Thursday, August 11, 2016

Taming the Vampire

99 cents for a limited time only


I am thrilled to be a part of this awesome boxed set. The official release date is October 31, 2016.

Check out this amazing lineup of authors.

Featuring Tales from NYT, USA Today and National Bestselling Authors:
Mandy M. Roth - Midnight Echoes (ties to the Immortal Ops Series World)
Michelle M. Pillow - Tribes of the Vampire Novella
Jennifer Ashley - Immortals: Forbidden Taste
Charlene Hartnady - A Mate for Brynn: A Novella
Teresa Gabelman - The Enforcer
Celia Kyle - Love Bite
Kristen Painter - The Vampire’s True Love Trials (Nocturne Falls)
Colleen Gleason - Immortal Glamour (Gotham Hollywood Series)
Yasmine Galenorn - Blood Music (Bewitching Bedlam)
P. Jameson - Breaking the Skin
V. Vaughn - Hart Attack
Carmen Caine - Highlander Blood Moon
Marie Mason - Being Naughty With the Vampire
Mina Carter - Vampire's Kiss
Deanna Chase - Bite of Betrayal (Billionaire Blood Bonds)
Emma Storm - Twice Bitten, Once Tamed
Patricia A. Rasey - Preacher (Sons of Sangue)
Alyssa Day - William’s Witch: A Cardinal Witches novella
Caridad Pineiro - Dare to Love: The Calling is Reborn Vampire Novels
Erin Kellison - Until Dawn: A Dragons of Bloodfire World Novella
Laurie London - Unraveled by Blood: A Sweetblood World Novella
Selene Charles - Fae Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Chloe Cole - Conquered (New England Nightwalkers)
Elle Thorne - Inescapable (Only After Dark)
Tasha Black - Nobody’s Home, A Tarker’s Hollow Tale
JC Andrijeski - Black Blood, A Quentin Black Mystery Story
Jaide Fox - Blood Fever (Shadowmere Legacies)
Tracey H. Kitts - Love me Hard (Tris Grima Series)
Over 25 All New Paranormal Alpha Male Tales of Contemporary, Military, Shifters, Billionaires, Werewolves, Magic, Fae, Witches, Dragons, Demons & More
From sinfully sexy, charismatic bad boys with a thirst for more than blood, to toe-curling hotties with rough edges just waiting to be tamed, these vampire tales will burn the pages and melt your heart. Over 25 of today's top selling authors have come together to form a collection that is filled with magic, mystery, mayhem and most importantly happily ever afters.

Including Love me HARD

Vampire hunter Tris Grima is having difficulty finding those responsible for her mother’s murder, and making her a vampire. With the help of her guardian/sexy gargoyle Hugh, she will begin to uncover the truth.

Warning: This story contains one hard to resist gargoyle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Taking a break, body surfing, and a new release

I've been working very hard to get ahead of schedule and STAY THERE. Why? So I can have a little bit of time off, like normal people. LOL That's a thing still right? It's been so long since I've had a true break, I've forgotten.

Here's my idea of a "break." I've got new releases written ahead, already edited, formatted, cover art done, and ready to go. I've done this all the way through summer 2018. Yes, you read that correctly. That way, I'm not writing my butt off every second and I can have an opportunity for new and wonderful stories to come to mind. :)

However, during that time I don't exactly get to rest. I'm still working on getting those releases out, sending newsletters, and maintaining my website (which needs to be checked about once a week for software updates). 

This "break" that's been going on for only about a month has given me time to catch up on my yards, spend more time with my family, and plant a massive pumpkin garden with my dad. :) 

I've also been going to the beach as much as possible and body surfing, despite getting 10 jellyfish stings the time before last. LOL Yes, you read that correctly too. These weren't the big deadly ones, just the little ones that sting like a beyotch and leave purple bruises. But I still caught those waves, so jellyfish can suck it. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Oh, I also have a new book up for pre-order.

Of all the stories I've ever written, Frank and The Werewolf Tamer has received the most requests for a sequel. I'm pleased that I finally got a chance to fulfill those requests. Night Touch tells the story of a brand new character, Rosalie. It also gets us a little closer to a fan favorite, Kurtis, the Dracula impersonator. And for those who've loved the Lilith Mercury series, there are a few cameo appearances in this one. 

Night Touch officially releases September 2, 2016.

This is Book Two in the Notte Oscura series. Each book in this series is a standalone story with returning characters.

Rosalie's psychic abilities have significantly changed her life. Skin against skin contact gives her visions, which sometimes includes the untimely death of those she touches. Fortunately for her, these abilities do not work on vampires.

NOTE: This story contains graphic language, sex, and violence.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The World's Worst Newsletter Service

I've just concluded (hopefully I'll get a refund) one of the worst customer experiences of my entire life. Normally, I don't believe in calling out anyone in public. I think it's unprofessional and petty. However, in this case I feel I'm doing a favor to anyone who might consider using this service. This is a business and I am a business woman who is getting seriously screwed. I should share that, right? I mean, I don't want anyone else to have this same frustrating and infuriating experience.

The company I'm about to share my experience with is called SENDINBLUE. Run from them. Do not walk. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Run as hard and as fast as you can from them and their horrible service.

I'm going to be completely blunt about all of this. I found them during an extensive search for an affordable newsletter delivery service. And they are affordable. I can send 40,000 emails for only $7.37 a month. Who wouldn't jump on that?! It sounds great, right? Especially since I couldn't afford to upgrade my plan with Mad Mimi.

To begin with, the platform itself is not user friendly at all. They give little to no "help" information. You really have to just figure it out yourself. But, I was willing to do that because it was so cheap and I'm on a tight budget.

The real problems began with this ridiculous "account validation." They say they have to validate your account ONCE to get things started. They don't bother to inform you of this until you've already signed up and created your first campaign/newsletter. All right, fine. Validate me then. This can take 24 hours or more.

The whole reason I started looking for a new service was because I participated in a huge multi-author giveaway. Some of you may have seen me post about it on this blog. As entry into the contest, readers signed up for at least one of the participating authors' newsletters. Some people signed up for ALL of our newsletters. That's awesome, but it left me scrambling to find a service to accommodate all those email addresses.

From the moment I started trying to import contacts and actually use the service I was paying for, things went sour. Very sour. I have had to answer the same questions over and over again. In fact, I'm going to share the FIFTH message I sent to them word for word below.

I've been asked the same questions now several times. I'll answer again in the hopes of being able to use my account as soon as possible. The large contacts list that I imported originally came from a contest. Readers opted to sign up for my newsletter along with many other newsletters as extra entries into the contest. The landing page for the giveaway might still be active if I need to provide that as proof. Everyone on that list signed up of their own free will. I'm a writer, not a marketer /spammer. 

I feel like no one is reading my replies as I get the same response each time, asking me where I got my contacts. I would really appreciate it if someone would actually read my response and see that I'm telling the truth and just need to use the service that I'm paying for.

Each response from them is more vague and condescending. Oh, and once I even got an "important update" in Italian. I speak some Italian, however, I only glanced at this on my phone and sent a reply saying, "Sorry, I don't speak Spanish. All I got was that this message is important." At a glance, Spanish and Italian do have many similar words. What did I get from these jerks? A smartass reply informing me that the message was in Italian, not Spanish, then an off-hand apology. What I got from this particular experience was, these idiots don't even know what language I speak.

The thing that finally made me decide to throw in the towel (in only 3 weeks) was when they suspended my scheduled newsletter right before it needed to go out. Yeah, I wasn't so nice in this one.

It seems that this service is not capable of running smoothly. I was told that my account had been validated AGAIN. Then I got a message that my scheduled newsletter did not go out as planned because my contacts have not been confirmed. Are you kidding me? I haven't added anyone new since I was told my account was validated. I am trying to inform my readers of a limited time free book. If this takes much longer, the book will no longer be free. 

This is beyond inconvenient. I scheduled this free book on Amazon AND this newsletter in advance JUST TO SHARE WITH THIS LIST OF PEOPLE. 

I'm trying to not be rude about this, but I am so angry right now. This is totally unacceptable.

I was given some crap about how their validation process is soooo important and because my account had been UNVALIDATED THE DAY BEFORE FOR NO REASON, they were treating this as my first campaign, all over again.

No. This is not the way you treat people. I am DONE with SENDINBLUE. I want my freaking money back. Unfortunately, they can't give me back my time or the sleep I lost worrying with this mess.

I was so wrong about Mad Mimi. I wasn't going to pay $42 a month for the SAME service. I would be paying for a service that actually works, customer service that responds promptly and with knowledgeable answers, and to not be hassled 24-freakin-7 about ridiculous things.

So, what's next for me? I have to find a way to work $42 a month into my budget. That might not sound like much, but it is expensive for me.

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