Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I self-publish because I CHOOSE to, not because I HAVE to

Obviously, by the title of my post you can tell that I am aggravated. I am so sick of people assuming that I self-publish because no one would publish my fiction. That is bullshit. Okay, does that clear it up? I'm also sick of those who see I have a few self-pub titles out and decide to send me spam trying to get me to use their rip-off publishing services. I am NOT interested.

Ever since I started self-publishing my backlist titles (along with a few new books), I've been getting spam and insults. What the heck?

I've gotten everything from people wanting to charge me to have my books in print to others slamming me because they think I just "decided" that I could write and started putting out books. What jackasses, all of them.

In case it isn't already clear, I will explain how I came to this decision. And yes, it was MY decision to self-publish, not a last resort after years of rejection. In fact, I never suffered years of rejection. It only took me a few months to find my first publisher.

I was traditionally published for 5 years before I made the leap to produce my first self-published title. This was not a decision I came to lightly. I researched this for quite some time before deciding to give it a try.

Why did I look into self-publishing in the first place? Well, the major thing was I wasn't making enough money to live. My books were selling fairly well, but my cut of the royalties was barely enough to pay my light bill. Yes, I do this for a living, so that was a major factor. Of course I love what I do, but that doesn't mean I can afford to do it for free. 

The second reason? Complete creative control was a thought that made me almost high with anticipation. To be able to tell the story that I want to tell regardless of "formula" was an exciting thought. However, that should not suggest that my stories are not edited. That's another HUGE misconception when it comes to self-published books. Not all are created equal. My books are thoroughly edited by myself at least four times before being sent to my writing partner/editor. She helps me check for plot holes as well as grammar and misspelled words. She is also highly qualified to do this. Though I consider her family, I didn't just pick my best friend to help me. If something doesn't sound right or is obviously wrong, she tells me. And I don't take it personally because I trust her. We work very well together.

So far I have only gotten one presumptuous email from another writer who thought one of my books was poorly edited. I looked it over again and found nothing wrong. Different editors ask for different things when it comes to sentence structure. That doesn't mean one way is right or wrong. If you want to use a semi-colon, go ahead. But most of my editors have asked that I use a comma instead. Oh, and just because you wrote a comic book, that doesn't qualify you to judge my novel.

I also do my own cover art. I hear lots of people getting slammed for this. I'm not just a cheap-ass author who doesn't want to pay a professional to do my covers. I AM a professional. So, why hire someone else to do what I can do at a fraction of the cost? I've been an avid reader almost as long as I've been an artist. I have faith in my abilities to create a cover that is visually pleasing as well as conveys the basic meaning of the story. I take pride and pleasure in being able to do this for myself.

After my first self-published title (Frank and The Werewolf Tamer) was received so well, I decided to self-publish my backlist titles. That's right, I DECIDED to do this. It wasn't forced on me. None of the books I have now self-published were rejected by ANY major (or small) publisher. I chose not to renew my contracts and to put the books back out on my own.

I've spent much of the past year working on this project. If anyone was wondering, this is why I haven't been releasing any new books. I've been working on re-editing, expanding, and re-releasing my backlist titles that are now coming off contract. This takes quite a bit of time and effort. It's as if I'm having to catch up on 5 years of work all at once.

My point is this was my choice and one that is so far working out very well. I was published with 3 different houses before I made this choice, and I still work with Ellora's Cave. I see no reason to burn bridges with a company what has treated me very well. I plan to continue to work with EC as well as to self-publish many more titles. Why? Because being published with them is helping new readers to find my work. It's all about marketing. Everything I do (with regards to my writing) is a business decision. Sure, I have strong feelings about some things, but my feelings are not what dominates my choices.

I hope this clears up any confusion. I earn 70% from Amazon sales as compared to 30-40% from an epublisher. (That's just a rough estimate based on my experience.) My books are also listed on Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and just about anywhere else you can think of. I do this all myself. It isn't difficult, so I can't see paying someone to do it for me. This way, if something is incorrect, I can fix it on my own. I keep track of sales quickly and easily, so I know what my paycheck is going to be for the next month. I don't have to wait for a statement.

Self-publishing is convenient and profitable. Yes, there's a lot of work involved, but I love what I do. Why shouldn't I be able to make a living at it? I'm not rich by any means, but thanks to the higher percentages of self-pub sales, I can actually pay my bills.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thank you all for your kindness

As many of you know, my best friend, Sam, my beloved companion died a few days ago. As I write this, I am struggling to keep from crying. In fact that's all I've done for days now. Early this morning I was blessed with the first sleep I've had in days.

Things are bad here right now. We are all suffering. Everyone who knew Sam loved him dearly. He was such a big, fluffy sweetheart. Early morning and late at night are the hardest for me. I can't close my eyes without seeing that sweet face running toward me and it seems unreal that this image is only in my mind. This pain is unbearable. There is a hole in my life. I have no idea when I will be able to write again, but that is not my focus right now. I'm just trying to make it through the day, one day at a time.

I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has offered their thoughts, prayers, and sympathies as we suffer this loss. I have received so many kind responses both on here and on Facebook. Plus, some of my close friends have come by to keep me company. Your kindness means more to me than I can say and I am deeply grateful for any comfort.

I truly believe that animals have spirits and as I expressed recently on Facebook, I believe that Sam's spirit will find me again. Maybe he will literally walk into my yard again when I need him most. I only hope he doesn't wait too long, because I miss him so much.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sam died tonight

My beloved dog Sam just died a few moments ago on my front porch. So, why am I blogging? To keep from losing my mind. To keep from screaming and throwing up. How about those for starters? Sam has been my friend and companion for the past 6 years. He was only 7 years old. He was injured recently by some wild dogs and it was just more than he was able to recover from.

I don't know what will happen now. I don't know how to say goodbye. I've suffered so much loss this past year that I don't even know how to put it into words. I cannot imagine not seeing his face each morning, or rubbing his soft fur. I cannot imagine a world without Sam. In fact, I don't even remember what it was like before he was a part of my life.

There have been many times over the past 6 years when he was the only one I had to talk to. He has helped me through so many things ... and I couldn't save him. I feel like I failed him when he needed me most. That is what hurts the most.

I'm crying so hard I can barely see the screen, but I'm afraid if I stop I will completely lose it. I've never been this honest ... this raw before in a public forum and I hope I don't get slammed for it. I need to let this out and this is the only healthy way I could think of.

My sister-in-law passed this past Mother's Day. I buried my cat Conan (9 years ago) on Easter, all alone. Sam was hit by a car on Christmas Eve. And now he has passed right before Valentine's Day. I fucking hate the holidays. All I have left is Halloween.

Not that any of these poor souls are to blame. Please don't misunderstand my meaning. I am hurting. No, I take that back, I am dying inside and I'm trying to find something to look forward to. My mind immediately leapt to the holidays. Screw that.

I did everything I could to save him, and still I failed. In his final moments he came back to the place he felt safest, my front porch. Oh, God this hurts.

I don't know what to do.

I am at a loss ... maybe that's why they call it "loss."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vampires for Valentine's Day

A lot of people (relatives in particular) have asked me why I write so much about vampires. I write werewolves too, but vamps seem to draw the most attention. At least, it gets the most questions. The truth is, I write what I like. When I was in school I read every book that had anything to do with vampires. Anything I could get my hands on that had vampires in it, I read it so thoroughly it could be considered studying. I also wrote a few short and semi-erotic stories about werewolves just for fun. Of course, they weren’t up to par with what is considered erotica now, but it was pretty sexy to me and my friends.

I always knew that I wanted to write professionally some day. It wasn’t something that just came to me out of the blue or something I did on a whim. Everything I have ever done in my life I have viewed as “good writing material.” I knew that each experience, whether it was a job or a relationship that went wrong, would somehow end up in my books. In the case of bad relationships, it could be considered therapy. Ha. Ha. Of course, names have been changed to protect the guilty, but there are a few of those along the way.

Since I always knew I wanted to write and I have always been drawn to vampires, it seemed only logical to me that’s what I’d write about. The other question I get even more often than, “Why vampires?” is “Why sex?”

The short answer: Why not?

Now, for something more in depth:  I love science fiction, but find it grossly lacking in sex. Ha. Seriously, I enjoy a good story but what I also enjoy is a good romance. I used to read the really old romances, the ones you could find at garage sales and such. So, they were really outdated and for my tastes, too … sweet. I wanted a heroine who could kick ass and take names. I wanted someone I could identify with. Someone who wasn’t “pure as the driven snow,” and all that crap. I wanted someone real.

Of course, I also wanted a hero who was sexy beyond imagination. I don’t want the guy next door. Let’s face it, unless Hugh Jackman lives next door, none of us are really interested in normal guys, are we?

I also have a deep love of fantasy. So, you take all that, mix it together (shaken, not stirred) and you get paranormal romance. Paranormal romance is really an adventure for women. We just happen to find romance to be part of the adventure.

I write what I like to read. Why would I try to sell something to someone if I didn’t even like it myself? That’s ridiculous. I love vampires and if we get them alone in the story, someone better tell me what they look like naked! I don’t know about you, but I’d feel cheated otherwise. Of course, I’m okay with waiting for such a moment (like in the case of a series, which I enjoy writing). But once we get there, I want details. Ha. Ha.

The last and probably best answer I could give is this: Writing is wish fulfillment and so is reading. Who hasn’t fantasized about living forever with some gorgeous hunk? Tall, dark and immortal sounds pretty darn good to me. To never grow old, never get sick and die. And let us not forget, eternal love. I think these are all pretty strong fantasies that most people can identify with, even if they don’t get into the whole, “Bite me,” thing.

Unfortunately, in the area where I live most people just see it as macabre. For the rest of the fang baitout there (like myself), please check out my latest release. LOL For everyone else, I do hope we can move beyond that some day.

My latest (all vampire) release is Bitten and it’s available at Amazon.

For more information me and my books, you can find me at

And especially for this blog hop, I'm giving away another awesome erotic vampire romance. I will be giving away a copy of Diary of an Incubus to one lucky winner (selected at random). All you have to do to be entered is leave me a comment on this post. I have copies available (Diary of an Incubus) in HTML, PRC, and EPUB format. 

A winner will be selected on February 19, 2013. No entries will be accepted after MIDNIGHT February 18, 2013.

Here's a description of the prize. 

Jewel Mathers needed a good story for her next novel. She turned to the ancient journals in desperation. But fame and fortune comes with a price … and a couple of hot vampires.

WARNING: This story contains violence, lots of sex, and some frightening creatures. No werewolves were harmed in the making of this book.

This book was previously published elsewhere. It has since been revised, re-edited, and expanded.

The Vampires for Valentine's Giveaway Hop is run by paranormal romance authors Felicity Heaton, Caris Roane and H. D. Thomson! This hop celebrates the fanged heroes and heroines, the alluring creatures of the night, yes, those vampires we all love so much. All of the giveaways in this hop have a vampire theme to them, so we are truly celebrating vampires for Valentine’s Day!

Vampires for Valentine's Giveaway Hop

Here is a list of the other awesome authors (and blogs) participating in the Vampires for Valentine's Day Blog Hop.

Click here to view a list of participating sites!

Is anyone else having issues with spam?

I keep getting the strangest emails. These are coming through the account linked to my website. It is an easy way for my readers (or other authors) to contact me. But lately, the things I'm getting are strange. Like this morning for example. I got an email from someone I've never heard of asking if I managed my blog. They included a link to this blog, which wasn't necessary. NO, I didn't click it.

They asked if I managed the blog or if they should be working with someone else. Well, my first thought was they aren't working with me.

They also claimed this was the second email they had sent, that they contacted me a week ago. My spam folder must have eaten this one, which to me is a good indication this is spam.

Still, I responded. Yes, I know. It appeared to be a legit email account and when I hovered the mouse over the link to my blog, it didn't show up some other bizarre address. It looked like a real link to my blog. I simply said, "This is the first email I have received. Yes, I manage my blog."

I don't see what they could possibly get from that. But after a few more minutes of thought, I went ahead and marked the message as spam.

I've just updated all my email security, passwords, security questions, photo ID, etc. So, if you get a message from me that looks odd, it didn't come from me.

And if you get a message asking for a "Site Manager Check," you will know to delete that bad boy right away.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Update on what's coming up next

As some of you may already know, this past year was very stressful for me. I lost two loved ones, plus my dog Sam was badly injured just before Christmas. Sam continues to recover, but hasn't been doing well lately.

I'm not here to whine, I'm just letting everyone know that my plate has been more than full. I know that many people are currently waiting on the next book in the Lilith Mercury series. At present, I can't continue until the last book contract on this series expires. That will not happen until April.

I was hoping to get the latest chapter in Lilith's life back out for readers by the end of April. At present, I am not on schedule and for that I apologize.

I am writing, however, it is not on this series. I have other goals and deadlines to meet as well. I'm not simply waiting for the contracts to expire and BAM, turning around and self-publishing these stories. I am putting lots of careful thought, time, and energy into these books. They are being extensively re-edited and many (like Eden) are having several thousand words added to the story. In the case of the recently released Eden, I added in more than 12,000 words. Why am I doing this? Because I believe these additions make the story better.

Ever since I decided not to renew my contracts and to begin self-publishing my older titles, I have been working hard. I've been published for 5 years now, and putting all these books back out so quickly is like trying to do 5 years of work at once. Add that to the personal stress I've suffered in the past year, and I'm sure anyone can understand why I am so tired.

If you're wondering what my point is, it's this. I have a project that is very time consuming, requires lots of research, and simply must be finished before I go back to working on the Lilith series. As I've already said, I am not on schedule. I had no way of knowing how many terrible things would happen to those I loved in this past year, or how it would affect me, or for how long. Who can write a love scene (or anything else) when you just buried your sister-in-law? Or when your dog might be dying? Not many. Certainly not me.

I am deeply grateful to my fans and readers (whom I dedicated Eden to) and I am so sorry to keep any of you waiting. Please don't think for one second that I don't appreciate you. I just want you to know that I'm going through a lot. I'm not delaying while I take a vacation or sit on my ass. I'm trying to deal with a lot of things as I move forward with my life and my career.

Once again, I am sincerely sorry about the delay.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Welcome to the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them. I hope you'll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy. On this stop on the blog hop, you'll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to other authors you can explore!
My gratitude to fellow author, Maya DeLeina, for inviting me to participate in this event. You can click the following links to learn more about Maya and her books.

Maya DeLeina's Next Big Thing:

In this blog hop, my fellow authors and I, in our respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our current book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek). We've also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write--the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

Eden is my most recent release, so we’ll go with that. Ha. Ha. At the time I’m writing this blog, it has only been out for 24 hours.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Where did the original idea come from? I suppose it’s because I couldn’t stop fantasizing about Viktor Van Helsing. The moment he appeared in my mind, I knew I had to think of his story. And when I started thinking about Viktor’s story, BOOM, Eden was born.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Erotic paranormal romance. There is a smoking hot vampire and a werewolf in this one.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I would just be so thrilled to see it go to film! Honestly, I’d like to see some new faces who aren't already famous. Having said that, I’d gladly have Hugh Jackman in any role he chooses. Ha. Ha.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Not all paradise is lost.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Eden is actually a re-release of an older title. The contract on this book expired in 2012 and I choose not to renew for many reasons. One of those reasons was I wanted to present Eden to my readers in the way I originally planned. I've added over 12,000 words of new content to Eden and am proud to say it is self-published.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft of Eden only took about a month. I was really into it.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m at a loss here, as I don’t like to compare books in general. But, if you enjoy paranormal romance and/or a ménage romance, you should give Eden a try.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I desperately wanted to bring Viktor to life. No joke. I got his picture in my mind and it wouldn't let me sleep. I HAD to write his story. Viktor made me do it.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I've already mentioned the sexy werewolf, right? Well, besides that, we've got a strong leading lady, Catrina Ravensdale who is a monster hunter. Oh, and there’s Jacob Marion, a vampire hunting priest.

The story takes place in the fictitious city of Eden, which I hope readers will enjoy as much as I did. Here’s the official blurb.

Catrina’s world is turned upside down the moment she agrees to Viktor’s plan. Who even knew that Abraham Van Helsing had a younger brother? Not only that, but a brother who was turned by the King of Vampires and who held such obvious power. Now she must deal with the consequences of her actions and an attraction she can no longer deny.

Viktor wants her to spy on the alpha werewolf, Alexander. He suspects Alex is responsible for the murder of a fellow vampire. However, there is one major problem with this plan. The werewolf is just as hard to resist as Viktor and Catrina is caught right in the middle.

Warning: This book contains, graphic language, graphic sex, violence, and two smoking hot heroes.

This book was previously published elsewhere. It has been revised, re-edited, and expanded by more than 12,000 words.

Below you will find authors who will be joining me virtually, via blog, next Wednesday. Please be sure to bookmark their sites, and add them to your calendars for updates on their upcoming books! Happy Writing and Reading!

D.X. Luc

S.K. Yule