The Big Question

NOTE: I pulled this blogpost out of my file of previously written ones. I write it back in 2009, and it was aimed more at Traditional publishing/editors because that’s what I was doing. But I wanted to repost because it might really help explain why I choose to self publish my erotic stories.

I consider myself a storyteller author. By that, I mean I write a story. I’m not a University educated writer, and the only writing class I’ve taken was one on freelance magazine writing (about how to search for submission guidelines, and how to use your research for various articles instead of only one) and a correspondence course on how to make money at writing. (Which is how I got into erotic fiction) None of these classes were about the craft of writing. As far as that goes, I only have high school English, and a couple of workshops on character development or plotting at conferences that I went to after I was published multiple time.

Why am I telling you this? For a couple of reasons. One, to prove that if you want to be an author, you don’t Have to go to school for it.

The second reason, to bring up the Big Question. What is it editors do?

Now, I have a few friends who write in genres other than erotic fiction, and they say their editor’s brainstorm with them, go over plots and outlines, and weigh in on a series plan. Then when they get the manuscript, the edit it, filling it with corrections and giving them revisions lists. Some whine about how big their revisions lists are, but all of them say their books are better after they’ve followed their editor’s advice. They are learning and growing as storytellers and as authors.

Me? I’ve written and published over 30 stories, that includes 10 full-length novels 9 of which were for big NY publishers, and I’ve never had revisions. I get copy edits, and galleys. (And letters from readers telling me all about the grammar errors in my books)

So, first, I admit I’m not the best at grammar. In fact, I suck at it. I suck at it so bad that when I read the galleys I don’t see any grammar errors. Yet, I still get emails from readers about it, or read a comment here and there in reviews about how it could’ve been edited better. I always assumed that if my grammar were that bad, my editor or copyeditor would maybe point it out to me or help clean it up. One editor when I first started out told me my grammar wasn’t the best, but my story telling abilities outshined it, so I never thought about going back to school for it. Part of me wonders if the readers and reviewers who comment are just super conscientious about that sort of thing, or if I’m just too lax?

Then again, I’ve spoken to several other erotic fiction authors, some who write for the same publishers as I do, and some who write for other publishers, and the majority of them say the same thing. They’ve never had revisions, and they sometimes get comment about typos, grammar or things that readers think should’ve been corrected. So this brings me to wonder, are erotic authors not getting as much attention from their editors as other genre authors?

First let me say this – I am not trying to pass off my mistakes as something my editors should be responsible for. Ultimately, it’s my book, my story, and my name on the cover. That means it’s my responsibility to make it shine. (And yes, I am looking into taking a grammar course). But, I do admit that what felt like a lack of interest from my editors has effected my motivation, drive, and ability to produce. As a professional writer, it shouldn’t, but in reality, it does. Writing is a creative thing, and as creative people, writers can sometime become too analytical, too emotional, or just plain ol’ too wrapped up in their own heads. I would love to feel like an editor is completely in love with my work, and wants to do nothing but help me shine, but this is a business, and I am not my editors only author. If I become too much work for them, it’s bye-bye Sasha. I understand this. But I still can’t help but wonder why the majority of the erotic authors I speak too say the same thing about a lack of interest or input.

Do we feel this way because Erotic fiction as a separate genre is new, therefor we are all pretty much new authors craving reassurance? Or is it perhaps because editing these sorts of stories is new to some of the editors so they’re just going through the motions? Or, maybe it’s because the books sell enough as they are for the publisher to make a bit of money, and they’re not particularly interested in building any big name authors for the genre?

NOTE: So, after reading this and re-stating that I wrote it in 2009, I want to point out that Traditional publishers started to downswing their erotic stories. By that I mean, they bought less and less and rumours flew that erotic was dead as a genre. Then self-publishing became a viable option, and strangely enough, erotic started to sell again. Even now, the majority of erotic authors self publish their stories.

Am I the only one who finds this interesting?

Thoughts?

Creative Choas, or procrastination?

This was the plan for the day.
To Do List
– Bike (exercise) then Smoothie(Healthy breakfast)
– Laundry
– Revise chapter XX, write Blurb for Overwatch 3

Doesn’t seem like an overly ambitious or intimidating list does it?

Okay, this is what I actually did.
– Laundry and watch Project Runway All-Stars while checking email
(did some promotional emails, and family stuff) (ate Popcorn for brunch while doing this)
-Got intrigued by Delilah Devlins pretty Mind Mapping image from the workshop on productivity I did with her last year. and decided to try it. Went to get sketch book in storage closet and decided the cats corner needed to be cleaned. (as in not just scooping the litter but emptying it completely washing the bin, washing the floor it sits on, and the dishes the cat food goes in- which led to moving a piece of furniture which lead to vacuuming the carpet as well. )
-put Shepards Pie in oven for late lunch/early dinner, then went back to thoughts of mind mapping. Opened sketch book and was distracted by my pathetic attempts at drawing from before and wondered who I could make MY mind map pretty, I wanted energy swirls and butterflies.

Decided to try and draw butterfly so googled pictures to find one to attempt.
Found and drew this..Photo on 4-23-15 at 3.46 PM
I looked at the clock on ad wondered what was wrong with me that I still hadn’t opened my WIP to work on, and decided to ask you guys, by starting this post.

Linked to the image of the pretty butterfly and wondered whatever happened to the colored pencils I used to have? Went looking for them. Never found them. I did find a small container I stashed away with an ink pad and some stamps I saved from the year I was into bookbinding, and decided the fairy stamp would look better than any attempts at drawing from me.

Yeah..uhmmm But I also got started on the next story UNDONE will be more Ronnie and Ian, and will be in the Every Which Way anthology releasing on June 16th!

So excited as things are getting pretty fucking hot between Ian and Ronnie. And Zane, yeah, more Zane.

Blog Time

Yesterday was a bad day for me. No one special reason, just so many little irritating and annoying things that kept piling on for the past week or so, and finally I thought. I’m done.

Some things I have the capability to change, others I don’t. So I”m going to change a couple things in my life. One of which is way less time on Facebook.

When I first started writing, I knew nothing really about the business. By the time I found the eHarlequin Boards to hang out on, I’d had half dozen or so short stories published, and I was getting ready to attempt my first novel. (It fell short and became a long novella, but hey, it still sold, and Gypsy Heart has become a reader favorite)

Back then, blogs were fairly new, and I had one I wrote on every day-as did several others. We had this circle of authors who blogged and commented on each others posts and build friendships by sharing experiences and knowledge. Several times in the past I’ve tried to get back to blogging, and found the lack of response from people disheartening. But you know whats even more disheartening? The negativity of social media sites like Facebook.

I find myself feeling good when I log on, and depressed and lonely when I log off, so I’ve decided to stop surfing it. I hate that this may cause me to lose touch with some people, but then I remind myself of the times when my circle of blog friends was small, but I truly felt like I knew the people who commented, because they would converse and share in their comments, and I would click back to their blog and read whats going in their life. And it was more than a sentence about what they had for dinner, or how many words they wrote that day, or the fact that they did their laundry.

I’m not saying Social media, doesn’t have it’s place, and maybe my age is showing but I’m tired of the hit and run “Status Update” and all the me, me, me, I, I, I. I want to connect with people, and having them Friend me or follow me doesn’t actually do that. I think the numbers become a popularity contest and gain too much significance. Is Social media misleading? or am I just getting old and sentimental?

Deleting my page/profile won;t happen. I’ll still use them, as I do feel they have their place, but the main thing I’ll be doing is posting links to my blog here, because I hope people will come read them, and interact. I’d love to say I’ll blog every day, but I wont. And not eery post will be full of information or opinions or knowledge, but I’ll be sharing myself for those who want to get to know me. And in limiting my time to sharing this way, I’ll hopefully get back to writing more, as writing these posts are a great warm up for a day of word-smithing, where as posting a status tends to be a non-started for my writing mentality. Others will say differently for sure, but you know what? That’s the great thing about people. We’re not all the same. *ggg*

So, be honest with me….how much do you love/hate Facebook? And what about Twitter? Personally I enjoy twitter more, not sure why, maybe because it”s more like an actual Chat room with the world and less like a bulletin board? And I’m not gonna start on Pinterest, because I actually like that one too much. *blush*

Monsters and Magic

Young Adult books aren’t really my thing. New Adult either.

But, I am a total fangirl of all things Estep.Meaning, The first young adult series I read was her Mythos Academy stories, and I only started it because she hooked me with her Elemental Assassin series. Needless to say, she hooked me in, and I devoured each one of them in between awaiting more Gin Blanco.
Now the author has a new young adult series. (and I’m thrilled Gin is still going strong,) and I was lucky enough to get an advance copy!!! (Begging really does work)

So…here’s my thoughts on the new Black Blade series.

This world, fits right alongside that of Mythos and Ashland. Magic and monsters abound, but with the same unique twist/feel as Estep’s other books. I, as a writer, find it fantastic the way she can write each series with it’s own unique feel to the world, yet they all blend so well that you know it’s really all the same world, just each characters view of it. Just like we all live in the same world, but see things so differently due to where, and who, we are. This is just one thing that proves Estep is a talent unlike any other.

In the world of Cloudburst Falls, the most magical place on earth, Lila, our young thief/heroine isn’t as Kick-ass as Gin, but she’s young yet. She’s smart, agile (physically and mentally) and cold hearted when she needs to be. She’s also wicked good with a sword.

She’s a bit of a smart-ass too, which is awesome.

But my mom taught me all about the old traditions. I knew which monsters lived where in town, in the forests, and on the mountain, and what small tributes you paid them for safe passage through their territories. In fact, I’d always thought of the monsters as my own sort of standoffish pets. If, you know, you thought pets that could eat you were cool. Which I totally did.

All of the characters, Lila, Mo, Devon, Claudia even the pixie Oscar and butler Reginald are so well drawn you can picture them in your mind. Estep introduces them all, but keeps the story moving a decent pace, and the action never lags. There’s thievery, assassination attempts, sword fights, pixies with pet turtles, people-eating monsters, and a little romance thrown in to even things out. Oh, and bacon. Lots of bacon.

What more could you possibly want?

I’m not going to say anything else, because I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but trust me on this, if you like action, adventure, anti-heros with issues, young love, monsters and magic, or any combination of them, then this is for you.  I can’t wait to go deeper into Cloudburst Falls and the scary good times I know are waiting there.

 
cover61742-mediumCold Burn Of Magic by Jennifer Estep

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her. . .

READ AN EXCERPT HERE

Cinderella is here!

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Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

Billionaire Online Dating Service. Let us find your perfect match!

Desperate to find a date to his own charity ball, billionaire Gage Tate agrees to give his friend’s online dating system a try. Tired of gold-diggers and society debutantes, he wants a woman who isn’t after his money, and won’t become a bridezilla-wanna-be when exposed to his high-society world and the trappings of wealth.

She never expected a computer program to be her fairy godmother…

Fiona McKenzie returns home from college to discover the family ranch threatened by foreclosure. Desperate to find a way to earn enough money to pay off medical and mortgage bills, she’ll do practically anything to save the home she loves. Unbeknownst to Fiona, her stepsisters enter her name in an online dating system, which she flat-out tells them she doesn’t have time or the inclination. Her focus is on saving the ranch.

When Gage’s date is reluctant to go out with him, he’s challenged to win her over. After a little digging, he discovers she’s in a tight financially. He sees this as an angle to pay for a date, help her out, with no strings attached when the charity ball is over. Only he didn’t count on falling for the pretty cowgirl, turned Cinderella. With her family ranch on the line, Fiona has no other choice than to accept Gage’s offer and she’s swept into a world of high-society, most girls would consider a dream come true. Fiona isn’t impressed, but finds her prince charming a little to attractive to forget when the spell wears off.

Note: Make a stop at Myla Jackson’s Ugly Stick Saloon in this story and say Hi to old friends.

EXCERPT

If he’d thought his morning couldn’t get worse, he was most certainly wrong.

“Don’t leave love up to luck. Like I told you the first time we met, with the help of my firm and heavily tested computer algorithms, you have a ninety-nine point nine percent chance of finding your perfect match. So, who’s next?”

Leslie Lamb, the woman dressed in a soft gray suit, her blond, shoulder-length hair swinging, turned from the video screen to face the group of men seated around the conference table. On the screen was a picture of the first couple to find success through the Billionaire Online Dating System, or BODS as it was shortened to. Frank Cooper Johnson and his BODS match, Emma Jacobs.

Gage tapped his fingertips against the conference table surrounded by members of the Billionaires Anonymous Club, frankly amazed at how the first test of BODS had turned out. Who knew a computer program could pick the perfect match for one of their own? It had to be a lucky coincidence. Computers couldn’t account for all the human traits and personality quirks.

But Cooper sat back with the biggest grin on his face, happier than a pig in mud.

So happy, Gage shifted in his seat, an itch crawling across his skin. No man could be that in love. Could he? Didn’t he know what would eventually happen? No union lasted these days.

The men had formed the club back when they were five broke college students struggling to get an education at Texas A&M. On their last dime, and facing the distinct possibility of expulsion for various reasons—the most pressing reason having to do with money—they’d made a pact that they’d all become millionaires by the time they turned thirty. They’d formed a plan, stuck with it, finished college, each becoming, not millionaires, but billionaires by age thirty and achieving all their goals.

All except one. The one about getting married and raising a family. They’d all struggled with that one.

A year ago, Gage thought he’d be the first out the chute for the marriage goal. He’d been dating Alicia Welch, a beautiful blond who claimed to be crazy about him. She’d told him she loved him and he’d believed her. In the back of his mind he had images of the family-life some of his friends had grown up with—kids running around the yard, mothers kissing their babies goodnight. For a brief moment in his ambitious drive to the top, he’d paused, thinking this was his chance. Until he’d proposed to Alicia, asking her to marry him and start a family together.

Boy, had he been wrong.

She’d been horrified he’d wanted her to actually bear children. Alicia wanted the marriage without the family, afraid having children would destroy her figure and keep her from traveling the world. If he could promise her no children and an unlimited expense account, she’d marry him.

His ideal shattered, Gage ultimately figured he’d dodged a bullet. He retracted his proposal and went back to work, marriage no longer part of his equation for success.

“Ah, come on, guys. It’s not that bad.” Cooper pulled Emma into his lap. “You heard the lady, I found my perfect match using BODS.”

Gage shifted in his seat, ready for this meeting to be over. He had real issues to work through, like finding a date for the charity ball. “Leslie, you have to change the acronym. BODS might send the wrong signals.”

“Sorry, I have too much invested in letterhead, business cards and promo items to change it now.” She winked at him.

“Just because it worked for Coop, doesn’t mean it’ll work for the rest of us.” Gage drummed his fingers on the smooth surface of the mahogany conference table. “Sounds to me more like a crap shoot.” He leaned back against his seat, ready to tune out of the rest of the conversation.

“You won’t know until you give it a try.” Taggert Bronson stepped up beside Leslie. “Gage, you have a charity ball coming up in a couple weeks, don’t you?”

Gage snapped forward, the ball already making his stomach twist into a knot. He didn’t need to bring it to the attention of the rest of his friends. “Yeah, so?”

“Why don’t you give the system a shot and take the match it finds you. What’s it gonna hurt? At the very least, you’ll have a date for the ball.”

Gage bristled, hating being the one on the spot for the hair-brained scheme. “Who said I didn’t already have a date?”

Tag pinned him with a stare. “Do you?”

Gage thought through all the women he knew for a quick answer, trying to find someone he wouldn’t mind asking to the ball and solve the problem his lying to Priscilla had caused. Unfortunately, most of his go-to girls ran in her circle. They might let slip that his invitation had been at the last minute, and if one of them did, his goose would be cooked with Daddy. “Damn it, no.”

Sean O’Leary leaned over and nudged his arm. “I’m sure Priscilla Langley or Marilynn Tisdale would love to be your date. You could ask one of them. Maybe both.”

“Hell, no.” Gage sat up straight, staring across the boardroom table to Leslie. “Do the women you have signing up for this system know they’re signing up to be matched with a wealthy man?”

Leslie shook her head. “Not at all. Some of them have money of their own and don’t feel a need to marry well. Others may not have the kind of money you gentlemen have, but they are good people with sound ethics and values.” She tipped her chin up. “I hand-select all the applicants for my system to ensure honesty and strong moral fiber.”

Maxwell Smithson snorted. “Well, that rules us out.”

Sean, Tag and Cooper laughed.

Gage didn’t, his mind spinning with the possibility of finding a woman he could feel comfortable with to take to that confounded charity ball. “Can I get a woman who’s down to earth? I’m sick to death of society debutantes and women who are only interested in the size of a man’s bank account.”

Leslie held her hand up like she was swearing in at court. “No fortune hunters or debutantes are allowed. Give my system a chance. I promise not all women are after money. Most just want to be treated nicely and maybe find love.”

“I’m not looking for love or happily ever after. But I could use a date for the ball.” He rubbed his chin. A woman unknown to the social elite of Dallas would be good. At least Priscilla wouldn’t have any way of knowing he hadn’t asked her to the ball until after he’d told Priscilla he had a date. And going through with BODS would get the other guys off his back.

“I’m still not believing you’re throwing a ball in the first place,” Sean commented. “I thought you hated that kind of event.”

Gage grimaced. “Trust me. I’d rather slit my throat. Blame it on my image consultant. She insisted I throw one to demonstrate to the public I have a goddamn heart.”

Sean laughed. “You mean it’s not obvious to the media that our buddy, Gage Tate, has a heart of gold? What was it the news called you? Heartless, calculating and…what was the other adjective?”

Cooper, Maxwell and Tag answered as one, “Cutthroat.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Gage glared around the table. “Go ahead and laugh. You’re not the one having to show up and smile for the cameras. Most of you are still anonymous.” He focused on Leslie again, the notion of finding a date for the ball through BODS no longer completely appalling. “My name has been in the media too much lately. Is it possible to use a different name in your system to find a match?”

Leslie’s brows dipped. “That would be dishonest.”

“He’s right.” Tag tapped his chin. “Gage Tate would be an immediate giveaway.”

Sean leaned toward the table. “Why not use your first name?”

“Austin?” Gage considered.

“Sure.” Tag grinned. “No one associates Austin Tate with Gage Tate, Texas’s most eligible bachelor. And it wouldn’t be dishonest since it is your name.”

Gage lifted the monogrammed pen in front of him and flipped it between his fingers, thinking. Haddie had been pushing him to ask one of the daughters of the charity matrons as a sign of good will. If he had a date already lined up for the event, he’d be off the hook. He wouldn’t be pressured into escorting a society princess to an event he already dreaded as much as going to the dentist. “Okay.” He inhaled and let it out slowly. “I’ll do it. But I want to test her out first.”

Max chuckled. “You’re not taking a car for a test drive.”

“In a way, I am.” Gage didn’t do anything without doing his homework first. He wouldn’t be where he was today if he left things to chance. Not since Alicia, anyway. He refused to be humiliated like that, ever again. “I want to know that she’s genuine and down to earth, but not so much of a redneck that she can’t perform in public.”

Emma’s eyes narrowed. “I get it. You want a kind of Cinderella test.”

Gage stared at Emma. “What?”

“You know.” Emma leaned forward. “You want someone who is comfortable dusting furniture or mowing her own lawn, but who can also pull off wearing a dress and smiling in public. You don’t want someone who will embarrass you.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Gage frowned, figuring Emma must think he was a complete jerk. “Hey, we’re talking about a ball, not the rest of my damn life. Whomever I take can’t be intimidated by the high-rollers who’ll be there. I wouldn’t want her feeling uncomfortable.”

Emma nodded. “Of course. Still you don’t want a woman who lets the pretty dress and fancy car go to her head.”

“Yeah. I’ve had my fill of the Priscilla Langleys and Marilyn Tisdales.” He mentally added Alicia Welch to that list.

Sean tilted his head. “Either one of those women knows what to wear and say in front of the big shots of Dallas.”

Coop snorted. “They ought to, they’ve been groomed since birth to marry rich.”

Gage shuddered at the thought of taking Priscilla or Marilyn to anything. “I can’t stand those women. Plastic all the way through. Do they still make women who aren’t only interested in money?”

Emma snorted. “We’re not all money-hungry.”

Gage turned to Leslie. “Seriously, do you have one of those?”

Every Which Way

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What’s this? Oh, this is my June release. Yeah, an anthology with four of my favorite hot and naughty authors. And we’re not recycling older, already published stories, simply to bundle them together. Nope, it’s an all-new story from each of us, and they will be exclusively in this anthology for three months. (anthology will be available in print and download for three months only.)

Every Which Wy will be available for Download, and in Print on June 15th.

Just because Carnal won’t be released until the fall, doesn’t mean you have to wait until then for a new Overwatch story.

My short novella for the EVERY WHICH WAY anthology is going to be about a club member who isn’t main character in any of the books. I’m starting it today, but haven;t come up with a title yet… I’ll share when I do.