Friday, November 30, 2012

3 More Days

3 more days to enter the Tip of the Spear giveaway at Cocktails and Books. Just enter under the Giveaway banner for a chance to win. :)  Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Self Publishing--And THIS Is Why You Need to Beware...

This is a reposting of information I think vital to those thinking of self-publishing who know little to nothing about the market. PLEASE take the time to read this. It could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. I advise anyone wanting to get published, independently or through a traditional or small print house, to research before jumping in with both feet. Ask around!!

Taken from my daily feed of The Passive Voice
From David Gaughran:
Simon & Schuster has launched a self-publishing operation, Archway Publishing, contracting one of the most disreputable players in the business to run the show: Author Solutions.
. . . .
But what if you need proper editing? Fear not! Simon & Schuster is here to help. For just $0.035 a word, you can have a thorough edit of your book. Which sounds cheap until you realize that a standard 80,000 word novel would cost you $2,800. So, in actual fact, the cheapest package, plus their edit, will set you back $4,799 for a standard length book.
As if that wasn’t enough, Simon & Schuster will also take half of your e-book royalties – after Amazon and the other retailers take their cut – and pay pennies for print sales.
. . . .
Author Solutions is the umbrella for (and owner of) several seriously shady self-publishing service companies (or vanity presses, if you prefer) – such as Author House, Xlibris, iUniverse, and Trafford.
Each of these companies has managed to achieve disreputable status on their own, but together they have screwed over more than 150,000 writers. Going through the full history of their rip-off schemes would require a book, rather than a blog post, so I’ll stick to the highlights.
The formidable Emily Suess has been covering Author Solutions for some time:
The short list of recurring issues includes: making formerly out-of-print works available for sale without the author’s consent, improperly reporting royalty information, non-payment of royalties, breach of contract, predatory and harassing sales calls, excessive markups on review and advertising services, failure to deliver marketing services as promised, telling customers their add-ons will only cost hundreds of dollars and then charging their credit cards thousands of dollars, ignoring customer complaints, shaming and banning customers who go public with their stories . . .
. . . .
At the time of the purchase, some commentators expressed hope that Penguin would clean up this cesspool. Instead, Penguin gave Kevin Weiss – the head of Author Solutions – a seat on the board.
A seat on the board!
And the scammy behavior hasn’t stopped; in fact, some of it is getting worse. I’ve received reports of Author Solutions staff calling prospective customers and asking if they want to be “published by Penguin.” Yes, they went there.
. . . .
Before you say that any writer who gets suckered only has themselves to blame, you must consider that Author Solutions is extremely disingenuous about how they target customers.
They prey on people who don’t understand the industry. Their whole business model is predicated on customer ignorance – and they are relentless at exploiting that, hounding people with incessant calls, pushing every emotional button they can think of, until they crack.
And it works. The average customer spends $5,000 getting their book published – which is crazy money – and Emily Suess has received reports of writers being tricked out of tens of thousands of dollars. After all that, the writers don’t sell anything anyway, and what little they do make is often delayed or unpaid altogether.
I can’t say it any plainer: Author Solutions are in the business of ripping people off.
Link to the rest at Let’s Get Digital
David’s warnings should suffice to steer anyone away from Author Solutions. However, if you need a second source, Victoria Strauss comments on Writer Beware:
It’s not an exaggeration to say that, right now, ASI is the most hated name in the self-publishing services world.
. . . .
ASI is the only self-pub service provider about which we get regular complaints.
. . . .
My problem is with how S&S and others have chosen to dabble in self-publishing–by choosing to work with a company that exploits authors through deceptive PR tacticsmisleading rhetoric, and terrible customer service. ASI’s poor reputation is not a secret–it’s all over the Internet. Could S&S and others not have chosen a more complaint-free service provider–or, even, created the service themselves?
Link to the rest at Writer Beware

Cocktails and Books: Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway: Tip of the Spear...

Cocktails and Books: Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway: Tip of the Spear...: We have Marie Harte with us today chatting about her release, Tip of the Spear .  Please help me in welcoming Marie to Cocktails and Book...

New Cover: Entranced

 Entranced--Coming out from Loose Id next week. The 7th book in the PowerUp! series.
Jack Keiser gets his happily ever after. Finally!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Heartthrob Haven: Guest post and Giveaway with Marie Harte

2 chances to win a Cougar Falls book at Hearththrob Haven today.  

Monty GrayClaw is sharing the details of his day. A lone wolf among cats, he has an interesting perspective. So drop by and comment to win Right Wolf, Right Time. And if you list the Cougar Falls books in order, you have another shot to be picked to win one of the Cougar Falls titles of your choice. So conceivably, if you list the titles, you can win two books, not one. :)


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now You See Me...

I don't post many pictures of myself, and then I came across this one. A flash from the past. This is a shot of me and some of my platoon during my time at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, in the friggin' cold winter. (Marine Corps officer training) What fun. *grin* Don't blink or you'll miss me. I'm the camouflaged one wearing the black beanie. Tricky, no? (Note: I had to use spellcheck to spell the word "camouflaged" correctly. Gah.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Publishers Going Under...Again

I've been reading the commentary on Silver Publishing's (SP) troubles and waiting to post my thoughts. I don't write for SP or have any friends that do. I've seen their books, however, and am always curious about publishing houses I don't belong to. Apparently, SP has been having problems paying their authors. Some question as to the quality of their work has been raised, and the typical good author/bad author bandying has gone back and forth.

One of their editors speaks out.
An author happy with SP comments,
as does an author not so happy with them.

So read the links, then follow along here. I've for the most part been lucky to be with stellar publishing houses. I've also been with one that went under (RIP Venus Press), and one I can't believe is still in business. There's nothing quite so horrifying as poor communication, no pay, and crappy-to-no edits from a publisher, which results in a low quality book which results in unhappy readers. 

Now to see Silver Publishing and their authors going through the same problems so many others have faced, it's sad. I recall when one of my old publishers went--to use the vernacular--bat-shit crazy. The owner cussed out authors for not wanting to renew contracts. Authors' real names were outed on the company website. And in at least one case, the publisher wrote a book using an author's name it had no right to use, since the author didn't write the story. (Not mine, thank God.) Whoa, Nelly! All that spelled trouble. Yet a solid group of authors stood by the nutty place and threatened to blacklist authors who merely questioned nonsensical behavior. 

"We're a family." "Tough times come and go, we'll be okay." "It'll get better." These statements were made years ago by authors loyal to that nutty publishing house. And SP's loyal authors are saying the same things about SP today. 

Hey, authors are allowed to stand by whomever they want. If they prefer to work for no pay for their families, God love 'em and wish them well. But for anyone new to getting published, for anyone considering signing a contract and wondering what the smart, professional thing to do in this situation? Get out. Fast. Hurry. Run. Get your rights back and take off if you're lucky enough to have them returned. Things don't get better. You can't borrow from Peter to pay Paul. That kind of thinking perpetuates debt into bankruptcy.

I don't know the full details of SP's issues. I only know the hell I went through with the crazy house I was with. I never named names, and I don't poke a stick at a buzzing hive. (Yes, authors are STILL, currently, having issues with this publisher.) After continued letters, the threat of legal action, and certified notices, I finally got out from under that place. I know what it's like to want to stick by someone who liked your story enough to publish it. How it feels to want to be loyal and dwell in that family togetherness.

But let's call that what it is--utter bullshit. Because business isn't cozy, and it's not "family." That's a happy ideal, but it's not professional. You work, you get paid. Period. No questions.  When rights revert back to an author over time, it's not disloyal to move elsewhere. Writers often forget that that this is a business, probably because we put a lot of ourselves into our creations, so it feels personal. 

I feel really bad for the authors hurt by their publishing house folding. I sincerely wish them the best, but holding on and working for free for months, holding benefits, raising money to help out your publisher, who isn't paying you, makes no kind of fiscal sense I can fathom. Hey, I'm no accountant, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that if I don't pay my CPA, she's not going to sit by and work for nothing until I can pay her, borrowing off my current work to resolve past debt--yet all the while still not getting paid what's owed her.

The best thing the publisher of SP can do is take out a loan, pay all those owed, then circle the wagons and find out how the hell to fix the current mess without taking anyone else down with him. My two cents, for what it's worth. And if you're a smart person, don't submit to any publishing house having obvious financial troubles until they straighten out their messes...unless you want to work for free.
 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Words: To Hunt a Sainte


I'm working on Love in Electric Blue, the third in my Westlake Enterprises series about psychics, danger and love. So I thought it fitting to include a steamy excerpt from the first book, To Hunt a Sainte. (All are completely stand-alone.) Enjoy! 

Two days later, Hunter stood grimfaced in front of a slate blue door and pounded again. He smelled lavender and clenched his jaw at the effort it took to focus on his present course of action. He knew the damned woman was home.
When no one answered after a few more minutes, he set to work. The lock proved no problem, her security alarm even less of one. He’d have a talk with her about that…afterward.
Hunter had tried, but he could no longer avoid the inevitable. This had to stop. He moved silently and swiftly through her open rooms, noting the tidiness of her apartment. Alexandra Sainte decorated sparsely but with a warmth that was inviting.
An eclectic mix of styles accented the cozy feel of a living room well used. A plush leather sofa and matching chair congregated around a teak coffee table covered with home design magazines and the occasional fitness rag. A few plants, all healthy and thriving, sat in her picture window, overlooking a common courtyard. The few bookcases along a far wall boasted an assortment of titles, none of which indicated her preference of reading material.
The sound of water splashing drew him down the hallway and through an untidy bedroom—a surprise inconsistent with the rest of the house. He walked through the doorway into her bathroom and froze.
Even though he’d been expecting it, the vision of Alex covered in bubbles struck him with the force of a physical blow. Surrounded by lavender and warmed by the humidity in the intimate bathroom, Hunter was overwhelmed with a sudden need to touch her golden skin, wet and shining before him. Calling on every ounce of discipline he possessed, Hunter forced himself to remain still and studied the sleepy beauty he couldn’t get out of his mind.
A man would have to be blind not to appreciate her looks—golden hair streaked with honey, exotically slanted eyes that hinted at mystery, and full lips promising everything a man might want. Her body curved in all the right places, yet had a toned toughness that told Hunter she wouldn’t break, even under a bit of rough handling.
The thought aroused him into taking a step forward. Desire engulfed him, and he literally ached, needing to touch her, to be inside that glorious body and discover just what it was about her that captivated him. Only one woman had ever come this close to making him lose control, and look at how that had turned out.
Angered at reminders of the poor choices he’d once made, he locked down his traitorous body and forced himself to handle this—her.
“All right, Sainte. Enough is enough,” he growled.
She shrieked in surprise and sloshed in the tub, allowing him glimpses of slick flesh while she tried to gain her feet. Forcing himself to ignore the impulse to reach out and touch, he handed her a towel.
She grabbed it from him and hastily wrapped it around herself. “What— Who—” She took a deep breath. “How the hell did you get in my apartment?”
He frowned. “You need to update your security. Pretty sad that I managed your locks in less than a minute.”
Slicking her hair back, she regarded him with caution and kept a firm hand on the top of her towel.
He forced himself to look no lower than her chin. “We need to talk.”
“No shit.” Instead of the fear he assumed he’d face, the woman had the nerve to step out of the tub right in front of him. No more than three inches remained between him and her delectable body draped with a thin towel. “You can’t just barge into private property whenever you feel like it, Greye. Now get the hell out of my bathroom. Get the hell out of my apartment!”
“I don’t think you understand me, angel. I’m here to talk. All you need to do is listen.” He stepped closer and inhaled her scent—feminine, floral and damned arousing. Pressed so close, she had to notice his reaction. When her eyes widened, he gave her a grim smile and leaned closer, caught by her tremulous gaze. “I didn’t want to do it this way,” he said darkly. “But you keep playing your games.”
“Games?” she parroted, her gaze glued to his mouth.
Disturbingly pleased he wasn’t the only one affected, Hunter strove to focus on the topic at hand. “The coffee? The chocolate? The feel of your soft skin under my hands? Projecting your bullshit is only distracting me from the mission at hand.”
She blinked up at him. “What are you talking about?”
“You know.” He couldn’t help himself and latched onto the firm strength of her shoulders. His thumb brushed the side of her breast, and she gasped. “You’re a beautiful woman, and you know it. You don’t need to play games to get my attention. Just let me handle this job, and I’ll give you exactly what you’ve been asking for.”
Her apparent anger stirred him past reason. Alexandra Sainte in nothing but a towel was bad enough, but in a passionate temper, her energy seethed and drew him like a moth to flame.
“Why you arrogant—”
The little witch thought to challenge him even now? The hell she did.
He kissed past her denial, knowing she didn’t mean it. He could all but sense her arousal as it pulsed through him. Feminine need and anger warred until her rage surrendered to the attraction between them. Everything she felt, Hunter felt as well, until he regained control once more, taking charge of his emotions.
Licking his way past her lips, he plunged his tongue inside and groaned. She tasted like candy, sweet and fresh. Angling closer, he ravaged her mouth, not satisfied until she panted, her taut breasts heaving against his chest.
Yanking the towel from her, he immediately cupped her firm globes, taken with the full swells and hard peaks beading for him. Reason lost to madness as he gave in to the instinctive need to take more.
Breaking from her lips, he leaned down and took her nipple in his mouth. He wanted to purr with satisfaction when she gasped his name and tugged his hair. Instead of pulling him away, she pressed him closer, shifting hungrily beneath him.
“God, Hunter. What are you doing to me?” She moaned again, soft and pliant under his hands.
“You feel like silk,” he murmured, tending to her other breast. He ran a hand over her hip and belly, seeking the heat between her legs. Thrilled when he found what he sought, he thrust one finger deep.
Alex let go of his head to grip his shoulders. “Hunter, please.”
He didn’t know if she pleaded for more or for him to stop, but he didn’t care. He would stop after he’d made his point…just as soon as he could remember what that was.
“You’re hot and wet, angel. So pretty under my hands,” he whispered, chancing a glance into her eyes. They darkened, gleaming like emerald green pools, slumberous yet lit with sexual energy. “Yes, that’s it. Follow my lead. Let me take you.”
“No, I…” She broke off when he shifted his thumb and began stroking that tight bundle of nerves at her core. “Oh, Hunter. Oh, yes. Please,” she begged.
Yes. Please her. Rip away the clothing separating you and please yourself as well.
He pushed at Alex’s will until she crumbled under his touch, helpless to stop the desire exploding throughout her body. She cried his name as she came, stirring his temper anew. God, he hurt. The need to possess her was animalistic, an intuitive need to conquer, the way he used to feel during his days in the military…and during his courtship of Anna.
Not liking this lack of control where she was concerned, Hunter strove to find distance. He withdrew his hand from between her legs and took a step back. Reaching down for her towel, he found it and wrapped it around her.
He made his second big mistake of the night when he looked into her eyes, because he saw not just an erotic playmate, but a vulnerable woman staring out at him. Not liking this need to offer comfort, he strengthened his inner defense with a harsh offense.
“Think that can tide you over until we’ve found Rebecca?” he asked. “Or do I need to fuck you to get the job done?”
The hurt on her face made him feel as if he’d kicked a kitten. But he should have remembered kittens have claws.
Lightning fast, Alex slapped him hard across the face. She fisted her hand by her side, and he wondered if she meant to hit him again, and if he should let her. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Release: RIGHT WOLF, RIGHT TIME


Right Wolf, Right Time, now available!!
a Cougar Falls story

When good girls go bad, they go wolf.

Shapeshifter Monty GrayClaw has lived a wild life. A youth spent in Cougar Falls hadn't prepared him for the outside world, or for Hunters—humans who capture and slaughter Ac-taw. They nearly killed him before he escaped years of torture. Now living safely in Cougar Falls once more, he's trying to put the past behind him and look toward the future.

That future includes Sophie Tanner, a shy woman new to both her Ac-taw heritage and the town. Sophie is a sweet, lovely young wolf who calls to everything inside him. When an enemy from Monty’s past tracks him down, it will take the gentle woman with a will of iron to save the day. But when their shared history comes to haunt them both, can Monty save his mate, or will she leave him and Cougar Falls behind forever?

To read an excerpt, click here.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Win a Copy of Right Wolf, Right Time

Want to win a copy of Right Wolf, Right Time, which releases Tuesday, November 13th? Just read this post, at Nikki Duncan's and comment there for a chance to win. Good luck! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Marines! 237 Years

Today, the United States Marine Corps celebrates its 237th birthday. Semper Fidelis!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Sex Huts for Girls?

Last night while watching Taboo, a National Geographic show that tells stories of things we in the West consider taboo that others see as normal, I watched a fascinating program about love huts made for adolescent girls in Cambodia. These girls were members of the Kreung tribe, and the fact that their fathers and the girls together built private abodes for the young girls' sexual awakening was intriguing.

By and large, the families aren't trying to get their daughters knocked up at the first available moment, but to let their daughters embrace their sexuality. The girls choose their partners. Rape and force are nearly nonexistent. And the girls practice the "try before you buy" concept of meeting and interacting with potential mates before choosing the best one suited for her.

Many will decree this immoral or illicit. Then again, these are the same folks who think their kids never have sex and don't even know what a boobie is. Please.

Granted, I'd be a bit uncomfortable to have a 10 year old daughter engaging in sex, but the idea of independence, choice, and a gradual maturity where the girl is taught to embrace her femininity and sexuality is completely liberating. I'm totally on board with that. The sex part I could get over if my daughter understood conception and that feelings accompany the physical act. As do the repercussions of children. Most children, when allowed, move at their own pace with life. And by not constraining, but educating and helping their children to understand a mature phase of life, I think the Kreung are doing a real service to their daughters.

But then, that's me. Anyway, I thought it was a fascinating topic. Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday Words: ENEMY RED


I'm feeling wolfie today. So here's an excerpt from Enemy Red, where a werewolf meets a sorceress from an enemy clan, and well, the fur flies. Whoo-ee.

Fenris stared in confusion at Rudra, trying to superimpose a wolf’s face over this gorgeous woman’s features, while he gripped the blanket around his waist. She had alabaster skin, bright, golden eyes and thick, dark red hair so lustrous it couldn’t possibly be real.
Caught by a wave of lust so extreme he could barely stand, Fenris wavered on his feet.
“I have just the thing for you,” the sorcerer said and took a step away. “Rudra, you stay here. It’s going to take me some time to find it, but I have just what Fenris needs back at the house.”
“No, Dad, wait,” she yelled, but Rurik vanished, leaving her standing there, all alone. With Fenris.
He licked his lips and caught the scent of her on his tongue. He inhaled, seeking more, and tasted desire in the air when she rubbed her thighs together.
“Ah, hold on.” Rudra stared at the growing bulge beneath his blanket and swallowed loudly.
Fenris groaned. He dropped the cover and let her look her fill. At the moment, it didn’t matter that she had human blood, that she was clearly not of his clan or that she’d tried to kill him earlier. His body demanded he possess her, and he was lost to nature’s call.
Between one breath and the next, he darted forward and shoved her back against the wall. He could feel her strength. His wolf liked the aggressive female. She matched his strong will, and he had a feeling her appetite would equal his.
“Hey. Let me go.” She tried to pull away from him.
The damn female was strong, really strong. Pack alpha within her own right, he thought with satisfaction. Hell, if he were any other wolf, she might have succeeded. But the power that made him a feared oddity in his pack’s eyes gave him the strength to take this woman. With a grin, he tightened his grip on her.
“You’re amazing. So strong, so female.” He inhaled her scent again and wanted to howl with pleasure. Shifting one hand into a set of claws, he made quick work of her clothing. In moments she stood naked against him. Her fleshy curves rubbed against his tense flesh and blazed a trail of fire straight through his cock.
Fuck me, she’s perfect. He watched her lips part and immediately imagined them around his shaft, then begging for mercy while he commanded her obedience. Because deep down, he knew this alpha bowed to no one, and his werewolf’s need to possess finally felt right.
“What are you doing to me? I want to fuck so badly, I can’t breathe,” she moaned, writhing against him.
Spreading her scent and a throbbing ache everywhere they touched, Rudra captivated him like no other.
Fenris lifted her ass in his palms and aligned her pussy where it would do the most good. He pushed his hips forward and, feeling the wet heat there, thrust hard. He seated himself balls deep and nearly came.
“Shit,” he panted, losing himself in her tight body. He pulled back and rammed in even harder, the rhythm one he couldn’t stop.
“Yes. Oh yes,” she whispered, so tight around him he thought he’d explode.
Fenris wanted to kiss her, to taste her everywhere. Her mouth, her neck, her breasts. That sweet pussy that gloved him, urging him to release. But he couldn’t stop himself. Too intent on filling her, he continued to pound into her, through her orgasm and harder.
His balls tightened and his shaft tingled from base to tip.
“Gonna come,” he muttered and bit down hard on her neck. He jetted into her with an intensity that consumed him. Fenris grasped her ass and lifted her higher, controlling her perfect hips so she milked all of him.
The scent of his seed on her sated his overwhelming lust, enough to allow him a breath and a moment before starting again.
“Wait,” she gasped, shoving at his shoulders. “You—I—we can’t do this.”
“We just did,” he murmured and leaned down to kiss her. “Fuck, I want you again. I have to have you. Such a sweet little pussy, Red. You’re so good,” he said on a breath as fiery desire consumed him—and her--once more.
He took her twice again before he withdrew, content for the time being. He’d never before come so hard or responded so quickly to a female, but with Red, he couldn’t help himself. Aware of his cum sliding down her thighs, he ignored her protests and lifted her in his arms, carrying her into the small bathroom off the main room. He propped her up on the sink.
Finding a clean cloth, Fenris wet it with warm water and cleaned her up, foregoing the soap. He didn’t want his scent over her diluted by lavender and lye. Red had yet to blink as she stared at him. He wondered what she saw, hoping she liked him enough to agree to another romp, preferably in a bed this time.
At the thought, he hardened again.
When her eyes widened, fixed on his erection, he flushed. “I can’t help it. You are so damn pretty.”
She blushed, and he wanted to see her turn that pretty pink all over.
Fenris dropped to his knees and spread her thighs wide. “I can’t stop thinking about filling you up. I love my seed all over you, inside you.” He ran the rag between her legs, rubbing that tiny nub he could feel growing hard. She smelled clean, and she smelled like him. “You were so tight, so perfect.” So mine.
 To read more, click here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jack Is No More


Well, they were here and gone in the blink of an eye. Halloween is no more, and all the decorations are put away. These were our pumpkins this year. Mine, of course, is the stellar one eyed-Jack in the middle. The boys created their own scary guys, though my littlest one is still very much wanting everything funny at Halloween. sigh. So difficult to scare that one. In any event, instead of the cold weather one would expect at this time of year, it's nearly 60°!  But hey, it's sunny, the kids are in school, and I'm writing--a great Monday. Now I'm back to my latest work-in-progress, Love In Electric Blue
Psychics + romance = SEXY SUCCESS.  And now, back to my story.