Friday, February 28, 2014

A Dream Forbidden is out early!

For everyone who has been waiting for the next installment in the Lilith Mercury series, here it is. :)

This is the fastest I've ever had a book go live on Amazon. Ha. Ha. I just uploaded it a few hours ago, expecting it to go live March 1st. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has read this far in the series. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support. I am deeply touched by how many people have told me they can relate to Lilith and the struggles she faces. I appreciate every single one of you, and the love you have given to this series that is so close to my heart. Don't worry, there is still more to come.

Lilith's life is starting to work out for a change. Her relationship with alpha werewolf Marco is going great. There's only one problem: Dracula is dying. Not from lack of blood, but for her love. Dracula would never ask Lilith to risk her happiness for him and so he suffers in silence. That is until Lilith finds out. She must come to terms with her feelings for Dracula and realize that the vampire is just as much a part of her as Marco. But if she accepts this, where does that leave the wolf king?"

WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, graphic language, and graphic sex with more than one partner. Oh, and more wicked sexy characters than can be listed here.

Purchase your copy here: Amazon

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How I got started in publishing

I get asked fairly often how I got started as a writer. Some people want to know how I got started as far as publishing goes while others want to know how to begin their novel.

I am more than happy to help in any way I can. I just shared this information with a Facebook friend and thought, "Hey, maybe I should put this in a blog."

Please, feel free to ask questions, because I'm sure I haven't covered everything. This is just off the top of my head when it comes to getting things started. 

As I've said, I'm happy to tell you how I started, but I'm not sure how much it will help, since 
everyone's process is slightly different.
I've always wanted to be a writer, from the first day of kindergarten when they asked us what we wanted to be. LOL No joke. So, it's something that I knew one day I would do.
Then, I decided one day (6 years ago) that it was about time I got started. The story in my mind that was dying to be written was the Lilith Mercury series.
The very first thing I did was get a legal pad and decide what was going to happen in my story. Then I asked myself, why would anyone care about this besides me?
With those questions in mind, I made a very rough outline. There was no order to it, but that was okay. The notes or points on my outlines are never in order. Once I've included them in the story, I put a small check beside them.
Anyway, as I outlined the topics I wanted to cover and the scenes I wanted to write, I soon realized that I was looking at more than enough material for a series rather than one book.
I sat down and just started writing. I wrote the first two books, Red and Object of My Affection in just under 3 months. After editing it thoroughly and knowing that I had more books in me, I knew it was time to look for a publisher.
I knew absolutely nothing about publishing. I bought the current edition of Writer's Market and read it from cover to cover. They give exact details on how to put together your presentation package (cover letter, etc.) so that you look like a pro when you approach publishers or agents.
I made the choice to skip finding an agent. The way I saw it, they would do what I was already doing (putting my presentation together and shopping it around) and they would take part of my profits with them. That didn't seem right to me when I was more than capable of doing it myself.
Within 3 months, I'd found a publisher. While I later moved away from them and into self-publishing, I had to start somewhere.
I've worked with three different publishers, one of which I'm still with, Ellora's Cave. They are very professional and they get good press/exposure.
Having said that I must confess, I could never pay my bills with what I make with EC. Self-publishing puts food on my table and keeps a roof over my head.
I hope some of this information is helpful. I'm never sure exactly how to go about answering questions, so I tend to over-answer. ;)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Lilith means to me

Everything I have ever written represents a part of who I am. But no story has ever been more personal to me than the Lilith Mercury series. The story is told from her perspective, but she is more an expression of myself than a work of fiction. 

The scars Lilith carries are my own, both the ones you can see, and the ones you can't. Her thoughts, her emotions, even her hobbies are my own. Every trauma she experiences represents a similar experience in my life. Not literally, of course, but emotionally.

The men in her life are not there because she is a raging slut, nor do they represent men in my life. They represent different aspects of myself, therefore, they are no less a part of Lilith than her own heart.

Marco is everything I wish I could be, and everything I ever wanted. He is a true hero. He is tough when he has to be. He is kind. He gives a lot of himself to others and knows exactly what he wants. This is why Lilith turns to him for direction. 

Dracula is my pain. He is my broken heart put onto paper. After everything is stripped away, when I am emotionally bare, he is the monster that remains. He is immortal, wounded, and lonely. He is the emotional equivalent  of everything that has caused me pain and how it changed me. That is why Lilith turns to him for comfort. If anyone understands pain and loss, it's Dracula. 

Bade is my fantasies come to life, and I don't mean sexually. He says and does exactly what he wants, even if he knows it is wrong sometimes. Bade is always true to himself and that is why Lilith is drawn to him.

Alek represents my dreams. He can make people's dreams come true, even if it is only in their mind. He has the wisdom that I often wished I could have and gives the guidance that I often long for. That is what Lilith sees in him and why he is her confidant. 

Elijah is my innocence. He is everything good in me and everything I feel that I have lost. He is the same for Lilith and that is why he means so much to her.

Lilith's powers say more about me than they do about her. She can take away the pain of others because that is something I have often longed to do. She heals with her emotions because I wish I could use mine to do the same. 

Lilith wants more than anything to be normal, to be loved, and accepted for who she is. She is drawn to all the parts of her soul that are missing. 

No, that doesn't mean that all these characters are or will be her lovers. (Some will be.) It means they are there for a reason.

Perhaps through growing as a person/character she can learn to accept these aspects of herself. Through writing her story, perhaps I can as well. 

Maybe I shouldn't be this honest about myself and my writing. I just want people to know why I care so much about this series and why it matters to me.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What influences me

I decided to be completely straight-forward about what influences me when I write. It might not be what you think, or maybe you've got me all figured out. If you do, you'll be the first. (Some days that includes myself.) LOL

Despite what some might think, I haven't been inspired by anything "new" in years. It's the things from my "developmental" years that have stuck with me. Sure, I love to read Dean Koontz, but he is not the reason I wrote about Frankenstein. 

It wasn't until recently that I started to watch some of my favorite childhood TV series and movies again. When I did so, I realized that there were a lot of things coming from my subconscious that I was completely unaware of.

So, here they are in no particular order.

1. Jareth, The Goblin King - For those who don't know, he is from Labyrinth. David Bowie in tight pants is enough to inspire anyone, right. LOL As I watched Labyrinth very recently (for the first time since I was 6 years old) I suddenly understood a lot about my vampires. All of my vampires get some part of their style from Jareth. I laughed as I saw the ruffled shirts he wears and the vests. Hell, even his hair has influenced me! In particular, Alucard from Diary of an Incubus really embodies the style of The Goblin King. He even has the hair, but he doesn't stand it straight up. Ha. Ha.

The tight pants, the melodrama, the knee-high boots, even the eyeliner, and of course, the tight pants, were all deep within my mind. 

If you ever wondered why my vampires have this certain look, now you know, because now I know. 

2. Beauty and The Beast - Though I was too young to understand a lot of the content of the show, I watched the TV series of Beauty and The Beast when I was little. Consequently, I am still in love with Ron Perlman's voice. 

When I began to rewatch this series about a year ago I suddenly understood why I described so many heroes with a sexy, deep, smooth voice. 

Vincent (the Beast) is a man who happens to look like a monster. He shows on the outside what most of us conceal within. It was from him that I first learned that the way a person looks does not make them a monster; it is their actions that matter most.

He is remarkably kind, accepting, and another snazzy dresser. Vincent is a fan of long, flowing capes, knee-high boots, and living underground. If you've read my books, it isn't difficult to see his influence.

3. Scars - This isn't from a TV show or a movie, but my own personal experience. Someone commented recently on the fact that more than one of my characters deals with being ashamed of their scars. That is because it is something I've dealt with personally and I believe it is something everyone can relate to. No one is perfect. Anyone who carries scars, whether they are emotional or physical, wonders if that makes them damaged goods. To find someone who will accept you the way that you are is a dream that every imperfect person shares on some level. If you cannot relate to that, congratulations on being perfect.

4. Dracula - This one should come as no surprise. I first read Bram Stoker's Dracula when I was 12 and I've been in love with him ever since. He was tall, dark, and mysterious. Once again we have a character wrapped in melodrama. He walks a fine line between sexy and deadly. And once again, he is one hell of a dresser if you go with Bella Lugosi's impression.

5. The Phantom of the Opera - I first read The Phantom of the Opera shortly after reading Dracula and the two blended together in my mind. I've always been a fan of drama and theatre. I love everything about it. The passion, the costumes, and the hot actors. I have been in love with the Phantom for a very long time and he too comes out in my work. 

He is also tall, dark, dangerous, and mysterious. He hides himself for fear of rejection, yet he has so much to offer that he does not see his true beauty. 

So, there you have it, the things/characters that have influenced me most heavily in my writing. When I see stories like Frankenstein and The Wolfman, I do not see monsters; I see men who happen to look like monsters. I see another Beauty and The Beast. 

Since many of my stories share these themes, does that mean they are unoriginal? Not at all. It means that they were all written by the same woman who has the same feelings, fears, and dreams. They were all crafted by the same hand and I believe there is nothing wrong with that being obvious, so long as the characters themselves have their own personality. 

My vampires will likely always wear tight pants and the occasional ruffled shirt. Likewise, my werewolves will always have sexy voices and hairy chests. My love for The Phantom and theatre has played a big role in the way I wrote A Dream Forbidden (coming next month). 

I suppose my point is, if someone cannot relate to my themes, or if you don't like the way my vampires dress, maybe my books are not for you. 

For everyone else who doesn't mind a hairy chest, ruffled shirt, or a sexy voice, please, stick around.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

An interview with myself

Ha. Ha. Ha. Okay, the title sounds like I'm nuts. Maybe I am. *shrugs* The point is, I get asked a lot of questions about myself and my writing, which is awesome. It is so exciting to think that anyone wants to know about me. LOL

So, I thought I would take a few minutes and answer some of the most common questions here. 

Q - Where is your work published?

A - I was at one time with 4 different publishers. Now, all my books are either with Ellora's Cave, or self-published on Amazon. 

Q - Why have you self-published so many books?

A - Honestly, because I earn a higher percentage of royalties and have more creative freedom. This means I get to make a living doing what I love AND have the book turn out as I intended. 

Q - What is the first romance novel you ever read?

A - Well, it's not the first I ever read, but the first that I remember really getting to me. Sun God by Nan Ryan. I bought it at a garage sale for .25 cents. I've still got it on my shelf. :)

Q - How long have you been writing?

A - Professionally, since 2006. 

Q - What is your day job like?

A - This is my only job and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Q - What other authors are similar to your work?

A - I do not read authors whose work sounds similar to mine because I don't want their voice to influence me. It is actually very frustrating to be compared to other people, or accused of writing like them when you've never read their work. In particular, I do not read Laurrell K. Hamilton, so if people could please stop saying how I have been influenced by her, that'd be great. LOL

Q - What are you currently working on?

A - I am currently working on the Lilith Mercury series. Book 5 (A Dream Forbidden) will be out March 2014.

Q - How steamy/sensual are your books?

A - Some are very steamy, others not so much. I don't shy away from graphic descriptions. That includes both sex and violence.

Q - What's the biggest challenge in writing romance?

A - A lot of people don't take it seriously. They think that I'm not a "real" author and that anyone could do it. I say they are welcome to try. Good luck to them. 

Q - How do friends and family respond to what you write?

A - It's a mixed bag. Most people close to me are supportive, but one neighbor thinks I'm the devil. LOL

Q - Who is your favorite character? OR Which character is most like you?

A - Lilith Mercury

Q - What type of promotion do you do for your books?

A - A little bit of everything. Blog tours, magazine ads, online ads, FB groups. You name it, I've tried it. Consequently, I don't know if any of it did any good. 

And there you have it. My most common questions. :) 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pros and Cons of reading reviews

First, let me say that this is written tongue-in-cheek, and not to be taken seriously. This is just for laughs and perhaps a bit of therapy for myself and my fellow writers. While some of this CAN be taken seriously, most clearly cannot. LOL

TO READ                                                           NOT TO READ                                        

-I would know what people think
  about my books.                                               - Knowing changes nothing.

- I would know if someone insulted me.             - You cannot change what people say
                                                                           and defending yourself is NOT allowed.
                                                                           Neither is an anal assault with a pickaxe.
- What if someone called me names?                   - If someone directly insulted you,
                                                                             THEY look  like the asshole. Just
                                                                             kill them off in your next book.            
-What if it's really nasty?                                     - You don't have anywhere to hide
                                                                             the body.

-What if they REALLY don't like
  what I've written?                                             - SCREW THEM. You aren't going to
                                                                            change it. They can suck a fat one.
                                                                            If you're lucky, they might choke on it.      
-What if they are saying cruel shit?                      - It doesn't matter what they say,
                                                                            as long as people are still enjoying
                                                                            your books. Seriously, this one is for real.
-What if they don't like what some
  of the characters do?                                        - SCREW THEM. They didn't write
                                                                            the book.

- What if they say my characters
    are immoral?                                                  - That just makes them look like a prude.
                                                                            You  cannot track them down and
                                                                            smack them with a dildo.
- What if they are offended by
   something a character says?                            - In the words of Yoda, "Offended you
                                                                            are? A f**k I don't give." Seriously,
                                                                            you wrote each character with their
                                                                            own personality. Don't censor that
                                                                            based on what people MIGHT
- What if they complain about
   similarities between characters?                      - SCREW THEM. Many people have
                                                                            things in common. That does not
                                                                            mean they are not original.

- What if they insult me PERSONALLY?               - Let's be real here, you don't know where
                                                                             they live, so put down the baseball bat.

- Remarks I've read in the past
   really hurt my feelings.                                     - People are assholes. You can't change that.
                                                                               And you can't kill them.

- This character shared my personal
  opinion and they insulted her/him.                  - You have been insulted before, mostly by
                                                                            jealous twats. It will happen again.

- What if I am on the best seller list,
   and I don't know it because I can't
   look at the book's page?                                  - Knowing wouldn't change anything.
                                                                             And  you might accidentally see
                                                                             another display of stupidity.
                                                                             Have a hot cocoa and relax.

- What if my books are getting bashed
    and I don't know?                                            - Then you won't be forced to hire
                                                                              a hacker to track them down
                                                                              so that you can stomp the jelly
                                                                              out of their skulls. After all,
                                                                              it would ruin your new shoes.
In all seriousness, if the people who like your books outnumber the people who hate your books, you are doing just fine. Are you getting positive letters from readers? Great! Focus on that. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE YOU ARE WRITING FOR.

Like I said, this is meant to be humorous and sarcastic. I am not actually contemplating tracking someone down and stomping the jelly out of their skull. LOL

Most of all remember, reviews are for READERS not WRITERS. I realize that many will disagree with this. But, if you work with an editor, you are already getting feedback from a professional. Your books overall ranking on Amazon (or any other site) tells you everything you need to know about everyone else's opinion all wrapped up into a number. Unless, of course, you only have one review and it's someone being a total jerk. Don't take that to heart. Wait until you have SEVERAL reviews to form an overall/more balanced perspective.

I speak from experience. Words hurt and people (on the whole) don't care whose direction they sling them in.

So, protect your sanity. Stop reading reviews and get back to work on your next book.