Flirty Author Bitches

Sins of Lust Rainbow Award Finalist

I don’t usually enter book contests but I always submit a book or two for the annual Rainbow Awards. It’s a contest highlighting GLBT books – and the competition is fierce. So I’m excited that Sins of Lust is a Rainbow Award finalist in the Gay Paranormal category. It means my book scored at least 36 out of 40 points. Last Chance won in the same category a few years back, and it’s nice to get another nod. Especially for Sins of Lust…since it’s a book of my heart. One I had to write.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea – it has many fantasy elements, an elaborate world and exotic storyline…it’s a fantasy, mystery as well as a romance. And, I touch on subjects that might be uncomfortable for some readers. One judge remarked that it had a marvelous setting and unique plot. Too unique, perhaps, but I had so much fun developing the world. I’m glad I wrote wrote Uri-el and Razi-el’s story and hope readers enjoy their journey towards their their happily ever after.

Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.

As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.

Excerpt  and info

Love and Peace!

Viki Lyn

Viki Lyn: Award winning author of male/male paranormal and contemporary romances. You can find all of Viki’s books at the following sites: Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and GLBT Bookshelf.

Pride will be the death of him.

When psychic Nate Coleman dreams of a murder, he knows it’s a premonition. He can’t forget the image of his ex-lover with a bullet hole through his chest. Nate has no choice but to confront William and face the skeptical scientist’s ridicule.

Dr. William Ryner doesn’t believe in what he can’t prove. When Nate comes back into his life, it’s not to rekindle their love, but to bring up more of that mumbo jumbo that split them apart.

Despite William’s refusal to listen, Nate can’t ignore the premonition. And, William can’t ignore Nate. Before the gunman strikes, William must either trust in Nate’s ability or rely only on the facts, but if he does the latter, pride could be the death of him.

10 best things to do when you visit a new city

UK’s Female First online magazine offered my the opportunity to help them celebrate their 1oth anniversary. The challenge, come up with something that has to do with the number 10. Since I travel often, I decided to focus on that. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Use social media before you leave. You might be surprised to find a friend who lives there or will be visiting at the same time.

2. Find the used and rare books bookstore. Supporting independent booksellers.

3. Visit historical sites. Learn!

4. Ask the locals where to get the best lunch. Best food, best price.

5. Take that lunch–or the book you bought–to a local park. People watching is always the best entertainment.

6. Takes snaps of random things. You’ll best surprised how fun they are to show friends.

7. Hunt down resale shops. Better than a tourist shops, you’ll get unique items that reflect the city.

8. Check the newspaper for book signing, literary readings, free festivals, or concerts.

9. Check the library for events. A great way to meet authors and hear them read.

10. Check museums for films. Many museums run film festivals featuring the best in foreign films.

Traveling

I haven’t much to say this month. I’ve been back to the East Coast (from New Mexico) just a few days ago and I’m ready to go out again to Atlanta for Gay Rom Lit 2013. I’m writing this between unpacking, washing and repacking my clothes in addition to mailing out the SWAG to the Hotel and getting together small gifts for my table companions for the Dine with An Author Dinner at GRL.

This year I’m giving away copies of A Matter of Trust, the first in the Indiscreet Series and a bar of Lindt chocolate. I’m looking forward to seeing ninety-nine of my fellow authors at the event where we can mix with the fans and others who practice our craft. Last year was my first GRL and it was held at a hotel in my backyard in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year I have to travel to Atlanta. However, I think I’m going to have a more productive conference this year because I will be able to mingle after hours and talk to both other authors and fans on our down time.

I bought spiral notebooks with my logo and refrigerator magnets to be given away as swag this year. Instead of giving away many small things, I decided to give away one big thing. I have shirts to iron, boxes to pack and mail and suitcases for myself and my husband who is flying with me to Atlanta so that he can visit with friends while I attend the conference. For those of you who are attending, I look forward to seeing you there. For those of you I won’t see at the conference, I”ll make a report of what I saw and heard next month.

My favorite month has inspired me

I have been SO ridiculously busy this month, and the second week isn’t even finished yet. LOL I’ve been cleaning, gardening, even walking my dog extra. But most of all, I’ve been writing like crazy. I think it’s the change in the air. Living in Florida is truly miserable until late September – mid March. Sometimes the heat is too much even in March.

Today is another of those fabulous days and I’m eager to share what I’ve been working on. Everyone is trying to save money, myself included. So, I wanted to do something to help my readers save money AND still be able to pay my bills.

I decided to put together a few boxed sets of some of my most popular books.

First, I put together the Lilith Mercury, Werewolf Hunter Collection. This is a collection of the first three books in the Lilith Mercury, Werewolf Hunter series, along with a clickable table of contents. This series focuses on the life of Lilith Mercury, a werewolf Hunter who is also half werewolf. Did I mention there are several sexy men in her life? This story has graphic violence, and graphic sex. It also has a new take on the origins of werewolves and vampires. There are many ups and downs in Lilith’s life and much more to come.

I wanted to give readers a significant savings, and still give them a reason to check out my Lilith Mercury series. (This collection is 248,567 words in length, if you were wondering.) At its introductory price readers will save $4.98. That’s enough to buy more books! Ha. Ha.

What scares you?

October is one of my favorite months. The fall weather is great, but that’s not my main reason for loving October so much. It might be cliche, but I still love Halloween.  The way I see it, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the pageantry, mystery, and fun of Halloween.

This time of year always gets me in the mood for scary books, movies, and music. I’m not a big fan of the modern horror movie, however. Most of the “horror” movies I’ve seen are full of blood and gore, but few genuine scares. What I like is suspense. I often find that the threat of something is more terrifying than whatever it actually turns out to be. The Others, a movie from quite a few years ago, is an example of that concept. Throughout the movie, I wondered what was going to happen, and I was nervous despite the lack of bloody deaths. Another movie I found creepy was Pan’s Labyrinth. Although it’s not just a scary movie, it unsettled me quite a bit.

As for books, I like pretty much any type of paranormal creature. I love were creatures, zombies, ghosts, vampires…You name it, I’ll read it! If the book has romance mixed in with the scares, even better. Rick R. Reed is great for the romance/horror mix. Check out A Demon Inside and you’ll find out what I mean.

My go-to scary music is mainly movie soundtracks. There’s nothing like a soundtrack to have me looking over my shoulder to make sure nobody’s there.

Now that October’s here, I’m in need of some new creepy reads and movies. Anybody have suggestions? What scares you?

In the meantime, all of this spooky atmosphere has put me in the mood to write my own paranormal books, although I don’t generally make them all that scary. My zombie book, Sex and the Single Zombie, is more rom-com than horror. If you’re in the mood for a bit of Halloween without the scare, check it out!

Cassandra Gold

www.cassandragold.com

Gay romance with a heart of gold!

Caring, professional SWGZ seeks open-minded SGM for dating and possible LTR…

Since his death two years ago, zombie Peter Reese’s love life has been nonexistent. His attempts to meet a regular “live” guy through a blind dating website—without revealing an important detail about himself—have all blown up in his face. Now, his current blind date with “Shane1990″ seems destined to end the same way, until the handsome guy inexplicably decides to give Peter another chance.

Can Peter prove that nice zombies don’t always finish last?

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/SexSingleZombie.html

murmur available october 11

I have a release date for Murmur, October 11, and a beautiful cover courtesy of my author friend, the lovely Anna Reith.

This is book one of my Secrets of the Senses series. I call it metaphysical fiction. Murmur is set in Britain at the time of Roman occupation. It’s the story of Aonghas, a gifted guy with a skewed view of himself, and pretty much everything else. He works to change that, sometimes with success, sometimes not. As gifted as he is, he’s far from perfect. That’s what I love about him.

Here’s an excerpt:

Murmur, Chapter 3

Fog on the moors is beautiful. In that ethereal atmosphere, one can believe himself to be floating in a cloud; the limited sight, the vaporous essence creates a world within a world, at once exciting and playful, and foreboding. On one such evening I walked through the low scrub, careful of my footing, cloaked within the fog and feeling myself to be a phantom traversing an otherworldly landscape. The sky grew darker, the fog thickened with the approach of night. I gave up sight, and navigated relying on other means, other senses—my knowledge of the terrain, my instincts. It was a thrilling experience that brought to full attention all of my being, and I walked with bold confidence.

To continue reading, click the link

Readers Win

On August 1, my M/M paranormal novel Try the Tofu released from MLR Press. Try the Tofu is the fifth book (fourth full-length novel) in my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series, and it’s a bit of a change from the previous books.

All of the previous books in the series are narrated by Kyle Slidell, the world’s only vegan werewolf as far as the folks in the stories know. When I was doing the pre-planning for Try the Tofu, it occurred to me that Kyle’s mate, pack Alpha Tobias Rogan, hadn’t had much of a chance to give his side of the story. Other than a young adult novel, Fresh Meat (published by MLR’s young readers’ imprint Featherweight Press, under my YA pen name Jo Ramsey), Tobias hadn’t told any of his own stories at all.

So I did a poll on Facebook: Did readers want more of Kyle’s point of view, or did they want to read Tobias’s? The response was unanimous: Everyone who had an opinion wanted to read a story from Tobias’s point of view.

As an author, it’s my job to come up with ideas, characters, settings, and so on, but sometimes it’s fun to get the readers’ perspectives, especially when it’s about a series they’ve read and enjoyed. Occasionally I do pose questions on Facebook about character names, which story I should work on next out of the ones bouncing around my brain, etc. A few readers have told me they like having the input; it makes them feel more connected to the story and the author.

Since the readers won the vote on who should narrate Try the Tofu, I’m giving readers here a chance to win a PDF copy of the book. Just leave a comment, and on Friday I’ll draw one winner’s name. Meanwhile, here’s the cover, blurb, and buy link for Try the Tofu:

As he and his mate Kyle Slidell prepare to travel to Pennsylvania for the twice-yearly regional Alpha gathering, Tobias Rogan knows something will go wrong. His fears are proven correct when a visiting werewolf from another region challenges Arkhon Zane Wolfskin for leadership of the Northeast–and wins.

Tobias and his allies learn the challenge was part of a larger plan to destroy their region, and Tobias will not allow it to happen. But can he defeat the new Arkhon and take charge of the region himself?

Available from MLR Press.

I Did A Stupid Thing (and so did you, probably

If you’re an industry nerd like me, you probably know all this. If you like spreadsheets and statistics and read the Smashwords blog religiously, you definitely do.

You know Smashwords, right? It’s a distributor of indie ebooks. The site’s founder, Mark Coker, tends to be really transparent and stands up against censorship and all that good stuff. He also genuinely seems to want small-potato authors like me (and you, maybe) to succeed.

To that end, he shared the results of a study Smashwords conducted, analyzing over $12 million in sales of 120,000 titles between May 2012 and March 2013. You can read his analysis of the results here: http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new-smashwords-survey-helps-authors.html (and you totally should, especially if you’re a publishing nerd!), but I want to focus on just one point he raises. It’s actually the second “key finding” he addresses:

Longer books sell better.

Uh-oh. They do? Crap.

Yuppers, the top 100 bestselling titles at Smashwords averaged 115,00 words. The lower the word count, the lower the sales. True story.

I did a stupid thing, without even knowing it: I wrote a series of short ebooks. It’s called “Wedding Heat” and, actually, the series isn’t even complete yet. As of now, it’s ongoing. And it’s been going on since last summer.

The Wedding Heat series takes place over Maggie and Ed’s wedding weekend at a luxury woodland resort, but it features more than just the bride and the groom. In fact, most of the stories follow wedding guests–the couple’s family, friends, co-workers, even resort workers. The series is every bit as queer as I am. Some stories are vanilla, some are so viciously kinky they could make a person faint. Some feature happily married older couples, some feature menage encounters and stranger sex. Some characters are bi, some straight, some gay, lesbian, trans, 2-spirit. You want it, Wedding Heat’s got it.

And the survey saaaaays… XXX!

If you want sales, a series of short stories is not the way to go. To quote directly from the Smashwords analysis, “Often, we’ll see an authors with a single full-length novel break the novel into chunks to create a series of novellas, or worse – they’ll try to serialize it as dozens of short pieces.”

Crap!

“When you consider that readers overwhelmingly prefer longer works, and you consider that bestselling titles sell exponentially more copies, reach more readers and earn more money than the non-bestsellers, you can understand how some authors might be undermining their book’s true potential.”

Double-crap!

So, the smart thing would have been to publish my Wedding Heat series… well, not as a series at all, but rather as one big book.

I’ve seen a lot of publishers re-releasing novel-length works by other authors as a trilogy of short novellas–exactly as the Smashwords analysis mentions, above. You’ve probably seen this too. If you’re an author, maybe one of your publishers has split up your work in this way. Or, if you’re self-published, maybe you did it yourself. (Did you? How did that work out?)

When I started writing my Wedding Heat series, I wasn’t really thinking about marketing. Actually, I began the series because there was nothing good on TV. I missed looking forward to some of my old favourites, like Frasier and Seinfeld. Ooh, and The X-Files. There’s nothing I anticipated anymore, so I thought, hey, maybe I should write a series that readers could look forward to. I could release the ebooks every two weeks and provide a touch of anticipation. Every story would be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words, so ideally a person could read the new installment in the same time they would otherwise spend watching a TV show.

That’s how it all started. Seemed like such a good idea…

Not so, according to the Smashwords survey results. When all is said and done, my Wedding Heat series will have an aggregated word count of well over 100,000 words. There are already… oh, I’ve lost track… 13 ebooks in the series? Should I have waited and published the stories all together?

If you’re an author, tell me if you’ve split up a longer work and sold it in smaller portions. If you’re a reader, tell me what appeals to you more: a series, a trilogy, or a long work?

And for more information about my Wedding Heat series, you can visit its devoted website: http://weddingheat.wordpress.com/


Giselle Renarde

Canada just got hotter!

Sources, including ones you maybe hadn’t thought of (Research part 2)

People have commented on how my books feel like they’re anchored in the time they’re set (predominantly the first couple of decades of the twentieth century). “What research do you do for that, Charlie?” they ask, and I go, “Ah…well…” Even the thought of the sort of research which means reading lots of books about an era makes me quake. I don’t want to plough through some learned tome about life in Edwardian England – I want this to be fun, then I’ll be motivated to do it properly. (Although I’m not knocking traditional references sources – they’re essential for checking facts, dates, etc.)

When I wrote a story set in 1908 London, I read a wonderful book about the Olympics of that year; it took place at exactly the same time and within a few miles of where my story does, so it was fantastic for giving me a real flavour of the times. In the book there are pictures of the athletes and the crowds – real, natural, ‘not posed’ pictures – so I can see the fashions and faces and body language better than in some studio portrait. I also get an insight into the weather at the time (rubbish English summer suddenly turns scorching, as usual), the newspaper mindset (the media never changes) and Anglo-American relations. I may not use any of these tidbits directly, but they’ve contributed to the background jigsaw.

Because that’s what I see this exercise as, creating a sort of 3-D picture in my mind, where I can ‘go’ when I write my story. The Edwardian 3-D ‘brainworld’ is different from the Regency one – and poles apart from the modern day one – so I have to slip into the proper universe for the piece I’m working on. Then all the rest flows naturally.

So, how does this world get constructed? By accessing material that’s as close to the era I want as possible. Writing Edwardian? Read Edwardian books – then you’ll get a feel for the dialogue, the words they used and didn’t use, the cadence of speech and writing from the time. Before you turn into my daughters and say “That’s soooooo boring”, can I just say that ‘The Wind in the Willows’ is from 1908, the Sherlock Holmes books all straddle the era and ‘Three Men in a Boat’ just predates it. I’d go so far as to say that, if you want to write about Edwardian England, you couldn’t go too far wrong by starting with reading ‘Three Men in a Boat’. (And if you want American sources, what about ‘Anne of Green Gables’ or ‘The Wizard of Oz’, both from Edwardian times?)

I won’t bore you with a list of other places where you can get contemporary information (I’ll post a list in a later post) but I’ll pick out a few that I find most useful. The first is newspapers, either online archives of them, or originals (if you can turn them up at jumble sales) or even the repro ones which our papers sometimes give away to mark anniversaries of events. The stories themselves are great (mainly as they dispel the myth that no crime used to happen in ‘the good old days’) but best of all are the adverts – personal and commercial – letters to the editor, radio listings, sports news.

Again, it creates a picture of the time and can give you some brand names to slip into your story. Subtly, of course. And talking of names, please make sure that you use given names appropriate to the era and setting. Handy tip Number 2: you can pick authentic names up from online sources like ancestry.com or other genealogical sites. I’ll bet twenty pounds at least on the fact that no Edwardian lady was called Beyonce, nor was her beau called Sir Kyle. (Although my favourite – real – historical name remains Mr Savage Beare, who’s buried in Romsey Abbey.) Get the names to have the right sound and your characters will have the right feel.

I also like anything where ordinary people talk about what they did/are doing. It’s really hard to get information on the lives of the man/woman in the street so I was really pleased, when researching a story set on Jersey (old, not New) to find a book featuring picture postcards sent from the island during the twentieth century. The pictures are great – Edwardian women dolled up to the nines, hats and long skirts and all, within a foot of the sea where there children are playing – but the messages are better. Did nice girls eye up the local lads? Of course they did, and they told their friends about it. More surprisingly, did adults ask for glasses of milk to drink in restaurants post WWII? Yes, because this was a luxury after years of rationing. Another piece to put into the jigsaw puzzle.

As You Know, Bob…

For those of you who don’t know, “As You Know, Bob” is a literary… device where a character blurts out a bunch of information in dialogue to another character that should or does already know the information, and the only purpose for the dialogue is to inform the reader. It usually pulls the reader out of the story because it seems out of place or possibly even ludicrous. One of my favourite examples was in an episode of Numbers (sometimes it’s harder to avoid AYKB in movies & TV) where the math professor explains to the FBI agents how terrorist cells work. Um, yeah, they probably already knew all that.

Anyway, I recently came across a previously unknown (to me) variation on the As You Know, Bob phenomenon.

“As you know,” the dialogue began. The funny thing is, that most AYKB dialogue doesn’t actually start with “as you know” so when I saw it, I was prepared for a very clunky info dump in the following dialogue.

But then, the character imparted a fact that I’m guessing 80% of the population would have NO idea about, AND there’s no reason on Earth why the character being spoken to would be aware of this fact. I was left wondering why one would even include the “As you know” phrase. Unless, it was an unwitting AYKB. ACK. Brain hurts from thinking about it!

I think maybe I’ll call this the “As You Don’t Know, Bob” or maybe “Bob, you dumbass, why don’t you know this?”

And the moral is… if you are tempted to actually put “as you know” into dialogue, just reflect for a few moments. Is it truly the best way to disseminate the information?

KC Burn