Monday, December 28, 2015

Dominating Her Intern Audio Book is Live!

I'm a little late on this one! Dominating Her Intern is now an audio book! While some of the narrator's other stuff I didn't care for, I thought she was a perfect fit for a femdom book. Her voice is smokey and husky, a little deep, and just perfect for a mistress. Of course, most of the Dominating books are from the male POV, and this IS a female narrator... I think it's a great choice as the men who may be listening will want to hear their mistress' voice! You can purchase the audio book direct from Audible or from Amazon.

Hump on Inn LIVE on Amazon!

The next book in the "Witches of Back End" series Hump on Inn is LIVE on Amazon! Instead of having a single lead character, I'm choosing to have several leads with this one, no more than three or four at the most. It gives me a little bit of variety in the same series without deviating from the storyline, which is being given in bits and pieces. There's definitely something afoot in the sleepy town of Back End! We'll find out bit by bit.

I'm not sure how long this series will end up being. It does have a definite end. It may only be five or six books... or it may be a dozen. It just depends on how long I take to get to it!

Anyway, in this book we center on Selena, who we saw in Knob Jobs and Broomsticks. She's the owner and operator of the Beltane, the local bed and breakfast in Back End which just happens to be situated on the beginning of a ley line of lust. When the protective wards go down around it and faerie folk start having their wicked way with guests of the inn, can Selena use her witchy wiles to stop them?

It was a fun write, and a good palette cleanser after The Prince of Cups. That was dark. Dark, dark, dark. Now we go to another dark series: Delilah. But, for now, enjoy the light hearted romp!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Smut for Your Ears

Villainess: The Queen of Swords AUDIObook went live today, which was amazing. It was a lot of fun working with the producer, who nailed Caprice's voice completely, I think. Jotham did up a audio book cover for it since the dimensions are different than an ebook. Now I REALLY need to investigate putting a sidebar up on here to show all the different buy links! Just really, really busy at work at my day job and in writing.

For those who don't know, I am writing a story set in the Villainess world except told from Nosferatu's POV. I'm tentatively calling it "The Razor's Edge" and it's being written for an erotica anthology. The central theme of the anthology is "erotic transformation", and I thought a guy who transforms into a vampire is a pretty good transformation, right? I have a deadline on that one, so I have to get that done first before publishing anything else on my own.

The next one I'm working on is about half done though, and the cover is 99% done, so it should be out fast! This would be the next Witches of Back End book, and after that the next Delilah Devilshot. Then, all of my series will have at least two books out thus indicating to the people who read them that yes, I am planning on continuing all of them... because I am.

I am going to probably put a hard limit on a couple of the series though.

  • Villainess has 16 books. No more, no less. The reason for this is because I am writing the books based on the courts of the tarot. There are 16 court cards, thus, 16 books.
  • Rock Hardin will probably have 9 or 10. It depends on how many covers Jotham has done. I am not one to waste his work, and while my illustrator dictates what it's about and the name of the book, I still write it. He just made all of these REALLY awesome covers, and I want to use them! So far he's only made 9 or 10, and I'm going to try to keep him to JUST 9 or 10!
  • The Janus Key Chronicles will end on a zero: 20/30/40 etc. The reason for that is the bundling I have planned for them... it only works if it ends on a zero. If I run out of steam on it, then it'll be 20. I'm guessing it'll probably be around book 30 that I finally quit the JKC. It's fun to write, cute, and stress relieving for me. Plus I have a ton of titles for it planned. 
  • The Delilah Devilshot series will go until there's no more story to tell. I have NO idea when that will be. However, since I know it'll be about six books until she gets the guns she'll be known for... and there's seven riders to track down who killed her family... plus stuff I have in my head and I can't spoil for you guys... it could be a long, long series. I'm going to aim for novellas for those, if not novels, but they'll be as long as they'll be.
  • The Witches of Back End I'm not sure on. It would be symmetrical to have it be 9, but I just don't know. There's sort of a metaplot, but not really? It's a light write too, so it's not like heavy and plot intensive. I'm guessing 9 will likely be my cut off, right around there, but that one is really up in the air.
Now I do have other series, anthology series, which may get added to as time goes on. Dominating Her Man is done. That one is finito, end of story. I would be ok with leaving Wantonly Wicked where it is, but I have other ideas for erotic horror which may come up. I really want at LEAST one more Cosmic Erotic so I can make a bundle of the three. Mythic Erotica is slow writing, because they are all bunches of short stories put together. I have started the next one, but the starting is research. It'll be a while before I start writing that one. While it will continue, each of those could stand as stand alones simply because they are so different, exploring different cultures and legends.

Bryce and I have some ideas for a collaboration, but we're still both writing our own stuff, without much time to actually collaborate. Hopefully after things slow down here IRL I will be able to be more with it to knock ideas around again and get them down on paper.

That be it for now!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Prince of Cups Release Event News Report

Yes, I get Dark Phoenix, eater of
asparagus people.
Well.... not really news, but sorta? I guess as much news as this blog gets.

The Prince of Cups is out! (PS--go buy it!) I think the event went pretty well. Seven other authors came to help with takeovers, and they were all pretty nice. One was Bryce, of course, who is my writer BFF, but I'd consider a few of the others as friends too, or at least getting to be.

"Bloom" = Poison Ivy. DO YOU
One thing that I want to give a shout out right now is to Kim, who is my biggest supporter. If you were there at the event, you saw her all gung ho not just on my posts, but on other authors as well. That was really awesome of her. And when I make a street team (which will be SOON, Jebus, I have to get organized!), she'll be like the dictatoress. I'll just give her shit to read and let her go. XD

I also want to give a big shout out to Bryce, who poked and prodded me into doing it. Without his prodding, it wouldn't have happened, and I wouldn't have had my biggest sales day ever. Which was seven books. Two of which were Operation: Thrustmaster, so I'm still WTFing over that since I haven't advertised it in months, save for the Cyber Monday sale I had.

The Black Queen may not be as well known as the
White Queen, but she's sexier IMO. Plus, she eats people.
And is telekinetic. And was worshipped as a goddess in
Nova Roma. Selene just kicks ass.
So, in doing this event, I had decided I was going to make "welcome" images for each of the authors (including myself) and each one would be a villainess, in keeping with the theme! Since I'm a comic book geek, and Villainess draws heavily from comic culture, I went with Marvel and DC villainesses. The pics I made are scattered through out the post here, so it's not just a big block of fucking text.

Cathy Jackson started off the event, and I was real excited... everyone's energy was up, and it was like really fun! And then she kept doing giveaways and I was like, "But I wanna know about your book...." She got Poison Ivy cause her book series was named "Bloom"... get it? Poison Ivy? Bloom?Anyway, the giveaways are nice, but I honestly just didn't know anything about her writing at all, so I was a bit disappointed to leave still not knowing about it.

Hey, she takes on the Green Lantern, so... you know.
JC Winchester came next, and I think all of our energy died down after the first OMG EVENT push, so I'm thinking the first spot in an event is a really important one. If they weren't so early and if I didn't have to always work overnights, I would try to get a first spot. I gave him Selene, the Black Queen, and then had the amusement of explaining to Bryce who Selene was, telling him she was in the Hellfire Club with the White Queen in days gone by, and he thought the White Queen was just an Alice in Wonderland reference. So noted not to take anyone's knowledge of things for granted!

I could have found a "sexier" picture of Catwoman,
but I liked this one.
I thought JC's section went pretty well. It was during this time that Sakura messaged me saying she was going to be about ten minutes late. Well... that derped me for a second until I thought of Bryce's live writing event, so I thought I'd blather on for ten minutes while Sakura picked up her partner and got home. I gave her Star Sapphire, and was disappointed she didn't know who she was! But she liked the picture, and I think she'd like Star Sapphire too. Plus, she wrote some kinky sci-fi space opera erotica that I really enjoyed, so a space villainess made sense to me.

I think at this point people were getting into the groove of the takeover, even some of us (myself included) are still inexperienced at it. The day of the event I had a work meeting at 9 AM to go to, which lasted an hour and a half. That gave me an hour and half after I got home to prepare, no big, right? Well, I forgot to write my introductions for people, so the ten minutes before the event started I was researching the authors like MAD trying to get something together. The first hour was spent getting the rest of their introductions written, and trying to keep up with people's postings. Whether people noticed that I liked every comment and posted on nearly every post an author posted or not, I felt it was polite and right to do so.

Anyway, with Sakura I was glad BJ was there to help support her too. And she mentioned the review I gave her as a Naughty Book Snitch, which was cool as that highlighted both of us. And lol, I guess people trust my opinion? XD I hope so! If not, well, fuck 'em.

After Sakura was Reed James, who's a big sweetheart. He's written a billion books. I'm serious! If you count them all, and know his pen names, he's written a billion of them. He has to be the fastest writer I know, and I'm not a slow writer. From what I gathered, he's been doing this for a couple years, so he's an old hat at publishing. I haven't seen too much promotion on Facebook yet, but I could have been missing it too. He also does his own covers. Reed pulled out a fantastic idea of making a quiz based on his own books, which I thought was brilliant. It encourages people to check his books out.

After Reed was Mary, who like Cathy, was a practical stranger for me. From what I've seen she's a romance author, or erotic romance author. Still not quite sure. And the reason I'm not quite sure is because this was where my not-much-sleep-early-rising self was starting to get loopy. I'm really sorry about that, but looking at the posts, I don't think I embarrassed myself too much.

After Mary was Yolanda Olson. Now I peg Yolanda as a horror writer, but she writes erotic horror. She's got an event coming up that's an erotic horror "motorcycle club" book... and I'm wtfing on how that's going to be done. However, looking at the shit I've written--ghouls, I mean, really me? Ghouls? With romance? And sexy times?--I can't really say anything. I still think of her as a horror writer, after having read Hollow. I wasn't impressed with the plot, because it was a bit disjointed, but the mood was fucking dark and creepy and sad as hell, and that part I loved. Once I get through my pile of TBR books (which keeps growing), I have to pick up another of hers to check it out more thoroughly.

Anyway, I would consider her a friend just because we do have so much in common. Like seriously, this serial killer party idea is a great one. I would totally go. Yolanda's another "old hat" at the events, and she surprised me by saying she just kinda goes with the flow and doesn't have anything necessarily preplanned out! I was surprised because it seemed like she went pretty well, and it was all professional like. Her people also came out to support her, and you could really see the different having a set of people who enjoy your books supporting you vocally looks like. Her fan group, Arsenic & Lace, is pretty active and it shows that you don't have to have an alliteration name for a fan group name. Yes, that's what I'm still stuck on myself. I know it's dumb.

One of the things she did which made me go "AWWW" was that she gave away one of MY books, which was like, "Aw, damn girl!" When I asked her about it, she said she felt it was the polite thing to do, and that it was the least she could do. That was awesome of her. Really nice.

Last, before me, was Bryce. He got Harley since he's got a thing for her. :P That's when Yolanda said she was jellies, heh. As always, he was smooth, and he went over his Octogirl series since that's my favorite of his (and it is). Bryce was there on and off during the event. He would have been there more, but he was sick, which is perfectly understandable. I'm still waiting for his review of Prince, but there's no rush. I think that might be my downfall for self-promotion. "Oh, yes, it would be lovely if you bought my stuff, but no rush." He's one of my biggest supporters, and I am saving the message he sent me when he got his ARC of Prince: "holy fucking shitballs. I guess it's my turn to be jealous of you." Reviews are good, sales are good, but man... that compliment was awesome. XD

Then, my turn. Alex and Mindy, two of my other biggest supporters, made sure to show up at this time. I chat with Alex off and on at work, as he's in Australia so we share the same schedule. XD Mindy is Mindy Book Snitch, she of the funny and awesome reviews. I feel really lucky to have people support me like that, and not just them, but everyone mentioned. One thing I can say I've observed about the indie author community is that for the most part, people are really supportive of each other. Sometimes to the point of mutual masturbation, but still. Supportive.

I like that. I think it's a good environment to foster creativity, so long as criticism keeps its place. The day you get yelled at for being critical is the day that growth dies. That's one thing I do get scared of sometimes, because I have an acid tongue especially when it comes to concrit (constructive criticism). I am trying to be nicer about it, but still critical. I don't give out five stars unless I really and truly think the author deserves it. I don't do one stars that often either.

However, when it comes to promotion? Yeah, you want people who are going to rave and gush over your stuff, who will say positive things. And those who bring criticism to an event? No. Big ass no. That's just shooting yourself in the foot, and it's a dick thing to do. So even though I haven't read Cathy's or Mary's or JC's stuff, I still put a positive spin on what I DID know of them, to try and help people get excited!

Overall observations was that it went well, but I should have done some more prep. I think some authors were much better at presenting themselves than others. I also think that while games and shit are fun, when you're selling a book... sell the fucking book. I always put a giveaway attached to the "name your favorite villain" game, try to get people to Like my page, and interact with them as well. I think those things are the whole point. You're there to get people to like your shit, to sell your books, and to interact with people and make them fans.

I think I've covered all of this to infinity and beyond, so I'm out for now.

Villainess #2: The Prince of Cups is LIVE on Amazon!

I was so busy running the event for its opening that I forgot to post here that it was live! Yes, Villainess #2: The Prince of Cups is LIVE on Amazon. Now that I'm calming down from meeting the deadline, I'm going through and actually reading it and being kind of amazed that it came out so smoothly. I don't know if other authors have that sensation? Of course, now that I'm not trying to be critical, I see things I want to change as I'm reading, heh. I just make note of it, and move on.

The cover is beautiful. It's not as nice as the Queen of Swords one, but it's in the same style. It may change slightly, as I'm not quite 100% satisfied with it. I think it's alright though, and I'm still proud to say that my illustrator makes the best covers ever.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Running Your Event on Facebook

Boring title. Ah, well.

Now that I've come down off of the high and madness of getting The Prince of Cups released, I can share some of my observations from this whole self-promotion thing from both sides of the event thing: attending an author takeover at someone else's event, and running your own.

Author Takeover
Bryce has a blog, and he's listed a lot of the tips and hints there that I will repeat.

  • Invite everyone. Even if it's just for an hour... invite them. That's why you're friends with them on Facebook. The thing is...I know it feels like spam. It does. But the thing is I get invited to them all the time. I check to see who is going, and what time it is (I have a very narrow window for these things), and as an author, I check to see if any event spots are still open. So, if you are an author on Facebook and you have a takeover, invite everyone... especially if there are slots still open. You are helping other authors too that way!
  • Prewrite the segments you are going to go over. Have them in a separate document ready to go. I usually attach a picture to them when I post them so I know which is which when I see the pop-ups. Write an introduction, A THANK YOU FOR THE AUTHOR HOSTING THE EVENT (we'll go more on that later), the segments for your book(s), have your excerpt ready to go, and another thank you. If you have it ready, it's much easier to simply copy and paste it.
  • Pic out the books you are going to promote. If, like me, you have a lot... pick a couple series and stick with it. Focus on one or two things and it'll be more effective.
  • If you are having a giveaway, be sure to keep track of who enters and whatnot... and make them DO SHIT for entering. Usually I have them give my author page a like. Other authors have them sign up for a mailing list (I don't have one yet, which is another thing I need to change, sigh). If they are not somehow helping you to promote yourself, don't do a giveaway. There are a couple of ways you can do it. The first is gifting through Amazon. This runs the chance they may take the money from the gift and buy something else. It's happened to me a couple times. However, if they don't, it does help with your book rank on Amazon. This also costs you money, so the second option is to email them a .mobi or .doc file of your book. This costs you nothing! As a bonus, if they have a kindle, you can send it directly to their kindle via their kindle email address.
  • Don't forget to list all of your contact info: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. 
  • PACE YOURSELF. You want to run a more or less constant stream of information, but not so much that it overwhelms the readers, especially when you post something long like an excerpt. Give yourself time between posts to respond to people who are posting on your stuff, and stay interactive!
  • Bring people to the event. This goes back to inviting everyone. Even if it's just your BFF saying how awesome you are, it's good for people to see you being interactive and other people responding to that. The aim is to get people want to buy your book, so having friends in your corner cheering you on helps a lot.

Running an Event
  • You have all day. After a while, it gets tedious, trust me. Don't sweat taking a break for a few minutes.
  • At the same time, you need to be interactive. It's YOUR event. Ideally it's highlighting what you are doing or selling, and so people need to see you doing stuff and responding. Plus, it's nice to support the other authors, especially if they didn't bring people with them to the event. 
  • Be prepared for people to be late or not show. I've seen people do "reverse takeovers" during an hour where an author didn't show up to some success, and I know Bryce has done a live writing event before that went over pretty well. If nothing else, you can talk about why you're there and sell your stuff, or maybe take questions until the author shows.
  • Be sure to thank each author for showing up at the beginning and end of their hour, while you are introducing the next one. You don't HAVE to have a welcome and good bye pic, but it's good if you do.
  • Prewrite any introductions you do make, just like for a takeover of your own. If you have them ready, you will be less prone to being scatterbrained. 
  • Most of the author takeover stuff listed above also applies here to an extent. 
I don't know if anyone will read this and find this useful, but these are things I've found. And I can't stress enough that I learned everything I did by either learning from Bryce, or just doing it, but mostly the first. Ask questions of other authors you know, and find out what works for them so you can create your own style!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Independent Publishing Vs. Traditional Publishing

It occurs to me that there's really one or two big differences between indie publishing and traditional publishing. In traditional publishing, you of course, submit your manuscript and they, the publishers, decide if they want to publish it. You have less control over your book, but you also have access to editors, which help to polish and shape your book, giving it a smooth, professional read, as well as a professionally done cover. But as a book reader? You wait forever for them to come out. It's not just the time the author takes in writing them, but sending it back and forth between the writer and the editor, making changes and resubmitting, approving the cover, and so on. It can stretch into months after the manuscript is written!

Independent authors who are self-publishing pretty much do everything on their own. I think they're a bit more frazzled, but a lot more in control. Unless they hire an illustrator and a publicist, they do their own covers, and their own promotions. Unless they hire an editor or have a friend do it for them, they do their own editing, which means a book may not be as polished and smooth as it could be. However, they can turn around and put several books out a year, since they can spend their time writing, and don't have to wait for the editor's say so on what needs to be changed or not. THEY decide what needs to be changed. They decide how much promotion to put in. They decide on the cover. They are a lot more involved with their book, from beginning to end. In general, they are able to put out books faster than in traditional publishing.

I don't know which is better. I would love to be popular enough to get a contract with one of the big five, but I'm good doing it all myself too (and Jotham, of course). I like being in control of the entire project, from start to finish, but it would be nice to have someone else take over and do the promotion stuff (I am really bad at it, but I'm getting better).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finding Your Character's Voices

This is inspired by a fellow writer's words to me, upon reading the first edited draft of The Prince of Cups. I'm going to quote part of what he said here, so that we're all on the same page.

What I find fascinating is that your characters are so different from mine, yet they're very real. Just as you're a very different person from me even though we get along well.

It's not just because they are born from separate heads, though of course that's a lot of it, but because our character's voices are vastly different. When writing from the third person limited or first person point of view, it's vitally important to find the lead character's voice, make it consistent, and make it unique. How exactly do you do that, though?

The first step is to know your character. Since I've been in Caprice's head for a month, I'm going to use her for an example. The questions I ask myself when I'm making a character go from the pretty vague to the very specific. First, what are her major personality traits? Well, she's a sociopath, but what does that mean exactly? It means she doesn't have empathy for other people. That leads to a lot of coldness in her voice, saying, "Yeah, this person is going to die. Oh well." She doesn't care. They aren't important to her, unless she needs something.

What's another trait? Well, she's vain. She knows she's good looking, and she wants to stay that way. It's not because of power or to use people, though she does use her looks to get what she wants, it's because she wants to be the best. Being the best to her means being good looking as well as powerful and smart.

Though there's more to her, those are a couple of broad strokes I can build off of. I can remember that she would be upset when someone rebukes her advances because hey, she's hot. I can put down how little she cares about someone else's pain (except to get off on, but that's another personality trait), and so on. Once I have a good sense of who she is as a person, I focus on what she does for a living. Working is a major part of a person's life. In this case, she's a hired killer or thief. Really, a hired thug for whatever dirty job. Is she picky about it? Are there things she wouldn't do? What would be her line?

If someone were say, an office worker, reasonable questions to ask about them would be if they liked their job, and why? Do they have an office romance or rivalry? Is there a task they don't like doing, but are forced to do anyway? ("Gonna need those TPS reports...") Do they steal from work? So on and so forth. Another thing to ask the character about--and by this point in my head I'm asking the character, not just myself anymore--is their family. Do they get along? Have a big family? Maybe they were an orphan. What family controversies were there, if any? What traditions? Do they miss their family, or do they talk to them?

In Caprice's case, she would answer something like, "I don't talk to my family. They don't have anything to do with who I am. I'm my own person." And she wouldn't say much more until pressed, at which point I knew she was sore about her family, for whatever reason. "I don't like my mother. She pushes, too much, too hard. She doesn't let me do things on my own. But I like my dad. He was just always there, you know? He didn't take sides. He was always there for both of us."

Now is where it gets fun. You have an idea about their life, what they do, and who is around them. Ask yourself this... what do they order for pizza? What's their favorite television show and why? What do they do for fun? Ask them any other questions you might ask someone in getting to know them. Favorite hobbies, interests, how they like their food, anything at all! In Caprice's case, she orders a large everything. She doesn't watch television, because she finds it a waste of time. And her work is fun for her... but talking about something else other than work, she likes people watching.

Getting a handle on their personality is vital to 'hearing' them. So when you get into the nitty gritty of describing their voice, you can tell if it's going to be soft or hard, whispery or loud, and so on. Do they have an accent? Are they from a particular area of the world? How they express themselves to others in the book is how they are going to express themselves to your readers. Are they guarded? Secretive? Open? Trusting? The main character's voice is going to set the whole tone for the book, and although it's important to hear all of the character's voices, the narrator is the most important.

In this case, Caprice speaks with no discernible accent, but she's confident. She doesn't have to raise her voice to be heard, but she can when she wants to. She's not particularly secretive, nor open. She has secrets that she keeps, but everything is an open book because why should she care? She knows she can take anyone down if she needs to. Her confidence spills over into arrogance, actually, which some might find endearing, and others might find bitchy. She doesn't care what they think, because the only one who matters is herself. Hence, the tone of the book is her finding the limits of her confidence and abilities. While she might get knocked down from time to time, she always comes back stronger. She's also sarcastic at times, which I get from her arrogance. She sneers at people because she views them as weaker than herself.

Might be a rambling post, but it was something I was thinking about anyway. A character's voice is only one part of a book, but it can be a major part. It's not even going into the MC being an unreliable narrator, which may lie directly to the audience. I may ramble on about that in a different post.