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Guest Post at A Writer’s Naughty Thoughts

Today I’m over at Kathryn Blake’s blog talking about what inspired me to become an author and giving a little peak into my latest release, Nocturnal Surrender. Come on over and tell us what inspires you. And if you want to know more about the hero, Bastian Evanko, head on over to Paranormal Cravings to read his character interview if you haven’t already.

 

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The Stigma of Erotica and Erotic Romance

I guess we have another hurdle to get over as authors. First we had to deal with the stigma of writing romance and how it was considered less than other genres. Then we had to deal with the stigma of self-publishing—for those of us who have gone that route. Now we have a new stigma to deal with: writing erotica or erotic romance and having it shunned because people think it’s nothing more than written pornography.

I know we still have the first two stigmas, but I think they have been getting better lately. And I believe they will keep getting better. With the third, who knows, maybe the whole 50 Shades explosion will help lift erotic romance and erotica up out of the gutter some would like to shove them in.

To me, comparing erotica—with plots just like any other story—and erotic romance to pornography is like comparing a wonderful sex scene in a movie to a porno. Pornography is fine—I like pornography. It has its place and time. Although, I would like to see more geared toward women, but I think our day is coming.

But erotica and erotic romance is far from pornography. Pornography usually doesn’t have a well-thought-out plot and is—as expected—completely about the sex act. Good erotica does have that plot and the sex is there to help enhance the plot. It is the same for erotic romance. None of those stories are merely about sex.

I wouldn’t want to push anything erotic on someone who didn’t want it, but when I try looking for places to post my free book or to get reviews and they tell me, “Sorry, no erotica,” it kind of pisses me off. They’ll take anything else, any other genre, but oh my, if there’s an explicit sex scene or two the world must be coming to an end.

Those same places that refuse erotica or erotic romance have no problem hosting horror with all kinds of killing and violence. It’s just like media in general. We can show all the violence imaginable, but the minute sex is involved the censors come out screaming. Blow someone’s brains out, but you better not give them a blow job first. (I also love horror and don’t want an end to that genre; I’m just trying to make a point.)

Ooh, speaking of BJs, did anyone watch CNN’s New Year’s Eve show? I loved it when Kathy Griffin kept threatening to give Anderson Cooper a blow job. Now that was some good TV.

Okay, I could rant about this forever, but I’d like to know what you guys think about the subject. Please leave a comment and weigh in.

I say it’s time we shout loudly from the top of a mountain, “I write erotic romance (and/or erotica) and I am not ashamed. My books should be right there beside all the others.”

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in My Writing, Writing

 

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I just had to share this awesome post. Be sure to check out the whole thing. You’ll laugh and learn at the same time–or at least be reminded of some of the things you shouldn’t do when writing. Sometimes we get so lost in our stories, so caught up with enthusiasm that we forget simple things like this.

Michelle Proulx -- The Website

I’m in a teaching mood today, so I have decided to share with you my thoughts on paragraph writing. And no, this sudden propensity for wisdom-dispensing has nothing to do with the fact that I have a project due and I don’t want to work on it. Stop judging me!

Paragraph Tip #1 — Long paragraph is loooooong

You know what’s super annoying to read? Really long paragraphs. I’ve picked up so many books that have paragraphs last a page or more, and when I see this, I can’t help but think, “Why? Why you do this?”

I’ll prove my point. Read the following paragraph:

They ran towards me, screaming that the building was going to collapse in mere minutes. I didn’t believe them. I knew for a fact that the donut library in the basement was built on extremely strong foundations that would stand up against even the harshest…

View original post 928 more words

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Writing

 

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My Inspiration for Becoming an Author

Ever wonder what gave your favorite author the spark to make them want to write? I have, and for most it seems reading was the key. But it was different for me.

So what was it that inspired me to write?

Would you believe me if I told you it was a TV show?

Eh, maybe that’s not such a strange thing. I’m sure other writers have been inspired by TV shows. In truth, maybe it wasn’t the show itself as much as it was the actor’s portrayal of the main character. He pulled me in—as I now know he did to countless others—and made me love his character.

The show was Moonlight, and the actor was Alex O’Loughlin. If you haven’t seen his work, you should—and not only because he looks good shirtless. He is an amazing actor and an all-around good guy. Oh, and did I mention the sexy Australian accent? Hmm, wonder why one of the heroes in my series is an Aussie? I have no idea.

Slide1

Alex O’Loughlin

I’ve loved vampires ever since seeing the movie Interview with the Vampire. I hadn’t read a vampire novel before that but I ran out to gather up the first three in Anne Rice’s series. Come on. Who doesn’t love Lestat?

Still, that never inspired me to write.

It was the vampire PI, Mick St. John, on Moonlight who captured my heart enough to make me want to write. To actually publish. To give someone else the same enjoyment I’d received from my new obsession with all things vampire.

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Alex as Mick St. John

I started like a lot of others, with fan fiction. My Moonlight fanfic was very well received, though it was a long way from the type of writing I would need in order to publish. But it was my start.

From there, I learned all I could about writing—but that is for a future post.

My first manuscript, which is still not fit to see the light of day, was a cross between Interview and Moonlight. I wanted to create a Mick St. John mixed with Lestat—and I did. If I’d only known how to write back then, it might have been great. I hope to rewrite it someday, but I had to leave it behind for now in order to keep moving forward.

At some point I discovered paranormal romance novels. Then erotic paranormal romance. I was hooked. Kresley Cole’s Immortals after Dark Series was an immediate favorite.

My first manuscript did have some wonderful romantic scenes in it, but the fact that the hero and heroine never ended up together meant it was absolutely not a romance.

I eventually decided to write an erotic paranormal romance novel with some of the characters from that original work. This is where Night Therapy, an upcoming novel in my Nocturnal Surrender Series, came from. I started it a while ago, put it on hold and wrote the three novelettes/novellas that precede it in the series, and am now back to working on it again—although, my upcoming surgery will affect the release by at least a month or two. I’m still hoping for a spring release, but it may be early summer.

I have many other stories I’ve begun, but they have been put on hold because the vampires in The Nocturnal Surrender Series are my favorite. They want to come to life. They’re in my head, banging around, yelling at me to let them out. Yes, writers can be a little crazy with their imaginary friends.

Now what was the point I was trying to make? Oh, yeah. That’s right. It’s that inspiration can strike from anywhere, and when it does, you need to grab onto it and let it take you for an amazing ride. I know I’m glad I did.

So what inspires you in life, whether it is to write or to do anything else?

 

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Should You Self-Publish

Although it was probably clear from my post about publishing my first book, I’ll put it out there just to make sure there’s no confusion. I am self-publishing. Going indie, if you will. 

I chose to take this route a while back and never even considered submitting to publishers. It wasn’t because I thought my writing wouldn’t be good enough, but rather I didn’t want to bang my head against a wall for years waiting for someone to deem me worthy so they could take the majority of my profits. 

Granted, many will argue that my books would sell better with the backing of a publisher since they would be able to reach a greater audience. I’m not disputing that. But I’m happy with the path I chose—maybe partly because I’m a bit of a control freak and couldn’t stomach the thought of someone else being in charge of my cover, approving my title, and possibly wanting to change things in the stories that I don’t want to change. 

That said, my editor is wonderful and will tell me when something doesn’t work or make sense, or just plain sucks. And I will listen—usually. Why wouldn’t I when she’s only trying make my books better? Kind of a no-brainer. And let me tell you, I found an amazing editor, Holly D. Atkinson, but I’ll talk about her—and editors in general—in another post. 

(Hey, speak of the devil. As I was writing this, she emailed me with a link to this awesome post about editors. You have to check it out.) Now back to what I was trying to say before I was interrupted. Love you, Holly. 😉 

Sure, it may take longer to build a readership going it alone, but I really believe it will be worth it in the end. And in truth, I’m not in this alone. I have a great network of support from my editor, other authors, readers, online friends, and the people in my life. 

Self-publishing is definitely not for everyone. If you only want to write and not be bothered with all the other things—or don’t feel you have or want to learn the necessary skills to do those things—then traditional publishing is probably best for you. But make no mistake, you will still have to network and do much—if not all—of your own promotion. Sucks, I know. 

What other things am I talking about? Either hiring people or doing the following yourself: 

  •       EDITING, EDITING, EDITING—can you tell this is extremely important and better left to the professionals if you can afford it?
  •       Cover design—remember, people do judge a book by its cover.
  •       Book formatting—oh, and they also judge it by its formatting.
  •       Website design—yes, this is a necessity nowadays, especially if you self-publish since most of your sales will be from eBooks so therefore everything is internet based. Although, you’d have this one even if you published traditionally. 

I’m sure I probably forgot something, but if I did, feel free to point it out and I’ll add it.

If you don’t feel up to the task of being your own little business, this isn’t the path for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy doing it all, then you may prefer self-publishing. 

The biggest thing to remember is that doing it yourself is a slow process. You need a backlist of books to garner more sales. Obviously, this takes time. This is the biggest reason I decided to start my series with a trilogy of novelettes before I break out the novels. That and the fact those stories lent themselves to that length. 

In traditional publishing there is a big push when your book is first released, then sales tend to drop off until finally your book is no longer on the shelves—unless you’re a big name author. But with self-publishing the greater sales come farther into your career, and hopefully, instead of dropping off significantly, they will have a resurgence with each new release. Because guess what, that virtual shelf on Amazon or whatever site you sell through will always have your eBook in stock. 

So which approach sounds right for you? Is anyone out there toying with the idea of self-publishing? If yes, why? If no, why do you prefer traditional? Anyone else want to share their publishing journey—whether self or traditional?

Let’s have a friendly discussion. Neither way is right or wrong.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in My Writing, Publishing, Self-Publishing

 

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The Not-So-Simple Process of Publishing my First Book

TNSS: Book 1

After my little motorcycle fiasco, it was time to buckle down and get my first novelette, Nothing Lasts Forever, out there. I’d written it rather slowly, working on it and the other two opening novelettes of The Nocturnal Surrender Series at the same time—something I probably won’t do again. Problem was, each story built on the previous one, so if something new happened in an earlier one that I hadn’t counted on, I then had to go back and change the follow ups. What a mess.

I tend to need to work on several projects at once—even when it’s my art or crocheting. Don’t ask me why. The only thing I can come up with is a short attention span. I think I’ll accomplish this from now on by working on books from different series at the same time rather than more than one in the same series.

Anyway, after I had Nothing Lasts Forever hammered out pretty well, I sent it off to a critique partner and a couple of beta readers. Edits upon edits, fixing things that were unclear or just didn’t work, etc. and it was finally ready for the editor. After three rounds back and forth…still not ready for release.

Why? Because after all the edits, there’s bound to be mistakes, typos, and words left out from the editing process. So, back to one of my betas for a proofread, as well as a printout for me to proofread. Then, once I fixed the errors we found, I converted my file to kindle. Two more read-throughs and I found a few more corrections to make. Finally, I was done and ready to release my baby to the world.

Time it took for the entire editing process: way longer than it took to write it. Honestly, I could write a novelette in a week or two if I only worked on the one project, but that same story would take a minimum of four to six weeks to edit—and even then there will still be problems. We’re only human, and after you’ve read over something so many times, you miss simple little things. But how many people can you really have look over a book? That was five people, and I bet even if there were ten there would still be mistakes.

For anyone new to writing, I don’t want you to think this was the beginning of my writing career. It’s not that simple. You don’t just write a story, edit, and release. This was the culmination of years of work, practice, learning the craft, and working with critique partners. But all that is for another post.

Now, when it came time to release Nothing Lasts Forever, I was excited. I had my converted file and my beautiful cover—which I designed. I headed straight over to Amazon—I’d already set up my account weeks before so I wouldn’t have to worry about it when I was ready to release the book—and I uploaded my files. Then…I sat there, frozen.

Holy hell, was I really about to do this? All of the sudden I was terrified. My hands shook, my pulse raced. I think I might have even held my breath for a few seconds. It probably took at least five minutes before I hit the button to publish, but I finally did it. The fear subsided quickly enough, thank goodness, but then I knew I wasn’t going to do any major promo for a while so not too many people would be reading it yet.

I published that first book of The Nocturnal Surrender Series back in September and I’m just now venturing into the promo arena—again, another post. The second novelette, Nocturnal Surrender, is almost ready for release. The third, Midnight Confessions, is in the editing process now. The first novel of the series, Night Therapy, is about a quarter of the way written.

Pretty easy, write, edit, design, release. Rinse and repeat. Yeah, if only it was that simple. And don’t get me started on how many versions of the covers I went through learning that process—yet another future post. I sometimes wonder how authors put out so many books—even shorter ones—in a year. I think that even if I was a full-time writer I’d never be able to do more than three or four a year. Although, it would be nice to find out some day.

For more information on the book and the series, and for the Amazon link, please visit The Nocturnal Surrender Series website.

Anyone else care to share their experience with their first book release? Any readers or writers have questions about the process I went through?

 

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Trying Something New

I’ve decided to–as the title of this post suggests–try something new. I’ve done the whole blog thing before, but I never truly enjoyed it so I stopped. It was mostly because I had no idea what to blog about. I streamlined everything, got rid of my regular blog, and–until today–only blogged on my official website, and then only about updates on my books. I still intend to do that for people who want those updates, but I think I’m ready to expand into more personal blogging, too. And now I feel like I have something to say since I’ve been at this whole writing thing for a while–and have started publishing my books.

This has been a year of firsts for me, from buying my first motorcylce to publishing my first book. Problem was, the whole motorcycle thing didn’t work out as good as the book thing.

I had no idea how to ride, and was determined to learn, but I really don’t think I’m coordinated enough. I ended up losing my balance, dropping my beautiful bike, and breaking my foot. Needless to say, I’m content being a passenger–for now.

Here’s a picture of my baby. My husband has named her Bitch, but I’m okay with that. He says she’s a rough ride and beats him up so that’s why she got the name.

Bitch: 2006 Yamaha V Star Classic: AKA, My Baby

Bitch: 2006 Yamaha V Star Classic: AKA, My Baby

Even though I missed out on the latter half of the summer due to my broken foot, I’m glad I tried. Yes, trying something new is sometimes scary–and possibly dangerous–but I’d rather not wonder what if when I look back years from now. Instead, I’ll be laughing at myself for lying there on the pavement in pain, asking my husband, “Is the bike okay?”

As for publishing my first book. Like I said, that went much smoother than the whole bike thing, but I think I’ll save that for my next post.

So has anyone else had any firsts this year to share? Anyone else do something crazy like I did with my motorcycle?

And does anyone know if motorcycles are like cars and referred to as female? Or is that just because it’s usually guys saying it? I thought my bike was a male, but maybe not. I mean, it was between my… Never mind.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in General, Motorcycles

 

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