Monday, May 2, 2016

I wish werewolves were real

I woke up today to a very strange email. I'm sure you've all heard me or some other writers say that characters come alive for them. Some of us even talk to them like they're real people, just to get a feel for how they might react. While I don't talk to my characters, I do play out conversations in my head, to see what feels natural and believable for them.

Since werewolves are kind of my thing (vampires too), I've done extensive research on the subject. While I wish they were real, sadly, there is no evidence to prove it. Of course, there's also no concrete proof against it either.

If you're wondering what I'm rambling about, I'm trying to understand that email I mentioned. I'm not going to reveal names or copy and paste the whole thing, because I think that would be a dick move. But it's just too unusual to keep to myself.

Someone wrote to me to ask if I could help them get in touch with Marco. For those who have read my Lilith Mercury series (and a few other books he makes a guest appearance in), you know that Marco Barak is head of the largest wolf pack in the US. While he does have some basis in reality, for his personality and appearance, Marco is very much a work of fiction.

At first I thought the email was just a fun prank. But the more I read about how desperate this person was to find a "real" werewolf who was willing to turn them, the more worried I became.

I've never tried to present the Lilith series as anything other than a work of fiction. Yes, I love it. Red (Book One) was my very first book and the series will always be close to my heart. But I was not writing from personal experiences with werewolves.

This person was very articulate. They wrote a detailed letter begging me to put them in touch with Marco so they could meet up with him and become a part of the pack.

They also think that I am Lilith.

I haven't responded directly, and I probably won't. To be honest, that letter was unnerving. However, I did want to say here, in the open, that I write fiction. I am not a werewolf or a hybrid of any kind and I do not know how to contact Marco, other than to write about him. Unfortunately, Marco is real only in my mind and in the minds of those who enjoy reading about him. He is fiction.

Monday, April 18, 2016

FYI on Book pricing and more things people say to writers

Random FYI on book pricing: I've gotten some complaints about a few of my books being overpriced. If the book is still with a publisher, I have absolutely no control whatsoever over pricing. I hope to one day be back in complete control of all my books. But until that happens, I can't do anything about the prices. I'm sorry. You can tell if a book is with a publisher by scrolling down to the publishing details on the book's page (like on Amazon, for example) this is near where the page count is listed.

Since I do get questions about this topic pretty often, here's some info on my pricing. smile emoticonJust FYI. My pricing is always based on book length, unless something is on special. wink emoticon
90,000 words and up - $4.99
60-80,000 words - $3.99 (Most of my books fall in this range)
25-55,000 (ish) - $2.99
Anything under 20,000 words - $0.99

This is largely based on what Amazon says MUST be charged for printing costs through Create Space. If prices go up, it's because printing costs have risen. I only make about $1 or less on most of my print books.
100,000 words or more (Red, for example) $11.25
90,000 words - $10.25
80,000 words (roughly could be just under or just over) - $9.25
70,000 words - $8.25
60,000 words - $7.59
55,000 words - $6.99 

Anything in mass market paperback will be slightly different, due to size and printing costs. I try to be consistent with print prices, but as I said, it's not easy due to cost fluctuations.
I hope this helps. :) Feel free to ask questions. I'm pretty transparent when it comes to this stuff. I'm just trying to put out quality work that entertains and make a living without overcharging anyone.

Now, time for more things people say to writers. I suppose this could also be categorized as things that you will eventually encounter if you become a writer. Sometimes it can be very difficult to know how to handle certain situations. 

1. For example, when other writers post on your boosted post or ad. *sigh* I'm not talking about leaving a comment to show support. I'm talking about when other writers pimp their work on a post that YOU paid for. This has happened to many writers I know, including myself. I understand, especially as a new writer, that it can be very difficult to reach a broader audience. However, this behavior is SO not cool. Again, I'm not talking about simply leaving a comment. I leave comments sometimes, if I think the cover is great, or the book looks interesting, etc. It's also not cool to post on a random thread on another author's page and start pimping your books. Unless people have been specifically asked for such information, of course. We all make mistakes, and I'm certainly not perfect. But please, don't do this. It puts writers in an awkward position of having to think of a response (that doesn't make us sound like the asshole), or deleting the comment. Both of which usually makes them feel bad. I know it does me.

2. Sometimes you will get messages out of the blue from people you don't know asking you to like their page. This is another awkward one for me. Normally, I'll go ahead and like the page and leave it alone. But what if it's something you DON'T like? Yeah, this can get weird. I'm also guilty of simply deleting these messages. I'm sorry if that makes me look like a jerk, that was not my intention. If you have any kind of a "public persona" you should always be careful what you do publicly. I'm guilty of sometimes being too honest. This can back fire bigtime, because someone will always be offended by anything you say. Therefore, if someone asks me to like their page and I really don't want to (because I don't like being put on the spot like that), I will typically not respond. Again, this is not to be a jerk.

3. People will send you information on their books and ask you to post about it to your readers. This one is also very difficult to handle sometimes. I DO occasionally post about books from other authors, but there is also a reason behind it. If I feel that my readers would probably enjoy the book, or if I have read it and really liked it, I'll share. If it is something way off base from my genre, I'm probably going to delete the message. These type messages also make me uncomfortable. I don't want to be rude to anyone, but I'm not going to post everyone's information to my readers. It has nothing to do with "competition" or being a bitch. First of all, there are more than enough readers in the world, and their reading preferences vary wildly. There is no such thing as competition. Second, I don't know of any authors who would do this, even if they know the individual personally. It's very off-putting to be put on the spot. Kind of like when people ask you to write their life's story.

4. Getting asked to read or review someone's book is also a very awkward situation. For legal reasons I do not read anyone's work and I do not review. I've never reviewed. I simply do not have the time, most full-time writers don't. This can be particularly difficult to handle because most of us DO want to encourage people to follow their dreams. That doesn't mean that we have time to help them craft it and/or offer suggestions. I know I keep saying this, but none of this is to be a jerk. This is a business and I do it for a living, as many others do. If you were a lawyer, for example, would you expect another attourney, working for another firm, whom you did not know, to research all of your cases and just GIVE you the answers? Or to review every single case you worked and give their opinion? Of course not. They have their own busy workload to take care of.

5. If an author takes the time to answer your questions, be respectful of their time and don't keep asking things that can easily be found on the FAQs page at Amazon. Just because many of us work from home does not mean we have all the time in the world. I'm sure that only a few of us are sitting around working on our LARPing costumes. LOL Most of us are hard at work on our next book. Having said that, we're all pretty approachable and don't mind helping if we can. Just do your homework first. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked broad questions like, "How do I get published?" Wow. I'm not even sure where to begin.

I hope some (or all) of this is helpful. I also hope it is taken in the spirit I intended and not seen as snark. I'm truly not trying to be rude here. I'm just sharing what myself and a lot of other writers encounter fairly often.
ink emotico

Monday, April 4, 2016

HUGE Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I'm participating in a HUGE multi-author giveaway. All the authors listed below (including me) contributed to this prize. Yes, it's for real. LOL The prize will be given to ONE lucky winner.

Good luck! :)

★✩★ #GIVEAWAY ★✩★

*Only one entry per person

Authors included in this giveaway are: 
A.D. Justice, Ahren Sanders, Allison Gatta, Bella Love-Wins,Bev Elle, BJ Harvey, Brooke Page, Calinda B, Carina Wilder, Celia Kyle, Chloe Cole, Christine Bell, E.M. Gayle, Elise Black, Eliza Gayle, Elle Christensen, Elle Thorne, Emerson Shaw, Emily Minton, Emily Walker, Emma Nichols, Erin Hayes, Eve Vaughn, Fan. X, Flora Dare, Harmony Raines, Hazel Hunter, Heather C. Leigh, Heidi Jo B, Hilary Storm, Ilsa Madden-Mills, Isabelle Richards, J.M. Miller, J.M. Walker, JC Andrijeski, Jenni Moen, Jennifer Dawson, Julia Kent, Kate Kent, Katherine Rhodes, Kathryn M. Crane, Kerry Adrienne, L.B. Dunbar, L.V. Lewis, Laura Ward, Lexi Buchanan, Lexxie Couper, Lia Davis, Liliana Rhodes, Lillian Cartier, Lisa Suzanne, M Mabie, M. Stratton, M.C. Cerny, Mandy Rosko, Marie Mason, Mel Balle, Mia Sheridan, Michele Bardsley, Michelle Dare, Nicole Blanchard, Niquel, RE Butler, Sarah O'Rourke, Scarlett Dawn, Shelley Springfield, Stacey Lynn, Suzanne Rock, T.M. Franklin, Tracey H. Kitts, Velvet Reed, and Z.B. Heller

**This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Amazon, Google+, Instagram, or Twitter

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Things people say to writers

Since I write for a living, I'm sure you all could guess that I'm friends with a lot of other writers. Naturally, we talk sometimes. LOL When I first started to earn a living at this, I wondered if I was alone in some of the strange or straight-up rude messages I got from time to time. I'm not. Apparently, it's a thing. People will say anything to a writer. 

Here are only a few examples. And no, I'm not posting this to be a bitch. LOL Before I got in this business, I never would have dreamed that people would act like this. This post is just to share some of what myself and others have to deal with, some of us on a daily basis. Think of it as an FYI to aspiring writers and what they might encounter. For everyone else, just think of it as entertainment. 

Please, do not interpret any of this to mean that I do not want to hear from readers. Of course I do! I love my readers. You guys are hella cool. LOL I'm talking about very odd, and rude individuals who probably shouldn't communicate with anybody. 

1. We get emails/PMs from people telling us all the corrections we need to make in our book. 

Wow. Just wow. This is SO rude. Unless you are an editor who works for that person, this is never cool. It's one thing to point out a misspelling on such-and-such page, like if you're a reader and you just want to give them a heads up. But to offer a detailed critique that no one asked for is extremely off-putting and presumptuous. All the writers I know hire professional editors, many times more than one, to go over each book. Plus, we edit them ourselves. 

Occasionally mistakes do happen. That does not mean the book was not edited or that we turn out quickly slapped together garbage. It means we are human beings. Also, some words are spelled differently here in the US than they are in say, the UK. That doesn't mean they are wrong. I'm American. I spell words the American way. 

I know many people who have received this type of message. I don't know of any who were not either hurt, insulted, or both.

2. People send us tons of story ideas that they want us to write.

First off, this is a big legal no-no for us. Legally, I cannot look at someone else's story. I never want anyone to be able to say they think I stole from them or that I was influenced by their work in any way. Genre writers are bound to run into many similarities, simply due to the nature of what they write. That's different.

I've had people send me emails with lots of attachments of how they want a story to be written. First, I don't open attachments. Ever. Second, I delete these messages almost as soon as I realize what they are. I'm not trying to be a jerk, it's a legal issue. 

Besides, why would anyone want someone else to tell their story?

3. Someone always thinks they know what SHOULD have happened in the story.

This one is also very insulting. I've read lots of stories where I wish things had happened differently. But, it wasn't my story to tell. The writer told the story that was in their heart and I read it. I don't have to agree with every decision to enjoy it. And I would never presume to tell them how they should have written their story.

4. People want to send us graphic details of their sex lives for story fodder.

Yes, this really happens. We are human beings, we do have our own experiences to draw from. And even if we didn't, the majority of us would be weirded out to get this type of message from a stranger. LOL Hell, I don't want to get it from people I KNOW.

There are many more examples of this kind of stuff, but these are the top 4 that I've encountered. Oh, and I also get lots of pics of male genitalia. Really. Just because my stories have sex in them does not mean I write filth. There's a WHOLE STORY in there. The sex scenes do not take up the whole book.

If you are thinking of being a writer for a living, just know that at some point you will get these kinds of messages. Sometimes, it's funny. But as your career grows and you have less and less time to answer messages, getting an email full of snark and self-righteousness can ruin your day.

Oh, and if you ever write about sex, even for a brief second, be prepared for the dick pics. They are out there, and they will find you. LOL

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I'm working on it. :)

I get asked fairly often why my next book isn't ready yet. LOL The question might be worded differently but it's all the same.

"If you write a little every day, you must be really slow."

"Why isn't so-and-so out yet?"

"OMG! I've been waiting forever!"

While I'm thrilled that people want to read my work that much, I'm only one person.

Yes, I do write a little bit every day when I'm working on a project. The truth is though, I might only get 30 minutes to myself that day. I'm responsible for a lot besides my actual job. I'm not going to list it all here, but it's a lot. 

Yes, writing is my only "job." That doesn't mean that when I'm not writing I'm sitting around on my butt. That is a big misconception about writers. And it's pretty insulting.

There are very few days where I have the whole day to work. I simply can't get that much peace and quiet or time alone. Most of the time, even when I am alone, I have other things that I have to take care of. That doesn't mean that writing isn't important. It means that if my pets get fed and walked, I have to do it. If the house gets cleaned, I have to do that to. See what I mean?

I've had people tell me, "The house will wait on you." Exactly. And knowing that it will only get worse until I clean it gives me a serious anxiety attack. LOL I cannot write if the house is filthy. I just can't. It doesn't have to be perfect, just clean and semi-neat.

I also have insomnia. This affects me really drastically sometimes. I sleep when I can finally sleep, or I'd never get any rest at all. Sometimes I'm awake until all hours and end up sleeping until noon. That's not because I'm lazy, it's because I was finally able to rest and I basically passed out.

I've also got a pretty aggressive release schedule for 2016. I'll be putting out one book a month.

Anyway, this post isn't to gripe or complain. I am very grateful that people enjoy my books. But to be honest, getting comments asking me why I don't write faster makes me feel like shit. It's all about how it's worded. I'm not talking about people who just want to know a release date. That is a different matter entirely.

I do what I can, and I do it just as fast as I can. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Positive vibrations and stuff. LOL

I realize I haven't posted anything on here in a while. I keep saying it's because I'm busy, and that IS true. What's also true is I've been bogged down in depression.

I've improved significantly since last year. I consider 2015 the worst year of my life, emotionally. And though I've improved, I've still been feeling so...BLAH. It's just not like me and I'm sick of it.

I've had bouts with depression in the past, but not often, and never anything that even came close to last year. That was ridiculous! So, I got to asking myself, "What changed?"

Here it is ... BIG REVEAL ... I stopped being grateful. 

Now, I know some of you are thinking, "What a crock of sh**." Right? Ha. Ha.

I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction. I have used it to great effect in my life and I know, that I KNOW, that it works. So, why was I suddenly in such a hole emotionally?

It was a gradual decline. What you think about, you bring about. If you walk around feeling stressed out and worrying about bills, etc., you are going to bring more of that into your life. You are attracting it to you, whatever it is, good or bad.

I had more stress in my life as a result of an increase in my business (writing). And I let it get the better of me. Rather than focusing on how grateful I was to be able to do what I love (as I'd done in the past), I began to focus on, "How can I keep up this pace?" "Will I make enough to afford a new roof?" And the very worst, I began to wonder if I deserved this success. That was the most damaging of all. Yes, I do deserve to succeed at what I've worked hard for, and so do you. Never doubt that.

A few days ago I began to make a mental list of the practices I used to do, daily, that improved my life. Then, I began to implement them again. This is the third day and already I am in a completely different state of being.

What you think about is not as important as how you feel. That is a very important fact that I'd forgotten. I needed to feel good, and I needed to do it fast. One of the fastest ways for me to do that is to watch the movie, The Secret. I know a lot of people think it's bull. That's fine. You don't have to believe in order for it to work for me. LOL

This isn't anything religious. In fact, I'm not a fan of religion, on the whole. This is science. We all vibrate at a certain frequency. Different thoughts and corresponding emotions change that frequency. We attract people and circumstances into our lives that match our frequency. It's as simple as that. If you walk around angry and feeling like crap, you will attract angry, crappy people into your life.

I don't want that!

So, when a negative thought crosses my mind, I immediately replace it with a positive thought, and a sense of gratitude.

Here's an example. "I haven't been able to workout as much lately. I'm afraid I'll gain weight."

I replace that with, "I'm getting more exercise today than I was last week. I am so thankful for my beautiful, healthy body."


"What if people don't like this book and I've put all this time and energy into it?"

I replace that with, "Readers have specifically asked me for a sequel, so someone DOES like this. I am so thankful to be able to do what I love for a living."

It might sound like a load of hippy crap, but it's working for me. There is always something to be grateful for. That feeling of gratitude will bring more things into your life to be thankful for. Even if you're having the worst day of your life right now, you can read this, can't you? Be grateful for your eyesight, or that you have a computer. See what I mean?

It takes effort, but eventually, it will become second nature to me again. That's what I'm working toward.

I hope this helps someone else who might have been in the same type of emotional black hole. There is a way out. You can survive.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love Lust and Lipstick Stains: Kindle Fire Giveaway

I'm sponsoring a Kindle Fire and gift card ($10) giveaway. :) Check it out when you get a chance. Who couldn't use a new Kindle Fire, right?

Love Lust and Lipstick Stains: Kindle Fire Giveaway