Opinions are like noses … everyone’s got one..and they all smell!
Okay, so that’s not exactly how that saying goes, but I thought I’d clean it up for my public. Anyway, the point is, no matter where you turn in the writing world, someone has some tidbit to help you on your way. Unfortunately, much of the time it conflicts with the last great bit of advice someone gave you. And if you’ve been doing this writing gig for any amount of time you know of what I speak!
It starts with the first critique of your writing whether it’s a friend or a contest. Heroine’s wishy-washy. Heroine’s overpowering. Too much description. Too much dialogue. Too much internal angst. Not enough deep POV. You just can’t make everyone happy.
And there it is and it bears repeating. You. Can. NOT. Please. Everyone!
All of us have different things that pull us in and throw us out of stories. What works for me may be a can’t-possibly-finish-wall-banging trope for you. Ask anyone who writes erotic romance and they’ll tell you they hear as many “I don’t like when X” as “there’s never enough X”. It’s because readers bring their own personal experience to the table when they open your book. What they love, what they hate, and what makes a book go on their keeper shelf are dependent on so many factors that the author can’t control.
But why am I even mentioning this? Because I’m analyzing and re-evaluating my self-published books. As I get ready to put up the last of the Tilling Passions Series I’m trying to figure out how to increase the sales. I’ve been pretty open about the dismal showing they’ve had. While others are talking about paying college tuitions and buying new cars I’m barely making enough to take my family out to dinner … at McDonald’s … dessert not included. And please don’t tell me one more time this is a marathon and not sprint. I have the patience of a kid on Christmas morning. I’d like to see results. NOW, thank you very much. Maybe not pay-the-mortgage-vacation-in-Europe kind of money, but something that is worth the gas to cash the check kind of money.
Okay, that being said. I’ve rewritten all three books from their original published manuscripts. (Well, I’m finishing the third.) Gave them new titles and spiffy new covers. Had every person I know enlist their family and “tag” and “like” them. Wrote new blurbs and put them up on Amazon/Barnes & Nobel/Smashwords and soon All Romance Ebooks. But they sit buried in the noise of thousands of releases making tiny little Horton Hears a Who quiet cries, trying to get noticed. Unfortunately, it seems there are no elephants to pluck my books from obscurity.
So now, I’m giving something new a try. In this world where people have no more than 30 seconds to check something out before they have to answer email, chat on the phone, move another load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, tweet, go pick up a kid at practice, finish making dinner or update their Facebook status there isn’t a lot of time to be reading through book descriptions on Amazon. I’ve honed the craft of writing back cover blurbs that cover a full story in 180 words or less. Intrigue. Romance. Lust. The story that took a whole book to unfold, boiled down into a few short sentences that grab the reader. Remember the days standing in the bookstore or library and reading the back cover? There was plenty of time to get a feel for what might lie between the covers. Well, it seems those days are gone.
So I’m trying something new. Quick, short blurbs in my book descriptions. A few sentences that hopefully will hook a reader before they surf to another page.
BLIND HER WITH BLISS:
She’s trying to find herself. He’s attempting to hide. Together they’ll discover a truth that threatens them both…
Investigating the death of her best friend, uptight accountant, JULIE TILLING, discovers an erotic world of adult nightclubs and Internet intrigue. When shock jock DAMON COREY rocks her world in a wild night of lust, she wonders if she’s found love…or the key to solving a murder.
DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE:
A woman determined to protect her heart. An agent hell bent on proving himself. One night that changes their lives…
DEIRDRE TILLING had no way of knowing that attending her friend’s party would throw her into a dangerous world of corrupt businessmen and police stings. Of course her sexual romp with undercover DEA agent, AYDEN SCOTT only pushes her deeper into the drug smuggling ring running up the Maine coast. As the heat rises between Deirdre and Ayden, one thing becomes painfully obvious…their relationship has jeopardized his mission and now someone wants them both dead.
There you have them. I don’t know if they’ll work. But the theory of grab ’em quick seems to make sense. I’ll let you know if it works. What do you think? You can check out the original blurbs HERE and HERE. I haven’t changed them at B&N.
Wow! Thank you to ROSALIE LARIO and CLAUDIA CELESTIAL GIRL, regular visitors to The Block, who both honored me with this blogging award. *blushes* Awww … thanks ladies.
I started blogging when I signed my first contract. It just seemed like I had so much to say and just needed a place to get it all out. The fact that people take time and stop over to read my ramblings is pretty humbling. But it’s fun to chat with all of you.
Now, as I understand I need to share seven things about myself. Okay …
1. I LOVE Christmas and my cellar is filled with decorations which explode inside and out turning my house into a Christmas wonderland (except this year because it’s all packed. 🙁 )
2. I started dating Mr. Nina when I was 14 … a lifetime ago.
3. I used to be a teacher which satisfied the actress in me that needed an outlet. *vbg*
4. I’ve actually been in a cadaver lab in college and thought it was pretty cool.
5. I love wine. No, not just have a glass now and again … nothing makes me happier than finding the right wine to go with a meal.
6. I grew up in the country and my siblings and the neighborhood kids used to take our runner sleds out to woods at and sled down this HUGE hill into a field. Yep, we did this as teenagers. It was a blast!
7. I actually went to school for a year to be computer programmer, but I’m about as technically challenged as it comes. Yeeeah, teaching was a much better choice for me.
And now I need to pass this on to other bloggers that I enjoy. It seems many of the blogs I enjoy reading have already been bestowed this honor, but I did want to pass it on to a few of my favorites.
I hope you’ll take some time and visit these wonderful blogs and give them a shout out.
And my lastest news? I got the cover for my newest novella coming soon from Ellora’s Cave, Maid for Master Druuuuuummmm roll please …
And here’s the BLURB:
Treat herself to a carnal weekend at the hedonistic retreat, XTC Resorts? That’s not something Claire Calderwood, a three-time loser in the relationship department would ordinarily do. But at forty-one, having a successful cleaning business is no longer enough. She wants a chance to let go of all responsibility, submit to a stranger’s sexual demands and satisfy her darkest fantasies.
Jonathon Brierton has known his best friend’s sister long enough to recognize her submissive nature. He would like nothing more than to have Claire bound naked and at the mercy of his flogger as he teaches her the sensual art of obeying her Master. At thirty-something, he’s a successful real estate developer, owner of a BDSM resort—and hopelessly in love with the older woman.
When Claire follows him to his resort, Jonathon is certain he can keep his identity secret long enough to convince her that being restrained in his stocks is something that will satisfy them both. But lies, deceit and broken hearts may not be so easy to overcome.
I don’t have a release date yet, but I’ll keep you posted!
Two years ago my first book was published. Mind you, it wasn’t the first book I wrote, but the one a publisher thought worthy to send out into the world. “Healer’s Garden” is one of those books that has been with me for a very long time.
Brenimyn is the hero of my dreams. No, he’s not perfect, but he certainly wraps his heart around Jahara’s and works very hard to get her to fall in love with him. *sigh* I don’t tell my other guys, but I think he’s my favorite hero of all my books.
“Healer’s Garden” received wonderful reviews when it was released and has gone through a complete rewrite which only improved, tightened and certainly spiced up the story! Here’s the new cover from Ellora’s Cave designed by the most awesome Seneca!
Isn’t it beautiful??
I just finished edits and got the wonderful news that this book will be released by Ellora’s Cave on JANUARY 13!!
Here’s the blurb:
In the female dominated society of the twenty-third century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided-until now.
Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Forced to copulate with all females requesting his services, he yearns to find the one woman who responds to his touch. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her, but convincing the stubborn healer that sex between a man and a woman is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.
Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his-body, mind, and heart. But when the government finds their loving relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.
Now I guess it’s off to update the book trailer and find some excerpts to share!
Oh, and Happy 2010 one and all. May it bring you enough tears to appreciate the good times, enough sadness to appreciate the joy, many hugs to wrap your life in warmth and love abundant to fill your heart to overflowing.
I’d like to say it was easy writing my latest story. I’d like to say the words just flowed onto the page. I’d like to say there was no frustration, or throwing of pens, or late nights…
But that ain’t the case! LOL!
I worked and pushed and forced myself to put sentences together to fill the pages. My characters seemed to take great pleasure keeping their stories hidden from me. I didn’t know who they were or why they needed me to tell their story. Like a personal trainer, I pressed them and kept at them until finally they relented and told me about all their pain and hopes.
Three quarters of the way through, the villain let loose on a rampage that revealed all. Like he had to wait that long? Because that meant I needed to go back and explain it all to the other characters in the beginning chapters. LOTS of rewriting.
But let me tell you … it was worth it!
From all this work, came my latest book, Shadows of Fire. I submitted it to Liquid Silver Books for their fireman series that will be coming out in 2009.
Fortunately, they also liked my novella and offered me a contract! Yay Me! I’m still dancing!
Here’s the blurb:
Sometimes the answer you seek is right in front of you …
ALEXANDRA FLANAGAN didn’t ask to be forced from her human existence as a chemistry student at the South Kenton University in the northern mountains of California into the ungodly world of vampires. But thirty years ago, after nearly dying from a vicious vampire attack, that’s exactly what happened. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals–facing a hollow existence she never chose.
REESE COLTON has been a vampire for centuries. A man of honor, he is part of an elite military operation known as RISEN that seeks out and eliminates rogue vampires who choose to break the unwritten codes of the immortals and not live complacently among the human population. Under cover as a firefighter at the South Kenton fire department, he and his team have been called in to investigate the unusual number of fires that have ended the lives of several humans–and vampires.
When chemistry ignites passion, Reese and Alex find themselves embroiled in an affair that catches them both unaware. With the number of fires escalating and Alex’s behavior increasingly suspect, Reese isn’t sure whether to follow his heart or the clues. Will Reese find the answers to Alex’s secrets in the Shadows of Fire?
Now, we just have to wait until next year for these bad-boy firefighting vampires to be released into the world!
The last novella in the Tilling Passions series, ARRANGING LOVE, is out today! June 30th. Yippee!
And don’t be jealous, but the first copy, hot off the press goes to Mima Dixon who has a part (or two) in this story!
Here’s the back cover blurb:
He never believed love was unconditional. She never expected the ties that bind would be found at the end of a flogger …
ARRANGING LOVE, the final novella in the Tilling Passions series, finds florist, MEGHAN TILLING, questioning the true impetus for her fiancé’s frequent business seminars and sudden interest in bondage. Could her sisters be right in claiming Peter’s out-of-town trips have more to do with clandestine meetings rather than work commitments? Should Meghan let go of decorum and allow herself the pleasures of deviant sex?
PETER MADDOCK loves his fiancée, but when an online Dominatrix awakens the darker side of his sexual fantasies, he can’t help but seek her out at a private BDSM party. When several accidents threaten Meghan’s life, Peter fears he’s opened their lives to a stalker. Will he be able to protect his fiancée without revealing secrets that may threaten everything and everyone he’s come to love?
Can Peter and Meghan explore their innermost desires and discover the answers to her father’s illness … all without losing their lives?
~*~*~ And an EXCERPT from Chapter One:~*~*~
Meghan Tilling blew out a puff of frustration, sending wisps of chestnut curls out of her face. Straightening, she pressed fists into her lower back, working out the tension hours of floral arranging had knit into her muscles.
Usually, she loved the holiday season: long hours filling orders and delivering flower arrangements to smiling customers, the bustle of shoppers in the stores, the smell of balsam and cinnamon wafting about the floral shop of Tilling Gardens and Plants that she co-owned with her sisters, and the joy of being with her family. Normally all of the busy-ness combined to make her warm with nostalgia and giddy with anticipation, but not this year.
She couldn’t enjoy any of it. Not with her father so sick and Peter’s promotion. It all just sucked.
Her misery had worked itself into a throb that pounded in her temples with the rhythm of the hard-rock music blaring from the radio at the end of the workbench. And though it sent spasms of dull pain shooting behind her eyes, Meghan couldn’t bring herself to shut it off. Without it, silence would surround her like an unwelcome chill, opening her heart to the loneliness, and she’d find it impossible to go home to an empty house–again.
She stared at her reflection in the dark window over the bench. Despair stared back at her.
Even though she couldn’t see outside, Meghan knew the snow still fell. The Thanksgiving blizzard that began last week heralded the beginning of a very long winter. Well, officially November still counted as fall, but not here in Maine. In her hometown of Delmont, winter began with the first gentle snow flakes and ended when the last snow bank finally turned to mud–usually around Easter.
This year, winter had arrived with a vengeance, pummeling New England with back-to-back storms that had knocked out power and clogged all public transportation, including the plane carrying Peter Maddock, her fiancé, home from the engineering conference in Philadelphia.
Meghan chided herself for not closing the shop early and heading home to the warmth of a fire. The floral arrangements for the Anderton wedding could wait. There would be plenty of time to finish them tomorrow for delivery on Saturday morning. But the thought of a white-knuckled drive and an empty bed just depressed her more, and she decided to stay and finish the rest; twenty centerpieces for the reception, eighteen pew markers, seven wrist corsages and fourteen boutonnières for the family. The bouquets were already complete.
Yay! I’m so excited! The second book in the Tilling Passions series is coming TODAY!
DEA agent, AYDEN SCOTT, is determined to bring down the drug cartel smuggling heroin into central Maine. Undercover as Austin Shaeffer, Ayden is working as lead investigator for the first time since the debacle in Miami that killed his younger brother. He will use any means necessary to extract information, including seducing the feisty red head, DEIRDRE TILLING, who is employed by the suspected drug baron. But can he become embroiled in a sexual liaison while keeping his men safe and his identity secret?
Landscaping in the rural Maine town of Delmont hasn’t always been DEIRDRE TILLING’S only passion. Up until two months ago, it included her lover, Brianna. A bisexual, Deirdre has cultivated romances with both sexes, only to find hurt and disappointment her only bounty. Now, she’d like to give up on love. But with everyone in her family in a committed relationship, will Deirdre be able to find satisfaction in the sexual release offered in one-night stands or will she continue to seek out the emotional stability only a monogamous relationship can offer?
Love’s Bounty unravels the mystery of the torrid relationship between a cop bent on proving himself and a woman struggling with her sexuality and the subsequent discovery of drug running up the Maine coast.
Please enjoy this EXCERPT:
Cautious, and working to keep his jangled nerves from pumping his legs in a dead run, Ayden strolled to the shelter of the dinghy. The noise grew louder. Ayden realized he wasn’t moving away from the sound; he was aimed toward it. What a fool. It was a beautiful fall night. Lovers were using the upended craft for a little sex party of their own.
Turning on his heel, he started to walk away, and the noise came again. It wasn’t the moan of sexual pleasure. It was the keening sound of sadness. Someone was crying. And from the quiet hiccuping, it was female. Christ, he didn’t need this right now.
He pushed at the hair blowing in his eyes. Swiveling his head, he debated between the refuge of the path and the complications in the boat. Chivalry won out. He stepped warily around the bow.
The redhead sat on the wooden slats, her bare feet digging restlessly in the sand, her face cupped in her hands. Between shuddering breaths, she sputtered angrily into her bent knees, but her tears and her fingers kept the words from him.
“Uh-hmm.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how else to get her attention.
“Holy shit–” She tried to jump to her feet, but banged her head on the iron rigging attached to the upside of the boat. She fell down hard. “Crap.” Her hand flew to her head.
“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.
She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the anguish in her eyes.
“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She wiped at the sand on her bottom. “You scared the living shit right out of me.”
Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn into fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.
“Again, I apologize.” He held out his hand to her. “Austin Shaeffer.” How easily that name slipped off his tongue.
“Deirdre Tilling,” she said as she slipped her hand into his.
Her grip was surprisingly firm. Ayden liked the touch of her palm against his skin. Not all soft and pliant, but callused and rough. He wondered how it would feel running up his back. His body came to full attention with those thoughts.
She was a beautiful woman. Her breasts swelled enticingly just above the bodice of her dress. Her long, muscular legs that he’d admired in the great room, started somewhere around her neck. No wonder Jameson had been seducing this lovely creature.
Jameson. Right. He mentally shook his head. Focus, Ayden. Tonight was about gathering information, not sexual conquests. But then again, there was that two birds and one stone thing.
“You come to Jameson’s parties often?” His voice sounded more at ease than he felt.
She pulled her hand from his and rubbed at the spot on her head. “What? Jameson? Oh, Shawn. No, never been to one of his parties. I’m one of his employees. Damn, this hurts. It’s already forming an egg.”
Ayden ignored the fact she’d called him Shawn. He urged his cock to relax. Obviously, he wasn’t getting any action from an employee who referred to her boss by his first name.
“Here, let me take a look at it.” He ran his fingers through her hair. It was soft as silk sliding over his hand. How good would that feel on his belly and thighs? His balls pulled up tight to his body. “Oh, yeah. You did a nice job. Probably could use a little ice.” At this rate, so could he, but not on the head on his shoulders.
“I did a nice job? Me? You were the one sneaking up like some pirate looking for a lost treasure.”
She had no idea how close to the truth she was.
I luurrv this couple. They are so broken … each in their own way. But in their brokenness they find one another. But it’s those same flaws that nearly tear them apart.
In a romance, I enjoy reading about strong men with vulnerabilities, especially when the heroine is the one to expose them. I just sigh and fall in love with them even as they fall in love with each other.
What kind of relationships do you like reading about?
Anyone who comments here on my blog between now and 8 pm EDT on Tuesday, May 20 will be thrown into a hat. I will draw a random name and they will receive a free download of the first book in the Tilling Passions series, Blind Love.
So I’m snoopy dancing all over the house, waiting for 7 pm EDT tonight, when Love’s Bounty will be available.
Click HERE to buy your copy!
I’m very excited about my erotic series, Tilling Passions, contracted with Liquid Silver Books.
Here’s the blurb:
Three sisters. Three hot love stories. One family crisis.Julie, Deirdre, and Meghan Tilling are all lusting for love. Each one has a unique story to tell in this three novella erotic suspense series, Tilling Passions. Will their quests for happiness bring answers about their father’s mysterious illness or will they all loose their hearts and the one man they admire most in the world?
In Blind Love oldest sister and uptight CPA, Julie, is trying to break the stronghold her family has on her while solving the mysterious death of her best friend from high school. Her search for answers finds her flirting on the fringes of internet pornography. When she meets Demon Jones (aka Damon Corey), the infamous shock jock, he opens a new world of sexual pleasure and ignites a flame of passion within her. But will their personal secrets unravel the tenuous threads of their relationship? Can Damon expose his inner soul without pushing Julie away or will his enigmatic Demon Jones persona become Julie’s sexual undoing and reveal him as the missing piece that solves the puzzling questions surrounding her friend’s death?
In Love’s Bounty, youngest sister and landscaper Deirdre, unknowingly has a one-night fling with an undercover DEA agent and finds herself entangled in a sting operation. When the DEA comes to believe Deirdre is working for the drug czar, will they discover their error in time to save her? Love’s Bounty unravels the mystery of the torrid relationship between a cop bent on proving himself and a woman struggling with her sexuality and the subsequent discovery of drug running up the
Loving Arrangements finds middle sister and florist, Meghan, questioning her fiancé’s commitment to their engagement. Peter’s odd behavior and sudden interest in BDSM has Meghan digging for deeper motives. Is her sister right in assuming his out-of-town trips have more to do with extra-curricular activities rather than work commitments? When Meghan’s cat is found dead and several accidents threaten her life, could the strange woman claiming to be a classmate of her fiancé’s have something more sinister in mind than reconnecting with Peter?
The book trailer is below. It took me forever to figure out how to load it on to this blog! LOL! Hope you enjoy it.
Hope you enjoy it.