come out stronger in the end. I don't want a happily ever after for my characters because I wouldn't want one for myself. Happily ever after is a surface beauty that will crumble with the first crack. I'd rather have something strong--forged in fire and beaten into shape. I want something that will last.

I like to think that's what I have with Shane. He drives me crazy and occasionally makes me want to throw things, but at the end of the day, I want to go home (or stay home, because, you know, I work here) to him.

Happy Anniversary, honey. Here's to not killing each other before the next one.

In other news...starting next week and running through November, this blog and that of my YA counterpart will be devoted to a NaNoWriMo project called #NaNoRebels. Please check out http://julieparticka.blogspot.com for more details and to decide if you want to be a Rebel too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too Smexy

*Note: This is not a commentary about the person who made the initial comment, rather a commentary about the concept in general as other things have come out recently, such as a push to have erotica removed from the top 100 lists at Amazon.*

/rant on

An interesting topic came up last week regarding the fact that Carina Press (and some other publishers) don't use "heat ratings" on their books. They have "erotica" as a sub-category, but not all books with steamy sex get labeled as erotica.

Badlands was used as an example. It's not erotica because the story isn't driven by the sex. In fact, there are a total of two sex scenes in the novella. One lasted a page and a half, the other was a page. Now, to be totally fair, it is true that I don't pussy-foot around sex scenes. The main character in this story isn't the type to put up with that. There is one stand-alone novel I have partway finished where that wouldn't be the case, but in general my heroines don't shy away from their sexuality. That doesn't make it erotica.

If a reader were to walk into a brick and mortar bookstore, there might be a section for erotica. (I'm not sure, since I normally buy my erotica digitally.) Everything else would be shelved in its genre category. And even there, the genres are much broader than those you'd find in an e-book store. Paranormal romance, steampunk romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, etc. are all shelved under romance. Other genre fiction gets shoved pretty much in either Mystery or Sci-fi/Fantasy (and Inspirational sometimes gets its own spot, but don't even get me started on the YA section.) So, when a book is in paper form, the reader is left to "guess" as far as violent or sexual content.

Most readers I know have certain expectations of some sub-genres. Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy isn't required to have sex, but I think most of us expect it. Conversely, sex is not expected in Inspirational Romance. Everything else is kind of a gray area, though I would suspect that Historical (I don't really read any, so I'm guessing) is more chaste than say Sci-Fi Romance. But even within those genres, I'm sure there are exceptions.

As kind of a mix between Historical and Sci-Fi, Steampunk falls into a really gray area. Readers of Historical will bring their own expectations, as will Sci-Fi fans. And, in all fairness, I would agree that when you set a steampunk in Victorian England with a prim and proper heroine, it would surprise me for there to be graphic sex. I wouldn't necessarily hate it if it fit the story, but it would surprise me.

Ever... is not that heroine, and the Badlands is certainly not Victorian England. In the very first scene, Ever is fighting half-naked. It gives a clear picture that the women of this world are not conservative with regard to their bodies (hell, sex is discussed on the very first page) and they are a violent lot--Ever more so than most. (And that is the scene that is listed most places as an excerpt, so anyone can read it.) The graphic sex shouldn't come as a shock. Really it shouldn't.

But regardless, in a brick and mortar bookstore (that miraculously carried novellas), Badlands would be shelved in either the Romance section or the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section (depending on who made the call). As would pretty much everything else I've ever written. The same with Cindy Spencer Pape or countless others.

Why do some readers expect more division than that out of their online sellers? And do we really want it? Badlands has two short but graphic sex scenes... and it has violence and blood. So let's say a conservative publisher gave it a heat level of 4. Some readers would look at that and say "Oh my God, that's got to be a lot of sex!" and would pass it up for a less scary three. Or conversely, someone could look at a liberally rated 2 and say, "Ugh, I just don't get a modern romance that doesn't have sex." when in reality it has sex, it just isn't graphic enough to warrant a higher number.

The numbers are as likely to do a disservice to all involved as they are to help. The only exception to that I've seen is when the cover art or blurb don't match what's in the book. I know of one F/F romance that has two naked women on the cover...it's a heat level 2 (of 4). Without the heat level, yeah, I'd expect a lot of sex there. Does Badlands cover or blurb scream sex? No, but the blurb mentions "growing attraction" and "desires", so it doesn't whisper of virgins either. Had there been sex every chapter, I could see the disconnect.

I guess the point of my little rant is just as you would in a brick and mortar store, check out what you're buying and don't expect the publisher to vet things for you. Read the blurb, read the excerpt. I want people to love Badlands, not be shocked into hating it, but I don't think Carina and other publishers who decide not to utilize heat levels are doing something wrong.

/rant off

And with regard to the latest Amazon nonsense, I think people need to get a grip and stop buying just because something makes a list. Decide if you want it first. Read the blurb. Look at the cover. And if the cover is too racy for your innocent eyes, you can scroll past it really fast. I promise, it won't scar you for life.

/rant off for real this time

In other news, because I can't get enough talking about sex in, I'm hitting a couple other places the rest of the week. Please join me at Cookies, Books, and Bikes tomorrow for "Do You Think It's Sexy?" And on Thursday, I'll be at Sex Marks the G-Spot with "It's Not My Kink...Except in Fiction." I hope you'll join me :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Birthday Winners!

First, I want to thank everyone who stopped by my blog during the last week. I got swamped with regular life and didn't manage to come back and comment (which I normally try to do :( ). I hope some of you will stop by on Tuesdays (starting again next week), which are my regular blogging days here. I also hope you all took advantage of the great sale on Saturday--I know I did :)

Now, to what you really want to know, we'll start with the winner of GunShy...
Nay Nay!!!!
Congrats! If you're around to comment, you can let me know if you would prefer PDF or EPUB format, otherwise, I'll be sending you an email today.

Next up, the $5.00 gift certificate from Evernight Publishing...
Anna Keraleigh!!!!
Evernight has your email, so you should be hearing from them soon.

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for, the grand prize winners...
I've been scooped on this one. *sigh* To find out if you won the grand prizes, you need to go to Evernight's blog. Congrats to the winners here (and there), and Happy Birthday, Evernight!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Evernight Publishing

As a mom, my kids' first birthdays hold a special place in my heart.

My son wanted nothing to do with his cake. He didn't want to touch the frosting. We had to dunk his fingers in the frosting and actually smear it on his face for him so we could get that required first birthday picture. To this day, he still doesn't eat frosting--he scrapes it off cake.

My daughter, on the other hand, was a sugar-junkie from the beginning. The main reason she had so little frosting on her face was because it all went in her mouth. It's at the point where the two of them basically split cake when we have it. He eats the cake, she eats the frosting.

Saturday, October 1, is Evernight Publishing's first birthday, and I can't wait to see how the party turns out. If you've paid attention to the books they put out, I'm pretty sure Evernight is going to be the kind of toddler that savors every delectable bite of that cake...and you can bet it'll be rich and chocolatey.

With this party on the horizon, it is my pleasure to announce that I've signed my third contract with Evernight. The follow-up to last year's holiday story, Yes, Alana, There Is a Santa Claus, will be included in this year's holiday anthology. Making the Naughty List will be part of this year's anthology Stockings and Suspenders.

This story follows a different narrator, an elf named Daisy. She's not exactly your stereotypical elf. Brady picked her off the streets of Detroit years ago, and now with him dating Alana, she feels left behind. So, Santa sends her on a mission of the utmost importance. She needs to get a man named Gage Thomas off the naughty list...by whatever means necessary.

So, in celebration of Evernight's birthday and my new sale, I'm giving away a copy of my latest Evernight release, GunShy. (I'll be choosing a winner on Friday.**** CORRECTION: The contest runs through the weekend. Winner will be drawn on Monday!****)

And... Evernight is also going to choose a winner from commenters here for a $5.00 Evernight gift certificate.

AND...every time you comment on one of the birthday blogs, you're entered for the grand prizes as well.

In order to enter for all of those goodies, just follow my blog and post a comment (and don't forget to include your email). It's a birthday party, so tell me your favorite memory of a birthday, favorite party game, favorite kind of cake... I'm pretty open as long as it has to do with birthdays :)

Oh yeah, and on their birthday, Evernight will be marking down ALL of their books, including GunShy, by 75%! That means even if you don't win, you can still get it at a great price.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Drinking and Thinking...about Books

Last night we went out to dinner and I actually ordered a drink. Now, as much as I enjoy my adult beverages, I don't often order drinks when we're out for dinner. They tend to be over-priced...blah blah blah. But I'd finished a project yesterday and wanted to get something to celebrate. In the spirit of celebration, I perused the menu for something a little different and ordered a mojito--a drink that I enjoy but don't have very often.

For me, picking something like that is sort of like going into a bookstore and grabbing a book from a genre that I don't normally read but I've liked before. It makes the stories I do read there more special somehow. For instance, I read a lot of YA, but very little contemporary YA. The exception to that is Hannah Moskowitz. Love her work. I don't read much homosexual erotica either (yes, jumping from YA to erotica...it's what I do), but I decided to give it a chance and found that in certain ways I like it better than a lot of straight erotica (but odds are it'll still be a less common purchase). My mainstays in reading are what I normally write--speculative. Give me some weres and vamps or spaceships or clockworks or even elves and gnomes and I'm a happy girl (as long as it's well-written and a fun story). But in those other genres... I'm a lot more picky.

A friend once told me there's nothing like a really good mojito. He's right, but there's also nothing like a really bad one. And this went beyond bad. It was horrible. It tasted like really syrupy peppermint schnapps on the rocks--a big old glass of it. Nothing against peppermint schnapps, I mean, it's tasty in hot chocolate, but it's definitely not a mojito. I sent the drink back, but the peppermint taste was so strong that not even my cajun shrimp could cover it.

So, imagine buying a not-my-genre book and sitting down to read it and ending up with a similar experience. Since it's not a standard read for me, the book that leaves the horrid taste in my mouth that no amount of Kelley Armstrong and Richelle Mead with a Mark Henry chaser will kill, risks ruining the entire genre for me. That shit will make me pick my ass up and desert an entire section of the bookstore.

Now, one good thing is I've had a decent mojito. Hell, I've had a damn good mojito. I know they're out there, so other than making sure I never order one at that particular restaurant again, I'm not going to avoid mojitos at all cost, after all, I know they can be yummy. To be fair though, odds are I won't risk ordering one blindly. It'll take having had one at the place before (mmmm....Pickle Barrel...) or having a friend tell me the place makes good ones. Otherwise, I'm going to stick to what I normally drink.

The same is true with books. If I pick up a YA contemporary that turns my stomach (or melts my brain), I'm still going to buy the next Hannah Moskowitz book. A gay erotic romance with no character development or discernable plot? Meh. I know there are good ones out there, but I'll base that reading on recommendations from now on. This is, from my discussions with others, a pretty standard way of thinking. Beyond judging a book by its cover, readers often judge a genre based on the first book they read in that genre.

So every writer--traditional, digital, indie, I-don't-care-what-the-newest-label-is--needs to keep that in mind. That means the editing, plot, characterizations need to be the best you can make them. Your book could be the first one a reader picks up in that genre. It will be the book by which all others are judged. What kind of taste do you want to leave in the reader's mouth?

Have there been any books that you've read that would have turned you off to a genre if you didn't already know there were better books out there?

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Lovely Blog

Bea at Bea's Book Nook bestowed upon me another blog award.

It's very pretty and all, but damn it, I want to get like a badass blogger award or something. So far I'm cute and lovely, but.... okay, yeah, enough bitching.

There are two very simple rules that accompany this award:

1.  Share "7" facts about yourself and...
2.  Pass this award on to "15" other deserving blog owners (hahahahahahahaha uh...no)

"7" Random Facts About Me:
1) When I started college, I was an aerospace engineering major. Turned out it wasn't just my high school physics teacher I didn't like...I  just hated physics. Jumped ship sophomore year after one aero class.

2) My first completed novel is still sitting on my hard drive waiting for the moment when I have time to do a re-write. My original beta reader has informed me it's the story of mine that she reads over and over, so I should probably get to it eventually.

3) I tend to be very non-confrontational. I prefer not to rock the boat unless someone is in severe need of a dunking.

4) I have a very unhealthy addiction to diet pop (soda). I managed to quit once, but it was only after a huge fight with a friend where I basically stopped eating for three days. I figured I'd already gone through the caffeine withdrawal, so I'd stick to it. Lasted about three months.

5) Generally speaking, I don't spend money easily, especially large sums of money. On the rare occasion it happens, it's usually something I've secretly debated buying for months.

6) I was a band geek. Specifically, I was in marching band all through high school and for three years at Purdue.

7) When I was younger, it was very rare for me to not finish a book. In the last two years, I've become a serial DNFer. I have almost an equal number of half-read books in my TBR pile as I do unread. Not a comment on the authors as much as it is me. My reading is very mood-dependent and an author whose work I would soar through today could be the absolute wrong thing in a month.

Time to pass this onto 15 5 other deserving bloggers (Sorry, my brain can't handle thinking of fifteen this morning):

1) Michelle Muto

2) Laura Horwitz

3) Anne Michaud

4) Tammy Crosby

5) Danielle LaPaglia (just because I know how much she loves me when I give these to her :P)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blues and News

First and foremost (since people have been asking), I'm doing better with the depression. I'm not back to my normal (I use that term loosely) self, but I'm getting there. Thanks for all the *hugs* and happy thoughts and love. Every bit of it helps and is appreciated :)

I am a little melancholy today though. It's the first day of school. The Boy is a fourth grader, which means in two short years he's going to be in middle school. I'm pretty sure that means I'm old, but I'm going to try to ignore that fact and just do my thing. But...Mini-Me started first grade this year (and she got her ears pierced in celebration of becoming a big kid). She's been doing half-days for a while now, but this will be the first time in almost ten years that I've been alone all day every day. I'm not really sure how it's going to go. On the plus side, more time for writing! On the down side...yeah, we're just going to pretend the depression thing doesn't worry me.

In the meantime though, I have news!

Remember a couple weeks ago when I announced that Evernight Publishing had picked up GunShy and the Cupid's Conquests series? First, I have a group of authors hard at work on more stories for the series which has me totally geeked. Second... my editor and I busted through edits, and they bumped up the release date. So scratch November. GunShy is coming...*Drum-roll*... September 16! Yes, it will be available ten days from now. I'm crazy excited and I really hope people love this story.

In other news, authors from Decadent Publishing (including me) will be at The Romance Studio chat room tomorrow night at 9pm eastern time (6pm Pacific... hopefully the rest of you can figure it out from there). Please stop by! I'm pretty sure the people in charge are doing giveaways (*hint* Check out which authors are there and have their websites at the ready to search for answers to questions... at least that's how they did it last time :P)

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Cover Alert! Forever Summer Coming Soon!

Okay, I'm a little geeked about this one.

First, other than poetry, I haven't entered a writing contest since I was in elementary school. Second, this story was my first foray into the world of *gulp* contemporary romance. So, to have it chosen as a finalist by the people in charge at One Place for Romance and then to have readers vote for it to win...it's crazy exciting for me.

I don't have a release date yet, but I do have cover art. Fantasia Frog Designs was an absolute joy to work with. She not only found fabulous models that really fit my characters, she kept me involved with the entire process. What we ended up with was a cover that embodies the story better than I could have hoped.

Now, as long as you, dear readers, love the book as well as I love the cover, I will feel like I did my job.

With her dreams of a career by the sea shattered by the economy, Katya's trying to be happy with the two weeks she's managed in the Florida Keys. But when the cottage she's rented turns out to be infested, she's ready to go home to Pennsylvania. At least until Jay, the handyman and filmmaker next door, comes to her rescue.

Sweet, talented and sexy, he's everything she ever wanted in a man. Too bad he's only hanging out with her because he's such a nice guy.

Or is he?


He followed breakfast with a walk on the beach where they stopped to admire the elaborate sand castles kids built then kicked down before the waves could get to them and stared in wonder at a large pod of porpoises frolicking just past the breakers. Her new friend changed her miserable morning into the most glorious summer day Katya had ever experienced. Sitting at a table near the sand, sipping a Rum Runner and enjoying the last of her mahi-mahi sandwich, she didn’t think anything could make the day better.

Intent on watching the ocean for more signs of the playful porpoises, she almost missed when Jay said, “Want to head out on the water for a while?”

“Seriously? I’d love to, but I’m not sure I can swing the cost.” With college graduation barely a memory, student loans loomed over her head. Her parents had given her enough grief about taking this trip at all.

Jay stretched, his muscles flexing with the motion, and drew her appreciative gaze for a second until she realized what she was doing and shifted back to the ocean. “No worries; the captain of a certain deep sea fishing boat owes me a favor or ten. What do you say? Want to go out?”

“Is the pope Catholic?”

Laughing, Jay downed the last of his beer and motioned for the bill.

He was too damn good to be true. Fixing her house, letting her stay at his place, and showing her the time of her life? Plus, his long blond hair, baby blues, and crooked grin made him hotter than hell. Everything about spending time with him screamed house of cards, and she couldn’t help but wonder which moment would be the breeze that blew it all down.


All morning, Jay had managed to talk to Katya without his dormant libido rearing its head. Then he got her on the boat—in her bikini—and it was all he could do not to sport tented shorts the entire afternoon. She made it worse by acting self-conscious about wearing the bikini in the first place.

Then again, he spent the whole time wishing she wasn’t in the bathing suit, too.

Her line dipped, the rod bowing as the fish pulled away. Katya handled the beast like a pro, letting it wear itself out before she tried to reel it in. Still, it wrestled with her. Happy for the excuse, Jay wrapped his arms around her and added his muscle to the fight. The fish leapt from the water, and the move allowed them to yank it onboard. With the tension gone from the line, Kat lost her balance and fell against him, both of them tumbling to the slippery deck to join the flopping tuna. She twisted in his arms, and their lips hovered precariously close, electricity dancing between them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Cover Alert! GunShy Coming in November!

The good news just keeps coming :) And good news means new cover art!

When I started this project, I didn't really know where it was going. It seemed like just a cute little short story, but as I was writing, I realized there was more to it than initially anticipated. Even once the mythological aspect came to me, I saw it as a "one and done" project.

If you know me at all, you know how hard a time I have with stand-alones.

The minute I realized this needed to be a series, I panicked. I don't have time for another series! Then I realized it didn't just have to be me. There is only one over-arching component to the series which means...other people could write them too. That's when the giddiness hit...until I realized I needed to sell someone on the concept. Turns out that wasn't as difficult as I'd anticipated as a few places were interested. In the end, I decided to go with a house I'd worked with before but hadn't had the opportunity to do more than a short story with (all my solo series are elsewhere).

So it is with a great deal of joy that I get to announce that GunShy, the first book in the Cupid's Conquests series is coming from Evernight Publishing this November. With a handful of other authors already on board to write stories for the series, I hope it has a long and fruitful existence with the great people at Evernight.

Banished from Olympus with orders to restore love to the world, Eros starts with a match no one sees coming. No one but him.

Straight-laced principal Kira isn’t looking for love, especially not right after getting dumped. Then a chance encounter leads her to Jesse, and damned if she isn’t drawn to the bad-boy with a heart of gold. A night of reckless abandon leaves her confused. Was there something there, or did she imagine the connection between them?

Jesse knows lying to Kira is a mistake, but she's the first woman in a long time to see the man and not just the rock star. When his plan to come clean goes terribly wrong, Kira bolts, leaving Jesse in the dust.

Now Eros has to nudge the star-crossed lovers together and prove to Zeus that love does exist, even among the gun shy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here's the Long and Short of It

I'm not blogging here this week. Instead:

How cool is that? I absolutely LOVE Long and Short Reviews, so I'm really geeked to be there. Plus I even compare (soda) pop to sex. That should be worth the price of admission ;-) If you're a regular visitor here, please pop over to the interview on Tuesday, August 16. Here's a handy dandy link and everything:


I'm also going to be at their author chat on Wednesday, so if you have questions or anything for me, please stop by! I'll also be announcing upcoming releases there!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sometimes It Pours

I've been trying to avoid doing a post like this for...pretty much forever. As open as I am online, there are some things that I just don't like to talk about. It isn't that I'm trying to hide them, they just aren't fun subjects so I don't bring them up.

This time, I don't feel like I really have a choice because it's affecting too much of my life.

For those of you who don't know, I suffer from depression. Most of the time, I can keep it under control and when it gets bad, it only gets bad for a few days before I pull out of it. At worst, I'll disappear from Twitter and Facebook for a bit, but usually I'm of the whole "fake it 'til you make it" school of thought and put on my happy face and plow through.

This time it hasn't been a few days though, it's been a few months.

The worst part is, objectively, it's been a really great few months: lots of travel (which I love), won the first writing contest I've entered in ages, sold a novella, got to hang with some of my best friends, kids are good, husband's good. Basically, life is good.

That doesn't matter to depression though.

Happy moments, no matter how big, have been fleeting at best, and everything in my life feels nothing short of overwhelming. I know some people have noticed that beyond the travel issue, I've been rather scarce on twitter. On my better days, I'm there a little bit, but for the most part it's one more thing that feels like too much.

So, as much as it pains me to do it, I'm going to pull back on some things. Any blog posts and whatnot that I've committed to, I'll still get done, but posts here (and at my other blog) will likely be very brief. I'm going to try to get some reviews in for Wicked Lil Pixie still, but until I get a handle on my life again, I don't know how often they'll show up. For now, I need to focus as much as I can on the writing part of my job (because 1-it's my job and 2-it actually helps the depression sometimes) and my family.

I'm not going to to disappear entirely or anything, I just need to get control of things again.

I hope you'll all bear with me. <3

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seeing Red...and Blue...and Green...

While I was away at the beach, edits came in on a recent story. It's a short, so I figured it was no big deal and I'd be able to tackle them pretty quickly. Now, to give you some perspective, when I'm really on, I can edit a short in a day or two. Then I opened the file.

Holy highlights, Batman!

There was...a lot. And I knew without a doubt I needed more than a couple days of sneaking away from family time to get it done. Most editors who have worked with me (and talked to me while I was editing) know that I can tackle big issues pretty handily. Editor points out a problem, I slap my hand against my forehead, wonder how I could have been so stupid as to not see the problem, and I get to work on fixing it. It's the little things that give me fits. (I'm sure Gina remembers well when I was working on edits in Italy and had one sentence that I couldn't get right. She told me to skip it. I refused, and the answer came to me while trying to sleep on the flight home.) And almost everything I needed to fix in this story was a little thing.

My intense love for edits (yes, I'm weird) quickly turned into a lot of loud groaning about not wanting to do it. You see, I had this illusion that the more stories I had published, the easier edits would get because I'd have been learning to fix all those stupid things I did wrong. The fact is I appear to replace one stupid thing with something new. My "that" problem? Tackled. Gone. Over. (Believe me, it took a long time.) Now I have things that can't be solved with a simple "delete".

But you know what? I'm seeing the tail end of this round of edits now--I'll finish them today--and as much as I hate to say it, I think it was a good experience for me. First, it made me realize there will always be something in need of fixing. That's a really freeing thought. I'm going to screw up, so I just need to worry about writing. Second, I found that even some of the little things need to be fought for. A suggested change of wording to something that your character would never use., a turn of phrase that your betas all loved, intentional use of passive structure--all of those things can be important. The point of edits is to figure out when they're most important, because that's when you dig your heels in (which is hard to do when you haven't made a bunch of other suggested changes--makes you seem like a diva :P).

Now that I've struggled through all the itty-bitty detailed changes, I can say I still love doing edits. I'm hoping when I do my read-through before hitting send later today, I'll be able to smile and say the changes made the story stronger. Because that's the point of all the moaning, groaning, hand-wringing, cursing, and throwing of things--to make it better.

In the meantime, I'll repaint the target on my office wall for the next round of throwing thi...er edits.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Romance Is Over

Or at least the Mr. Romance competition.

Word came out last Wednesday that the people behind the Romantic Times convention have pulled the plug on the competition. I'm not going to re-hash their reasons (you can read them here --> http://readersentertainment.com/2011/no-more-mr-romance/ ). It's no secret I'm not happy about this, but I don't think it's for the reason most people who know me (or know of me) think. Okay, that might be a bit of the reason, but it's not the whole reason.

Here's the thing...I love the Romantic Times Convention. I love the scope of it and the parties and meeting authors and, yes, meeting the models. It's all part of this big package to me that screams in orgasmic joy. The powers-that-be at RT are saying that there will still be models there, and I'm sure some of them will be, but I'm going to hazard a guess that for the most part it will be the people who have been there before: CJ Hollenbeck, Jimmy Thomas, Mark Johnson... and maybe a few of the more recent contestants. But odds are there won't be new blood every year. And I don't like that...for a lot of reasons.

We'll start with the obvious one that most people will think I mean--there won't be the opportunity to meet new models. Yes, I like meeting and partying with (and actually talking to) men. Sure, I like talking to men I already know, but meeting new ones is fun. I'll miss that. And if my regular dance partners don't go? Um...the dances are going to be a lot less fun. Sorry to all my girlfriends. Dancing with you is fun, but I like dancing with guys.

Now onto (some of) the other reasons.

First is the opportunity the Mr. Romance competition provided to up and coming models. Many of the guys who competed didn't have connections in the romance industry, and for some, Mr. Romance was their first glance into that world. There are quite a few male models who would love to get into cover modeling but don't have the connections. Mr. Romance was a foot in the door--one that has just been cut off. Considering more than one of the competitors this year alone signed with agents and stock photo companies because of the competition, that means less opportunities for models and fewer options for authors. I don't know about any other author, but I like the increased possibility of having models that fit what my characters actually look like.

But that's not even the biggest issue.

That one is RT itself. As I said, I love this con and Mr. Romance was one thing that made it stand out from all the others. Without it, what makes it special? What makes it different than...RomCom or RWA Nationals or Authors After Dark or (for those of us who write genre romance) DragonCon or World Con or World Fantasy? Every author and reader has to make choices on where their promotional dollar goes, and cons are expensive. As far as registration and promotion goes, RT might be the most expensive. To be fair, someone's going to be most expensive, and it might as well be them. But at a certain point, if RT loses what makes it unique, what is going to encourage authors and readers to spend the extra to attend?

I want to have faith that the powers-that-be have something planned to make RT stand out since they're doing away with the Mr. Romance competition, but I don't know them well enough to say that for certain. The best I can do is hope that something awesome will take its place, because I'd hate to see RT become just another con.

Monday, July 11, 2011

No. You Buy It Like This...

There's been a lot of talk from authors online about how to buy their books. Basically the push is something like this: buy in print, buy at an indie bookseller, buy it the first week. Basically, the argument is that those things will help drive sales and increase the likelihood of hitting the NYT bestseller list.


Maybe I'm silly, but to be honest, I'm just happy people are buying my books. Buy it wherever you want. Buy it in print or digital. Buy it on release week or buy it a year after it releases. No matter how you buy it, I make royalties on it. Now, to be fair if everyone waits until a year later to buy a given book, you can bet that publisher isn't going to want anything else from me. So if you want more books from an author, that is something to consider, but as long as everyone isn't waiting that long, it doesn't really hurt me as an author.

Again...I'm just happy that you're buying my books.

However, in an effort to be totally upfront with people about what an author makes, I'm going to break some things down for you with regard to how it works for digital publishing. Keep in mind that you can care about this information or not. Some people have asked me in the past where they should buy to make me the most money, so I figure rather than doing this individually, I'll put it all here.

- A digitally published author makes the most money if you buy directly from the publisher's site. It can be as much as twice as much money for the author.

- Depending on how a contract is written, third party sites vary in how much an author makes back from a sale. Some of my contracts, I make a percent of the cover price (a lower percent than at the publisher's site). Other contracts give me a percentage of what the publisher gets back from the third party site. Since the sites dictate what percent they keep, my sales at Amazon under those contracts make me a different amount than my sales at, say, All Romance eBooks.

- The author profit on print-on-demand books is very low compared to cover price, and is in fact lower than their profit on digital copies of full-length novels. (This one shocked the hell out of me, but after it was all explained, it made a degree of sense.)

Yeah, there are things readers can do to ensure the author makes as much money as possible when they buy an ebook. But you know what? Buy it however you want. As an author, I'd rather you buy my work from wherever the heck you want, as long as you're buying it. (Pirating is another issue and goes back to a similar issue as everyone waiting to buy an ebook until a year after its release--no one makes money off pirating and if no one makes money a publisher isn't going to want more from that author.)

So, thank you to everyone who has bought my books, wherever and whenever you chose to buy them. I hope you enjoyed them, and I appreciate the support. I'm pretty sure most authors I know feel the same.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Home Again...for a Little While

For those of you who didn't know, I got to tag along with my husband on a business trip last week. Since I had to cancel the convention I'd planned to attend later this summer due to an eight-fold increase in costs, he hoped this would make up for it a little bit.

Our first night in Frankfurt, while stumbling around, hunting for food, we stumbled on the last night of a street festival celebrating Spanish-Germans. A rather interesting mix, in my opinion, but really, who can argue with bratwurst, pilsner and chorizos? Plus the music was fabulous :)

The next day we wandered... a lot. We saw a church, the museum of natural history...a whole bunch of stuff, but probably my favorite was something really kind of simple and "quiet". On the Eiserner Steg Bridge, there were padlocks everywhere. To be honest, I've seen a lone lock or two on a bridge before, but never so many (there were hundreds all together). Apparently this is a common thing that people in love do to symbolize their affection.

The next day we were off to Baden Baden, where the hubs had to go to work. I took a lovely walk through town (in sweltering heat while hoping for the A/C to kick on in the hotel--no such luck...horrible A/C there). But I found this lovely view along the river.

The heat in Baden Baden killed me (I do not like heat, especially not humid heat), so I don't have a lot of great pics from there. Then we left to hit some sights on the way to the airport. Our planned stop at Mummelsee didn't work out, but we did make it to Heidelberg Castle. It had the biggest keg I've ever seen :P

[caption id="attachment_749" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Yes, it was so big that there was no angle where I could get the whole thing in the picture."][/caption]

(Apologies. Wordpress has decided I'm no longer allowed to center things. *grumble*) The highlight of my first full day in Poland was definitely the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Over the years, the miners have carved art into the salt and it is quite simply breathtaking.

[caption id="attachment_750" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="The largest of the chapels in the mine. The picture doesn't begin to do it justice."][/caption]

Back in Krakow for the night, we went out to dinner and then made our way to a bar to sit outside and people watch. Of course, the view didn't hurt either.

The next day we went to Wawel Hill to tour the castle and grounds. There were a ton of things to look at there, but my favorite was the Dragon's Lair. There's a legend about the dragon of Krakow, and we all know what a sucker I am for legends...and dragons.

[caption id="attachment_752" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Sadly the picture I have of it breathing fire looks weird because of the wind :("][/caption]

Then it was off to the airport to go back to Frankfurt. While we did sleep there, we decided to go back to Heidelberg the next day since we wanted to see more of it than the Castle. Most people know I'm not a history buff, but at Heidelberg University we found the single coolest historical site I've ever seen. It's called the Student Prison, and I could have spent hours there (and curse myself for all the German I've forgotten since high school).

[caption id="attachment_753" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I really want to write a story about a place like this--as soon as I find the time. *sigh*"][/caption]

We'd run into a woman that morning who was heading to the "Philosophers Way" for a walk. After doing some shopping and sightseeing, we decided we'd do it on our way back (basically making a circle of Heidelberg). There's one thing none of the maps and stuff tell you about the Philosophers Way. There is an easy way to get there and a hard way. The easy way is this nice gentle slope up the mountain. The hard way is called the Winding Path as it takes you on a nice steep, twisty trail up the mountain. We...took the hard way, so by the time we got to the top I wasn't feeling very philosophical, just very asthmatic :P The view was fabulous though.

[caption id="attachment_754" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="View through the trees of Heidelberg Castle, Old Bridge, and some of the surrounding area."][/caption]

After that, we returned to Frankfurt for our last night. It was the end of some women's soccer/football thing, so in the midst of our Frankfurt bar-hop, there were also fireworks. It was a fabulous way to end the trip!

[caption id="attachment_755" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="One of several bars we visited that last night. "][/caption]