Reluctant Concubine by Dana Marton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There were aspects to this book in regards to characterization and world building that made me rage. Like literal, fist shaking rage.
But with that being said, all in all, it was a good story. One I read from beginning to end in a fairly short period of time and enjoyed.
So if you can get past the main character being naive to the point of idiocy and few questionable world building choices, then what's left is a pretty good tale that's I'd definitely recommend.
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Close Liaisons by Anna Zaires
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I absolutely loved this book. Some people described it as a mashup between Twilight and 50 Shades with an alien twist and I'd agree with that description. One caveat though, I liked this book better than both of those combined. I feel like she took the controlling alpha trope and raised it to a new level.
Mia is a mouse. And some people have an inherent dislike for female characters that aren't "strong women", but what made me like her was even though she was terrified out of her wits, she still acted. It's easy to be heroic when nothing scares you, it's way harder to be heroic when you're shaking in your boots. Several times she's certain she's about to die, but that never stops her from doing the right thing. For that I have much respect.
Korum is a prick. And he's bigoted against humans. And his power is all-encompassing. He is the alpha male poster child. But his massive flaws as a human being are tempered, first by the fact that he isn't a human being. And second by moments of care and sparks of compassion. If you have to be kidnapped, there are worse places to land.
The book was in perfect balance. Character, plot, scifi elements, it all worked for me. You know when you read a book and realize that you'll probably read everything this person ever wrote and like all of it? Well that was this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and beyond.
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Marketing is by far the hardest part of being an indie writer. First off, writers tend to be less social than most of the populace. We spend day after day at our computers typing away about alternate worlds and then we're supposed to come out of our cave and impress people. Pfft. Good luck with that. So today I'm going to share another lesson I've learned through fucking up. May it help you avoid the same mistakes.
I, of course, assumed the problem lied with the book itself. Because I'm dumb. I didn't think for once that the blurb I wrote at 4am with one eye open might be the reason no one, anywhere wanted my book. Nope, didn't occur to me once.
There are several issues with this blurb. Most of it having to do with me paying absolutely no attention to what the people who'd read this kind of book want to be promised is contained within. People reading the Love Unleashed series want brutal, aggressive and sexy. I promised them "love and friendship". *pukes* I'm sorry, I must have gotten this book confused with my fluffy bunny romances. My bad.
So, how did I discover I was a moron? When I published Marked and it performed the way I was expecting Ravaged to perform with none of the benefits Ravaged had, like being a prequel to Pillaged.
This one I wrote around 10pm when I had both eyes open. As you can see it contains more words that will jump out at the kind of reader who will want to read this book: BRANDED AND DEGRADED, COLD AND ALOOF OWNER, FEAR OF BEING DISCARDED, LIFE DEPENDS ON PLEASING HIS MASTER.
These things scream "buy me, buy me" to the type of person into that stuff. In the other one, the type of person into "friendship and love," which is vague as hell, isn't looking for a sexy slave story. And to write that the lord "would do anything for him", was I drinking? I made my hero sound like freakin Bella.
But moving on from past mistakes. This is how you avoid doing what I did:
So that's it. All the tips and tricks I have for writing blurbs better than I did. If you have any other secrets feel free to put them in the comments.
And if you'd like updates about my new releases, special offers, discounts and promotions, feel free to join my Readers' Group. I hate spam and I promise not to spam you.
If you're not a writer or don't frequent writing sites, this post won't mean much to you. But if you are a writer that hangs out on writing sites, I'm sure you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
Someone wondered how the misidentification of passive voice started, this was my answer:
My guess is at some point someone said, "Hey, a lot of your sentences are passive, for fiction you should use more active sentences."
And they were like, "Passive?"
"You know instead of She was bitten by the dog say The dog bit her."
And they saw the lack of "was" as the difference between those two sentences and went forth to spread the word that "was" is evil.
So armed with this new found knowledge, these internet warriors scratched out sentences like "She was running out of time" and replaced them with "She ran out of time" because it's more "active" ignoring it no longer makes sense. Or if they realize it doesn't make sense, something super awkward like "She began to run out of time."
As people killed off the wases ruining their great literature, they realized right next to them were -ing words. Those were also removed when the sentence was fixed, so clearly those were bad too.
Then someone somewhere saw verbs with -ing were gerunds and therefore their foe had a name! (even though it's only a gerund when being used as a noun so actually applies to zero percent of the cases they are against)So they decided, in the name of good literature, the gerunds and the wases must be destroyed!
And then self-publishing got big and people needed platforms. But other people didn't care what they had to say...unless they were teaching writing. So taking their shoddy knowledge, they made blog posts, which they later turned into e-books. And the grossly incorrect fallacies spread. And now they had authority! It's in a book! It's on a website! It must be true!
Sure they could have been spending that time learning about story structure and characterization, but that shit's hard. Easier to do a "find all -ly" in Word.
I have two books on sale. The first one is the College Pack which consists of three stories. All of which take place in a college setting. Frat House Rulez, Games We Play and Maid for You.
College Pack - Amazon
The other is Love Unleashed. Three stand alone stories about D/s romances that all take place in the same brutal alternate reality. This collection contains Pillaged, Ravaged and Seized by a Mercenary.
Love Unleashed - Amazon
Power Play by Charlotte Stein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a book about a woman who is unexpectedly thrusts into power (in more ways than one). I picked up this book because when I read the sample, it was one of the best erotic openings I'd ever read. And the book as a whole didn't fail to disappoint. The sex scenes were creative and well-written, the characters were interesting and likeable. My only complaint was that the middle fell a bit flat. And the ending went on longer than I thought necessary. But with an amazing intro and a satisfying ending, those issues were small. All in all, this was a great book and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for some good femdom erotica.
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I can't believe I'm writing this post. And for my next act I'll be sticking my tongue into a live socket. This is going to be a bit crass, because I need to address some things no one else seems to be talking about.
But I can't help myself. I've seen some reoccurring statements that really bug me and I need to speak up:
1. The books doing well in KU2 are the ones that give readers a better reading experience
2. Amazon made this change because it's what readers wanted
The first thing to remember is for KU to make money, subscribers need to read less than they pay for. That's very important when figuring out what was going on and why it needed to change. Remember, the goal is to get someone to pay 9.99 a month while NOT reading 9.99 or more worth of pages.
And that brings me to the common misconceptions of Amazon doing this for readers and longer books being inherently better for readers. Real talk here, know why KU1 was hemorrhaging money? Billionaire Step-Brother Ravaged by the T-Rex.
Yep. People were eating that stuff up, so much so that more and more people subscribed to KU every month and more and more writers produced more and more short smut. And guess what, those readers were quite "satisfied". Thank you very much.
And yes, Amazon had every right to change a system that was causing them to lose money. That's not my point. What bothers me is the callousness towards the people who find their income utterly cut off with two weeks notice. I'm sorry, but even if your business is pseudo-incest monster porn, when you wake up one day and find with an email your entire business model has been rendered obsolete, you get to pout. If this were Wall Street, people have thrown themselves from windows for less.
So this smug attitude of "I'm making three times the income now because I deserve it" needs to stop. The reason Amazon is pushing for longer works is they are hoping the porn consumers leave and people willing to spend a month getting halfway through an elven tome will take their place. It's not because elven tomes are inherently better or give readers more satisfaction. It's because they take longer to read.
And I've also heard the argument that short story writers should just produce a page of short story for every page of novel that long form writers create. The problem with this is that it ignores genre. Now I can read an 800 page historical. I cannot read 800 pages of Milking the Babysitter: A Hucow Romance. And it's not because 800 page historicals are just naturally better. It's because these things are meant to be consumed differently. A big fat novel is like a juicy steak. A short story is like candy. While someone might eat a pound of steak, expecting them to eat a pound of candy is crazy.
It doesn't mean that steak is better and candy sucks. It just means these things are consumed in different quantities. And judging from how many writers are in tears since July, the public was eating a fair amount of candy. But people aren't going to start eating ten times more candy so writers can get paid the same they were making before.
So yeah, Amazon's bottom dollar will always come first and this time that reality hurt a lot of writers. But that's no reason to create this huge division based on things like length and genre.
TLDR; Hug a short story writer and don't believe the hype, KU2 is not a meritocracy.
Maybe I can put it in a way you can relate to. Take your average hero's journey, farmboy/orphan living under the stairs turned king/powerful wizard/jedi, whatever.
Now looking at romance, you can't see how this kind of arc could possibly apply. But it does. Neither of the characters are the farmboy. The relationship itself is the farmboy. And the point is through trials and tests to take it from a weak nothing, to a hero.
Well, the hero part is easy enough to translate, the relationship would be a "hero" when the couple is happy, they are doing well and seem as though they will prosper.
So, what makes a relationship an orphan under the stairs? Well, the people involved could hate each other. That's a common one. Or they could have opposing interests that keep them from wanting to be together. Like she owns a bakery that he's trying to demolish to build a parking lot. Or they could simply not know each other very well.
So now we have where we're going, and where we're starting. The next question is how to get there. Well, what makes relationships stronger? Getting to know the person. Shared suffering. Finding out the person's strengths compliment your own. Realizing this other person brings out the best parts of your nature. And those trials can be the same kinds of events that the farmboy goes through to become a hero.
Another awesome sale. AllRomance is one of my favorite bookstores.
Gay Romance writer and coffee aficionado. Watch her do anything but write.
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