Friday, March 30, 2012

Beep Beep! Where's the Traffic?

Where's all the traffic?

When I look around at other author blogs, it strikes me that a lot of them offer guest spots. They do interviews with other authors and have contests. But is this what draws readers to their blogs?

I'm curious. I get a decent number of views every day. Nothing massive at all, but people who will stop by and view, if not comment. But what kinds of things attract blog viewers?

Content? Freebies? Controversy?

I'm curious. I jumped into blogging when blogging was on a downswing, and I wonder if it's still there. Twitter and Facebook are all the rage. Social media that's finite and quick seems to work much better, and it spreads like weeds.

Would any of you like see guest authors on this blog? Contests? Interviews?

On a few blogs, authors interview their own characters. I've never much been a fan of that, because if I don't know the author or book, I couldn't care less about that character. Or is that just me?

Anyway, if you have an opinion, feel free to share it here or email me at marie_harte AT yahoo DOT com (insert the @ and . where appropriate.)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Handle the Bad Book? You tell me.

Man, I was so this lady last week. Put a Kindle in place of the laptop and you have me, not finishing two friggin' books!

I like shifters. I like menage stories. Hell, I like m/m stories. Yet both of these shifter stories by well known authors annoyed the piss out of me. (And no, I'm so not talking about Shelly Laurenston's new Bear Meets Girl, which I read through the way dark hours when I should have been sleeping. Damn that woman for writing such killer good books! And damn her again for having such long lag times between releases!)

Ahem. Anyway, my peeve with the other books I read. How to begin? First, I'd love to mention them but don't want to offend the authors. Nor do I want to post negative reviews of books others apparently love. Both of these books have been bestsellers. But honestly, I couldn't make it through either one.

Let's take the menage. Three shifters, two men, one woman. I don't think there's any m/m play in the book, but I couldn't read far enough into it even for the sex. Man. I don't think I've read such an immature heroine in a good long while. She literally beats on her lovers-to-be. Physical fighting to hide emotion? Very fourth grade. And the giggles and dialogue just weren't what I'd expected from this author I've heard so much about. It killed me because I wanted so badly to like the book. But even the heroes came across as weak. They both want her. Why? Nature, I guess. They will fight to have her. They must fight to have her. Then between one blink and a heartbeat, decide to share her. What the hell? Like a side of beef. Meh.

And then the other shifter book. The author has a huge following. I've read another of her stories and really liked it. Read a follow-on I didn't much care for. But this one had a great cover, seemed intriguing, and well, fell flat. Again, more unrealistic dialogue. One hero doesn't much care how the other hero (yes, a m/m romance) makes fun of him, time and time again. Just lust, all over the place, while the sexy but mean hero constantly feels lust and love (???) for the other, but I have no idea why. They never connect. Lots of spooning and talk about sex, but no sex, and then bam, mean guy just loves other guy he's spent the better part of the portions I read annoyed by him. And all the giggling. Really? Do grown men giggle? Do they say "golly" and "eep" and "wowzers"? ARGH. I wanted to pull my hair out.

I just can't get these books out of my head. I was angry after reading--trying to read--these. I wanted badly to like them. They looked terrific. They got great reviews. Yet I couldn't finish either one. Maybe I need some time to wait and go back later and try again. It hurts to spend money for a book and not like it, especially when you want badly to add another author to your auto-buy list.

And there it is! Suddenly I'm that reader who jeers. Granted, I didn't write a nasty or mean-spirited review here. But I get why some reviewers are mean. No, I don't think it's right, but I understand it. As an author, I appreciate the time and effort those other authors put into writing their books. Obviously other readers liked them, because they appear to be selling quite well. But I felt almost betrayed that my expectations weren't met. So how did I get over that?

Time and other books.

It was difficult, because I was REALLY jonesing for new romances to read, and I thought to give these somewhat new-to-me authors a try, but when they didn't work, I went back to some tried and true stuff. Some older shifter romances by authors I like. Another read-through of one of my newer works, which isn't due to be released until later this year. A glance at a JAK and a Christine Feehan. Those made me smile and put a better taste in my mouth, while also reminding me how much writing is subjective.

I honestly couldn't tell you why other readers liked the stories I couldn't finish. But then, I can't tell you why some folks don't like my work either, when if you ask me, they're the best things since sliced bread. :) Who the hell knows? But at least I persevered, and I am back in my happy place reading great books again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Midnight Confession

Gee, that's a sexy title. But this post is anything but, sorry to say.

I really, really need this guy (to the right) breathing down my neck. I've set some deadlines for myself that lately I've been pushing aside. Sure, I can blame family distractions, but the truth is I can get a lot done when I put my mind to it, and I fear I've fallen off the wagon. I'm like that addict that can't stop feeding her addiction. In my case, not working at optimal speed.

Good news is I don't owe any of my publishers anything. My edits, line edits and post edits are done. Whew. I have some more editing for some self projects to do, but I'm not yet behind on that. My writing, however, is going slowly. I have two projects I really need to get hot on. So here I am, blogging to complain about it instead of typing. Yeah, I'm good like that. And crap on toast, but I've had a full pot of coffee sitting on the burner for over an hour and just realized that now. Damn. Gotta go. Type to drink and type. And maybe get a few hours sleep before the kiddos wake up for day two of spring break. Woo. Hoo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

At Samhain Today

I'm at Samhain today. Check it out and tell me about what YOU like to re-read. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bookmarks--Nice, eh?

Well, I was going to complain about a couple of books I read--tried to read--the past two nights. I couldn't finish either one and was quite annoyed about it. But hey, it's Friday, so I'll save my ranting for next week.

Instead, check out my new bookmarks coming soon. I'm going to a writer's conference in Arizona next month so need some swag to take with me. In my opinion, as a reader, I can never have too many bookmarks. I can never find one when I need it. So anyway, I designed these, but Earthly Charms is printing them out for me. (They do great work, by the way. They designed the last set of bookmarks I ordered.) Nice, eh?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just Because It's Thursday

This is one of my favorite videos. Note how Elmo takes a song and makes it even groovier... Smile. One more day until the weekend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's a Magic Tuesday

I'm over at Here Be Magic today talking about shapeshifters. Come on over.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Endings are Beginnings

It's such a cliche kind of thing to think about, but every time a door closes, another opens. Or maybe it's a window. A doggie door? I don't know.

Everything ends. That's the nature of things. Nothing lasts forever, except taxes, maybe. :) So we're constantly in flux, trying to adapt to the new changes in our lives. The strong flourish, the weak grow stagnant and try to cling to the old, never developing themselves.

I write books for a living. There's a beginning, a middle and an ending to every story. And once one story is finished, a new one may begin. Why then do we cling to the familiar, when the next change over the horizon can only bring growth?

I'm as guilty as the next person of wanting things to remain the same. Yet I'm also eager to experience new ideas, explorations, and different circumstances than what I'm used to. Some can be good, some bad, but to not change is the worst of all. Artists, businesses, technology--you name it--that change, thrive. And the ones that cling to tradition without a thought of at least melding somewhat with the new times normally end.

Which, actually, might be a good thing, because then there's a new beginning. My "deep" thoughts for a Monday morning, pre-coffee, mind you. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm Feeling Squiddy

I'd like to be thankful it's Friday, but today feels just like yesterday to me, and just like tomorrow and Sunday will feel. My kids had off from school yesterday and today. I get a week next week to work, then they have off for spring break. sigh. I love my children. The little monsters light up my life, but they also require care and keeping, and that makes writing difficult. Especially because they can both read, and I really don't want them looking over my shoulder while I write romance for adults.

I often watch SpongeBob Squarepants with my kids, because it's one of the cartoons I genuinely laugh at. My favorite character is Squidward. He's so pissy about everything. How can I not love him?

Lately I've been feeling squiddy (see picture left), because I don't feel as if I'm writing as much as I should. Circumstances beyond my control have distracted me of late, and instead of buckling down and working harder when I do have the time, I'm screwing off watching TV and telling myself I need the break. I mean, I do need the break, but I need to be working more.

Problem is, when I get on a roll, I end up writing at night...and can't function in the morning. It's a trade-off, but hey, if I need to get things done, I guess that's what I need to do. So I should stop moaning about not working and just have the best day ever. And if you know Spongebob, you know that's a reference to a catchy little tune the sponge sings during an episode where he once again annoys my favorite guy. Time to get spongy, I guess.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stats and Thanks

Thanks to everyone who snagged a copy of Outfoxed. The book is out of the starting gate and doing very well at Amazon and Barnes & Noble--which is a shocker. I've never seen any of my books do particularly well at B&N, and Outfoxed is currently ranked at #408! It might not mean much, but my previous best seller there was a number somewhere over 10,000. Outfoxed is also a top seller at Amazon in their futuristic/fantasy/ghost category. Not sure what happened to the plain old "Paranormal" label, but I'm happy to see the book doing well. I love the story, but I'm biased. It's nice to see others liking it too. :)

Let's face it. Stats are nice, but they aren't a true gauge as to what sells. And just as quickly as my book can shoot up the ranks, it can shoot straight down. My last m/m story, Fortune's Favor, was a top gay/lesbian romance for all of three or four days. But hey, it was there for a time, and that made me happy to see. Too often I've equated success with being a top seller. But here's a small secret--top sellers don't always sell the best. Makes little sense, right? Consider the source of sales. A top seller at a publishing house might look nice but make peanuts, because the bulk of sales actually comes from a third party distributor.

In any case, as much as I'm happy about sales, it's more about knowing readers are pleased with the story. If I could take you away from work, dishes, groaning kids, or a crappy day for the time it took you to read Outfoxed, then I've succeeded. So I have to say thanks to all you readers for giving me a feel good moment. I appreciate you, because without you, I'm just writing for myself. And I'm a pain in the ass to write for. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another New Release: OUTFOXED

Back to back releases in March. Wow! Today, OUTFOXED releases from Samhain. It's part of my Cougar Falls series about shapeshifters living and laughing it up in Montana. Enjoy!


Grady Chastell, Shifter extraordinaire, wants a cat to mate. Not just any cat, but the delectable Gabby Easton, new to the pride. She's sexy, kind, and can shift into two animal spirits. There's just one problem. Gabby won't take him seriously.

He's at his wit's end trying to convince her to date him when more problems arrive in the form of a rival cat, his sisters, and the danger following them. Insert troublesome family, pranks gone wrong, and one whopper of a lie, and Grady finally has Gabby where he wants her, a heartbeat from being his forever. Until the truth comes out, hidden enemies surface, and Gabby, the love of his life, goes missing.

It will take cunning, the help of the pride, and a good bit of trickery to convince his woman to forgive and forget. And more, to love him--the cat born to be hers.

Click here to read more


A cat, a demon, and a bear. Oh my.

Jericho Dark Walker is a Bear, a creature born to assume the form of man or animal. He’s second in command to the mixed group of shifters living in the Great Forest. For years it’s been his dream to see his clan reintroduced to the land of their ancestors. But now that he’s back he finds himself restless, unable to find joy in even the simplest back scratch or hive of honey. The female shifters offer little challenge to the Great Clan’s beta, and with everyone getting along, there’s nothing more strenuous to do than break up the rare fight.

When an opportunity arrives to represent the clan to oust an evil plaguing the outer edge of the Great Forest, he gratefully volunteers to work with the athmae-demons. The alpha’s brother has mated with an incubus, so Jericho thinks he knows what to expect. But athmae assigned to work with him is a male demon as large as Jericho, and just as deadly. No sex demon, but a hunter with the instincts of a true predator. So why is Jericho so taken with the male when he has only ever felt desire for a female?

And why, when they rescue an annoying, sexy cat shifter from certain death, do his instincts scream to claim both the feline and the demon as his own? Bears don’t mate outside their species, yet everything inside Jericho pushes him to do just that.

A cat, a demon, and a bear. Oh my.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of dubious consent, bondage, m/m intimacy, and m/m/f loving.

Now available from Total E-Bound
To read more, click here

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Changeling Friday with Ayla Ruse

It's the end of the week, and I wanted to share a story a friend of mine recently released with Changeling Press. I love Changeling stories because they're sexy, short, and priced right. What's not to love?

Ayla Ruse has written a few stories for Changeling already, her Malathix Souls series in particular is terrific. But this is a brand new book about doppelgangers, which immediately caught my interest. And... oh hell. Why don't I just let you read for yourselves?

Will stepping over that line mean never going back?

Rosa Matthews is a journalist who can sense the good and bad in people. It's helped in her job until recently when her ability backfired, causing another's ruin. Her doubts lead her to test her abilities by pursuing a man who might give her answers.

Dominic Zane is a grudgingly self-declared bachelor. His constant companion, Gunner, tends to drive the good-wife-material women away. What people don't realize, however, is that Gunner is his Doppelganger -- a twin who doesn't always have Dominic's best interests at heart. When Dominic wants Rosa for himself, he and Gunner come to odds.

To build a relationship requires trust and sacrifice. Are Rosa, Dominic and Gunner willing to make themselves vulnerable in order to have a relationship, or will taking that extra step tear them apart?


When they walked outside, Rosa didn’t want the evening to end. She’d never been brazen enough to invite a man back to her place, but she wasn’t ready to let the secure feeling with Dominic pass.

“What are your plans for the evening?” she asked as they left the restaurant.

Dominic turned and gazed down the street. “I, ah, have to get a few contracts finished back at the office.”

“Could you finish them tomorrow?”

He rubbed the back of his neck. He was hedging, and she was afraid it was because of her talk about the Sensing. “Look, Dominic. I’ve had a rough day, but I’ve had a great time with you this evening. I’m not ready for it to end. Come home with me.”

To emphasize her point, Rosa stood on tiptoe, pulled down Dominic’s head and kissed him. He gathered her close and kissed her back.

“I don’t know, Rosa. Since we’re being so honest here, if I go back to your place, I’m going to want to have sex with you.”

His gaze, his hands at her waist and his thumbs rubbing little circles on the edge of her ribs told her exactly what she wanted to know. He wasn’t trying to back out because of her abilities. Good. “That’s what I’m counting on.”

He shook his head.

What? Oh, no, he wouldn’t do this to her.

“What’s your problem, Dominic?” she bit out, slapping his chest as she pulled out of his arms “First you and your brother have your way with me, then you don’t get in touch with me for days --”

“You didn’t act like you wanted me to get in touch,” he pointed out.

She ignored him. “You show up tonight, make me feel better than I’ve felt in ages, then turn down a night in my bed. What’s wrong?”

“You want the truth? Yes, I’d love nothing more than to go home with you. But I wouldn’t be able to go there alone.”

When she stared, puzzled, he spoke again. “If I go to your place, Gunner has to be there, too.”


He nodded.

Rosa stepped back and considered his comment. Hard. She wanted Dominic, but could she accept having Gunner there as well?

She threw up her hands.

“I don’t know why he has to come. I’m not sure I want an explanation, either.” She held up a hand when he opened his mouth to speak. “One thing at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I liked being with Gunner, but if I asked for only you to come and we won’t have sex, would you?”

Dominic smiled and shook his head. “Not happening, Rosa. Too risky.”

She sighed to sound put out, but she was thrilled at the forced conditions and thought it’d be crass to be too excited. “Okay, if Gunner is up to being with me again, two sets of arms to hold me tonight is better than none.”

She registered the shock on his face before he broke into a smile. “Give me your address. We’ll meet you there.”

To read more about Good Gone Bad, click here. To read more about Ayla, go to her website or check out her Facebook page.

Happy Friday!