Friday, February 25, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Valentine's Day may be over but there are plenty of ways to share the love with your favorite authors. Writers receive negative comments and reviews more than you may expect, a little bit of affection from readers can go a long way toward counteracting the sometimes overwhelming unfriendliness on the internet. Here are few fun and free things you can do!
Did you just read a book that made you smile, laugh, cry or simply take you out of your day-to-day worries and entertain you for a few hours? If so, consider a few things you could do to let that author know and to let other readers know!
Have you ever emailed the author to tell them you liked the book? Trust me, even if all you did was write one simple sentence, you'd thrill any writer. No need to explain more or feel like you have to say something special or earth-shaking. A simple, "Thanks, I really enjoyed that!" means a lot.
It's easy to find author's email addresses: Just Google them and find their website. Most authors have them, with a contact/email page linked from their home page. Try it!
Too shy to contact someone directly? There are still many ways to show your love.
Write a review on Amazon or Goodreads and say a few sentences there about why you loved the story. Even if your author doesn't see it, others might and that could help increase sales.
Comment on someone else's review on Amazon or Goodreads. Agree or disagree with what the original reviewer said. Or just "like" a review. It helps get the original review noticed, and again can help your author's sales.
Tag a book on Amazon or create a Listmania list with your favorite books on it. People who love to read the same things you do will find your list and very likely buy some of the books you recommend!
[Note: Even if you don't like to shop at Amazon for whatever reason, comments or reviews there can help out, since plenty of other readers do shop there.]
Want to help your favorite authors earn more? Money's always a touchy issue but chances are your favorite m/m authors or those with smaller publishers don't make much at all on royalties. The way you can help is by purchasing books directly from the publisher, rather than a distributor like Fictionwise, ARe or Amazon. Distributors take a huge cut of the cover price, meaning your authors make double the royalties if you buy from their publisher's website. Books are usually the same price or even cheaper at the publisher's site.
Not sure how to find the publisher site? Check the links on the author's website, Google the book title, or just ask on Facebook or Twitter. One of your friends would be happy help you figure it out.
Of course, don't forget you can always sign up for the Gay Romance Readers Retreat in New Orleans in October. I'll be there along with lots more well known folks!
Got a suggestion for something else to do? Leave a comment.
What do Thai mobsters, a map, and an ancient Ruby Buddha have in common? They're all major headaches for Trent Copeland!
Trent knows men like the handsome, hunky ones in the gay romances he writes don't really exist, but that doesn't stop him from wishing. When he travels to
Reed's mission is simple: get the treasure map by tomorrow or risk seriously pissing off the local thugs. Only problem is, it's wound up in the backpack of a hapless romance writer by mistake! A sexy, oh-so-irresistible romance writer.
One misadventure after another, and soon ruthless Thai mobsters are on their trail. Is Reed watching out for
They'll have to work together if they want to stay alive.
From the neon-lit streets of
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Gather 26 objects starting with letters A-Z while you're out and about on a road trip. No more than 2 items per location. Throw in a couple of mandatory stops (clues must be solved to find those places). I love hunts and it can be a lot of fun.
Have splash wars or jump from puddle to puddle. You could even stand on a sidewalk next to a big puddle that cars have to drive through. Pretend that the sudden wall of water was a surprise! If you are in the park, make sure you use the wet slide, which probably will have a big puddle at the bottom.
This was actually one of Jonathon and my first dates. I dragged him out into the rain and showed him just how fun getting wet could be. It took him a while to get into it, but once he did he never looked back.
3. This is one Jonathon and I do every few months. It may seem silly, but we connect better when we take the time out of our busy lives and do this one simple thing. What is it?
We play 20 questions. That's right. We usually will go have a cup of coffee, or an ice cream, just to get away from the house. Then we play 20 questions. We try to make them fun, but sometimes, we get into deep water and the talk becomes serious. I've found out some really interesting things about the man I love this way.
Doesn't take much time or money, just a little curiosity. So give it a try. You'll be surprised at what you learn about each other.
Want to try something new and different? Take a class together. Check out the local community center or college for one-day classes on painting, photography, sailing, dancing, etc. Choose something you both will enjoy and do it.
A friend and his wife did this and had such a blast they try and do it at least twice a year. They have learned ballroom dancing, Spanish, and watercolor painting. And doing it together gives them something fun to talk about once it's over!
So, there are a few tips to make it Valentine's Day all year long. I hope you all have fun giving them a try. I know I did. :-)
And don't forget to check out the BRAND NEW FREE READ BLOG I'm a part of called..
The first FREE READ went live last Saturday and you still have time to sign up for the contests and fun!!!! So what are you waiting for? Head on over and get 'er done!!!! Check out this wonderful group of authors at http://trulymadlydeeplyromanceauthors.blogspot.com/
Blessings to all,
Follow Your Dreams
Sunday, February 13, 2011
You’re probably wondering why I posted a picture of a dog with a binkie in her mouth. There’s a story behind the picture that should make everyone wonder about the motel room they rent while on vacation. This made me stop and think and to check more thoroughly where I’m renting to stay.
Before leaving on their vacation trip to Florida, my niece called the motel for reservations and asked if she’d be allowed to bring her dog along and let her stay in their room. She was assured by the manager that it was the policy of the motel to let a pet remain in the room with its owners. My niece and her family arrived in Florida with her dog Zoey along.
When they checked into their room, no one bothered to look around at their new home for two weeks. While my niece was busy unpacking, she wasn’t paying attention to her dog Zoey. She disappeared under the bed, and her husband had to coax her out only to find their dog with a binkie in her mouth. Her husband snapped the picture, thinking it was cute.
There was one drawback over the situation for my niece. She, too, thought the site of her dog clutching a binkie in her mouth was cute and she wouldn’t give it up, but then she began to think about how clean the room could actually be, or if it had been cleaned at all. If a maid vacuumed the room and under the bed, how had she missed the item undoubtedly left by the people occupying the room before them?
After hearing their story when they returned and looking at the picture, I decided from then on when I checked into any motel to make sure I looked at the room more closely. You might find something lurking under your bed that you don’t want to see other than a binkie.
How many have found things in a motel room you’ve rented that had been left by someone occupying it before you arrived? Did you report it to the manager of the motel, or just forget the unusual experience and hope to find a clean room next time?
This summer several authors at Romance Divine are offering short stories that will be compiled into an e-book for a free read. I’ll post a date later when the publisher at www.romancedivine.com releases a copy.
Coming soon from www.romancedivine.com: A full length erotic contemporary romance called Mistaken Identity.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I'm working on a novel right now that has a pin up gal for the main character. She comes from a small town where anything outside the morality of the bible is wrong. Move ahead and she's living, and posing, in New York City for magazines, cigarette ads and even calendars. It turns Freda-Mae on to expose her skin to the world even though she never poses nude or does anything considered illicit by our 2011 standards.
This makes me consider what our current outlets are for depravity so to speak. Share yours.
Do you read porn or look at it on the computer?
Do you engage in public sexual activities?
Do you buy the wildest sex toys?
Do you frequent BDSM dungeons?
I'd have to say that my biggest vice is writing. I get to write about any and everything I'm interested in learning about. What could be more fun? I've begun edits on the next book in the Lifestyle Series, Aidan's Story. Look for it soon at Red Rose Publishing.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I swear I’m not making this up. I won't post his picture here. He looks like an escaped mental patient. He has also written other rants that make his Valentine's Day bellowing look calm, reasonable, and cohesive by comparison.
He claims to have a girlfriend. Uh-huh. I guess he unties her and let's her eat three times per day as long as she behaves. I suppose as long as she knows her place, she'll be fine.
He conveniently forgets that Valentine’s Day is a holiday to tend to your partner whether you’re male or female. And that includes buying gifts. I've found some very funny and unusual gifts for Valentine's Day.
How much of a geek are you? Want to dress as the fourth Doctor from Doctor Who? Check this out!
You can also buy costumes to dress as the fifth Doctor, Tegan, and Leela. Act out your classic "Doctor Who" fantasies on Valentine's Day! If you're like me and you've had it bad for David Tennant, all you need to wear is a dark pinstriped suit and red sneakers. No problem there.
If that's not over-the-top enough for you, how about candy lingerie? At Amazon, you may buy an edible women's g-string and bra set.
Don't forget the X-rated candy hearts with smutty sayings on them like "eat me", "blow me", and more!
I like Valentine's Day, but I'm happily married and I have someone with whom to share it. Not everyone is so lucky. All throughout high school and college, I had no one and I hated Valentine's Day because it only reminded me how lonely I really was. Now, I feel much better about it.
I'm looking forward to March 14 much more than February 14. For one thing, March 14 is my birthday. For another thing, March 14 is Steak and BJ Day. More on that holiday next month.
And then there's April 14... the fun holidays just don't stop.
Here's my latest book, a sexy romp about a plane flight and the ensuing writer's convention.
Release Date: 14 January 2011
Author: Elizabeth Black
Category: Erotic, Male Male, Gay, Hetero, Multiple Partner, Threesome, Ménage, Short Stories
Length: 7,627 words 41 pp (PDF)
Romance Divine: http://www.romancedivine.com/index.php?p=product&id=173
Rainbow EBooks: http://tinyurl.com/6dkzco3
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004IWQXQ6
Elizabeth Black continues her ribald Indiscretions series with Indiscretions: Vol. II. These two short stories follow the amorous adventures of Caryn as she wings her way across country to a writer’s convention. In THE MILE HIGH CLUB, Caryn has a high altitude fling with the sexy Jeremy. Their encounter isn’t without comic complications, but a very good time is had by all. The action continues in ROOM SERVICE, when Caryn and Jeremy meet a mutual friend and the sexual action is three-times hotter!
Excerpt from The Mile High Club:
They retreated to the restroom and locked the door behind them. If the airline staff noticed they turned the other way. Caryn wondered how many other people had used the restroom in their own version of The Mile High Club?
She was glad she wore a miniskirt with stockings and sexy panties. She had hoped she'd have a hot tryst at 35,000 feet and it looked like she was about to continue her arousing flight. Although she wished she had more than twenty minutes, she decided to take full advantage of her position.
Jeremy hoisted her up against the sink and pushed her until she backed up against the mirror. His pants were unzipped and down to his knees in seconds. She wrapped her strong legs around his waist, shoved her panties aside, and guided in his thick erection. He was so big he threatened to split her in two so she held her legs until her knees were near her chest to completely accommodate him. He grunted as he thrust into her, hips moving in a steady beat as his thighs slapped against her own. He pounded into her so hard her body moved up the mirror approaching the ceiling. With each thrust her heart beat hard in her chest, wanting to be set free. She pulled up his shirt, wanting to feel his warm flesh, and scratched at his back with her long, manicured nails, leaving welts that made him cry out in exquisite pain. She wanted him so badly she would do anything to fuck him senseless.
Excerpt from Room Service:
"Oooh, I like that," Jeremy said. "We'll do everything else, but no intercourse."
"What about the rabbit?" Caryn asked.
"Sex toys don't count. No cock will enter your pussy today, but we will give you the most insane orgasms you've ever experienced!" Takeshi's promise was so intense his breath came in spurts.
"I think I can get into this. I want to pleasure you two, as well. Don't leave me out of the equation." Caryn stroked their bare backs with her hands, running her fingernails along their skin, bringing forth the most delightful shivers from both men.
Takeshi took her right breast into his mouth and sucked hard on her nipple. She felt him fist his cock and stroke it slowly, and he moaned against her chest. Jeremy shifted in the bed until his groin faced her and she took his cock into her mouth. He tasted of pre-cum and a little strawberry lube. Takeshi worked her tits with one hand while beating off with his other and she felt his body jostle on the bed next to her. He even grew warmer! She looked down to see Jeremy slip a condom over her butt plug and dribble some lube on it. In seconds he eased it into Takeshi's waiting asshole. The man moaned with delight and squirmed atop her. Oh, to feel Jeremy's finger up her ass again!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Though ebook sales have been soaring and seem destined for a dominant place in book publishing they are not there yet and that poses a quandary for ePublishers.
In a word ‘length’. As everyone knows, print books are three dimensional and saddled with physical pages, which are bound together within a cover and a back with the use of a spine. This method of creating a book requires a minimum thickness and hence a minimum length of work, say 50,000 words but preferably more. eBooks have no binding hence no minimum thickness—no minimum length. This is good for epublishers and bad for print publishers…and authors.
Well, not all authors. I’m mostly talking about existing print authors and new writers who have been struggling over their hundred thousand word masterpiece for months or even years. Though ebooks are a fast growing segment of the publishing industry, they are not there yet. The day may be coming, but as of yet, there are no million seller ebooks. Therefore epubs have to be careful what they sell. They can easily spend more to prepare and publish a new ebook than they can recoup. A runaway bestselling ebook can exceed ten thousand sales, but that is the exception rather than the rule. I have no information to back this, but I’m guessing for every runaway bestseller that a hundred ebooks never reach two hundred sales.
EBook Publishers are fortunate they don’t have some of the enormous expenses traditional publishers have like printing, shipping and storage, but do have expenses and most epubs are small with less room for error. Therefore the safest position is to publish books they cost less to publish, but sell more and make more money for the investment.
Let me explain. When any publisher, traditional or electronic, takes on a new book, they are gambling that the book will make money. Many do not. Discounting website creation, maintenance and hosting, along with physical overhead, an epub’s largest expense per book is the cover, incidental costs like advertising and bar code numbers and of course editing and proofing. All these costs are the same per book, except editing. The longer the book the more it costs to edit. That’s where the long book comes in.
The cost to a publisher of editing a twenty thousand word book versus a hundred thousand word book is five times as much yet the difference in sales price is only double. To compound the problem long books sell less than short books, in some cases substantially less. Simple economics dictate there is less incentive for authors to write long epic stories and for epubs to publish them.
That’s what’s bad for existing print authors and brand new aspiring authors. They have been and are used to the old standard for publishing when a new dawning of publishing is changing the rules.
On February third my latest book, Naked Research was released.
Rebecca Roth, who authors erotic romance novels, writes from experience. Only her latest book is about something she has never experienced—a ménage à trois.
Seeking to expand her horizons, she visits a popular cocktail lounge and meets Kevin MacCloud, a man’s man and a woman’s Lothario. Sparks fly between them. She wants him desperately and the feeling is mutual, but she needs a second lover.
She studied him over the rim of her glass as she sipped her overpriced vodka martini. Five-eleven, dark brown hair, eye color unknown, dark gray blazer with open collar, black slacks and shiny black shoes. They have to have shiny shoes. She snickered. Unless they’re cowboys.
He stalked toward her with determination, each step straight in front of the last, like an arrow shot from a bow. Another good sign. He carried a bottle of beer. Bad sign, unless he’s a cowboy. Ah, but it’s imported.Heineken, if I’m not mistaken—a good sign.
Sitting in a secluded semicircular booth in chrome-and-mirror dominated Trends, the hottest new lounge in town, she set her martini down and watched him advance. As he drew close, she leaned forward and willed a friendly smile on her better than average face. Blue—his eyes are blue. He’ll do nicely.
Are you sure? It’s not too late to call this crazy gambit off.
The first time is always the hardest.
She held a welcoming hand out. “Hi, I’m Dede Wilson. Did you come to keep little ol’ me company?”
She’d preempted his line, so he seemed clueless as to how to respond. Appearing to gather his thoughts, he looked left, then right, as if to verify she’d addressed him and no one else.
He took her hand, but instead of shaking it, he made a magnificent gesture when he bent down and kissed it. A kiss she felt in her toes. A very good sign.
When he released her hand, he smiled. “Kevin MacCloud.” He hitched his strong cleft chin in the direction of the empty cushion next to her. “May I?”
“Why not?” Showing her overt friendliness, she slid to her right enough for him to sit, making sure to flash her long, stocking-clad legs, confirming what the man behind those cunning eyes probably suspected—she was on the make.
He stood eyeing her legs. As she tugged her blood red skirt to a more respectable position, he slid in until his thigh and hers hugged. As his handsome face revolved toward her, his smile blinded her. Kevin’s wide grin displayed a rack of the whitest, most perfect teeth on the planet Earth. He angled in her direction and rested his right elbow upon the backrest behind her head. “You had me going there.”
Lost in his great looks, minty breath and sexy masculine aroma, her mind initially failed to absorb what he’d said. “What? Oh, yes. I like to see the look on a man’s face when I do that.”
She sipped the last of her martini, and Kevin signaled the passing waitress and Kevin signaled the passing waitress. “Could you bring us another round. I’d like a glass for my beer, too?”
He slipped his arm behind her neck and over her shoulder. “So, do you do that often?”
Her silly, tight-lipped smile matched her answer. “No, you’re the first.”
Confusion materialized over his face, so she quickly added, “But I liked your reaction, so I’ll likely do it again.”
He laughed. A warm, hearty laugh—a good sign.
“Are you always so quirky?”
After the waitress set down their drinks, she studied him while taking a sip of her fresh martini and decided she loved his bedroom blue eyes. Sighing, she wished she had blue eyes like that. Instead, she was cursed with—blah—hazel eyes.
“Not really,” she answered, “but I’m really, really nervous.” The tiny wrinkles branching out from those gorgeous eyes were a sign that Kevin smiled and laughed a lot. Another good sign.
“I make you nervous?”
She decided she liked Kevin MacCloud. The trick was going to be not liking him too much. “A little.” She replied. “You are rather imposing, but it’s not you that’s making me nervous.”
After setting his Heineken down, he rested his hand high on her thigh. “I’ll bite. What’s making you nervous?”
Warmth concentrated in her core, a few inches above his hand. It felt good and she decided she liked that.
Leaning back, she responded by resting her hand on his thigh, but higher. “What I have planned for tonight.”
He squirmed a little, cleared his throat, then raised his chin and, shaking his head with two fingers down his collar, loosened his tie. “May I be so bold as to ask what that might be?”
She smiled enthusiastically. “Very well said. I’ll have to remember that for my hero in a future book.”
He took another drink of his beer and when his hand returned, it had moved up three and a half inches, make that four inches, up her thigh. “You’re a writer?”
She shook her head. “Author. I write romance novels.”
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
One of those was to become more focused--not just in my writing, but also in my daily life. Now, this is not going to be an easy thing for me. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's going to be hard. But I've decided to try.
Here are the ways I plan to re-focus myself and my energy this year:
1) Get into better shape. This probably sounds like an odd way to get focused, but I'm hoping if my body is in better health, my mind will follow. :) So far, I've been eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and I've decided to give up soda (argh!). I've lost 6 pounds. It's not that much, but I feel better already!
2) Keep better track of how much I'm writing, and for what purpose. I've started a writing journal detailing what WIP or blog I work on each day, and how much I wrote. It's shown me what days and times I tend to get the most work done in, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. If I can keep up with this, at the end of the year I'll know how many words I wrote in 2011. I've seen other authors do this, and I bet it helps their motivation level. Can't hurt to try it.
3) Volunteer to write stories for submission calls with my publishers. If I have a deadline, I have even more motivation.
4)Keep a handle on day job related stuff. I'm trying not to let papers pile up for a week without grading them, or put off parent calls. So far, I've done pretty well. Having less job stress helps me focus on my work, and it lets me not think about it so much when I'm at home trying to relax or write.
5) Relax! I'm one of those people who always thinks I'm not doing enough. This year, I'm going to try to give myself a break. I can't do everything perfectly, and that's okay. I'm going to focus on what I can do, and let other people help me on the things I'm not great at.
Has anyone else set goals for the year? And how do you all re-focus when you've gotten off track?
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I’m an author, not a publisher, editor, distributor or reviewer. Like most authors, I didn’t attend last week’s Digital Book World 2011 conference in New York. But thanks to social media I was able to follow much of the conference content as well as observe some telling reactions. The Twitter hashtag #dbw11 got me in the door, for free.
Here are some of the tweets I paid attention to:
@SmartBitches I'm baffled that some of the comments in #dbwreader panel is news.
@SmartBitches "We were shocked to see romance was the best seller." Wow. Way to thwart your credibility there, sir.
@DonLinn I was also shocked at how many 'experts' were surprised that Romance was a leading category among digital readers. Is this news?
@SmartBitches Publishers not willing to underwrite costs of social media. Pubs are ok with losing money in old ways, not new ways.
@glecharles Marketing direct to readers is NOT a "new skill set." It's only new to traditional book publishers.
@smartbitches Authors should target niche communities related to book subject when devising plans for social media.
@smartbitches How is an author not an entrepreneur? I’m confused by the idea that an author would not be.
@TheBookseller the traditional books store is imploding, social media is exploding but indies have a chance.
What do I take from this? Here are a few thoughts: The powerhouses at the conference – especially NY publishing houses and distributors – are woefully uninformed about digital books, digital media and social networking. And that could be a good thing for the rest of us.
In this digital age, authors are entrepreneurs, not just content providers. The combination of social networking media and digital book publication gives even the most niche-oriented author direct access to a focused audience, without the need for most of the middlemen who participated in dbw11.
As Bob Mayer points out in his blog, publishers are more focused on selling to retailers than on developing relationships with readers. Part of Mayer’s response to changes in the publishing world has been to start his own independent digital press – this, from a NYT best seller in the traditional print world.
The publishing world of the future will belong to entrepreneurs who can keep up with the rapid changes and take advantage of the exploding social networking media to develop direct relationships with readers in the niche for whom they write. That future started yesterday.