Monday, November 23, 2015

Why, oh why? And what the HELL am I doing?

Those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or twitter have probably noticed that I published a new book last week and have another coming out at the beginning of December. Neither is a Cobra book. Neither is the last Deadly Captive book.

One is actually a little taboo. Really, it’s the type of book authors should avoid. Absolutely icky. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

I wrote a stepbrother book.

Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking. This is a fun story I’d started writing when I first began sharing my work on Literotica. I had a great response from readers and it helped me gain the confidence to dip my toe into writing erotic romance. If I could write something so forbidden and click ‘publish’ online without the slightest bit of shame, I felt free to explore any subject my muse showed an interest in.

Don’t get me wrong, I get why some people are completely disgusted by the very IDEA of a Stepbrother romance. One of the many reasons is if you have a stepbrother who is a revolting person who’s made your life miserable. It’s hard not to project that a bit and any sexiness is eliminated.

For me, I don’t read these kinds of books imaging any character as related to me in any way. I’ve had people ask me before if my characters are inspired by real people. My answer is always no.

Yes, life can inspire art, and I’m sure I’ve seen a hockey player smile a certain way, or a play on the ice during a game, that’s resonated with something one of my guys will do. Every person is made up of a sum of their experiences, but how those experiences shape them is unique.

Which is also why I don’t see any of the characters as being ME. If I let my beliefs, and values, and experiences limit my characters, the stories would be pretty boring. Ya, I’ve done some cool stuff in my life, but not enough to fill an 180k novel, never mind a series of books.

So when I write something extremely taboo, I’m letting these people in my head tell their story. To them, it’s not disgusting. Their desire makes it believable to cast aside all the rules of what’s socially acceptable and explore lust and love.

And I think these characters earned their happily ever after. :)
Blurb: One night, one horrible choice, throws the balance off in their lives forever.

Stephanie manages to hold things together until Colin returns, but he’s a soldier and who knows how long he’ll stick around? Long enough to help her ease Ashley back into the world after she wakes from her two year coma?

They might be a little messed up, but Stephanie, Colin, and Ashley have something between them that has gotten them through the most difficult time in their life. A love no one can touch.

And no one can know about.

Now for the book I'm really excited to finally be sharing with you...

Some of you may have read the first installments, but I really wasn't comfortable putting out a book in a serial format. I wanted to give it a try, and I'm so grateful for the feedback I got. 

Grateful enough that for the pre-order, I've put the book on special for .99.
Created pure and innocent, the newborn angel Fae’s only crime is loving the mortal realm too much. She wants to see, to touch, to taste...and to know. All of which leads to her fall from grace when she meets the demon brothers who give her all she desires.

Cravis and Travis toy with the young angel out of boredom, but losing her awakens something inside them that they didn’t know they could still feel. While Travis begins to learn how precious a life can be, Cravis struggles with the fear of how fragile love is, not sure if he can go through it being taken from him once again.

The demons will claim the angel, but many dangers threaten the Fallen. Hunted by the Virtues and lusted after by the damned, Fae may be protected as a cherished pet. But she will soon learn she’s worth so much more.

On the 10th of December, I'll be choosing FIVE readers who purchased a pre-order copy of Evil's Embrace to recieve a signed copy of the book in print. I could go on and on telling you how awesome this book is, but for .99? I'll let you find out for yourself! <g>

That said, if you want in on the contest, just stop by here:

Good luck! 

 I'd love to hear from you all, so feel free to comment with your thoughts on stepbrother books, or anything else that's on your mind! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that the week flies by. As for me, I've got more news coming soon. About books. Lots and lots of books! <g>

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Readers in Boxes-All you Need is Love

The whole issue of a MF author being plagiarized by a MM author has brought forth some interesting topics. A Washington Post article used the deplorable situation to take a jab at the romance genre as a whole. Others have been sharing their outrage and demanding to know how theft like this can be prevented.

I shared my thoughts about this yesterday, but another topic that was mentioned has been bugging me. Everyone has their opinion, and I don't mean this as a critisism, but I have to wonder how 'clever' it really was to assume there's not much crossover between gay and straight romance.

Maybe it's because I've been writing menage romance for so long, I don't usually see the divide. Ya, I've had readers who devour stories with a strong heroine meeting the man who can stand by her side, that pick up one of my books and say 'Wow. I never thought I'd be into two guys falling in love, but now I want more!' Those comments always make me smile, because really, there are so many amazing love stories out thee. And like in reality, they aren't restricted by gender or anything else.

But everyone has their preference, and there's nothing wrong with having a taste for sweet romance that follows the traditional view of a relationship.

Hell, I used to read mostly horror, sci-fi, and historical romance. My favorite historicals could all be classified today as dub-con. 'Bodice rippers' because the young heroine certainly wasn't unlacing the thing for a rival Lord or the viking that had captured her.

I had some dark fantasies. I'm sure you're all very surprised to hear that! ;)

Regardless, as a prolific reader, I was--and AM--always looking for a new genre to fall in love with. I finally realized it wasn't a particular genre I was looking for, but a great story that would pull me in and refuse to let me look away. It would keep me up at night and give me all the feels.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that any story that has great character development, a strong plot, and engaging writing will draw in all sorts of different readers. I have men and women from all over the world writing to me constantly about their new love of hockey, which they'd never been interested in before.

Whether it's a sport, a profession, or a lifestyle, I think good books will always find readers. And if you're looking for sexy, and have an open mind, the options are limitless.

The point isn't to convince anyone who DOESN'T read gay romance to start reading it. I'm just not a fan of assumptions, and in this case, the assumptions made by an 'author' who figured there weren't many readers that go from MF to MM, ended up being her undoing.

Also, let's stop drawing lines in the sand between the genres. Whatever you love to write or read, we're all fans of books. From the great big fat ones to the skinny ones, with real or digital pages, they're all a doorway to experiences you might have missed out on if you hadn't cracked open the cover. 

Enjoy. And I'll see you on the other side. Probably all tired out from killing dragons and having multiple orgies. ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PLAGIARISM in its most HEARTLESS form.

If you haven't heard about what's going on, I'll include some links, but here's the gist of what went down. An "author", Laura Harner, decided to copy entire novels, change them from MF to MM, and then sell them as her own.

Obviously she just copied the general concepts and then wrote her own books, right? Nope. That would indicate some kind of integrity. She wasn't inspired by these authors.

She STOLE from them.

The fact that I know, love, and respect Becky McGraw has no bearing on how disgusted and angry I am. That I've read and enjoyed so many of Opal Carew's books doesn't make me more inclined to shout about this from the highest platforms I can reach. It is my love of books, both as an author, and a reader, that makes this whole situation so damn repulsive.

EVERY single reader that picked up one of her books has been cheated. The authors she stole from--and there may be more, so I urge you to look through the books this person still has on Amazon--have been violated. This isn't a case of one community of romance writers against another. This involves us all.

I'm a little shocked that the story has been so slow in gaining public attention, but finally word is getting out. I choose to believe people wanted all the fact before they started gathering pitchforks and heaving people up on giant stakes. Which is always a good idea. This sets a precedent, and depending on how it's handled, accusations could start flying left and right.

One example that set a precedent before this is 50 Shades of Grey, which started out as Twilight fan fiction. I won't get into a debate about where that falls on the fine line between plagiarism and 'inspiration'. Many will say it was changed enough to be in the clear and Stephanie Meyer didn't pursue it. So basically, like it or not, case closed.

However, in this case, there's no doubt.

In fact, there's an admission from the thief herself:

Responding to the Guardian in a statement, Harner said she realised she had “made mistakes”. “I own them, and I will deal with the consequences. In transforming two M/F romance stories into an M/M genre, it appears that I may have crossed the line and violated my own code of ethics,” she wrote.

“For those who know me best, you know that responsibility for my actions begins and ends with me. I will also add there are some personal and professional issues I’ve had to deal with in the last year that have stretched me in ways that haven’t always been good for me. I write about certain concerns related to military service for a reason; however, I am not offering that as an excuse. I just think whenever someone acts so out of character, it’s helpful to ask why.”
Full Article Here: Prolific Romantic Fiction Writer Exposed As A Plagiarist

My immediate thought on reading that? BULLSHIT. 

Pure bullshit. I've said this before and I will say it again. We all live through our own hell and that is never a reason to use or abuse anyone else. The response shows how calculated and heartless this person can be. She made money off of someone else's hard work. And she wants us to ask 'Why?'

I encourage you to look up Becky McGraw and Opal Carew and show your support by buying their books if you're so inclined. There will be other ways to support them and I'll be sharing that as soon as I have more information.

As for Becky, I have to say she is handling this with so much class, I admire her even more than I already did.

When asked for her comment, this is what she had to say: 

"At least her excuses were more creative than her writing."*Version*=1&*entries*=0&linkCode=sl1&tag=becmcgboo-20&linkId=OPK5BEQUF3EMXK5R


Links to original articles by Jenny Trout:

Don’t Do This Ever (an advice column for writers): Plagiarism Warning edition

Another book plagiarized by Laura Harner

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Dartmouth Cobras Hoodies for the coming chill! And a quick update...

I'm gonna keep this brief, but since I've got a lot on my plate. Most importantly, WRITING! <g>

Also, visiting some of you awesome people at the Midwestern Book Lover's Conference. Please come see me if you're in the area! 

First, here's a new design for the Cobra lovers out there. I've had a lot of requests, so I hope you like it! It's getting chilly, so who better than to cuddle up with than our boys? ;)

For books, the FULL Celestial Pets book will be out around the beginning of next month. I'm so grateful that you guys have been patient with me, so I'll have it at a VERY low price for the first few weeks. Good news is, this marks a fresh flow with the muse, so I should be releasing books more frequently. 

As for my post the other day about my daughter's school, I will be writing a full update post for that as soon as I get all the information and sort out my thoughts. But for now, I will say this. It's important that our schools have the resources, and the training, available to deal with situations like this. Whether it's bullying, violence, threats or the well-being of their students, they are in a position to do a lot of good. Or a lot of damage.

Nothing compares to the love and care of an involved parent. And the changes we have the power to make. <3

I hope you're all doing well and thanks for stopping by!


Friday, October 16, 2015

This happened at my daughter's school. And it's NOT ok.

This just happened, and I apologize to anyone who doesn't want to know personal things about my life. But I am hurt and horrified and I'm not waiting until this happens again.

My daughter's school has a no-tolerance policy for bullying. Yet, this is the response today. And it's wrong in so many ways. So I wanted to address the one person my daughter should have been able to trust:

Mr. X from my daughter's school. So far I am struggling to understand what happened, but all I know is you are the one my daughter spoke to after being told she should kill herself.

With everything happening, with all the awareness going on in schools, there are so many ways you could have replied. But all you did was tell her not to worry about rumors and to ignore the kids who verbally attacked her.

I am now waiting for the school's response, but I'd like to ask you something.

Are you aware this child lost her grandmother to suicide last year? Are you aware of the impact of suicide? The school was made aware when this happened. Were you not told?

And even if you weren't, that's no excuse. Even a kid who's living a great life at home should NEVER have to go through this. The response should be immediate. Your students should be taught this is not acceptable.

It's NOT acceptable and I will do everything in my power to make that damn clear. I'm stunned and heartbroken and angry. I thought our schools were better than this.
But they're not, are they? You have proved how blind people can be and that will end now. My daughter, fortunately, has parents who will fight for her. It scares me to think what would happen to a child who doesn't. Who hears those words and the only support they have is someone like you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Re-release of SOLID EDUCATION-Expanded! Check out this hot excerpt!

Took a little while, but here's our boys, Gage and Derek, with an awesome new epilogue which may very well lead to future books with them and our favorite pup, Matty!

I hope you enjoy the new addition as much as I did! And if you haven't read this yet, you're in for a treat! <g>

Blurb: Gage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. Which he tells himself, repeatedly, every time the other man attends his class.

Until the day he looks over to see Gage’s seat is empty.

When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, the lines of their teacher/student relationship are blurred. Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him.

Things he’s more than willing to learn.

“One of my favorites of this collection. It contained well developed characters and a tender storyline. The power struggle and the flirting between these two was HOT. Loved Matty and I was so happy that it ended as it did.” PrismBookAlliance "Celebrating Diversity Through Literature"

Contains first chapter from A Restored Man by Jaime Reese.


Slapping the book in front of him closed, Gage flashed Derek the smile he’d been practicing since he’d popped his first cherry. One that got strange men in bars all over the world to follow him to his hotel room with no blood left pumping to their brains.

“I get it. Thank you, Professor Paulson.” He rested his forearms on the table. “Ask me anything.”

Derek’s lips parted. He cleared his throat as his cheeks went red. “Ah…all right. I printed out a worksheet at the clinic for you. Answer the questions and we’ll see how you do.”

“What do I get for the right answer?” Gage asked, using his most innocent tone, one which was blatantly transparent.

“Behave yourself, Gage.”

“I’m trying, sir.”

“Try harder.” Derek pulled a few sheets of paper from his briefcase and set them in front of Gage. He pointed to the first question. “This should be easy.”

Gage took one of the pens off the table and uncapped it. Held it over the paper and gave Derek a sideways glance. “You never told me what I get.”

Throat working as he swallowed, Derek shifted closer to Gage and placed his hand on Gage’s knee. He looked around the practically deserted library and gave Gage a stiff smile. “Assuming you get a single one right? You will be rewarded.”

“Oh, yeah?” Okay, maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea after all. Gage couldn’t think with Derek’s hand on his leg. Fuck, he could hardly breathe. He read the question over three times before the words even made sense. He jotted down the first coherent answer that came to him.

“Not bad, but please show me you know how to use a comma.” Derek shifted his hand a few inches up Gage’s thigh. “Continue.”

A few more questions answered and Gage was breathing hard, jaw clenched so he could retain enough control to hold his pen steady. Derek’s hand was at the top of his thigh, and his fingertips brushed the base of Gage’s cock through his jeans. His brain had given up, and all he could think of was how much he wanted Derek to touch him. And not just because he’d passed the test. Just because he couldn’t hold back anymore.

“I can’t…fuck, let’s go back to your place, Derek.” Gage knew he was trashing all the progress he’d made. He was making it clear exactly what he needed from Derek. Right now. But he couldn’t help it. His restraint was shot.

Derek stood and made a sharp motion toward the stairs leading to the second floor of the library. “The microform room contains the fiche reader I used when I took chemistry. Few use the old technology, but I believe there are times when going back to the basics can be useful.”

“But I…fuck, man, I’m serious.” He could tell Derek didn’t get it. There was absolutely nothing in this library that could help him now. If Derek wanted to fool the few people who might see them together, they had to get out of here.

But Derek took hold of his wrist and met his eyes, not giving an inch. “Trust me.”

There was no one on the second floor, which wasn’t surprising since there were only a handful of people in the library. The door to the microform room was tucked away between a row of old law books. Inside there were wall-to-wall file cabinets and a large desk in the center of the room with several old-fashioned machines Gage assumed were used to read the ancient technology. He would do anything he could to understand his chemistry assignments, but this was a bit much. What could he possibly learn here that he couldn’t learn in a book or, even better, online?

 Hearing the door close and the lock click, Gage turned, chewing on one side of his tongue as Derek moved closer. The amusement in Derek’s eyes as Gage glanced over at the door and then back to him was unsettling. What the fuck was the man playing at?

“What happened to being discreet?” Gage put his hand on Derek’s chest, stopping him before he did something stupid like kiss him. Derek might be the fucking king of self-control, but Gage wasn’t.

Gently pushing Gage’s hand down to his side, Derek pressed against him until he backed into a file cabinet. He chuckled when Gage avoided his kiss yet again and settled on kissing his throat. “There’s no one here, Gage. No chance that we can be seen. It’s rare that anyone uses the fiche readers.”

“But what if someone saw us come in? What if—?” Gage closed his eyes and dropped his head back as Derek undid his jeans. His hand slid over Gage’s rock-hard dick and he laughed again. He didn’t seem the least bit concerned, but Gage would give him one last chance to reconsider while his brain was still somewhat functioning. He gritted his teeth and met Derek’s eyes. “You could get fired. Lose you tenure—”

“I don’t have tenure, Gage. I’m an adjunct professor, and I told you I’m finishing the year, and then I’m done.” Derek stroked him absently, his gaze never leaving Gage’s face. “We will be careful.”

“This isn’t careful.”

“Do you want me to stop?” A slow smile spread across Derek’s lips as Gage shook his head. “Good. Now close your eyes again. You’ve been a very good student, and I think you deserve more than a pass.”

Gage snorted, then groaned as Derek knelt in front of him. “This some kinky teacher/student fantasy of yours, Professor Paulson?”

“Not quite.” Derek rubbed his scruffy cheek against the length of Gage’s cock. “If it was, you’d be the one on your knees.”

There was no good comeback to that. Not that one was needed as Derek’s hot, wet mouth surrounded him. The slick pressure of Derek’s tongue against the underside of his cock made Gage’s knees buckle. He rested his elbows on the file cabinet for support and surrendered to the mind-numbing pleasure. Derek’s hands on his hips as he swallowed around him gave him the urge to thrust in, but Derek simply tightened his grip. Leaving no doubt as to who was in control.

Buy links:
Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to PROMOTE your book without looking like a USED CAR SALESMAN: PART ONE

This might not be necessary, but I figured I should mention what some authors are doing that make them come off as used car salesmen, telemarketers, or those companies that send out enough junk mail to create a life-sized, paper mache dragon in the span of a month.

Not that I've made one, but I totally could! ;)

There's a few examples I can use, so I'll try to be fair. I mean, no author is so obsessed with pimping that they begin every conversation with 'Well, in my book.' or 'You should check out my book because...'

I'd totally suggest you make finding these rare, sweet walking billboards a drinking game, but I truly value your liver.

Which sounded a lot creepier than it was meant to! lol

Anyway, picture this. Your phone rings. You ignore it, and then you get one message. Than another and another and another and...WTF? Pressing play, you all of a sudden have messages from different people in a group talking about SHAM PLOW. It's the greatest product in the world, so they're all chatting up a storm. There's message after message and your phone is warning you that your inbox is full.
Now, obviously you can have yourself put on a no call list and never ever be bothered by telemarketers, right?

Maybe, but some will still get through. Thankfully, they can't actually have you connected to mass group chats that you're not aware of until they've already gotten annoying.

But with a social media site like Facebook, it's quite possible.

And some authors have decided to use that ability to not only 'cold call' every single online friend they have with book promo, they consistently drag those same friends to events or groups with 'invites'.

I could get into how these 'invites' are worse than junk mail, but I don't wanna give a big ol' lecture about what not to do. Maybe it works for you and kudos. I never have and never will buy a book off a mass invite. Usually, I remove myself, and if I've seen the same name on the invite one too many times--this goes for groups, events, and GAMES; seriously, I'm so happy I figured out how to block those!--I'll just unfriend the person.

 But I'm not your audience, right? Who cares what I think?

Never EVER assume other authors aren't your audience. Just ask one how it feels when an enthusiastic greeting at an event turns into a 'Oh, so you're an author too?' followed by a rude dismissal.

Yes, that happens. Way too fucking often. Stop it, twatwaffles. You'll find other ways to make us hate you.

Since this post ended up a bit longer than expected, I'm going to be doing it in two posts. In the next post, I'll let you know what works for me when it comes to 'promo'.

I don't want to be the only one talking though, so I asked around for some book lovers to chime in on what gets them to check out your books.

Here's some readers who tell it like it is:

Dawn Edwards- I can be quite a cover whore. If it has an amazing cover it makes me one click.

Lyra French- I'm a blurb queen. If the blurb is poorly written, I'm out of there. And I do like an interesting cover. I read a book once (can't remember the title) and all it had on the cover was a smoking gun and a champagne glads with pearls in it. Totally read the blurb and bought the book.

Kimberly Morgan (editor @ Grammar Ninja)- Gotta have a good blurb! And if the blurb has spelling/grammar mistakes, it makes me wary about the book. Those things pull me right out of the story!

Mandy Marshall- To be honest there are three main ways I pick new authors to read. 1. Price, if it's cheap and sounds even somewhat interesting I will read it. 2. Book Convention, I read a book by every author who attends and have found lots of new favorites this way! 3. A friend recommendation will get me to look at a book.

Advice from some amazing, successful authors:

Heather Long (Author of The Wolves of Willow Bend)-The best things I've found to have readers check out your books is a compelling question to answer in your blurb and a story that evokes a lot of emotion. Frankly, write a good book, readers want to read it then they really want to read the next one. My thoughts on a blurb are very straightforward--I try to write them in a way that makes me WANT to write the book so I know the answer. And in turn, so the reader wants to know what happens too. It’s the same reason people want to see Captain America Civil War--we know it will be Tony versus Cap, but we want to know what happens. And how it happens.

Melanie Marchande (Author of His Secretary: Undone)- It's all about mindset. Read this book: Positive energy. Believe you can. Whatever your goals are, there's nothing stopping you. It sounds cliched, and it's not the ONLY thing you need, of course - everybody will tell you that you have to work hard, pay attention to the market, etc etc, and they're certainly not wrong - but at the core of it all, if you don't really believe you can accomplish your most far-fetched goals, you DEFINITELY won't.

Read reviews, but take them with a grain of salt. Understand where your voice is needed and where it isn't. Understand that readers are entitled to their own space to express their opinions that you don't need to invade. Understand, also, that almost every review (yes, even the stupid ones) has SOMETHING useful you can take away and use and learn from.

Above all, LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. If you don't, you will never get anywhere.

Susan Hayes (Author of 3013: The Series)- 1) This might be your dream job, but it’s still first and foremost a JOB. Set goals and deadlines and keep to them as much as you can. Learn as much as you can about the business side of the craft so that you can make informed decisions about your books, your contracts, and your promotional platform.

2) Social media is for being social. This means that if you want people to buy your book via that venue, you’re going to be selling yourself, not your story. You don’t have to rule every element of social media, but you will need to be present and you should make sure that every image, photo, post, and tweet conveys a positive message. Be professional. Be pleasant. Your goal is to be the sales associate everyone knows by name and seeks out the moment they hit the store, not the used car salesman everyone avoids making eye contact with.

3) Try to resist the urge to compare your career path to someone else’s. Your journey is unique to you. Someone will always be doing better. Someone will always be doing worse. Luck plays a role in this gig, so don’t let it frustrate you when you’re struggling, and on the flip side, don’t let a little good fortune make you think you’re bulletproof.

4) Reviews. Read them. Glean what lessons you can and then walk away. Don’t let the glowing ones go to your head, and don’t let the brutal ones destroy you. Under no circumstances ever respond or acknowledge a review, good or bad. Stay out of the dragon’s lair, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.