When I get an older book back from a publisher or in the case of Christmas Wishes, out of an anthology, I tend to not release it back into the wild blue yonder of the book world without a few tweaks.
I often go back and add words. Most of the time, double what it was originally, or more. Different writers have different philosophies about revisions on older books, but here’s mine, or at least, here’s one of mine… There’s more to the story than was previously told.
Take, for instance, The Swing. It is a re-release from Ellora’s Cave. It was part of a line of theirs that limited word count to a certain number. No more than 13K or maybe it was 15K. I told the very basics of the story to meet those requirements. I did that a lot. I could write a fairly completely story in 15K words or less. I didn’t write a lot of extraneous words. I didn’t use a lot of backstory. I simply told what needed to be told right then and there.
Other things that were considered when writing for publishers, was price points. The longer the book, the higher the price and a lot of readers balked at paying $5 for a 20,000 word ebook.
With many of my older books, my first books, they were short for those specific reasons. But now that I self publish most of my writing, I can play with price and I can add length, give more story to the readers.
I don’t write long winded epics. I don’t write sagas. I don’t write 300 books in a series. I don’t write 400 page novels.
I write novellas. It’s where I’ve been most comfortable and happiest. I’ve been experimenting with length and series or on-going tales and I’ve enjoyed it and will begin incorporating more of those things in my work. But I primarily write novellas. 40K max for most.
My books don’t change the world, but for a couple of hours in someone’s day, they can change a mood, a moment, provide an escape from reality. Some readers don’t want to spend 3 days reading the same book. I don’t. I like all in one sitting books.
I have added new scenes and extended scenes and changed scenes in The Swing. I have added a bit more emotion. A lot more tears. The sex is still there and is still hot. But I am leaving the time frame of a few years after 9/11. It works for the book. It works for the story. It works for the characters. I’ve freshened things up some. And I think that’s important with books coming back from publishers. As indie authors, we have the freedom to make those decisions now and I like that.
And I’m glad that you, my readers, have enjoyed the books that I’ve re-released, re-worked, and made new again.
…don’t let the virtual door hit you on the ass on the way out!
Newsletter sign-ups. It’s optional. No one is twisting your arm. Yes, a lot of authors and other companies offer a lot of free stuff and some even offer monthly money to attract subscribers. Some hold contests. But damn, y’all! When you subscribe for whatever reason… it irks the fuckin’ shit out of me when my newsletters are reported as Spam.
There’s a report, you see…
Are there legit times when the newsletter ends up in the Spam folder? Yeah.
Are there those who just report newsletters they receive as Spam? Yeah. And those are the ones who irritate me.
Simply unsubscribe. Most of us REMIND everyone that they signed up VOLUNTARILY… And most of us have the option at the bottom of the newsletter to Unsubscribe. Use. It. Please.
I am so grateful for each and every subscriber. I don’t sent out a newsletter every day like some authors and companies I know do. I hate getting those newsletters every day. Hate. It. And guess what? I typically Unsubscribe. I typically use the link at the bottom. It’s easy.
If you want to stay, Yay! I love that you do!
If you don’t want to stay, Unsubscribe. I’m still gonna love you and be thankful that you gave me a chance.
If you don’t want to stay, but rather than Unsubscribe, you want to hit the Spam key? Please, let me hold the door open for you so it doesn’t hit you on the ass as you snicker and leave.
This news was announced this afternoon and it has come as a shock and a heartbreaker for many, if not all of Samhain Publishing’s authors, editors, cover artists, and readers. It’s a devastating feeling. Though I haven’t published with them in a couple of years, as fate would have it, I had a couple of titles planned for submission for them this year. One of those is Abe’s Law, Book 3 in my Bar Next Door series. With Samhain closing, I will not be able to submit the book to them and will have to either find another publisher for it or publish it myself. I will keep you informed as to what will happen with the series once the rights have come back to me. I will let you know what I will do with all my Samhain titles when I receive the rights. I don’t know when this will be and at this point, they do not either.
I have enjoyed being a Samhain author. I have worked with some incredible people and they helped me become the author I am. I couldn’t have done without them and I will always remember the feeling of having received that first acceptance letter from them for Pink Buttercream Frosting.
The publishing market has changed and will continue changing and though Samhain changed as best it could with the market, it wasn’t enough. It was stated in their email that they did not wish to go down the road of not paying authors in order to keep the company going because it wouldn’t be fair to anyone. There are already publishers who have taken the delay royalties to simply not paying royalties and I commend Samhain for not following that example. They have always tried to keep up to date with things and it’s just proved too difficult in the changing climate. There’s no telling what the future will hold for any of us before publishing levels out and we all regain our balance.
Thank you Crissy, Marty, Tera, Bethany, Holly, Amy, Jacob, Amanda, and those I know I’m forgetting without meaning to… Thank you for an awesome ride. I wish us all the very best of everything in the future.
The title of this post was the first line of an email I received and while Shirley likely didn’t and doesn’t expect an answer, I’m going to give one anyway.
It came from me. It came from deep down inside me. Claire is me and I am Claire. At least, parts of me are. At least parts of her are. And she needed to come out. She needed to breathe. She needed to talk. I needed to let her. I needed to shut off all the shit inside my head and let HER out, let HER talk to me, to you, to whoever wanted to read about her.
It’s not a long book. It could have had more added to it. Thousands of additional words, but you know what? No. It’s good right at the length it is. Too many more words and would have been the same extraneous crap that fills most books, the superficial shit that doesn’t need to be there.
But it’s good where it is. It ends as it should. It begins as it should. It follows a personal journey. It follows a timetable. It follows a thought process, though at a deeper level. Facts have been changed, but the pain remained the same. Healing happened and the catalyst was real.
Those initials in the dedication? They’re all real people. Three Dominants and a male submissive. All real. All I know. All who helped this journey at one stage or another. It’s personal and you don’t get to tell me that it’s not true to the lifestyle this time. You don’t get to tell me it’s not BDSM enough, or BDSM at all. You don’t get to tell me ‘Oh but you don’t write that.’ You don’t get to tell me to change the blurb, change the cover, change how I promote it. You don’t get to tell me the characters aren’t damaged enough. You don’t get to tell me that it’s really vanilla wrapped in kink. You don’t get to tell me it’s not important, that it happened to quick, that it needed more, that it isn’t real. You don’t get to tell me shit because there are parts of this that you haven’t lived, that you haven’t touched, that you haven’t known. Until now.
Some books take off. Some don’t. Some have a short shelf life. Some don’t. Some names, some stories have finite existence. Some don’t. I’ve been told enough that I couldn’t, shouldn’t write certain things. I’ve had, and let, myself be told how and when and what. And let’s be clear… i LET myself…
I wasn’t strong enough. I was a newbie. I listened to others tell me how to tell my stories, what visions I should have, what I needed to do to if I was going to make it… I listened. And I was MISERABLE! As a writer, as an artist, as a storyteller, I WAS MISERABLE! Add in some personal trials, some heartache, some emotional challenges, and I was THIS. CLOSE.
But, then… I met someone who let me talk. Who liked words the professional world of writing has never read from me. Raw, unpolished, from deep in my soul words. Words of desire, passion, forgiveness, and growth… And that was when I knew. It was time….
All the negative, undermining, should’s and shouldn’ts, need to’s and don’t need to’s… All the voices I kept hearing in my head, all the words I kept seeing from emails and reviews and memories too hurtful to keep inside anymore… All the caution and safety and hiding behind walls, both personal and professional, came down. And you know what it came down to? It came down to Fuck you. Fuck. You. It’s not your book to write, not your story to tell, not your business to make or break, not your life to live. Fuck. You.
I turned to a friend who told me it was okay. Who said You Got This.
One turned to me looking for advice and help, but who, in the end, helped me.
Four active in BDSM, who all taught me many things about myself and the lifestyle.
And then, I wrote. I said fuck you to everything and everyone who ever said You Shoudn’t Do That, and I wrote. I poured my heart out, my soul out. For 27, 000 words, I cried. I hurt. I gave it my all. And I sent it out into the world.
Then, I got scared. I texted my friends. I was scared. The voices came back. The doubt, the fear, the anxiety. It all came back. What had I done? What was I doing? I don’t write this. I don’t put myself out there like this anymore. I don’t get personal anymore. What had I done?
When Shirley’s email came in last night, it was like a balm to my bruised and battered being. I told a story that made someone else cry. I told a story that made someone else FEEL! Do you understand what that’s like? To make someone FEEL? To make someone else’s eyes tear up while they’re reading my words? MY WORDS?
Break Me is a new voice. I’ve been telling y’all it was coming. It’s different for me. It’s new for me. And I love it. Do you understand that, too? I love this voice, this vulnerability in my writing because it’s fucking real. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, and it’s MINE. It’s ME. It’s been locked up behind doubt, both self and from outside sources, you know, those successful, know all the things people. This one story, this voice… This is who I dreamed about becoming, who I dreamed about being when I began writing. This is who my college English professor saw through the words I wrote in class. This is who the catalyst saw through the words none of you have ever seen.
I have said Fuck You more times in the last 4 weeks, than I have said in my entire life. Every piece of self sabotage or self doubt has received a hearty helping of Fuck You. Every bit of anyone telling me what I MUST do, what I MUST write, has received a helping of Fuck You, too.
I want authentic. I want real. I want ugly crying. I want joy. I want the stories I want to tell to be what comes from me. Not what is safe and sound and that fits perfectly into this category or that slot in promotion. Will I be successful in the business of writing/publishing/selling my soul to the Facebook Gods? Probably not. More than likely not. It doesn’t work that way. You have to conform. You have to do what everyone else is doing even though we’re all sick to death of it all.
One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies, Wonder Boys, is “He respects us enough to forget us, and that takes courage.” He is the writer. Us are the readers.
And my happiness is worth more than fitting in to a writing cookie cutter. I want the books I want to write. It’s reckless and it’s daring. It’s scary and it’s brave. It’s my fucking story to tell and it came from deep down inside me.
Thank you to T for breaking me. For helping to shatter my ability to trust myself and others. Same goes for J and L and S (female)…
Thank you to JR, the blue collar atypical Dom, for helping to put me back together again and for making me laugh through it all.
Thank you to another S (male) for letting me open up, for letting me share, for letting me explore my own emotions, and for reading each and every word of Break Me without judgment.
Thank you to m for showing me another side of selflessness, of selfishness, of devotion to self.
Thank you to Shirley for the email Friday night… For asking where this book came from. It came from me.
And thank you to Scarlett Dawn and the bringing together of so many wonderful authors and the many different voices to tell stories from The Club.
Break Me is available now….
The cover just is… Well, HOT, y’all. Just HOT!
Pauline is a friend of mine and she’s about to make her mark in self-publishing writing the books SHE wants to write. You’re going to love her! She’s here to share a little with us about what her inspiration for her Taboo Series: In His Bed… (Did I mention the cover is HOT?!?)
Can You Keep a Secret? I’ve Always Wanted To…
I want to thank Lissa for having me today. Her writing has been an inspiration over the past several years. Her curvy heroines are refreshing and make me blush with every page.
A good friend once told me every woman should have a secret. After thinking about her statement, I realized she was right. The wheels of my creative brain started to turn. Being an erotic romance writer, my curiosity sparked to explore those hidden secrets.
Would women talk? Would they tell me the sexual fantasies they’d never share with their spouses or significant others? Would they be too embarrassed to admit they had scenarios playing on a reel in their heads while they sat at the desk in the office, loaded the dishwasher, and (the big no-no secret one) while kissing their man?
I emailed and spoke with thirty women who, surprisingly, chatted in great detail about the fantasies they felt were too taboo to admit. Many of the women shared similar stories, but then there were the ones who made me look at the concept of what made our sexual desires unique.
One woman confessed she was infatuated with her therapist. She’d made the first appointment because her spouse had an affair and left her childless and alone. Not only had this jerk devastated her, but made her question her beauty, worth, and femininity. Her fantasy was more about seduction than sex. She wanted to feel empowered in a man’s presence. She was attracted to her therapist and would sit in the office talking about her ex while imagining making her therapist have an orgasm just by the way she sat down and crossed her legs.
A nurse I work with giggled and told me she thought her best friend’s son was hot. He’d come home from college and wasn’t the young man that had left four years earlier. The fantasies kept rolling on and the more I talked to these women, the quicker I envisioned developing Taboo: Hidden Fantasy Series.
Many of the women envisioned being a Dominatrix. They were shy, timid, reserve in their everyday lives and craved to break free and bring their bosses to their knees. One of my favorites, and dear to my heart *wink*, was the woman who wanted to hop in bed with a pair of hot guy twins. Identical in every way! Secret letters, becoming virgins again, and experiencing the sensation of innocence were popular.
But…so was throwing innocence out the vanilla window and smiling as a man left money on the nightstand before grabbing his jacket and walking out the hotel door.
One concept touched on every fantasy. Sex with a stranger. They wanted that release of responsibility. No lunches to pack.
No bills to pay. No dirty laundry to pick up. No customers to answer to. They wanted freedom and sex with someone who didn’t bring baggage.
I really enjoyed talking and laughing with these women. Being a nurse in women’s health care, I have encountered many wonderful and heartbreaking situations. The books I’m writing in this series are for women to bring their taboo fantasies to life while keeping their secrets under lock and key. Through the journeys of these stories, women can find joy and explore a facet of their personality they can’t in their public persona.
These are very personal taboos, but oh how wicked it feels to share them.
We multi-task. We live for our kids. We work to pay the bills. We exhaust our emotions to be a supportive spouse/girlfriend.
We deserve to suspend those roles and be free for a few moments in time.
Taboo: Forbidden Fantasy Series will include six novellas. The first book, In His Bed, will be available on January 26th. This book delves into the fantasy of a forty year old woman who has a heated affair with her best friend’s twenty-three-year old son. He’s sexy, cocky, and ready to see what’s under her skirt.
The books to follow are Session (A woman explores her sensuality by seducing her therapist.), Anonymous (A woman is ready to lose her virginity and decides what better way to learn than to attend sex anonymous meetings. She gets more than she bargains for.), Chance Encounters (A young woman faces the trauma of her past when mysterious letters appear in her mailbox asking her to do naughty things.), Mistress (A Dominatrix brings a high powered, bully attorney to his knees. Literally.) and Double Take (Remember the hot twin fantasy? One brother is a hardcore mixed marital arts fighter with a sensitive heart while his Dom brother manages not only his brother’s career, but the woman they’ve chosen to share.)
This series has been a joy to write. I’m having a great time exploring my input into these exciting taboos. I love when women are empowered by their sexuality. I want every woman to feel beautiful, desired, and appreciated. This series is my celebration of our sexual independence.
I’m always open to more interesting conversations. If you’re interested in sharing your hidden fantasies, I’d love to hear your story.