…And people are or have been out shopping. Gravitating toward the best sales EVER! The stores open earlier, the crowds are larger, the discounts deeper… And yet, I stay at home. I like a deal just like everyone else, but I’ve worked retails and restaurant and service on holidays, I’ve been away from my family, and I’ve worked the day after holidays… Once you’ve done that, something about flocking to the stores loses some of it’s luster.
I wasn’t always such a bah-humbug about it. I loved going to the stores the day after Thanksgiving as a kid. I didn’t know what it meant for those working though… Yes, I’ll pay more. Yes, my visit to the store isn’t going to make a difference one way or the other to anyone working or not. It’s just my personal preference.
There are online deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This Saturday is also Small Business Saturday… I’ll take part in all that. I am, afterall, a small business myself and as such, I’ve dropped the prices on my self-published titles to $0.99 through Monday at midnight, including my new releases Love and Tattoos and The Cupcake Cowboy. If you haven’t read these or tried some of my others, now’s your chance!
At All Romance eBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, the following titles are newly marked down for the holiday shopping weekend…
Do you shop small, local businesses? They can be more expensive than chain stores, I agree. I love the feel of them though, the personal touch, and the uniqueness of their stock. Of course, it’s also Rivalry Weekend in college football so any shopping I do will be done before noon! Priorities people! I’ll also do several handmade and food gifts. I love baking for people. What bugs me is that people look down their noses at it as being cheap, but when you really think about it, it’s not cheap at all. If you’ve gone to the grocery store to shop for anything, you know food isn’t cheap. It’s more difficult nowadays, yes with so many on different eating plans and diets and so many allergies. But even then, the possibilities are endless.
I like small and thoughtful, something that means something. Of course, there are always those who are difficult to make and shop for. Those who have everything, or buy everything all through the year, or who change completely and you don’t know them anymore or what they like… People talk about gift cards being impersonal, but c’mon now… Who honestly doesn’t love a gift card to their favorite stores? I know I do!
So, while you’re shopping, pick up my books that are on sale, gift them to someone, or to yourself… I’ve gifted books a ton and I know people who love to read, always love that!
For me, I’m going to refill my coffee and head into writing. The Sticky Cowgirl comes out in January!
One of my favorite people in this business is author Chandra Ryan. I met her at Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together a couple of years ago. She’s one of the most genuine, kind, gracious, and delightful women I know. (Her husband, he’s pretty amazing and awesome too). If you’ve never checked her out, you should do so… You won’t be sorry.
Or so the saying goes. But, as tons of niche dating sites pop up on the Internet, it makes a person wonder if the age-old maxim is true. Can a person who lives in the country fall in love with someone from a big city? And if so, where would they live? Or are they better off just avoiding the whole situation and going with a site that weeds out all of the city dwellers?
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know anything about the modern dating game. What I know about the old dating game (see someone attractive across the room, bat your eyelashes, hope they buy you a drink, get their number) probably wouldn’t even fill a thimble. I’ve been married long enough that the entire field has changed around me. But, being married to someone I would probably never bump into on the dating sites, it makes me wonder if niche is right when it comes to love.
My husband is from a different race, religion, and socioeconomic background than I. He loves coffee. I’d never really drank the stuff until we married and even now I drink more tea than coffee. He listened to alternative music. I listened to…well…whatever was on the radio. He was a bona fide geek and I was a flirt. He likes his food very spicy and I like not being in pain when I eat. We were about as opposite as opposite gets. So what niche site would we have met on?
And then I got to thinking about my newest release. Or would it be my newest re-release? Regardless, I don’t think there’s a site out there where Izzy and Jacob would’ve crossed paths. He’d be on the human sites and she’d be on the Community ones. He’d be on the law enforcement sites and she’d be on the ones for recovering addicts. He’d be on the justice ones and she’d be on the revenge sites. So where would a human and a shape shifter meet? Thankfully they didn’t decide to go niche.
Don’t get me wrong; I have several friends who’ve had lots of success on dating sites. Dating sites are wonderful, especially for busy people who don’t have the time to stand around and bat their eyelashes all night hoping for a drink. But if you’re registered on the site for coffee lovers, every once in awhile give a girl who loves tea a chance. She might know other, un-caffeinated, ways to wake you up in the morning.
Prequel to Bond Betrayed
Izzy has lived between two worlds her entire life—one filled with magic and darkness, the other populated by mundane humans. She was born into the magical world of the Community. But sexy, forbidden DEA agent Jacob belongs to the other.
He has no idea her world even exists.But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t noticed her. They’ve worked together for the past six months, attempting to bring down her drug-dealing half brother while driving each other crazy with pent-up desire. But now that it’s time to say goodbye, they both find it impossible to let go.
After one passionate night together Izzy realizes her mistake. She can’t bring him into her world. She has to end things before she gets too attached. When he refuses to leave, she must find a way to guide him through the darkness.
Inside Scoop: In this scorching urban fantasy, ink is thicker than blood.
A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published elsewhere and has been revised for Ellora’s Cave.
She ran her fingertips over her lips as she thought of the kiss. It’d been in that second that she’d finally seen what she’d been hiding from herself all these months. She wanted him and not in a momentary kind of way. If he were to share her bed, that’s where she’d want him to stay. But a relationship built on lies would never work and she couldn’t tell him the truth.
So it’s best for it to end like this. But the words were hollow. And even after repeating them a hundred times, they still didn’t help.
Tucked securely into her cozy apartment, she changed into her favorite black silk nightgown and started brewing a cup of tea while the melodic angst of her favorite singer filled the room. She should be in bed, but she was still too worked up from her brief exchange with Jacob to give in to her exhaustion.
She was just about to take a sip of her tea when the ringing of her cell phone stopped her. At first she was irritated by the intrusion. But when Restricted Number flashed across the screen, her stomach began to twist nervously. There was only one restricted number that ever called her. After answering the call, she brought the phone to her ear. “Agent Phinney.”
“I hope I’m not waking you.” Even over the phone, his deep voice had a rough edge to it that made her breath catch.
“No, I wasn’t in bed.”
“Good. I wanted to talk to you.”
“I don’t think—” She needed to make a clean break but her heart ached at the words she was about to say. She never got the chance to say them though.
“I’m standing in front of your door. Please, Izzy…”
She looked up at the door as the line went dead. Her heart raced at the thought of him being so close. Crossing the room, she practiced her well-rehearsed speech in her head. But her carefully memorized words disappeared as she opened the door. Her eyes swept over him hungrily, taking in everything from his tousled hair to the black t- shirt and tight jeans he’d been wearing earlier at the bust. He was easily the sexiest man she’d ever met.
His gaze slid over her before he picked her up by the waist and, kissing her passionately, then walked into the apartment. He closed the door with a quick kick once they were safely inside and then gently lowered her until she was standing on her own once more.
If you want to know more about Ink in the Blood there’s an excerpt on the Ellora’s Cave site: http://www.ellorascave.com/ink-in-the-blood.html
Or on my author website: www.ChandraRyan.com
Or you can download a sample off of Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ink-in-the-Blood-ebook/dp/B00EAV3RIC/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376355243&sr=1-3
I am in fangirl mode today, y’all. Avril Ashton is one of my very favorite M/M authors. Her Brooklyn Sinners series is incredible. These men are larger than life and broken and hard and searching and HOT! I squeed all through an email to her after I read the first one and haven’t stopped hanging on every word she writes or says since… If you have not read this series, go, do it as soon as you get done reading the interview below, or so help me…
1. I know I’ve asked before, however, please talk again about how you came up with the Sinners series…
I was listening to Rihanna’s Man Down. In it she talks about shooting a man, in public, taking his life. A scene flashed before my eyes of that shooting. Two men. One gets shot. Who did it and why? What’s the story? I based Love the Sinner (Brooklyn Sinners #1) on that premise and worked backward, exploring the characters and their motivation. I’m a huge fan of conflict, of gray areas, of the anti-hero, so I thought well, hell, why don’t we have two men fall in love? Why don’t we make it a cop falling in love with a gang leader, the same gang leader he’s trying to arrest? The same one who shoots him? Eh? Eh? I loved it! I’d only planned to do that one book, but as supporting characters popped up I had to change that train of thought fast. It appeared everyone had secrets, everyone wanted love, and they all wanted me to tell their story.
2. Do you have a favorite set of characters in the Sinners books? They make you laugh, cry, get all kinds of HOT… Are any of them more favored in your mind?
I love them all. Clichéd, but man, so true. They’re all damaged, all so completely taken the instant they meet that one special person. They offer no excuses about the life they lead, just state the facts and let you make your judgments. I love that about the men of the Brooklyn Sinners. Cop and Angel do it for me, they always will, because they were the first, they broke the mole. JP and Shane hold me captive because of how broken Pablo was, how much losing Angel hurt him. Shane comes in and bumrushes his life, twists him into a freaking emo-pretzel, and forces him to choose between the life he led and the one he wanted. Syren and Kane. Ho boy. Another beast, but the most personal. The subject matter, especially Syren’s personal demons, are mine, so I relived some pretty heavy stuff while writing A Sinner Born. I still love Syren and Kane because no one could’ve handled Syren, but Kane.
3. Which comes first…the music or the book idea?
Both at the same time. Really. Sometimes hearing a song sparks a scene. Just like Melanie Fiona’s “4 A.M” sparked that fierce, brutal love scene with Angelo and Cop in LtS in Coney Island the night of Angel’s birthday party. I heard that song and the scene was there, all I had to do was write it down. And that was before I’d even written page one of chapter one. Other times, the story comes then a song suddenly makes sense, and fits beautifully. Like Lupe Fiasco’s Battle Scars. That song made so much sense while I was writing A Sinner Born. It fit both Syren’s physical and emotional state.
4. Pantser or Plotter? Panster. I sit down to start a new WIP with the book title, my characters name, and at least one scene in my head that I know just has to be included. How, when or why, I never know.
5. You need your coffee as much as I need mine, so… Dark, Medium, or Light roasts? Cream? Sugar? Syrup? How big is your favorite mug? How many times do you refill your favorite mug each day? What is your favorite drink from Starbucks?
Believe or not, I’ve never tasted Starbucks. Regular coffee mug, refills about twice if I make it. Sometimes I buy from the Dunkin Donuts three doors down from me. I’m not one for any kind of fancy mess. Folgers. Light and sweet. Cream and sugar. Easy peasy. I’m a New Yorker. Don’t need anything more than that.
6. And cake… You like cake. What is your hands down favorite cake?
Cake! In the West Indies we have a cake called Black Cake. It’s basically a cake infused with rum and wine. Dark food coloring gives it its name, it is black and soft and hmm. I’m freaking drooling right now. My sister-inlaw makes them with peanuts and dried fruits. It’s so good. Usually it’s only made in West Indian households at Christmas time. Depending on the amount of liquor involved, one slice can get you drunk. The last time she made it for us, ‘cause I don’t bake, I ate one all by myself, in about one hour. I murdered that cake. R.I.P. Now I need to go beg her to make me one. Thanks very much.
7. What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten on one of your books?
That someone likes it. That alone makes my day. I’m easy to please.
8. How did you get started writing?
I’ve always been into it, but I lost my way for while. It took me getting with Mr. A, and him being all kinds of awesome and creative, to give me the impetus to finally say, this is what I love, this is what I want to do. I began writing in summer ’09 and here I am.
9. Who is your favorite all-time author, book, characters?
Can’t pull anyone off top, but the book that sticks in my mind is Mary Lynn Baxter’s Like Silk. I was reading it at the EDJ one day, crying my eyes out and thinking, this is what I want, to make someone cry while reading my book.
10. Will Mr. A ever appear in a book as a secondary character?
LOL Every one of my characters are influenced by Mr. A. He’s the original Brooklyn Sinner and my own personal anti-hero. He’s all over those books, son.
A Sinner Born
Book three in the Brooklyn Sinners series.
One man buried in secrets. Another still grieving the love he lost. Their worlds collide in a battle between memories, old and new, while trust hangs by a fragile thread.
Syren Rua is at war. He battles painful childhood demons and his intense need for the first person who makes him feel. As Faro, Syren makes deals with the worst while taking the steps necessary to bring his family’s killer to justice. He isn’t one to indulge in selfish needs, but he’ll make the time in this instance. Syren has been watching Kane Ashby, craving the grieving man for his own. He’s always stayed away from temptation, but that’s about to change.
Kane isn’t over the death of his long-time partner. He’s certainly not ready for a relationship, sexual or otherwise, but Syren isn’t a man who takes no for an answer. The unpredictable Syren offers nothing but secrets and brings with him memories so dark, they could wipe out any chance the two might ever have. Syren brings Kane’s heart back to life. But it is also Syren who could inflict the most damage.
Inside Scoop: One of our heroes has a panty fetish. And it’s hot. This book also contains brief references to rape and child abuse.
A Romantica® gay/lesbian erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Ellora’s Cave | Amazon
“Heard you were looking for me.”
Kane scowled at the man on his computer screen. “Really, it’s been days since I told Gabe to tell you to call me.”
The man now known as Rafe Soto-Ashby lifted his shoulder in a careless shrug. “I was busy.”
“Uh-huh.” Rafe did freelance architectural work out of the couple’s home in North Carolina, nothing major to bring attention to himself and Gabe, just enough to keep him out of Gabe’s hair and to keep Rafe busy and engaged in something he liked doing. “What are you working on?”
“Community center for at-risk teens.” Rafe’s face broke out in a grin. “Good stuff.”
With a spark in his eyes like that, Kane could understand how his brother fell in love with the former gunrunner. Now Kane only felt slightly guilty for wanting to shoot Rafe when he found the man in his brother’s kitchen naked except for a pair of tight black briefs. He was Angelo Pagan then and his body was nuts. Kane may have peeked a little.
Okay a lot, but he was entitled.
“What’s up?” Rafe asked.
Kane leaned forward on his elbow as he stared into the laptop he’d placed on the island in his kitchen. “In your former life you had dealings with a guy named Faro, right?”
For his part, Rafe didn’t so much as blink. “Is this an official question, Marshal?”
Kane glowered. “Of course not. This is me, your brother-in-law, asking you something I really hope you answer.”
Rafe crossed his arms. “Personal then?”
“Which response gets me an honest answer from you?” He took a sip from his coffee cup, watching over the top as Rafe leaned forward.
“You tell me what’s got you asking about Faro and I’ll tell you what I can.”
Kane sighed. “I know who he is because he told me. What I want to know is why he knows who I am. He helped me find a runner in New Orleans and he’s been, uh, calling me.” He looked away from the computer when he spoke the last part.
“Calling you, how? Threatening?”
He shook his head at Rafe’s sharp words. “No, nothing like that. The opposite really.” His face heated and he really didn’t want to talk about Faro anymore. “He says I intrigue him.” God, he embarrassed himself saying those words.
Rafe cocked his head to the side, his mouth open. “Intriguing, huh?” He barked a laugh. “Good one.”
Kane waved his words away. “I need to know how to make him go away. I don’t need a criminal calling me and compromising my job. I’m sure you have something I can use.”
Rafe’s eyebrow shot up. “Blackmail, Marshal?”
“He’s a smug little brat with too much time on his hands,” Kane said fiercely. “I want him gone.”
“Uh-huh. I hear you.” Rafe didn’t sound convinced. Not at all.
“Do you have anything I can use?” Pretty please.
“I have a lot of information on Faro. He trusts me and I trust him.” Rafe came in real close on the screen. “He was the one who helped me get out of Brooklyn. He was the one who watched out for your brother when I was locked up. He knows my secrets and I know…some of his.”
Kane stared at him. “What?”
“I’m not telling you shit to use against him, Kane. You can forget that.” Rafe got the saddest smile on his face. “I can tell you this. Faro is a man with many faces who wears a lot of hats. He’s a great number of things to a great number of people, none of them real. None of them true.”
“Talking riddles now, are we?” Kane gripped his coffee cup tighter. “Can’t you just tell me if I should stay away from him or not?”
“Do you want to stay away from him?” Rafe didn’t wait for a reply. “Faro is a lot like many men I know, he’s not all good nor is he all bad.”
“God, you’re no help at all.”
Rafe barked a laugh. “I think you like him, Marshal. Despite thinking you know who he is. Eerily familiar.”
“Yeah, whatever. Do you keep in contact with him?”
Rafe’s face morphed into a blank slate. “We speak. Do you want me to give him a message, warn him off?”
Hell no. “No, I’ll do it.”
God. Kane felt the blush wash over his face. “He, uh, I have his number.”
“I just bet you do.”
A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y with a tolerant spousal equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing the plot points of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother.
Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.
Addicted to cake, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Erotic and GLBT Romance for Ellora’s Cave, Evernight Publishing, eXtasy Books, Secret Cravings Publishing and Total-e-Bound.
Friend Avril: http://www.facebook.com/writeravrilashton
You bet! Some people when they travel scope out tourist spots, or certain types of restaurants, or highways of significance, or the nearest Walmart. Me, I scope out where the coffee shops are. Where’s a Starbucks? Is there something local that would be cool to try? What kind of coffee service does the hotel provide?
Now, we’re staying in a Marriott. A very swanky Marriott. The TPC Marriott Hill Country in San Antonio for the next few nights.
(this is it…OMG!!! it’s HUGE! I just wanna stare out at the golf courses all day…)
They have several restaurants and room service. So far, all I’ve gleaned from anything or anyone, is I can go down to one of those and order coffee, or there’s In-Room coffee (ick!), or room service. I’m thinking room service. These are people in my husband’s company. I don’t want to make a poor impression by looking like something the cat dragged in at 3am.
But yes, I try to find coffee places and those of you who pay attention or care would be disappointed if I didn’t come back with some picture of a coffee joint, even if it is just a Starbucks.
I’ll post what and when I can. We’ll be going to caverns. I don’t remember which ones, but that’s what we’re doing tomorrow, as well the Alamo (though I’ve been told unless you go to the mission outside town, it’s unimpressive), and the famed Riverwalk.
That’s what I really want to see and do. If we have a chance on Friday, I plan to drive up to Austin, Tx for part of the day. Both of these are for my own research for my books… The Bar Next Door series and the Lone Star Sweets series that will be going into some sort of get-the-ball-rolling-publishing mode in July.
Y’all know I’m an introvert, that I’m quiet and shy and don’t talk to people I don’t know who I KNOW I have things in common with (read smut, anyone?)… But this going to be close to 800 people from a very large bank and their spouses. I will be holding up the nearest wall in the ballroom. I don’t get panic attacks but large, gathered crowds zap and drain me. Sporting events are different, I can zone out. I can put on headphone or not, but I can focus on the game or race and I’m not expected to be social.
I need a cave, y’all…
And I need to get moving. I’ll post stuff to Facebook that I know you’ll find immensely entertaining…;-)
I know you’re shocked. Two blog posts in a row. There will be a third tomorrow for Snippet Saturday so… It’s crazy! Kind of like the NFL Draft last night. Three Alabama Crimson Tide players drafted back to back to back. But really, there’s no surprise there. Just look at them… They’re tough. There were also three of my FSU ‘Noles drafted last night, two were back to back. One was a complete shock and surprise and I’m thrilled… I also digress.
The title of this is “I’m not writing fast enough”. It’s true. I’m not. You’ve also heard me say I’m pretty much starting over with this writing gig. It’s harder the second time around to boost the career than it was the first time. Why? Especially if I have some readers already? Because there’s competition. Lots of it. And there always has been, but it’s different now. Every Tom, Dick, Harry, and their sister Sally can self-publish. There’s also the knowledge of what the numbers or lack there of on rankings means. When I first started out, I didn’t know. I just knew I was thrilled when someone talked about my book or mentioned my name. Now, if anyone mentions either one, it’s lost in the sea of other names fifty different people are talking about constantly. There are favorites…among publishers, readers, book bloggers. So, knowledge can work against a writer and ignorance being bliss is sometimes the way to go. Just not paying attention, just burying your head in the books you’re writing. But even that doesn’t work for everyone anymore. Being visible is a key for some and not for others.
I know now what the numbers mean. I know when a book is selling. And when it’s not. But, what’s left to do? What works and what doesn’t in getting the word out so enough people go after it, especially if you’re not writing in a genre that everyone is buying? It’s easy to want to jump on the BDSM, the M/M, the New Adult bandwagon just so you can maybe get a sales boost.
Then of course there is the not writing fast enough. Day jobs. Kids. Home schooling. House cleaning. Exercise. Family. Sleep. Down time. I can comfortably write four thousand words a day. But sometimes that means ignoring everything else, especially if the words are having to be etched in blood with a razor blade. And I don’t have a husband who picks up the slack. Kids help, yes, but it’s still primarily me. Super mom. Super homemaker. Not so Super writing. So no, I’m not writing fast enough. I’m trying to hock my books on the street corners of the internet. But, when I see authors who do write fast enough, who are churning out books left and right, saying they desperately need sales, begging for them, or authors starting fundraisers in order to continue writing a series… This bothers me. Why aren’t these authors selling? What is it readers are looking for that these authors of multiple genres aren’t giving them?
I haven’t jumped on the street team bandwagon either. I’m not much of a bandwagon jumper anyway, but… Are the street teams worth it? Do they help boost sales? A writer can only write as fast as she or he can write and still write a good book. When readers are reading 3-4 books a day… Maybe this world of Buy Now With 1-Click is killing us… ( I know it kills my bank account)
It’s always been a crap shoot. If a writer is trying to make a living at this, they write. A lot. They publish. And they talk about their book constantly, but when the sales never take off, when the book sits stagnant, what’s a writer to do? Write something else. So they do and still the book sits, stagnant. They advertise, blog, beg for reviews, have giveaways, get swag printed up, and still… Nothing helps, nothing changes.
Some publishers have much better sales than others. But their wait times are a year or more for publication. Is it worth it? I don’t know. I’ve been pondering that question for months as I write. What I turn in this year to one of my publishers, won’t see the light of day until Spring of 2014 and on into 2015. Hard to make a living that way.
Some can make a living self-publishing. Some can’t.
And writing to make money is always the biggest crap shoot of all. When there are words that need to be written, not because readers are (hopefully) waiting, not because you need money to pay the rent or insurance (these are important no doubt), but just because the words need to get outside your head and on to the paper (or screen)… Writing is not a get rich quick thing for most writers. Most of us never see rich or even making ends meet.
So, is it that we don’t write fast enough? Is it that we don’t write the right thing? I write. I put out books. I doubt every word. But I keep at it. I don’t get the multiple contracts or the offers to submit on proposal, but I still keep at it. There’s a lot of what I don’t get. There’s a lot of what I don’t understand. There’s a lot that frustrates me. There’s a lot of second guessing and trying something new. There’s a lot of envy, some jealousy, some plain ‘ol dislike at the unfairness of things and the favoritism and the preferential treatment. In the end though, there’s a lot of writing. A LOT OF WRITING. A lot of putting words down. It might be in a blurb, a synopsis, but it’s getting the words down in order to get the book out. It’s writing and though I want to make money at it, though I want to sell thousands of copies, though I want to make it to a best seller list, though I want, I want, I want… What I need, what I started out to do five years ago, is write. And it might not be fast enough for readers or publishers, but I write. I might get distracted by what I don’t have, but I write. I might get bad reviews and swear I’m never going to write another word, I still write.
This is my job. It pays for the plumber, the transmission, the races, the concerts, the brakes, the tires, the cats, the birthdays, the holidays, the vacations I don’t get to take, the conventions, the promo, the groceries in the house, the gas, the golf lessons for my son, the porch railing, the cell phones, the coffee, the desperately needed night at the movies, etc… But even without a dime, I still need to write. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. It’s a compulsion, it’s an addiction. Just like coffee. Just like reading.
Maybe I don’t write fast enough. Maybe I don’t write what someone else wants me to write. Maybe I don’t write what everyone else is writing. Maybe I’m not writing to suit the reader’s preferences. But, I’m still writing.
And speaking of which…