Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dominating Her Men vol. 3 the Audiobook LIVE on Audible!

That's right, the next volume of the femdom anthology series Dominating Her Men is now live on Audible with the ever catchy title Dominating Her Men vol. 3. I think the narrator, Audrey Lusk, did a fantastic job on these. Check it out!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Advertising Experiment, Update Two

It's taken me a long time to come back with some things which may be useful, but I'm back now!

During the first update, I kind of went over the stats and what the abbreviations meant. I did end that first campaign, and started a second a little while later. It's gotten better results the second time around. I DID change the wording on the ad a little. Here's a screen shot:

As you can see here, the "Queen 2" (second campaign) has gotten less impressions, but more clicks per impressions, resulting in two sales. I did change the wording slightly, as I mentioned above, but it wasn't anything major, simply trying to get as much information in the ad while trying to make it interesting. If you think writing blurbs is hard, writing a compelling ad is MUCH harder.

Honestly, I think what the difference is is timing. I started the first one in May, the second one in November, before black Friday. People weren't shopping for books over the summer... but NOW that they're shopping for Christmas? Yeah. I'm letting it run to the end of January (at least), but I'm feeling hopeful about it. I may not get many more sales, but it's showing you that people NOW are more willing to buy than they were in the summer.

One other note, I saw on Facebook the other day that an erotica author wanted to advertise on Amazon. I've gotta tell you guys: they don't advertise erotica. Queen is sci-fi/dark fantasy. There's a lot of erotic components to it, but you can take those out and still have a story. As the series has progressed, there's less and less sex in it (though there always will be some, no matter what) because the story and characterization has taken priority. So, if you have a book that's NON erotica, it may be worthwhile. If it's like Queen and has a lot of sexy parts IN it, but is a story still without the sex, get it classified in whatever category (sci-fi, romance, mystery, thriller, whatever) it would be without the sex, and advertise that... then you can also use that as a "gateway" book to your other erotica.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Knob Gobblin' Hobgoblins the Audiobook LIVE on Audible!

Yes, that's right, the fifth in the Janus Key Chronicles, Knob Gobblin' Hobgoblins the audiobook is now live on Audible! Audrey Lust does a great job with both the male and female voices, so you should pick it up and check it out!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The "Don't Like, Don't Read" Argument

Honestly, TV Tropes puts it better than I could ever, but here's my take on this.

When people use the "Well, if you don't like it, don't read it!" argument, a kitten dies somewhere. Only in a couple of cases is it ever valid. The vast majority of the time, the "don't like, don't read" argument is used when someone criticizes something a fan adores (or the author goes to defend, usually in fan fiction. I'd hope professional writers have more tact than to try to address criticism in any way other than merely to say "thank you for reading" and move on) because the person is expressing a differing, albeit oftentimes harsh, opinion.

Criticism is good. Being critical is good. Being able to graciously accept different opinions is good. I think people sometimes forget that in order to grow, we have to make mistakes, and everyone makes them. I also think people forget that art is subjective, and, while someone might not like what you create, getting different opinions on anything you create will help you to expand and grow. Even if a piece is technically perfect, people may dislike the content. None of that is bad.

However, this argument comes around from time to time. The first and often best way to refute it is, of course, "Well, how was I going to KNOW I wouldn't like it until I read it?" And, as TV Tropes points out, even if you only partially read something and then stop, it's still perfectly valid to give your opinion on it. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

I just really hate that particular argument because it strives to not discuss why the person didn't like it, but just shut down the criticism altogether. It's as if that piece of art is so damn precious, the fans (or author) just can't stand to hear a single negative word. That doesn't help anyone, and it's oftentimes insulting.

This is, of course, all in relation to the latest controversy in some circles I run in, and this argument came up. In this particular case, there really wasn't any warnings about the content. If there were, and people still chose to read it, then that's one thing. Without the warnings of graphic content, that's quite another.

Sigh. One thing I'm learning about the indy publishing circles is that there's a new drama every few weeks.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Non-con in Erotica

This is a SRS BSNS blog post, and may trigger some people as it concerns rape and the non-consent kink. Read at your own peril

There's evidently a big controversy going on right now about an indy book which was published a couple days ago which involved a woman being stalked, kidnapped, raped, and then falling in love with her rapist. I went and looked at it myself, and found the preview and categorization offensive. (The writing wasn't that good--it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good as there were a couple typos in the preview.) The preview illustrated a man who was taken out of school at a young age to help on his dad's farm after his mother died, who grew up fairly isolated (but likes it), and who committed a double homicide when he found his wife cheating on him. Just blew them away, fed them to his hogs, then called the sheriff saying he'd killed a couple of rabid raccoons HYUCK HYUCK HYUCK. The "hyucks" are mine. I dunno My mind just added them in.

That's all I've read in this book, cause I didn't want to bother with more than the preview. I think it still says something that this dude committed a double homicide within the first few pages of prose and was casual about it. But Alana, you might say, you write about your protagonists committing murder ALL THE TIME! This is true. Hence, for me to criticize this is hypocritical, yes? Not necessarily. The books where I have violence in them are first categorized as sci-fi/dark fantasy... ie supervillains. The other series where violence is going to happen is going to be categorized when necessary as "erotic horror", because that would be Delilah, and she'll go through some horrific things. Caprice, the protagonist in Villainess, is NOT put up as someone to like or admire. She admits to manipulating people, using them, and all sorts of other nasty things. Delilah is more sympathetic, but she's just begun her fall.

I had actually just observed that my two main series are complete opposites of each other. One is about someone losing her soul, and the other is about someone finding it. *shrug*

So what's the difference? The difference comes in expectation. The first book I described above? It was put under "erotic romance". Kidnapping and rape is not what I expect when I look in "erotic romance". "Erotic horror"? Sure! That sounds like it could be erotic and horrific, bring it on! Dark fantasy? Sure! Straight up horror? Sure! There are places for desires which run on the darker side, absolutely. But if someone were to pick it up thinking it wasn't so bad because it was in the erotic romance section, they're going to be very surprised.

As much as some people don't like it, rape fantasies do have a place in erotica. Many people, men and women alike, have fantasies about non-con (non-consensual), being on both ends as the aggressor or the victim. Many retailers choose not to carry non-con books (as well as books containing incest or sex with animals or sex with children, rightfully so in my opinion as all of that is gross and wrong no matter what, totally not sorry for my opinion there). Because they choose not to carry them doesn't mean those books are being "censored", which some people get worked up into a tizzy about. As a retailer, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBooks, and whoever else get to choose what they want to sell. You can still sell it. It's not censored. But what some edgy erotica writers seem to forget is that retailers are under NO obligation to sell your books. None whatsoever. That's why you gotta play in the rules they set up if you want to sell books on that site.

All that being said, I don't have anything against noncon in erotica. It does have its place. However, it does need to be labeled correctly. If anything, it should be under "erotic horror", not "erotic romance". Rape is a horrific thing. There's no sugar coating it. And yes, many people get aroused by reading about it, but it doesn't make it less horrific. There are people who get aroused by blood, by violence, by corpses... there's literally a fetish for everything under the sun, and thus, there's a niche for everything under the sun. In my opinion, to label it anything but erotic horror is mislabeling it... and a black hat tactic. Frankly, the way the protagonist was portrayed in the first chapter of this "controversial" book sort of horrified me. I... I can't see him as a romantic protagonist. Maybe it's personal opinion? Yet the beginning didn't scream romance to me at all, and I think that's why I found it kind of offensive. I'm expecting romance. The writing read "serial killer". That sort of discordance in what you expect versus what is there is why I think a lot of people found it offensive.

EDIT: I wanted to add, and I'm going to bold this, I do NOT in ANY way condone or approve of people taking advantage of other people, ESPECIALLY when it comes to violating their bodies. The opinion above is ONLY about fiction. People who violate others are vile and horrible, whether it's via rape, assault, murder, torture, or abuse in any way, shape, or form. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Savaged by Sadistic Spirits the Audiobook is LIVE on Audible!

The Janus Key Chronicles #4: Savaged by Sadistic Spirits the audio book is now LIVE on Audible! Narrated by the ever talented Audrey Lusk, this installment stars Debbie as a 70's medium in a haunted house....

Trapped in a sexually savage world....

Our heroes find themselves in a world much like our own, except in the 70s! Debbie finds sex, pleasure, and companionship in this world, but is a happy end truly in order? Or will the ravishing spirits of the house have something to say about it?

This pulp erotica is intended for a mature audience! Contains F/M, oral, group sex M/F/M/F, and ghostly ravaging.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Riddled by the Sphinx the Audiobook LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

The third of the Janus Key Chronicles, Riddled by the Sphinx, is now an audiobook, LIVE on Amazon and Audible! This volume switches back to Dirk once more, following the twins' adventures in ancient Egypt while Dirk tries to figure out how they switch dimensions. Captured by a horny sphinx, can he get himself and Debbie to safety before the sphinx decides to keep them forever? Check it out today!

Also, the camel on the cover really cracks my shit up, every time I see it.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Devil and Delilah Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

One of my favorite things that I've ever written, Delilah Devilshot #1: The Devil and Delilah is now an audiobook, LIVE on Amazon and Audible! The narrator for this series, Irina Stone, is new to narrating audiobooks, but she did a fantastic job bringing the world to life! I've been so pleased to hear and see the results... she did amazing! Check it out today!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Perils of Penetrating Pixies Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

The Janus Key Chronicles #2: The Perils of Penetrating Pixies has been converted into an audiobook, which is LIVE on Amazon and Audible! Narrated by the lovely Audrey Lusk, this second entry of my first erotica series concentrates on Debbie as she and Dirk emerge in a fantasy world filled with elves and pixies. Check it out today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Witches of Back End #2: Hump on Inn Audiobook now LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

The second in the Witches of Back End series, Hump on Inn is now an audiobook on Amazon and Audible! This sexy witch series concentrates on Selena this time around instead of Maeve and her trials and tribulations running the local bed & breakfast in the sleepy town of Back End. A. K. Rivers has done a knock out job of bringing this series to life, and you should check it out today!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dominating Her Shifter the Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

Yes, that's right, the next in the femdom anthology series has been converted to audio! Dominating Her Shifter the audio book is LIVE on Amazon and Audible! This was one of my favorite ones to write in this series, as there was real emotion and stakes, even in a short like this. Audrey Lusk once again does a fantastic job. Check it out today!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dominating Her Men: Vol. 2 Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

A bundle of three sexy femdom stories by the talented Audrey Lusk as narrator, Dominating Her Man Vol. 2 is LIVE on Amazon and Audible! I love Audrey to death. She's often early on her tracks, they're always smooth and professional, and she's fucking fantastic for narrating a strong woman! Check it out now!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cheri's Big Break the Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

A wee bit late in this (actually in a lot of the new releases!) but Cheri's Big Break, Backstage Uncensored #1 the audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible! The narrator for this did a great job capturing Cheri's attitude, IMO. Go ahead and check it out!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

National Novel Writing Month Comes Again!

That time of the year has come again... National Novel Writing Month! I usually participate in this every year. Last year, I wrote The Prince of Cups during it. More accurately, I finished Prince during this month and started editing it. This year, The Knight of Disks, which is Villainess #4. It's going along pretty smoothly, even though I'm taking the weekends off from writing. I write more than enough during the week to keep up. I know I should write every day, but I have life things too, and people I want to spend time with.

I think this is a good challenge for people who always wanted to take that step and write a novel, but never had motivation to do it. It's a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month, 30 days, and it's definitely doable! Almost every year I've participated (and there's been many), I've won. Even if you don't make the entire 50K, you still end up writing and learning a lot!

Writers, of course, have to spend much of their time writing. The other half is marketing. Since it's coming into the Christmas season, I'm going to do a Cyber Monday sale again in a couple weeks. All of my books which are in KU will be 99 cents for that day only. I have yet to get Jotham to make a graphic for it, but I will. I've just been a touch lazy. I need to get automated Twitter tweets or whatever set up, but I just loathe being all... automated. I know that you need to throw your name out there a lot in order to get some notice, but I don't know... I'm really reluctant to do that. I did start up the Amazon advertisement again, as I did make a couple sales from it and I think it works to help get The Queen of Swords out there, and people noticing it. I'm looking into Facebook ads, but I've only so much time in the day. If I don't want to drive myself crazy, I can only do so much. Thankfully, I can do a fair bit of this stuff at my day job.

Bryce & I were working on a collaboration, and that's fallen a bit by the wayside. If I finish Knight before I finish the 30 days of Nano, I may work on that again, or on the next Rock Hardin book (for that will be the next one I write after Knight). I really loved the idea, and I think it could be something unique in the erotica offerings out there.

For now, I need to get back to writing! <3

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Knob Jobs & Broomsticks FREE This Week!

Although I should send out a mailing list announcement saying this, I promised not to spam. Plus, I think everyone on the mailing list has Knob Jobs already. Hrm. I'll have to more thought into my next promotion.

Anyway! The Witches of Back End #1: Knob Jobs and Broomsticks is FREE on Amazon until midnight Friday, the 14th of October! It's set during Halloween and has sexy witches in it, so it's very appropriate to the season! Grab your free copy now!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Hard Talk

I recently missed an event on Facebook and I felt terrible about it. So, I told the author whose book release I missed that I would read and review it. I put everything else I was reading aside and concentrated on it... and I didn't enjoy the book. Why I didn't or what book it was doesn't matter, what matters is that afterwards came the Hard Talk.

Because I felt pretty strongly about my dislike and I just can't... I just can't be dishonest. I can't just write "It was great 5 stars" when I don't mean it. I know this is "just" my pen name, but I still want to be known for some integrity. If I say I like something, I like it. If I don't, I don't. However, as an author reviewing another author's book, it gets tricky. First, because we're in the same genre, Amazon could view the review as me trying to sink the other author's book, which that's not the intention. Second, you can get into a 'Well, you rated me a 2 I'm rating your shit a 1!', although most of the authors I've met have been really nice and I don't THINK they'd do that, they still might. Three, it's... well, it's kind of dickish to do that without talking to them first.

I approached the author and said "Hey, I finished Book X and I can review it if you want me to, but it won't be a good review". They asked if I could hold off, which of course I'm more than happy to do. I didn't really want to post a bad review. I don't like doing it. After that, they asked me what I didn't like, and so I went through most of my points (I forgot one, but oh well) and ended with the sincere "I think you've really got some talent, it was just X that I really didn't enjoy, but I am also not your target audience, so that may make a difference too." I ended it on a positive note, because I do think the author has the potential to be really good, and the writing wasn't terrible. They also used cunt, which that's a word I love even though most other women don't. Personal preference.

It's hard to be honest like that and go up to someone and say, "Hey, that thing you put all your time and effort into? I hated it." However... criticism has to mean something. Reviews have to mean something. I used to belong to a writing site many years ago. You would review stories people posted to get things to use to promote your own stories. It was all for free, but fun, and I learned a lot there. When I reviewed, I was always brutally honest. I mean scathingly, brutally honest. And you know what?

People requested I review their stuff.

On purpose.

Why? It was because I was brutally honest and they wanted to learn. I wanted to learn. That's why I was there. A "great story 5 stars" might be nice to see, but it's not constructive. Even in positive reviews, you can always point out "I really loved Bit X and Bit Y, but Bit Z was a little off to me." There's nothing wrong with that. Constructive criticism is how we learn. But it has to be constructive. Just saying something sucked or something was awesome is not helpful, and in fact, it can be downright hurtful.

So I want to tell people not to be afraid to be honest in their reviews. If you loved the book, but really didn't care for Character Y or Plot B or whatever, tell them. Tell them why you didn't like it. Not every story is going to be to everyone's tastes, and that's OK. Don't be mean. Don't be harsh. I always try to end on a positive note, too. It takes some of the hurt out because yeah, getting those low reviews does hurt. You try not to let it, but it does anyway. And it's encouraging.

As a side note, don't listen to those people who say "WELL, you didn't write a book, so you can't criticize!" That's total bullshit. Anyone can. I've said that before and I'll say it again. Anyone can criticize because everyone has an opinion. It's a matter, as an author, of seeing if you value that person's opinion and the deciding what you might learn from it.

Here's another quick story (bunch of them today!). I reviewed another author's book because I thought it sounded really exciting, but when I read it, I was so disappointed. I couldn't even finish it the book was pissing me off so much. I write a very long review about why, and put a lot of thought into making it constructive and well researched. Yes, I researched for a review. I take them seriously! When the author found out about it, they went off on Facebook about how it was horrible and they didn't know anything and blah blah blah. Now, I'd written the review under my real name (as I tend to do on Amazon) and they didn't know I was seeing the backlash. I never said anything to them about that, but I was shocked at the reaction and the behavior. It was vicious. What made matters worse was that the author had followers, a lot of them, who were mean, nasty, and said some really terrible things that I was stupid and didn't know what the fuck I was talking about and SHE didn't write a book so SHE can't criticize and stuff.

Again, I was pretty shocked at the reaction. And it wasn't like I said "It sucks, the end." It was thought out. The review itself was long, about 1500 words in length so I spent a significant time on the review... because it meant that much to me. Being able to see things from both sides made me really think about what I want to put out in the world as far as reviews go, and helped me to learn how to react to bad ones. Which is almost the same as how I react to good ones in that I say, "Thank you. Why did you feel that way?"

That, I think, is how authors should respond to reviews, good and bad. Why did you like something? Why did you hate it? Was it the writing? The style? Characters? Plot? Setting? So on and so forth. I know this first author I mentioned probably won't ever read this, but if they do, I want to say thank you for being a bigger person, standing up and saying, "Thank you. Why did you feel that way?" It not only shows they are willing to learn and adapt, but that they value what I thought. For readers, I think that's really important.

K, done rambling now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Things to Run? Perish the... Oh, Alright

I don't post here often, as those of you who follow this blog know. I have a full time job times two... 'cause yeah, writing is sort of full time. I'm not getting paid full time hours (yet) for it, but I still spend a good portion of the week doing so. Maybe it's only 30 hours. It's not like I'm keeping track.

So you know that when I update my blog, it's usually cause I have a new release that I forgot to announce (again) and then another follow up post to chit-chat about what's on my mind and other news. In other news, I finally started a mailing list. I'm going to try to hit that up about once a month towards the end of one month/beginning of the next. In it, I'm going to list all the new releases that I've done (and I do strive for at least one a month), with the writing forecast, andomSother such news such as audio or print releases.

I made a banner for it. Jotham made one for me, but I didn't like it. >.> Don't tell him I said that though.

Sometimes, simple is better.

I encourage people who haven't signed up for it yet to do so. I'm terrible about keeping the blog up to date, and I really would like to concentrate on my thoughts on writing and this sort of weird journey. I may still post announcements here, but I am going to try to announce new items, new releases, and other such news for the mailing list and leave this for thoughts and prose and excerpts (although I may add in excerpts to the mailing list. I haven't quite decided yet how I'm formatting it). For those of you who have signed up, I'd expect a newsletter probably this week. Maybe the beginning of next.

Siren's Cry is LIVE on Amazon!

That's right, Unusual Suspects #2: Siren's Cry is LIVE on Amazon. This Villainess side story centers around Rebekah, code named the Nacht Sirene. Hers was a fun head to get into, and kind of sad. But very enthusiastic.

I know it doesn't appear to be that photoshopped, but if you saw the original picture, I think Jotham did a great job doing what I wanted for it!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Unusual Suspects #1: The Razor's Edge is LIVE on Amazon!

Well, technically, it was already live on Amazon... published in the back of The Princess of Wands. However, I felt it deserved its own anthology series. It'll be a good sort of cheap introduction for the Villainess world and allow me to expand to places Caprice will never see, like the heroes' side of things, or maybe what it was like back in Axis. I'm still not sure if these will be told exclusively in first person, but I'm betting so. I leave that option open. Hence, this is the first of the "Unusual Suspects" anthology splinter series from Villainess, The Razor's Edge.

This one is Nosferatu/Michael's story from the back of The Princess of Wands. It was originally written for an anthology series which fell through, but I think it has enough strength to stand by itself. It's priced cheaply (as all of them will be) at 99 cents, so grab your copy today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Brief Haitus was Brief... and the Writing Forecast

Yes, I did take a hiatus. However, by the time I posted about the hiatus, I was almost done with it. Not that I knew it at the time!

Although I keep plugging away on this romance--which I keep trying to make more deep and meaningful rather than "just" a romance; goes to show you that even something that's supposed to be mostly light and fluffy can be deeper--I had the thought to write some short stories based in the Villainess world. I think I'll go through with that thought. Why? Well, I love short stories. If I push, I can get them out quickly and still keep producing longer books at the same time. Second, I think there's a lot that's left out of Caprice's point of view and it may be interesting to see some slice of life vignettes for the other characters in the series. Three, I got a great name for the series. And my illustrator gave me another one for another potential series.

I have to stop and wrap some stuff up though! I simply have to! To this end, I have a writing forecast for y'all which may or may not be completed in order.

  • The Razor's Edge -- It's actually already done, as those of you who read the Princess of Wands know. I think it's enough to stand on its own as a short slice-of-life story set in that world. 
  • The next Witches of Back End book. I have decided to cut this series at six books total, and no more. The next one is titled "Boned in the Dark". Have started working on it, and it won't take long to finish... so I would expect this one out in the first two weeks of September.
  • This romance which is taking me forever to finish. It might be a novella instead of a novel. It's sitting at around 20K right now, and it's for another pen, but it is taking time away from the Alana pen name, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
  • An as-of-yet untitled one for this side Villainess series which centers around the Nacht Sirene, Rebekah. She's got a fun voice and it'll go fast one I concentrate on it.
  • The Knight of Disks. I've already gotten many thousand words into this. I have other projects I want to finish first, though, so it's been sort of a back burner. 
  • Silver for Souls, Delilah Devilshot #4. This one has been bugging me to start it and I keep telling it, "I just finished a Delilah book, fuck off for a month or so." But it's not fucking off. Since I have the cover for it already, when it's done, it'll be published. I am trying not to start it, but the story keeps telling itself to me.
  • Although I have like ten covers for Rock Hardin's series, I'm not sure if I can write ten of his books. However, the next one, Operation: Hot Flow, has a plot and I'll be starting on that soon.
  • For Halloween, I'm going to be doing a compilation of several different "monster" stories into a Halloween collection. I had planned on doing that last year, but didn't get around to it. It'll be a compilation of different series to give readers a taste of the different worlds I've made. This is why I want to get The Razor's Edge out (and soon!) since it'll be a good addition if I should decide to add it. I won't do compilations like this often since I would much rather put out NEW stuff, but oftentimes bundle buyers and single story buyers are different and I would very much like to reach out to people with different series that AREN'T bundled yet and try to capture their attention. 
So that's a lot on my plate. If I do a bundle for the Unusual Suspects, I think it'll probably be in a bundle of five or something. Not sure yet. I can see a LOT of stories coming from that though. First person is generally easy for me to write in since it doesn't have to be grammatically perfect all the time. 

Another thing I was thinking was doing a hard(er) core mind control series for Smashwords exclusively. Wonder how that would go over?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NSFW is Live on Amazon!

Really... REALLY late, but NSFW, #4 in the Wantonly Wicked anthology series, is LIVE on Amazon! This is a strange story because I wrote it originally as horror, mild horror, but horror nevertheless. It really needed the erotic boost since that is what the main story was about. So, this is actually a recycled story, completely revamped and re-edited so it barely resembles the original anymore. I think the cover is just perfect... and it was also a really good seller for a little while, so I think the big, bold NSFW letters did their job!

Brief Hiatus

Ha! Fooled you! I'm already on a brief hiatus!

For those of you who follow this blog, you may already know I've been plagued with some self-doubt and whatnot lately, but that's not the reason for my tardiness in posting. First, I've never been awesome about posting here on time anyway, and it's all pretty random, or when I have something out.

Two, I shall be posting a "I have a book out!" post here soon, but I was behind and it was actually out over a week ago. This is because of...

Three, I'm working on a book for another pen name right now. It's going slowly. Very. Slowly. I had expected to have it done, or at least close to done, but it's not and I have to get something published on this alternate pen name. Why not just publish on Alana's pen name here? Because it's romance. While some themes of some of "Alana's" books may be romantic, that's not what "Alana" is about. This other one, which I'm not comfortable to reveal yet, is where I'm trying something new and, dare I say, selling out a little? Perhaps a touch. Mostly, though, it's where I'm learning how to make covers instead of hiring Jotham to do them and they're not great. Not bad, but not great.

Summer's usually busy for me, work wise in my day job, anyway. I will have something read to go by the end of the month... I think probably the next Witches of Back End short. I'm also working on a project with Bryce and that's taking some time away as well, since I have to read a lot for it.

I have not forgotten you or the blog! I'm just dividing my attention between other projects at the moment.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Crippling Self Doubt

There's a meme going around Facebook for writers which, paraphrased, says "Give someone a book and they are entertained for an hour. Teach someone to write and they are crippled with paralyzing self-doubt for the rest of their lives."

I don't subscribe to that. Writing comes easy to me. However, doubt also comes easy to me. Not for writing, but for other things. With doubt comes depression and that I do suffer from and have for a long, long time. This is not a post about depression and stuff, because I want to keep the Alana pen name happy and talking about writing and sexy things and stuff. But, you know, life happens and people do get sad or depressed (which are not the same thing) or busy or any number of things. How do you work, as a writer, through it?

If you can't write, there are still a number of things you can do instead which are still work, at least for self-published authors.

  • Edit: Editing's not fun, but if you can't write, sometimes you can still go through what you have written and make changes. Sometimes it might inspire you. Sometimes it might depress you more, but it's worth a shot.
  • Work on ideas: This one is much more fun. You can brainstorm and try to come up with new ideas. You can expand on ideas you have already. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to make sense. Even in the midst of sadness and thinking, "UGH GOD I AM THE WORST WRITER EVER" you can still use that sadness to come up with sad things, or tragic characters, or the worst situation you can think of. Believe me, depressed people are really fucking creative when it comes to thinking how awful things are. Why not use that? You may discard all of the ideas later when you are feeling better, but you might find something in your ennui or sadness which you can use.
  • Work on covers. A lot of self-published people do their own covers. A lot of them are pretty standard: stock photo, name, title, done. Some are more elaborate. Even if you don't feel like writing, you can still do something creative which will help you later on. No, you may not have a story ready for it, but if you find a stock photo which is really cool and you make a cover for it, you have inspiration for when you are ready. Keep in mind I write erotica and I have another pen which writes romance, so covers are pretty simple overall. That may not work if you write for horror or science fiction, or if you hire someone to do your covers.
  • Bundle stories together. Again, I come from an erotica background here, and many erotica writers bundle their stories together. I advise against using the same stories over and over again, because your customers want new stuff, but if you have the blahs and don't want to write, then you can take some of your stories with a similar theme or niche and bundle them together using three or more of them. It takes a bit of work editing it for table of contents and links and suchlike, as well as a cover, but you can have a many page book ready to go in less than an hour and then sit back and think, "Well, I'm at least publishing a book for today." And you can charge higher prices for them too, of course. Erotica generally sells at 2.99$ for a price point. For a bundle of three stories, I charge 3.99$. For four to five, it's around 4.99$, and so on. It's another way to make money off of work you've already done.
  • If you haven't investigated audio books or print books, then do some research. I can't recommend making audio books enough. It's free money, basically. You've already done your work! Check out acx.com and createspace.com for audio and print books through Amazon. If you publish through Amazon already, you're a step ahead. I haven't investigated print books yet, but I do plan to. Audio books are very easy to make. If you are already into that, then put another of your books up for a producer to audition for, or look for narrators. It's work. It will make you money. Best of all, it's really light on the work you need to do at that moment. 
  • Go to social media. Social media isn't about advertising your books, though I'm sure many authors use it for that. It's to make a connection with like minded people, like other authors, and to connect with your fans. You can find things to post which inspire you to write or remind you of a character--say a music video or a song, perhaps pictures posted to Pinterest--or make observations on life. Go through your friends list and read what they are posting. Comment on it. Like people's posts (if you like them; I will never advocate lying to boost yourself. It comes back to bite you later). Interact. This has the added benefit of communication and contact with anonymity. I know when I'm sad it's sometimes easier to talk to a stranger than someone close to me, and it helps cheer me up. People are more inclined to buy books from an author they know than a stranger.
All of these things can be work, and many are needed to be done to write and sell self-published books. I know life and writing and stuff can be discouraging at times, but you shouldn't let it stop you. Being a self-published author is pretty rewarding, but it can be tough too, so you need to just keep going and treat it like a job... a job you love and like doing, but a job nevertheless. Like many jobs, there are many aspects of self-publishing which have to be addressed and even if you aren't in the mood to write, there's still a LOT you can do to help achieve your goals.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Delilah Devilshot #3: The Bruja and the Beast is LIVE on Amazon!

And lastly tonight, I have a new ebook out. It's Delilah Devilshot #3: The Bruja and the Beast is LIVE on Amazon! In the Weird, Wild West, Delilah will do what she has to in order to avenge her murdered loved ones. In this novella, over 33,000 words in length, Delilah and her companion Celia travel into Mexico to meet with Celia's grandmother, a bruja. The bruja offers her a deal for her help: break a man out of prison in return for information she needs. It's never quite that simple though....

Dominating Her Vampire the Audiobook is LIVE on Audible and Amazon!

And another audio book is also out! Dominating Her Man #7: Dominating Her Vampire is LIVE on Audible and Amazon! Narrated by the lovely Audrey Lusk, give this sexy audio book a try!

The Witches of Back End #1: Knob Jobs and Broomsticks Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon and Audible!

That's right folks, you heard it. The next audiobook is out: Knob Jobs and Broomsticks! This was a light, sexy paranormal story which was a lot of fun to write. Check it out below!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Rump Raiding Raptors, the Audiobook, is LIVE on Audible!

That's right, the first of the Janus Key Chronicles, Rump Raiding Raptors, is LIVE on Audible! Audrey Lusk did a great job bringing the series to life. I think she liked it a lot because she went straight onto the second one. XD Pick it upon on Audible, or wait a few days and it should be live on Amazon as well!

The Bruja and the Beast Coming Soon!

Delilah Devilshot #3: The Bruja and the Beast will be released on July 17th. There's a Facebook Event, which I highly suggest people go to as there are some really good authors there. I also have a graphic with some information which might be of interest... I'm revealing it here first since I've neglected my poor blog so.

That's right! The first Delilah Devilshot: The Devil and Delilah will be FREE on the 15th-17th. The Brothels of Brimstone will ONLY be 99cents... and then finally, the Bruja and the Beast will be out on the 17th! I'll post this on the event eventually, but as I said, I've neglected my blog so, so it's announced here first.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Advertising Experiment, Update One

I suspect I'll probably have two or three updates.

As some of you may remember, earlier I had mentioned I was trying out advertising on Amazon. The set up was a bit of a pain as they are pretty stringent about what they advertise. Not only that, but I BELIEVE they DO NOT advertise erotica. Now, the book I am advertising--The Queen of Swords--is not erotica, but rather fantasy/sci-fi/"superheroes", so I avoided that. The cover is gorgeous, so that was no problem... but summing up a book in 140 characters? Hard, very hard. Or was it 75? It might have been 75. How do you write something short and effective?

This is what I ended up with:

That's the "full length" ad. There's also a variant of shorter ones, designed to fit iPhones and other small devices (like, say, a Kindle). This is what those look like:

In some variation anyway. Some might be across the screen lengthwise, or have different proportions. Anyway, it was hard coming up with the summary. And because I have a tendency to use ellipses even when I shouldn't, I had to redo the title since it ended initially with an ellipses. They don't like that. However, they said something was wrong with the "cover", and I was like grrr wtf. When I changed it and cut the ellipses, then the ad was suddenly OK. Lesson learned, Amazon, you still don't give great direction even when I'm trying to give YOU money.

Once it was set up, then you can check out the stats via your advertising dashboard. It looks like this:

"Impressions" is the number of times the ad was generated. Clicks is how many times someone clicked on your ad. The CTR is the Click Through Rate, the ration of clicks to impressions. DPV is the number of times someone has clicked on a product of MINE after clicking an ad. Which as you can see, that's higher than the number of clicks. So, a couple of people have clicked other products of mine after clicking the ad, which is pretty cool. The amount spent is next (of $100, and yea, maybe only 20 people have clicked, but the ad has been generated almost 12K times... which means people have SEEN it, so it's out there). ACPC is Average Cost Per Click, and then the fun part... estimated orders and sales. As you see, at least one person has decided to buy The Queen of Swords after clicking on the ad and reading it. They took a chance. I hope they enjoyed it!

What this doesn't tell you is number of borrows. I can tell you from my KDP author dashboard that the ranking for Queen has stayed around 100K for the last few days, which means in addition to the sale there's been about a borrow a day, and there have been page reads. No new reviews, but that's ok. So, obviously, this is working at least a little bit. Whether it'll be worth it in the long run, I have no idea.

The sale actually came through when I had about 7-8K Impressions, so it seems to be roughly one sale per 10K impressions generated, but that's really impossible to tell right now.

I'm not sure how useful all of this will be. I'll be happy if I break even after doing this advertising thing. What I do know is that the ad will be up there for a while. My budget is a hundred dollars... and I've spent less than four so far. Just having the picture out there, my name out there, might be worth it... but we'll have to see down the road.

Reamin' Demons is LIVE on Amazon!

Hidey ho, folks!

The Janus Key Chronicles #10: Debbie Gudgeon and the Reamin' Demons is LIVE on Amazon! Somehow, this one got adult filtered. I suspect it's for the word 'reamin'', but oh well. I'm not changing the name... the people who like the series will find it, and those who know how to search for erotica will find it. It's not quite what I expected out of the book, but I enjoyed writing it very much. Probably the first of the JKC to have a sex scene in every chapter.

I've also decided that the JKC will probably end at around book 20 (maybe 21, depends on how it goes). I love the JKC, and while it's fun to write, it has a definite end now, at least in my head. I shan't push things any further than they need to. I know what story needs to be told, and 20 is a good size for a serial. I should write them more religiously to have them out every other week or so, but I have so many series that I need to keep up on. I am going to try to finish, or be close to finishing, the series this year though. It just depends on where my muse takes me.

In the meantime, have a look at this gorgeous cover art Jotham made! He does the best work, I think. It captures the essence of the book and the cheesy nature of it so well.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

You Gotta Spend Money to Make Money... Right?

Oh boy. In what might be a huge mistake, I have... (drum roll, please)... paid for advertising.

Nah, not on Facebook, although I'm investigating that as well. Since my books are almost exclusively offered on Amazon, I went with them first. The first unhappy surprise: minimum hundred dollars expenditure. Second unhappy surprise: I have to wait, potentially up to 72 hours, for them to review it.

The book I chose to advertise is The Queen of Swords... of course. If I have some success here, I may branch out and do a similar campaign for Delilah. Those are the two I consider my most popular (even though 1001 Erotic Nights is my best seller, by far). The first reason is... well, it's easy to pin down the interests. It's all based on comics and thus, I targeted people who would buy comics or super hero novels. The second reason is that there are three books out in the series. If people like Queen enough, they may check out Prince, and then Princess.

It was pretty easy to set up. My nerves will be wracked until it's actually a live campaign. I'll keep thinking, "OMG WHAT IF THEY DON'T LIKE IT?! WHAT IF I DID SOMETHING WRONG?!" which is silly, of course. The next thought is, "What if I don't sell a damn thing and I just threw a hundred bucks away?" That would be a lot more shaming. However, Queen has some of my best reviews, Rebecca Wolfe's audio is wonderful to listen to, and I think it's fun and dark and sexy to read. You ONLY get 150 characters to sum up the book, though! This is what I ended up with:

In Imperial City, villain-for-hire Caprice works hard... and she plays harder. This novella contains dark, sometimes brutal, sexy, mature content.

It hits all the main components. She's a villain (check) who is hired (check). She works hard (check... sort of a nod to her being a bad ass) and plays hard (check). It's dark (check), bloody (check in the 'brutal' comment), sexy (check) and for a mature audience (check). There's no main element of the book which I left out, I think. Oh, and it's a novella, NOT a novel (check). I do NOT want people to be surprised by the length. The next books are novels, yes, but this one isn't. I think Prince has more sex in it by virtue of its length, but per capita... Queen is packed with sex. I wasn't sure HOW much I wanted plot and how much I wanted sexy times yet, so I erred on the side of sexy times. IIRC, Princess has three and a half sex scenes in comparison... basically the same amount as Queen. But it's three times as long. Longer than that!

This is a new, nervous step for me. I am reluctant to bug bloggers and say "Hey, review my booooook!" but that'll be the next terrifying step. People have often told me that you have to spend money to make money, and I hope this pans out. If I get a lot of click throughs, that'll be good. If I get a lot of sales, that will be better. If I want to be taken seriously...I need to advertise. Which that's a whole other post--people not taking erotica writers seriously. I seriously challenge anyone on the street to write a hot sexy scene and get people to fap to it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Hey, y'all! I'm happy to see I was on the ball and posted that Villainess 3 was live. I was afraid I had missed that since I tend to neglect the blog here, save for when I come back to "real life" work and decide to update.

Now, in reference to my title, what I'm going to talk about today is "making it" as a independent author. I won't give out solid numbers, but I figured if I want to quit my job and do this for a living, I'd need to make about $1500 a month three months in a row. Not only would that give me a sizable nest egg to fall back on, but it would show consistency month to month like that. That would be working a full time job in addition to writing, not just writing full time. Since I'm at work (*looks around*) obviously, I'm not making that.

I won't lie and say that it's not my dream to write for a living. It is! Of course it is! It's every writer's dream to be the next Stephen King, or heck, even Dean Koontz... or EL James. I think I first got into erotica because I thought, "Oh, hey, easy money." And while it is easy, and there's money, it's not exactly "easy money". There's work involved. There's stuff I'm not so good at doing involved... like making covers, and networking, and promotion. It's not just writing a story and sending it out into the universe, expecting it to be popular. Sometimes, yeah, you can get lucky, but those instances are pretty few and far between. It's work. It's hard work, but because I love telling stories, it makes it easy for me.

A couple people know this, but I started a romance pen name too. No, I shan't be giving it out here. At least, not yet. Romance isn't my thing. Like, writing about dirty, filthy sex is one thing, but writing romance? It's a lot harder. There are formulas you must follow there to be successful, and tropes you need to learn because readers expect it. It's a learning process. I won't say that process is fun cause it's not. It's work. But I still get to tell stories, even if they are romances. Who's to say there can't be derring do and all sorts of fun stuff in it?

A couple other people know I'm writing "legit" novels too, though they are not published yet. I put legit in quotes because the erotica I write is legit, but people scorn it. Hell, people scorn romance, yet romance is probably THE top seller anywhere. Neither are easy to write. This novel I have is sizable, and I'm thinking it's probably to complex and doesn't make sense and all sorts of other negative things... but it's the one I've put the most effort into. Even my Villainess and Delilah stuff, which I love dearly, haven't gotten even a tenth of the work this novel has. Does that mean it's better? No. It means I've just put more work into it... and that I've dragged my feet trying to publish it.

Through all this, I'm not a popular author. I have fans, which is still trippy to say, but not popular. In general, the stuff I write is at worst, average, and at best, mind blowing. (seriously, someone said that!) I can handle that. Even the femdom stuff, the Dominating Her Man series, I've been told was better than much of the other stuff out there. It wasn't super hard core... but it wasn't meant to be. It was meant for people, myself included, to dip their toes into different aspects of the BDSM culture. This one might be about pegging. This one might be about bondage. This one might be about humiliation. And so on. Even when I haven't put my heart into it, it's still alright. I can deal with that.

I think what's holding me back is pushing. I don't push. I'm not a pusher. I CAN be aggressive, but in general I'm laid back and kinda nervous about pushing my stuff onto people. It's promotion, and I have remind myself that it's OK to push because that's part of my job as an indie writer... to push and wave my hands and say "Look at this! You'll like it!". But it's all part of the learning curve. Before I could write, I had to learn how to write, how to put stories together, how to make sentences, how to punctuate, spell, and all that other stuff. Before I can promote, I have to learn HOW to do it and get the mindset for it. I shouldn't (and don't) expect success overnight because while I learned how to put sentences together all of my life, I've only been a few months at learning how to promote myself. Each step forward takes me a closer step to my goal. And say I only make ten bucks a month, or fifty, or a hundred, or five hundred... each dollar gained is closer to my goal. And it's more than I would have had had I just sat on my ass and not did anything.

I've been at this for a year now, and in that year I've published over 45 stories, a couple of which have been full length novels, and at least a dozen novellas. Think about that. Does your favorite author put out novels twice a year? Of course not. (Of course, I don't have to go through copy editing and editing and approving covers and waiting for publication either. Advantage of self-pubbing there.) On a work day--because I write during my work days--I can write five to ten thousand words. That's inbetween working at my "real life" job. I read somewhere an average writer only writes about two thousand. If I did this for a living, anything under ten thousand a day would be a failure for me.

Some authors work really fast. I know of one who puts out a story every day to every other day. He's amazing. I know other authors who can't write that fast, who have real life responsibilities they must attend first and are lucky if they write two hundred words. Yet we're all in the same race. We're all learning, albeit at different speeds, and growing. We're all moving along to our dreams and while some of us are at the end of the race, cheering the rest on (and it's true, the "made it" indie authors tend to be really supportive of the little guy; it's pretty amazing), others are still racing at our own pace. It's been said this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that is so true. We'll get tired and winded. We'll get revitalized by the crowd. We'll work at a steady pace with periods of rest and periods of frantic activity, but each movement puts us one step closer to our end. The people I'm racing with aren't my competition; they're my companions. We're all doing it together.

*waves a hand* Inspirational thought for the decade. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dominating Her Biker Audiobook LIVE on Audible!

Hurray, the fantastic Audrey Lusk has gotten another of the Dominating Her Men series out on audio... Dominating Her Biker! She's ahead of schedule and hungry for more... I swear she is the hardest working creative person I know, for reals. To that end, she is ALSO going to be doing the Janus Key Chronicles! I'm really excited about that. Having listened to some of her audio plays and hearing the voices she can do, I think she can bring the pulp adventure erotica to life.

In the meanwhile, check out her fantastic work in Dominating Her Biker, available now!

Villainess #3: The Princess of Wands is LIVE on Amazon!

Yes, that's right, after many months of writing, the third Villainess: The Princess of Wands, is live on Amazon! I rather liked this one, though it's different than the other two. Here, Caprice is put into a reactionary role rather than an action one. She's forced to deal with curve ball after curve ball. Check it out today!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Art is Subjective

Not the best title, but it works. Yes, this is again about Chuck Tingle's Hugo nomination (go, Chuck!) and about art and subjectivity in general.

One of the things you don't know about me (but soon will) is that Tommy Wiseau's The Room is one of my favorite movies. It's hilariously bad. It's been lampooned and reviewed so many times, and those reviews are hilarious, but the movie itself is a spectacular piece of terrible film... and I fucking adore it. It's a matter of taste. I admit to having some simple tastes at times, and what I like for art is often a big part of that simplicity. It comes down to this one thing:

I enjoy laughing.

That's it. That's why I like some really terrible stuff, which isn't put together the best, or has obvious errors, or other people would look at me like I'm crazy and be like "WTF". It makes me laugh and smile. It pulls from me a stronger reaction than even my FAVORITE movie of all time, and just about every other movie I've ever watched. I never laughed so hard in my life than when I got stoned and watched The Room. (*gasp* Yes, I smoke "the refer" recreationally, sue me) Even watching it sober makes me giggle like a giddy schoolgirl.

For this reason, I love Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax. They make bad movies really damn funny. It's not really done out of a sense of meanness for the movies, but rather a certain kind of love for them. Only people who love movies that much spend that much time watching them, bad, good, mediocre... all kinds.

So it is with Chuck Tingle. The Tingleverse makes me smile. It makes me laugh. It makes me shake my head and go "WTF did I just read?!", and these are all good things. Of the writers I've read, so very few pull a real emotional reaction from me. And of those that do? Not many of them the level of sheer giddy joy and amusement Mr. Tingle brings me. It's all subjective. What works for me may not work for you.

He's this sort of comedic genius which comes along a couple times in a life, that strikes you just right, and makes you happy because you laugh when you read his stuff. His Twitter page is hysterical. And behind it all, behind all those silly books and unreal circumstances and outrageously crazy tweets, there's a few real messages there. He tells us in his way to love people, to accept them for who they are whether they are unicorns or raptors or not, and he points out in hysterical ways the hypocrisy of folks who butt in other people's business, and he comments on current events in a way which often flies right over the head of the people he's satirizing. He's clever and funny and good-hearted. Even if it's all fake, fake name, fake humor account, fake everything... who cares? The persona created is good, and wants to bring good things to people's lives, and for that, if nothing else, I admire the fuck out of him. Me? I'm too full of hate and spite to bring about messages of love and shit.

I know not everyone is going to agree with me, but that's fine. He's one of my favorite authors right now because I know I can pick up one of his short stories and come out the other end with a smile. I can't say that about any other author I read. Not a one.

Dominating Her Men: Total Domination Vol. 1 Audiobook Now LIVE on Audible and Amazon!

Slow on the uptake again! Dominating Her Men: Total Domination Vol. 1 is LIVE on both Audible and Amazon! If you've bought the other audio books, then this isn't such a deal... but if you haven't, then this would be a great time to grab the first three audio shorts in one convenient bundle, narrated by the lovely Audrey Lusk!

Ms. Lusk has also agreed to do the Janus Key Chronicles in audio book form! I think she can really bring together the different voices for Dirk & Debbie, and I can't wait to see what she does with them!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Audio Book Boom

Recently, last couple of weeks, I've been toying with promotion! Gasp! I know it's hard for me, but I've certainly been trying! There's a service called Audio Book Boom which allows authors and readers to connect to help promote audio books. When ACX finishes an audio book, the author (and narrator I think? Not sure on that end) is given free promotion codes to give away to draw people to their books. Great idea, but a lot of people (myself included) were not sure how to use them exactly to their full potential.

Enter Audio Book Boom. They help to connect readers to books and authors to an audience. So far it seems to be working out ok, but the readers/listeners are given 45 days to make their review (stating that they were given a free copy in exchange for an honest review), and I've only seen a couple yet. It's pretty early on though, so I will keep you updated on how it goes!

Chuck Tingle is Seriously My Hero

So...for those who don't know, Chuck Tingle, the author of Space Raptor Butt Invasion, has been nominated for a Hugo award for that very same story. A couple authors I know are taking it as a sign of the Apocalypse. Those who have been following the Hugos, like myself, know that it's being weighted by a group of people unhappy with how the nominations are done and votes are tallied.

Me? I think it's fucking awesome! Not only is it getting Chuck the attention he deserves... seriously, his books are awesome because they are SO ludicrous, SO out there. I'm 99% sure they're satire (though I did see a AMA on Reddit by Jon, Chuck Tingle's son, but that could have been a clever ruse), or just someone blowing off silly steam. Why not write about hot chocolate milk cowboys ravaging a green horn? I think I shall do a series of Naughty Book Snitch reviews honoring Chuck and his nomination. I'm behind on other things, but this is big news!

Where was I? Oh yes, attention he deserves--Chuck's SRBI went from 140K in rank to 9.9K in rank in the span of 12 hours--but it's giving erotica a new light and attention as well. Honestly, I think there are some other erotica authors out there who deserve nominations for writing. The shit you see on Facebook is all a popularity contest. Maybe next year I'll organize a "Best Of" or something, and do shit right... get a committee of people to READ the fucking things and then decide. It shouldn't be a popularity contest like the bajillion "Best of" contests on Facebook for independent authors, and you shouldn't be able to stuff the ballot box of awards (like the Hugo, which is being done), or have awards that are "due" to people (like the Oscars).When you win something, it should be because you deserved it.

I don't know. I don't think that many people trust my taste for prose. I'm a weird reader, but I read everything. The stuff I prefer is pretty damn dark though. And some of the things I write are really fucking dark, as a recent review reminded me. It might be fun. Not that anyone would care, but it might be fun.

*waves a hand* Doesn't matter though! I'm very happy to congratulate Mr. Tingle. He's my fucking hero. How many people can say they are a Hugo Nominated author? I certainly can't!

Dominating Her Boyfriend Audiobook LIVE on Audible!

This is, perhaps, a touch late, but better late than never! Audrey Lusk, this most wonderful narrator I have for the Dominating Her Man series, has just finished #5 of the series of shorts: Dominating Her Boyfriend! It's live on Audible.com, and will be live on Amazon in audio book form pretty shortly (Amazon lags behind a bit). I think she's done a fantastic job with the series so far.

In other news, I have finally finished the Princess of Wands first draft! It clocked in at just over 80K words, so my prediction of it being longer than Prince was completely true. Editing it now, and I hope in just a couple weeks it'll be coming your direction!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

In Other News....

Just to counter the harshness of the last blog post, I do have some good news! I should finish the first draft of The Princess of Wands: Villainess #3 tonight or tomorrow. I'm that close! I have a couple new audio books coming out as well. And then I shall work on the next Janus Key Chronicles and probably pretty soon have the second bundle for them out too!

After all that, then I think I may work on two projects concurrently: the next Rock Hardin book, and the next Delilah book. Delilah's easier to write, but Rock needs some time in the sun now too. There is a definite plan, folks!

"Free" on Kindle Unlimited Isn't Fucking Free

I try not to go off (too much) on here. This is a positive place filled with smutty books and updates and some weird musings from me now and again! However, I keep seeing this all over the place... and it bugs the shit out of me.

I'm a voracious reader. I devoured Game of Thrones in five hours, just to give you an idea of the speed at which I read. Not a speed reader, but pretty fast. Because I read a lot, and also to do research for writing, I decided to enroll in Kindle Unlimited. Now, a lot of authors bitch about the low payout (and it is), and they feel like Amazon is strong-arming them. If you don't put your book into Kindle Unlimited, then it won't get the visibility other books IN KU will. However, you have to be exclusive to Amazon for the term of being in KU. Kind of sucks for an author.

However, it's fantastic for a reader. You can borrow up to ten books at a time, and I've found some fantastic books this way. Some not so good ones too. Some downright awful ones as well. But I would NEVER have tried those authors had they not been in Kindle Unlimited. In one case, reading an author's book made me a fan of hers. You basically get as many books as you can read for ten bucks a month. That's a great deal!

I pay for that service.

Let me repeat that: I PAY FOR THAT SERVICE.

Yeah, it's only ten bucks a month, and some months Amazon gets my ten bucks for free without me reading shit. Other months, I read the hell out of everything I can get my hands on. It comes and goes. The point here is that money goes out of MY pocket to Amazon's for the right to read the KU books as many times as I want. It's not free.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen authors advertise, "FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!" and it annoys the fucking hell out of me every time. I advertised like that once, then took it down because I felt dirty and weird. Afterwards... never. I'll mention my books are mostly on KU, because they are (mostly), but I never put the word "free" in there. It's not free. I FUCKING PAY FOR THE SERVICE.

Sure, I get it. Authors want to get their books attention. I totally get it. I do! I would love my books to pick up in popularity! And while it's a small thing, saying it's free on KU, it still annoys me. It's false advertising. You heard me: false advertising. Some people might say, "But it IS free on KU! The reader doesn't pay for it." But they do. Hence, it is a lie, a falsehood. Perhaps it's a well-intentioned falsehood. Perhaps the author simply didn't think about it. And I know I'm definitely in the minority here. Heck, I might be the only one in the world that annoys. (But it's my blog, so I write about what I want. :P )Doesn't matter. It is still a false statement.

And I don't borrow those books.

I don't buy them either.

I skip the authors who advertise that way. It annoys me that much it drives me away. If they want to advertise it's on KU, that's great! Do it! We people who are KU subscribers know that hey, we can borrow it at NO FURTHER COST to ourselves, great! To those people who aren't KU subscribers, the word "free" has a very different connotation, and that's where I feel it's really disingenuous. They go in expecting the book to be a freebie if they don't read carefully enough, and lo and behold, it's not.

I can't make anyone stop doing that, but I wish they would. Ah well, le sigh.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Opinions Are Like....

Hidey ho, neighborinos! I know it's been a little while since I blogged, but here's an update. :D

I actually got my first 1 star reviews the other day. I was a little stunned by it, because it was on the audio book versions of The Queen of Swords and The Prince of Cups on audible.com. I won't say they are high literature, but whomever did it drove by and left one star on "Overall" and "Story" (but I am happy to say they gave the "Performance" part 4 stars which was good! Rebecca Wolfe did a fantastic job on them, and I think I would have been waaaaay more upset if they had voted down her performance!) without leaving an actual review. On Audible, you can do that, which is fine. I get some people may not want to leave reviews with their names attached.

However, it does mystify me as to why the one star reviews. Again, I won't say they are high literature, but they aren't just a three thousand stroke pamphlet (or 20 minute stroke audio track) either! They are free from spelling errors and most grammatical errors. The story isn't just 'And they fucked'. The only thing I can think of is the EPIC miscategorization Audible put The Queen of Swords in... they put it in Romance. It is NOT romance. Not one bit. Not even a little teensy tiny bit. I categorized it on Amazon as sci-fi, dark fantasy, and action. There are sexy parts in it, yes, but it says on the COVER that it is super-powered erotica.

However, that is on the cover, and not in the blurb. I DO mark it as having strong sexual content and violent content as well, so there's fair warning. I can see how someone looking for a romance would be disappointed. Hell, there's a review on the UK Audible site which says that! They still thought it was interesting, and marked it as three stars. That's fair.

The miscategorization? Not my fault. When Audible makes the blurb and categorizes it, they pull the information directly from Amazon. I have nothing to do with the input. All I do is look for producers, approve the audio, upload the cover... that's it. Everything else is automated, which may not be the best system, for examples such as these. I got a little paranoid about it, trying to suss out the reasons.

Then... I figured it out.

It doesn't matter.

Everyone has an opinion and you know what? Everyone's entitled to that opinion. No matter the cause of the one stars, that person did not like them, and that's ok. People who rave about my stuff and rate them four or five? They are also entitled to their opinion. Even middle ground Max in the middle with rankings... yup, they are entitled as well. Everyone has a unique take on things, and it doesn't mean things are bad. It means that person did not like it. That's all.

And I'm cool with that. As the old saying goes, opinions are like assholes; everyone's got one. Instead of taking this as a negative experience and angsting about the why's, I'm choosing to take it as a positive thing. Someone found these audio books and took the time to rate it, so I got a reaction. Isn't that what all creative people want? To create a reaction in people? A feeling?

In other news, up to 66K in The Princess of Wands. I'm hoping to get a lot more written in the next few days. I sense the end coming up, and it's making me anxious!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What is an Artist?

This was just brought up on Facebook, as one of the authors there commented that another author just flounced and quit writing because it was too hard or something (I didn't see the original post). I guess a few authors have gone through that. And yeah, writing--or rather the in general "creating"--IS hard. It's not easy. It's brutal work at times, and you don't get recognized for it. And sometimes, people will criticize you for it.

So, why create? Why be an artist?

It's my belief artists aren't necessarily good, famous, rich, or even talented. Artists are artists because they create art. That's it. A three year old scribbling in crayons is an artist. A ninety year old writing their memoirs is an artist. Hell, the guy in Close Encounters of the Third Kind who sculpted Devil's Tower out of mashed potatoes is an artist. Artists create art. That's it. It's that simple. It doesn't have to be good art, or famous art. It doesn't mean they are starving or rich. All they do is create. Everyone in some way is an artist... but I think what people mean by artists is not "can they make a living doing it" (although that would be lovely), but rather, "Do they NEED to make the art?" Maybe that's just my definition. The people I would consider "professional" artists are those who NEED to create. Everyone creates, so everyone is a creator... but those who do it out of the need to create something new, to tell a story, to share a picture, to snap that perfect photograph, to design the perfect building, to make something new... I think that's the "professional" artist. In that case, it's because it's their profession, their drive, their need to create.

I write because I need to write. In my own definition then, I am a professional writer. It's my profession... not a hobby. It may be part time right now--I think I clock in between 20 and 30 hours writing a week, sometimes more, but almost never less--but it's still my profession and it's not 'cause I get paid for it.

*waves a hand* Idle thoughts. Am writing right now! But it's in the secret experiment. When I ... get to a certain point the SEKRIT EXPERIMENTS, I'll share it here (and ONLY here, since no one reads this anyway, heh), as well as my results. In the meantime, rest assured I am still working on The Princess of Wands. I'm up to 47.5K, which is just a stone's throw away from novel-hood. At this point, I'm guessing the length is going to be.... another six to eight chapters, which should be around another 30-50K words. It's still hard to guess "for sure", but that's a reasonable estimate.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Never THE End

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, I just got over the flu. I was sick for a whole week and needless to say, I didn't do anything at all in that week except lay on the couch or the bed and cough a lot while I tried to puzzle out what show I was watching. Even now, after I've "recovered", I'm tired and it's really hard to get back to my day time job.

I look at my writing and I just wince. I haven't done anything for over a week. I feel bad about that, but at the same time, I'm so tired it's hard to get motivated to write. I want to. I like writing. I like telling stories. At the same time, there's so much yet to do, so much yet to write, and I'm so tired that it's daunting... and because it's daunting, it's depressing.

I try to keep these posts pretty upbeat, though IRL I am a depressive. It's sometimes a hard fought victory to even get out of bed when I'm depressed. I know, logically, that I'm just tired and overworked from rushing my recovery and being sick, but emotionally it's just as draining. I'm only half done with the first draft of The Princess of Wands, and I look and see how much more I have to write... depressing. Yet I won't give up. I think that hits all writers from time to time... that they see how much more they have to do to get to the end of a particular book and they just throw up their hands and go, "IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!"

Obviously, it's not impossible, but it can feel that way. So, instead of dwelling on "OMG I HAVE ALL THIS TO DO", I'm going to choose to look at what I've done so far. I've written about 150K words in JUST this world alone! That's a lot! And it's a lot more than would-be writers have done who think about writing but have never started. I've not only started, but finished and published novels! And tons of short stories and novellas! If I can do all that, then I can certainly finish one more book! And when I finish that one, then I can do the next one... so on and so forth. The point is that even if we fall or falter, we can always pick ourselves back up. There is no such thing as THE end, only AN end. I'll have an end to this book, but it's not the end of my writing. It'll be the start of my next book. And the next, and the next, and so on.

I wish I wasn't so tired, but I will keep my goals small for right now and build back up. The Princess of Wands is delayed, but it is coming. And after that, Reamin' Demons. And after THAT, The Brujah and the Beast. And after THAT....

The Prince of Cups Audio Book is now LIVE!

That's right, Villainess #2: The Prince of Cups audio book is now LIVE on Audible! It should be live on Amazon soon enough. I cannot stress this enough that the narrator has nailed Caprice's voice. I love everything she's done with this series so far, and I couldn't be happier.

Check it out!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


I keep thinking "I should write something on the blog" but when I come up with a topic... I've already talked about it beforehand, and I don't really have anything new to add. I decided to just ramble a bit, so that y'all know I'm alive.

I'm currently working on The Princess of Wands, Villainess #3. I think it's going OK so far, but it won't be like the first two. Of course, neither are really like each other, other than they have the same protagonist. I also had a bolt of lightning hit me when it came to Villainess last night, and it's a good idea, but did I already write myself into a corner concerning that idea? In other words, have I written canon which counters it? Means I have to read my stuff here again and be sure about it. If I haven't though, it's a really good idea.

And it's one people won't see coming. That makes it the BEST idea ever. At least to me right now.

Have some thoughts on the next Rock Hardin too, and some thoughts on Reamin' Demons. Nothing major, but when I need to skip around I'm going to start on those.

What I need to do is lock down an idea for this short story I need to write. An independent publisher approached me to write some high fantasy erotica! The pay would be straight up front and I'm cool with that... I just have to have an idea. Audrey Lusk gave me a good one that I could use, and I'm working on another angle... but nothing has really grabbed me yet.

Operation: Thrustmaster Audio Book is LIVE on Amazon!

Yes, after being completed in ... what, December? Sometime in December... and being jerked around by acx, Operation: Thrustmaster audio book is now LIVE on Amazon! The narrator Joe Hempel did an amazing job. It's ... one of my favorites so far. Just depends on what I'm in the mood for, but he cracked me up. Of course, the prose had something to do with it, but Joe did a fantastic job acting.

Check it out!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Manhandled by the Messiah is LIVE on Amazon!

The next Janus Key Chronicle, Manhandled by the Messiah, is LIVE on Amazon! This is, of course, a Dirk adventure and he gets to meet Jesus of Nazareth!

Wait, why are you guys leaving?

Kidding... but not. I had to stop a few times and facepalm, shaking my head. It is satirical, of course, and I tried to make it as funny as possible so people know I wasn't serious. It's a pulp adventure erotica... of course it's not serious. And Dirk had to get healed after being cursed by Poseidon, so who is a better healer than Jesus?

After announcing this, Bryce linked me up to some Fuck Off, Jesus! memes, which were truly hilarious. I'm including that link here, because... yeah. :)

Anyway! This is actually a key book in the series as Jesus FINALLY lays it out for Dirk how this whole thing is working, why Janus has so much power, and what exactly happened. If you want to find out, then have a look! Plus, the cover, as always, is beautiful. Jotham did a great job. And yes, Dirk is black in this one. So is Jesus. It's just the skin tone of the time and place.

Friday, February 12, 2016

1001 Erotic Nights Audio Book is LIVE on Audible!

That's right, another audio book has come live... this one is 1001 Erotic Nights! It's probably my best selling book, so I expect it will be my best selling audio books. I think there's something about the Arabian Nights that just appeals to people... it's "exotic" and sexy and something everyone knows.

Check it out!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dominating Her Boss Audiobook is LIVE on Amazon!

That's right, the second in the Dominating Her Man series, Dominating Her Boss, now has an audiobook! As with Dominating Her Intern, it was read by Audrey Lusk and you can grab it on Amazon or Audible.com.

Erotica and Silliness

I just spent the last half hour going over my personal hero's Amazon page, Chuck Tingle. For those who don't know who Chuck Tingle is, he's an erotica author who specializes in gay sex, and ultimately silly scenarios which are somehow heart warming and deep. I'm not quite sure how he managed that, but reading about space raptors invading butts is what convinced me to start writing erotica.

I started with the Janus Key Chronicles... which was MY attempt at silly erotica. Now that I'm writing the next installment of it--formerly "Jerked by Jesus" but now titles "Manhandled by the Messiah"--I turn my mind to silly erotica... is it worth it?

Well, duh!

Maybe not monetarily, unless you are like Mr. Tingle and create a whole persona. He sells his books... some fairly well and some not so well... and I'm sure he's making cash. He's even got merchandise now! The thing about being an erotica writer, or a short story writer, is that you can keep things up to date. Starbucks gets reamed for daring to have an inclusive holiday cup? Here's the book to go with it!

I don't know if I could keep up that... scratch that, I KNOW I can't keep up that level of silliness all the time. These are all satirical writings I fucking love satire. Some people might say that's awfully high brow of me, but it's true. They are satire, which happen to also be erotic. Maybe not quite all of them (as of this post, Mr. Tingle has 67 shorts out--I've read like 5), but a lot of them are.

I can't do that. I just can't. It's not my style. I do, however, love pulp adventure and the silly situations heroes can get themselves into, and how they get themselves out. So, I view the JKC as more of a pulp serial, which is silly, true, but it has adventure in it as well. I got reviews for the first thing on the Lover, Raptor, Gentlemen blog which was fantastic... as well as for Living Spaceship. One thing niggled me about the Spaceship review which was dead on... basically... I didn't go far enough. That's so true. I could have approached it differently and made it more pulpy and funny, but I didn't. I took it seriously. I started to do the same with the JKC... and I have to stop to remind myself that it's SUPPOSED to be silly. It's supposed to be unbelievable adventures, one after another, and it's supposed to be monsters who ravish my protagonists.

I wrote away from that. You see, my heart lies with dark things... as you can tell with Villainess and Delilah. But the JKC is my fun side, and I forgot that. It got a bit grim with Thunderstruck by Thor, and Dirk got cursed by Poseidon in Pooper Probed by Poseidon, but I'm writing this... sacrilegious one now about Jesus and I'm like, "Oh my god, people will hate me."

That's... not the point. The point is to take a premise which is outrageous and make it fun and funny. So, as I write I am trying to be sensitive to people's beliefs, but also to make it funny. After that, we cross over to Debbie in Reamin' Demons, more monster erotica... in a way. And then I promise, monsters over and over again! Fun, pulpy adventure will be back!

I could probably write these over and over, but I'm sensing an end. I know HOW it's going to end. I just don't know how long it will take to get there.

So, is there a place for funny erotica? Absolutely. Nothing is sexier than laughing.