Beecher and Keller (from the TV show Oz) are one of my favorite couples. Their relationship screams unhealthy. But it's the drama and the pain that makes the romance so poignant.
I've been working on two series of shorts. One is fluffy and light. The other is dark. People seem to like the fluffy light one way more, the terms "abuse" and "Stockholm syndrome" are tossed around a lot in relation to my darker series.
So what about you? Do you like your romance twisted? Or do you prefer heroes that are pillars of goodness?
Not His Kiss to Take by Finn Marlowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is most definitely different. I can't claim to have read a book anything like it ever before.
After a young man is brutally attacked, a non-practicing doctor takes him home and nurses him back to health.
I loved the characters, they were both completely unique and had strong voices. Evan did seem older than his age, with some of the pet names he had for Jamie, he reminded me of a grandfather which sometimes got creepy. But Jamie's pet names for Evan were off the charts, hysterical.
The story took some suspension of disbelief (antibiotic lube? really?). But if you didn't examine the premise too closely it was a fun romp. And there was A LOT of romping. Chapters and chapters of romping. But the author gets credit for keeping that much sex varied and interesting.
All in all, I really liked the book. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something different and a little pervy.
View all my reviews
Since my renewed interest in writing, I've come to realize that not every company that calls itself a "publisher" is what we imagine when we hear the word. While in some minds the word "publisher" is synonymous with the big six, anyone can call themselves a publisher. Even me.
Blue Kitty Publishing -- there now I'm a publisher, got a company name and everything. If you aren't jumping to mail me your manuscript, then read on. If you are, read on with attention and care...
There are three kinds of groups that call themselves publishers. The most dangerous of these groups are often referred to as "Vanity Publishers". These are companies whose goal isn't to sell books to the public, but instead to sell writers their own books. They are the lowest of the low, getting rich off the broken dreams of hopeful writers. Sometimes places you submit to will sell your information to these predators who will contact you making it seem like they are offering you a book contract, when really they only want to swindle you out of thousands of dollars.
Ways to Spot Vanity Publishers
The next group of publishers, I don't think have a commonly used name because they blend in with indie publishers. But for the sake of clarity I'll call them amateur publishers. Amateur publishers are everyday people like you and me, who have discovered self-publishing. And they decide wouldn't it be neato to run a publishing company. Their mom can do the editing, her BA was in English Lit. Their cousin Vinnie can draw, he can do the bookcovers. As for marketing, well, they have a Twitter account...
Amateur publishers aren't inherently bad or ill-willed. They aren't trying to jack you out of your money. They simply have about as much experience selling books as you do. Maybe a few months more. There is nothing wrong with using an amateur publisher, maybe their mom proofreads better than your mom, and their cousin makes nicer covers than any of your relatives. And if only six copies of the book sells because no one has heard of it, does it matter that the 18 bucks profit is being split down the middle? Just realize that this is pretty much the same as self-publishing, but someone else is uploading it to Amazon.
When you get published by an amateur, please don't brag about it in your queries to agents and traditional publishers, it makes you look like a n00b.
Ways to Spot Amateur Publishers
The last group are the people we are really imagining when we say "publisher". People with years of experience, with staff that are paid salaries and don't stalk writers. The people who can send your books to reviewers and actually get a response back.
Ways to Spot Traditional Publishers
Before ebooks, being published meant that thousands upon thousands of dollars had to be invested in the writer to print his/her books and to bribe stores to sell them, then to convince readers to buy them. As writers we were asking for something. That's what gave the word "publisher" it's power.
But if the person calling themselves a publisher isn't offering what publishers used to offer, don't be so quick to bend your neck. There are options now. Amazon and Smashwords have offered to be our foster parents. We might not be eating fine cuisine, but we aren't going hungry anymore.
When it comes to your work, act like a diva. "What can you, do for me?" And if the answer is "nothing." Take your book and keep steppin'.*
*if the answer is "we can get you into Oprah's Book Club", pull out your rag and start spit shining those boots
About ten years ago, there was a summer I was working in a daycare program. I had let my relaxer grow out. My hair had reverted back to its curly state. For me, this was akin to being too lazy to keep up with your hygiene regime, and relatable equivalent would be not shaving your legs.
It was summer, and I was only around children. So I had no reason to look, nice or professional. I just tossed a bandana over it and paid it no mind. I’d get my hair relaxed when school started again.
There was this five year old girl in my group. The epitome of what beauty is supposed to be: smooth light skin, bright blue eyes, long blonde hair. Her shoe came untied and when I knelt down to tie it she saw my hair under my bandana.
She touched my hair and delightedly squealed, “fluffy!” No one had ever taught her that the natural state of my hair was wrong. Something that needed to be burned and pressed until it was more like hers. To her, the differences between us were something marvelous, to be celebrated, not hidden.
I learned on that day that everyone in this world, no matter how young or how different, has something to teach me. Even if that lesson is simply how to look at myself with new eyes.
I haven't spent much of my adult life thinking about reviews (thank goodness). The first time I ever really thought about reviews was when I was linked to a post about a man that made his living selling reviews. My response?
A thousand dollars for reviews? People will buy just about anything, won't they?
I couldn't fathom why someone would spend even a dollar, let alone a thousand dollars for someone else to review their work. Don't these people have mothers?
But of course, at the time, everything I had published was paid for with a flat fee. I had no investment on how the anthologies did because I had already gotten every penny I'd ever see from the story (at least for the next few years).
Then I took my first step into self-publishing and my eyes were opened. Learned all kinds of new things like Amazon's fancy pancy algorithms for which books show up first in searches. And I also learned the most important lesson regarding reviews.
Most of the time, people don't write reviews.
I don't know why this didn't occur to me. I mean I'd had an Amazon account for years, and I'd written maybe two reviews over a 10 year period. Why wouldn't I expect others to think and behave the same way I do?
So after my first promo, after I'd given away hundreds upon hundreds of books, I sat back and waited for my first reviews. And waited...and waited...
Were they not reading the book? No, my webpage was linked at the last page and my traffic soared. If they hadn't read it why would they go to my webpage?
Did they hate it and not want to say anything bad? No, people sent me fan mail. Bought the other books I had written. Gave ratings on Goodreads. But Amazon reviews weren't happening.
Then I remembered back to so long ago, when I wondered why someone would pay for a review and thought..."Oh...".
So what do you do when it looks like no one is reading your book? Hit up your friends and family for reviews. Let me tell you now, it's worse than begging for money. Can't do it. Mom raised me with too much pride. So really, this is all her fault. Wait! Mom!
Mom raves about my books (cept the one with torture, she had to put that one down). Surely, she'd transfer her love for her daughter and everything she creates into wonderful, adoring praise. Right?
To this day my mom has never reviewed a single one of my books. But she did do a review for Kresley Cole's book, where she gave it one star, ranted about how she hated it, and wanted to post the link to my books if people wanted to read something good instead.
"No, mommy. No!"
This is the part where I'm supposed to offer the solution that solves all your problems. Uh...I'm not that kind of blogger. Sorry.
Honestly, I'm still on the quest that leads to fair, honest reviews raining down upon me. When I figure it out. I promise to let you know.
But at the moment reviews are low on my list. There are only so many hours in a day, and I like to put most of it towards creating the best fiction I can (and fiddling with my blog layout).
Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had a really hard time getting into this book. And a lot of that is because Bettina is the most hateable female character I've ever read in any of her books. What makes the Immortals After Dark series stand out is how amazingly powerful the women are. They have these alpha males coming at them full force and they can give it as hard as they take it, sometimes harder. I'm used to Reign the Radiant hurling cars at guys that get in her way.
But now we have Bettina, a self-described mouse of a woman that jumps at the sight of her own shadow. She makes Emma (pre-Lachlain) look like a hardcore gangsta. She's literally a protected princess in a tower. Of course there is a reason for this, but we never see Bettina before the incident, so she just comes off as...weak. Sadly, pitifully, weak.
Not only physically weak and mystically powerless, she is weak of character. She allows herself to be controlled, manipulated and used. And had the self-awareness of a fifteen year old, not understanding her own feelings. Throwing herself at a man who couldn't have made it more clear he wasn't interested.
It was like Kresley Cole whipped out the old bodice ripper mold to make this character.
Fortunately she didn't do the same for Trehan. He was awesome and one of the most patient men in all of the Lore. He was definitely her mate, not many would have had the patience or tolerance to handle her so carefully. Most of the past heroes in this series would have fractured her psyche after the first meeting.
Once you get past wanting to murder the heroine and taking the hero for yourself, the rest of the story has Kresley Cole's signature storytelling which is exceptional, as it always is. Only KC could make me like a book starring a character I couldn't stand.
View all my reviews
I don't believe perfection is obtainable with something subjective because we all have different taste, so what one person loves, another may hate. That being said, certain things are concrete, we know what a filter verb is and what affect it has, we know what affect head hopping has, there is no "sorta head hopping". So we can fix the concrete things to get a few steps closer to that abstract notion of perfection.
Otherwise it's the same mentality of "why wash my ass, it's just gonna get dirty again". Even if there is no concrete finish line, since there is always room for improvement, I say improve til the point you're proud to show others what you've done and are willing to stake your name and reputation on your work.
Some of my pieces I feel like "this is me, this is the best I can do with the resources I have, one day I may become a better writer, but right now this is the best of Ms. Morgan". And there are other pieces I feel, "uh...we're going to put this in the drawer here, close it, lock it, and leave instructions for the pages to be burned upon my death." So to me it's not all the same, there is SOMETHING to strive for, even if it's not perfection.
I can't lie. I read reviews for my stories. I try to avoid them because nothing can be more cruel than what someone believes to be their anonymous opinion of your baby. But even so, I read them. And every now and again some scathing review makes me pout for a few hours.
However, I'd like to think once you make a billion kajillion dollars from your writing you can't hear the criticisms over the loud rustle of all your money. But I guess that's not true.
When a random blogger wrote about how much she hated one of Anne Rice's books, so much so that she cut it up and used it to make decoupage, the news somehow reached Anne Rice who then posted a link to the entry on her Facebook page.
Cause we all know, 740,638 fans are going to be super understanding about someone hating your book so much they cut it up. Here are some choice quotes:
HOW DARE YOU EVEN COMPARE SHITTY ASS STEPHANIE MEYER TO THE QUALITY WORK THAT IS ANNE RICE HOW DARE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU FUCKING HAG, I HOPE YOU GET HERPE
You bitch! >:(
Thank you! Wow, this chick is a moron!
So yeah, Anne Rice literally sicced her posse on this poor girl for not liking her book. Anne Rice, the original gansta.
I just hope if I ever become that rich and famous and some little blogger hates one of my books, I'll take the noble path and just go cry on my fat bags of money.
Free on Amazon - May 1st and 2nd.
Four stories. One romance. Over the span of a decade, four people find each other and realize that together they make a family.
Jack of Hearts
When a young playboy starts to look at his best friend in a different light, will he risk a lifelong friendship for a chance at something more?
King of Clubs
An anti-social recluse meets a man that makes him feel alive, but he can't figure out why his new lover won't stay the night.
Queen of Spades
When an ice-cold corporate exec meets a man finds herself competing with a new coworker, she makes it her mission to destroy him...if only she could stop sleeping with him.
Ace of Diamonds
A hot shot broker meets the woman of his dreams, he'd happily make a life with her, if only her two boyfriends weren't in the way.
The love story is the most powerful story ever told. What's more fascinating than how people fall in love?
I love to explore the infinite ways the love story can be told. From the most gentle innocent, to the most evil villain, there is a perfect match for them all, and I will find them.
Long Live Happily Ever Afters!