Friday, September 22, 2017

Barnes and Noble Yanks Books - Smashwords Offers Solution

Happy Thursday, everyone! Well, what an interesting month it's been, eh? Let's get to the publishing news, just in case you haven't seen it. Strap in, grab your coffee, and let's get going!

Over the last month or so, B&N has pulled several Indie erotica titles off their platform. Authors who were hybrid experienced an interesting effect when their Indie titles dropped off, but their publisher titles stayed up. What are they worried about? Well, if you caught my post from a while back that tackled the subject of what content would be allowed in books, you'll know. If you missed it, take a look here.

So, it seems the taboo topics are under fire. Namely:  Age play, bestiality, dubious consent, incest or pseudo-incest, non-consensual sexual slavery, rape for titillation, underage, snuff, scat, necrophilia.

Some of those have "never" been allowed.

Or have they?

According to the Smashwords blog, few retailers will take incest or pseudo-incest, and iBooks won't take them at all.

I beg to differ. After a quick search on B&N, I found the time-honored (even made into a movie) Flowers in the Attic series. I read that series. Not only do the children locked in the attic (the elder brother and sister) experience a coming-of-age sexual happening, but their mother slept with her uncle to conceive said children (which is why the grandmother wanted the kiddos to disappear). Sorry for the spoiler for those of you that haven't read it and had planned to.

Once I checked that out, I went over to iBooks. Guess what?

Yeah. There it is, but iBooks doesn't take books with incest in them?

By the way, it's also available on Amazon.

Doesn't it seem an awful lot like it's just Indie published books that are being targeted? Why not yank V. C. Andrews' books from those same platforms? If there's a taboo topic, she covered it. I've read several of her series, and MANY of them have incest happening across all arms of the family.

Guess what else? There are no "warnings" of sensitive material on ANY of those.

But JO! Those are referring to EROTICA titles.

Are they? Now, since the Great Blocking of Indies, if your book is erotica or not, you have to say whether you used one of those taboo topics. Yeah, even for sci-fi or paranormal.


Do the publishers get to skirt all that? They do. It's obvious by what I've shown above. I'm positive there are others.

Smashwords is trying to provide a solution for Indies and restore trust with their retailers. Read about it on their latest blog post here, which is where the list of taboo topics above came from.

But, the bottom line is, Smashwords shouldn't have to. It's getting out of hand, and something needs to change.

If you publish fiction with one of the taboo topics listed above, please go update your books on Smashwords. It's now part of their ToS, and if you're caught not labeling them, you'll be banned from using them as a distributor.


Can you name a trad pubbed book with one of the above topics?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Is it Wrong to Expect Readers to be Active Participants in the Story?

Happy Thursday! Today, we're gonna talk about description, how it might impact the reader, and what authors might or might not expect from the consumer. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

So, I'm on the phone yesterday with an author friend of mine, and we got into talking about what we expect from our readers. Both of us agreed that we write with the assumption that the person picking up the book has a brain and understands the basics of the world they live in.

For example: If you say someone walks into a bedroom, do you need to write out to the reader that there's a bed, or is that something you can expect them to infer by telling them it's a bedroom?

Several writers will go into great detail about the room's furniture, but those machinations are usually reserved for the times that it matters, right? Say, if there's something "off" about the decor, or if the bed is an antique and should be admired for a moment. Even if the scene calls for a description to tell the reader it's a male's room or a sex cave, that's okay. But if the character is just walking into a bedroom, is it really necessary to bog the reader down with minute details right off the bat?

Here are some other ways to work those details into the story without having an information dump--again, unless the character is actively admiring, or scrutinizing, the decor:
  • As the person is active in the room, they run their hands over things like the brocade on the chaise lounge.
  • When they tell someone else to sit, it could be noted they made the choice of where to place the person based on potential comfort level.
  • If the character lies on the bed naked, the satin sheets could feel cool on the skin.
  • While they're being made to wait, they can then notice one thing about the room and scrutinize it to give their brain a distraction.
There are several ways of describing a room's contents without going into infodump mode, as you can see above. Unless you're actively trying to slow the story down, is it really necessary to tell the reader everything that's in a common room (bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, etc...)?

I think, perhaps, we should give our readers a little credit and assume they have brains in their heads. If I read that someone is sitting at the bar in the kitchen, I have a pretty good idea of what that room will look like.

I've gone into description and when it's useful in this post, and I went into how to paint the scene in this post. If you're looking to heighten tension with description, here's a post I wrote a while back that breaks it down (this post also compares showing and telling).

What do you think? Do you expect a more active participation from your readers, or do you spoon feed them all the things?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Writing Sprints - What and How

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today's post is informational. If you already know what writing sprints are and how to do them, then feel free to scroll on down to the bottom for the 411 part. For those of you that aren't familiar with sprints, let's get going!

With NaNoWriMo only a month and a half away, authors are gearing up to write furiously for the thirty days of November by plotting their novels and planning how to write 50k words.

Writing sprints are a solution! What's a writing sprint? Well, let's go into that.

A writing sprint is when you write as many words as you can in a set amount of time. Usually, they're set up like so and are done on some form of social media so everyone can comment their word count:
  1. You find a group of authors willing to sprint.
  2. Someone volunteers to be timekeeper.
  3. You set an amount of time (usually 15-30 minutes).
  4. Whoever the timekeeper is tells everyone to GO and starts the timer.
  5. Everyone writes like crazy people.
  6. Timekeeper posts STOP and requests word counts from participants (and posts their own).
  7. There's a five to ten minute resting period, and it happens again.
  8. Whoever has the most words gets a huge thumbs up (there are no prizes usually).
  9. It repeats for one to two hours (usually--I've seen folks do three or four).
That's it. So easy, right? I've seen people log upwards of 6k words during these sprints, so I know they work. Your word count isn't really the target. This is to get you writing, to get words on the page. Progress is progress.

So, to make it a little easier to sprint, I created a group over on FB. It's kinda quiet, but I'm hoping that will change--I have big plans for that group!

If you'd like to join up, here's the linky: Writing Sprints Group on Facebook

I hope to see you there!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CRAY-Z Weeks - Updates and Such

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Holy crow, what a nutty few weeks it's been. Today's post is just a little what-not about what's been going on and why the blog has been so everloving silent. Ready? Grab your coffee (or tea), and let's get going!

So, after my London trip, I know you've noticed things have been rather quiet around here. It's hard to get back into the groove after being bombarded on all sides by people, but that wasn't the only issue. My husband was overly stressed, and he had to travel to another state to be with his father in his last few days.

Let me tell you what, trying to concentrate on anything when you wish you were with someone you love while they're going through a hard time isn't easy. I'd just come "down" from the overseas trip, and I thought I was ready to get back on the pony, when all this started.

Sad to say, my father-in-law took his last breath on September 11. I jumped right on a plane, and just returned home Saturday. Now, I sit here, wondering if I'm going to be able to get back on my schedule. I believe I'll be tweaking it today and starting fresh tomorrow. Some things worked, and others, not so much. But you never know until you try! I did well for a month or two, but a couple of things just weren't given enough time (like my blog), and I found myself scrambling to get it done in the short time I'd allotted. If you have suggestions for new topics, drop them in here.

That all changes this week. If you've been following me a while, you'll know I have two events at the end of October. I'll TRY to post during that week I'm on the road, but I'm making no promises. Keep up with my Facebook page, because I intend to have live video happening when I do my keynote speech. Yeah, it won't be me manning my device, but I promise it'll be live--October 20 at around 9am EST. WHEEEEEEEEE!!

On another note, Utterances is about 20-25k from being complete. That story is draining as hell. Very emotional. I'm gonna try like hell to have it out before Christmas. Send me good vibes! LOL!

One upside to all of this is that my road trip is with another author, Tia Bach, so we'll probably spend a good amount of time writing in the evenings. Maybe even plot new novels together. How exciting would that be? *grin*

As for events, these are my last for a lonnnnnng time. I'm only doing Roanoke Author Invasion next year, so if you wanna see me, you'll have to either come to OIBF or GLBB this year, or RAI next year. After that, I'm giving it a rest for a while and getting back to what I do best: WRITING.

November is NaNo month, and I'm planning to get back on my serial killer novel then. Anyone else going to write all the words that month?

Drop your NaNo name in the comments, and I'll give you a friend request/follow before then. Or, you can friend me here.

Well, I've chatted your ears off long enough. Time to get to revamping my schedule! That's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Great Lakes Book Bash 2017 Ticket Sale

Happy Saturday! Now, you know I wouldn't be bugging you folks on the weekend unless it was really important, right? If you're planning to attend GLBB in October of this year, you'll want to read this! Ticket prices are insanely low! Get your clicking fingers ready, and get going!

 ✬✬✬ ➡ TICKET SALE ⬅ ✬✬✬

Are you planning on attending Great Lakes Book Bash this October? Have you purchased your VIP tickets yet? Single day tickets?

Take advantage of our FINAL ticket sale of the year to save 50% off your purchase.

That makes your VIP ticket only $10!!!

VIP tickets gets you…
* A GLBB 2017 tote bag
* Admission to the event on Friday
* Admission to the informational sessions on Friday
* EARLY admission to the event on Saturday

Ticket link:

Discount Code: BOOK

Sale price only valid 9/2-9/4/17.

Great Lakes Book Bash
October 27 & 28, 2017
Radisson Plaza Hotel
Kalamazoo, MI

For more information visit

Attending Authors…

Abigail Grey
A.D. Saddler
Alora Kate
Amazeballs Book Addicts – 2017 OFFICIAL GLBB SPONSOR
Anjela Renee
Anna Reanult
Becca Vincenza
Bev Davis
CC Dragon
Charles Stern
Christina L. Barr
City and Book
Cover Me, Darling – 2017 OFFICIAL GLBB SPONSOR
D.B. James
Deedle Miyares
Delphina Henley
Diana Plopa
Donald Levin
Dora Badger
Elisabeth Popolow
Elizabeth Meyette
Ellie Wade
Emily Goodwin
Emma Shade
G.S. Scott
Heather Mullins
Indie Books Gone Wild
Janet Brown
Jen Cousineau
Jennifer Friess
Jimmy Leonard
✬✬✬ Jo Michaels ✬✬✬
Kacey Hammell
Kathy Coopmans
Kelsey Fox
K.L. Roth
KS Adkins
Kyleigh Castronaro
Linda K Sienkiewicz
Lindee Robinson Photography
Mark Love
Meg Farrell
Melanie Jayne
Melissa Keir
Misty Provencher
M.R. Polish – 2017 GLBB Keynote Speaker
N.J. Ember
Rachael Brownell – 2017 GLBB HOSTESS
Sanzaki Kojika
Samantha Cole
Sara Fiorenzo
Sarah Grimm
S.E. Brown
S.E. Summa
SF Benson
SJ Maylee
Skye Falcon
Stacey Rourke
Sylvia Hubbard
Sylvia Stein
Terri George
Tia Silverthorne Bach
Victoria Scott
Zoe Blake

As you can see, I'll be there! LOL! Will I see you?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

99 Cent Sale - All Three Books in the SoulTracker Series

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm telling you all about a wonderful deal on a boxed set by a lovely lady, T. G. Ayer. Get those clicking fingers ready, and let's get going!

99 cents for now! Grab it here!

About the books:

Title(s): Blood Magic, Demon Kin, and Blood Curse
Author: T. G. Ayer
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fiction
Length (print): ~668 pages
Buy Link: Amazon Kindle $0.99


If you hear a bump in the night, you'd better stay under your covers. In the DarkWorld it may not be something you'd like to meet.

Problem is, the creatures of your imagination aren't sticking to night's shadows anymore. They are everywhere; the people you work with, your teachers, even your friends. And they've been living that way for a long time.

You haven't noticed because they don't want you to.

You're much better off not asking any questions.

Unfortunately for Mel Morgan, master teleporter. She asks too many questions.

Mel Morgan is a Master Teleporter. She can move through the Veil into the otherworldly planes. A handy skill when looking for missing people. It’s a lonely job, but with her gargoyle partner she’s never minded lonely.

Until a certain super-hot Djinn walks into her life. He needs her help to find someone he loves. And Mel can never say no to someone in need. But the road to helping Saleem is fraught with secrets better left uncovered.

Can Mel and Saleem dodge demons and sorcerers long enough to save the ones they love?

When a business tycoon hires Mel Morgan to find his missing daughter, the SoulTracker is thrown headlong into twists and turns of unexpected deaths and unusual killers. But to find the girl in time to save her, she has to first understand the killer. Demonic or human killers? Mel can't decide which will be worse.

Things get a little complicated when she has to help find both a Panther Alpha's mother, and a reluctant Djinn Queen. Add to the mix an evil spirit plus her mentor Samuel sending her terrifying messages in the Ether. Save him, or else.

It's just all in a days work for a SoulTracker.

Mel's journey continues down dark paths as she is forced to find who put the curse on her. The closer she gets to the one responsible the more her health deteriorates and the worse the evil behaves.

Mel has to battle loneliness, illness and despair . . .

As well as fend of the evil dead.


What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

London, Paris, and Chapter.Con

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Wow, was it ever an amazing week. Yeah, I'm gonna talk about a "few" (haha) things that happened, but I'm also gonna share photos. Not sure I've ever walked that much in my life, and I had a ton of experiences I'll never forget. Ready? Grab your coffee or tea, and let's get going!

I apologize in advance for the long post. So much happened. Not even sure I'll be able to do all this in one day, but I'm gonna try. If it says Tuesday up top, but it's actually Wednesday, ignore, please. hahaha!

Here we go!

As most of you know, I turned forty back at the end of July. Well, my husband and I decided we'd celebrate my birthday by running around Europe and attending Chapter.Con. Here was our itinerary:
  • Fly out at 9pm
  • Land at around 10am, check into the hotel and get settled
  • Tour Buckingham Palace and have afternoon tea at 1:30pm
  • Eat at a London farm-to-table restaurant at 5pm
  • Go on Jack the Ripper walking tour at 7pm
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by 11pm
  • Board Eurostar to Paris at 7am
  • Tour the Louvre at 11:30am
  • Explore Paris a bit
  • Dinner at Chez Francis at 6:30pm
  • Tour Eiffel tower at 9:45pm
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by midnight
  • Tour Notre Dame at 10am
  • Tour Versailles at 2pm
  • Board Eurostar to London at 9pm
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by 11pm
  • Best of London tour at 8:30am - Included St. Peter's, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham, Tower of London, Greenwich, and the London Eye
  • Have food at a local pub
  • Back to the hotel and in bed by 11pm
  • Tour Shakespeare's Globe Theater at 11am
  • Watch production of King Lear at 2pm
  • Unofficial meetup for Chapter.con attendees at the Hogarth pub at 7:30pm
  • Dinner nearby
  • Back in bed by midnight
  • Chapter.con at 8am
  • Did a little self-guided walking pub tour and had dinner at a pub
  • Film screening for the Lovely Witches Club at 7:30/8pm
  • Back in bed by midnight
  • Chapter.con at 9am
  • Public signing
  • Butterfly ball at 8pm
  • Back in bed by midnight
  • Fly out at noon
  • Land at 5pm
As you can see, we did a lot, and we saw a LOT, but it was absolutely amazing. I think we probably walked around thirty miles during our trip, but we're both in pretty decent shape now, so it wasn't too bad. Here are a few photos of our running around things (yes, we're a bit goofy sometimes):

Now, I want to talk about Chapter.con. I have so many things to say about this event, so try and be patient with me, please.

On day one, I wasn't sure what to expect. I set up my table with all the required things: books, sample booklets, swag, etc... But then, I didn't know what else to do until the keynote speaker, so my husband and I mingled and chatted with folks.

Opening the day was keynote speaker Samantha Young. She'd come all the way from Ireland, was so inspiring, and her story was so genuine. I loved when she teared up because of something a fan had said to her. It made her feel as though I could relate to her and showed her humanity in a very vulnerable way. After she spoke, we started the panels. There were so many people there that I didn't know, it was a little intimidating. I'm one of those people who will come over and shake your hand, but inside I'm totally cringing, wondering if you're going to reject me right away or listen too intently to my words and dislike me later--I have strong opinions, and I tend to voice them loudly (as you all know). It's strange being in a place where no one has heard of me or knows what I do. I get a very out-of-my-comfort-zone feeling.

But I met some of the most interesting people. Folks I'd known online for a long time, like Sophia Valentine (who arrived on day two), were there, but most of the people I'd never had much interaction with, if any. Let me tell you what, my fears were unfounded. Everyone was fabulous. There were people from all over Europe, yet I felt right at home. These folks instantly became forever friends, and we had a number of good laughs and some more serious discussions about books and publishing.

It was amazing.

Day two brought forth the fans and some of the other folks I was SO looking forward to meeting in real life. Gaynor Smith (from SASS and IBGW) and Chillie Martindale (from SASS) were there, and I had some real time to chat with the lovely ladies on Katie's Chapter.con team. Catherine Stine was the keynote speaker, and I learned several new things about her! What an interesting lady. Her bio could be 5k pages long, and it still wouldn't be enough.

By the time the Butterfly Ball rolled around, I was feeling one-hundred-percent at home and comfortable.

Even with the intimate number of people (authors, readers, etc...), there were several I didn't have a lot of time to speak with and wish I'd had more.

Then, something amazing happened, I won an award. It wasn't just any old award, and it wasn't an award for anything I'd written. No, this award was for the person who gives of themselves to the writing community, the person who goes above and beyond to help anyone in need, without expectation of anything in return but a smile. It was for the Most Inspiring Community Leader.

To say my surprise was genuine is an understatement. You see, I'd been lobbying for someone else to win that award. And I'd lobbied HARD. Why? Because she totally deserved it. Besides, I'm used to being nominated and not winning, so I wasn't gearing up for a big "holy crap, I won" type of speech. This led to me rushing up and grabbing the thing and running away like I'd been lit on fire. My words were stolen. I'm a little mortified, to be honest.

Now, I sit and look at that award, and I'm so tempted to put it in a drawer where I can't see it, so I don't give up or slow down in my efforts. I find that, oftentimes, human nature works against us, and when we win something huge, we tend to say, "Okay, that's it. I've done enough."

I sit here and tell myself, it's never enough. There's always someone out there in need of a helping hand. If I quit, will someone else step in? I'd hope so, but I'm not one to take that risk. Besides, it wouldn't be fair to expect someone to shoulder ALL of that alone.

I'm beyond humbled.

So, as I look back with fondness and tears welling in my eyes, I also have a heart filled with hope and joy for what the future will bring with all these lovely new people in my life. They're amazing individuals. If you ever have a chance to be groundbreaking and get in on something that will give you a lot of personal time with new authors, don't turn it down. Do everything in your power to make it happen. To attend years beyond the first isn't the same as being there when it all begins.

I hope you've all enjoyed my little post, and if you're new, welcome to the blog! I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better!

There are so many people I didn't mention above, but you're all in my memories and in my Facebook life! Depend on me stalking the ever-loving crap out of you!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!