Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Short Available! Standing Guard by Leigh Ellwood

A number of years ago, I'd published through the now defunct Venus Press a quickie called Standing Guard. I was inspired to write it following a conversation with a military wife whose husband had been deployed at the time. Where I am now, that's a common sight to experience, and I imagine during the holidays it's especially lonely. I don't know that a little short tale will make anybody feel better, but I hope you all enjoy it. I've decided, since it is rather short, to add it to my growing free read library.

You can find it for free at Smashwords or ARe. Right now, it's work work work on Enter Sandman for Phaze Books, Dead Barchetta, and the first Nenah West story with Nona Wesley. I'll have more on that collaboration soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Listen to Leigh

video

My early Christmas treat to you: an excerpt of my latest M/M release, By the Chimney with Dare, now available from DLP Books. This is a PG-13 excerpt, but the story certainly is not. Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Title, Upcoming Title


First Things First

Now available, By the Chimney With Dare! This story is part of my Dareville series of erotic romances and erotic shorts.

By the Chimney with Dare – Leigh Ellwood
Gay Erotica – $.99 eBook

eBook available at the following merchants:

DLPBooks.com
ARe
Scribd
Smashwords
1Romance

Alone for the holidays, Jimmy Carvana accepts a volunteer gig with his uncle’s limousine service, shuttling party guests to and from the local vineyard. When he’s asked to pick up Santa, he’s surprised to find a handsome, dark-haired man in a red suit as opposed to the stereotypical jolly old elf.

As Santa, Trey Jeffries delights young and old, but alone in a cozy cabin on the outskirts of Dareville, he’s willing to offer Jimmy the gift that keeps on giving!

Secondly...


I swiped these from Tilly Greene's blog. I hadn't before seen a complete list of the ARe 28 Days of Heart Campaign titles, and these came up on my Google Alerts. What a great lineup of writers!

These books are coming out one a day during the month of February 2010, with the proceeds going to benefit the American Heart Association. I don't know if this is the order of release or not, I wasn't given a specific date on mine. Will report when I know.

Exchange of Hearts by G.A. Hauser (Gay, Contemporary)
Tor: Viking Master by Ellen Margret (Historical Ancient)
Timeless Voyage by Cornelia Amiri (Historical Ancient)
Moonlit Watcher by Crystal-Rain Love (Werewolf, Interracial, Contemporary)
A Slightly Different Perfect by Sylvia Shults (Fantasy, Romantic Comedy)
Zero-G by Michele Hart (Sci-Fi)
And She Scores by Tilly Greene (Contemporary)
Wild Child by Shelley Munro (Contemporary)
A Fair Trade by BA Tortuga (Gay, Shape-shifter, Western)
Hell's Angel by Jackie Kessler (Paranormal)
Private Lies by Cat Johnson (Contemporary)
Touch of Fire by Samantha Sommersby (Contemporary)
Bride of Fire by Charlene Teglia (Fantasy)
Protecting Miss Samuels by Summer Devon (Historical)
A Shadow's Kiss by Barbara J. Hancock (Paranormal, Vampire, Contemporary)
Hold Onto the Night by Kari Thomas (Contemporary)
Liberating Lucius by Bonnie Dee (Historical Ancient)
Mad About Meg by Mari Carr (Contemporary)
GPS by Leigh Ellwood (Gay, Contemporary)
Country Loving by Robin Leigh Miller (Thriller, Contemporary)
Unshuttered by Emery Sanborne & Philippa Grey-Gerou (Contemporary)
Vanilla with Extra Nuts by Victoria Blisse (Multipartner, Rubenesque, Contemporary)
Stay with Me by Alisha Steele (Fantasy)
Love is Blindness by Sean Michael (Gay, Vampire, Contemporary)
Angels & Genies by K.F. Zuzulo (Paranormal, Fantasy)
Love Unleashed by Marcia James (Contemporary)
Sea of Sin by India Harper (Gay, Contemporary)
Sweets by E. Cameron Stacy (Contemporary)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Writer


Today my tight jeans are no longer tight. Since I've started Weight Watchers, I've lost 25 pounds, which puts me close to 50% of my goal loss. It's made me quite happy in one respect - I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of anything on this plan. I'm not shedding tons o'weight by the week, but I notice little differences, and I'll gladly take them. The goal is to look halfway decent at the RT Faery Ball, which is why I'm waiting to buy my dress. Plus, after Halloween maybe I can catch a sale.

Speaking of shrinking, my hopes of completing NaNo have done just that. Too many Phaze things popping up that need the time more, thankfully we're coming to a conclusion this evening for some of them. Then there's my other writing, which is paid work, that takes some precedent as well. DLP Books is taking some time, and in case you're curious here's what I'm working on next:





I've been amazed by the reception of the F/F shorts I have out. I've written a number of them, but never really tried to shop them given what I know of sales with the houses I can access. DLP Books seems to be a good forum for these shorts, so my intention is to polish them for release. Last Call is sort of an angst, friends to lovers piece I hope to get up soon.

By the Chimney With Dare is my annual Christmas short - no regulars in this one, maybe next year. However, it will introduce scenery from an upcoming Dareville novel, Dare's Destiny, which has completed the outline stage. I may have to draw names from a hat to determine what gets finished first.

Mix is going to be something different. Nona Wesley had this idea and pitched it to me. The concept intrigued me, but after discussion she decided it might not fit the usual eBook houses (weird, considering how well ePubs think outside the box), and she might need help with it. So, we are pairing up under a new name to deliver an erotic serial. We've set up the home page for it already, so be on the lookout for the first release, which will be free!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Watching the Horizons for the Next Big Thing

So, Harlequin announced it would dip into the exclusively digital publishing game with Carina Press. Awesome, nice to see one of the 800-pound gorillas of the romance industry take note that eBook publishing has merit. Authors buzz about it, tweet about submitting. Life goes on.

Harlequin then announced it would dip into the self-publishing world with Harlequin Horizons. Have you submitted to any of the many Harlequin/Silhouette lines in the past only to have your hopes dashed? Well, Harlequin plans to offer you an alternative, wherein you pay them to publish your book under their banner. Essentially this is branded vanity publishing, and as you can expect the publishing world has completed a collective jigga wha? double-take as a result.

I'm hearing people call for RWA to revoke Harlequin's status as a recommended house. I'm hearing rumors that the house is losing money. Lots of speculation. If I have to say anything about it, though, it would be this: self-publishing is not a bad thing, provided you go in with a plan. Personally, if it came down to self-pubbing - and I do it, more on that in a bit - I'd take the matter into my own hands. I want to steer that bus, and handle every aspect of the venture. I don't know that having a Horizons emblem on my book is going to help sales. If I want to be published by Harlequin, I'll submit to Harlequin. There are cheaper alternatives to self-publishing than what Horizons offers.

So I've referred to my self-publishing venture, DLP Books. Since about a month has passed since I started distributing digital stories on various sites, I figure now is as good a time as any to report on my progress. Granted, it's been a month, and I'm not a millionaire yet, but I can say I've earned so far about a fifth of what I normally pull in a month with the houses that carry my books. Here's how the sales stack up:

OmniLit/All Romance accounts for the bulk of sales, I'd say about 90%. A very distant second is Amazon Kindle, then Bookstrand's shop, then 1RomanceBooks and Smashwords. Scribd has yielded no sales so far, but I keep it active for the exposure. Of the books I have out, the M/M title Long Awaited Friend is far and away the bestseller, followed by Where Angels Dare to Tread. My mysteries sell minimally, but I'll continue to write them because I enjoy the genre, and you never know where you'll find a sales spike.

Could I make a living doing this? I don't know. My plan is to invest what I make here into my daughter's 529 account. It's my hope in a few years to have enough for a few semesters...provided she doesn't go to Harvard. If she does, here's hoping for a scholarship.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Viewing Season

Earlier this year I took my then four-year-old to see Mamma Mia on Broadway. We had seen the movie prior to that, which she enjoyed, and ever since I've had difficulty driving without being forced to run the ABBA CD through the stereo. She calls them the "movie songs." As if there are no other movies that exist. I figured, one weekend while in the City, that maybe we could catch a show since it's been playing a while. Tickets, while as easy to come by as, say, Grand Ole Opry House Tickets, set us back quite a bit. I think it was worth it, though.

She sat transfixed throughout the whole show. I'm hoping one day she'll remember how she got take in Broadway so young. I didn't get to see my first B'way show (Miss Saigon) until I was in my twenties! Of course, I mean official Broadway, sitting in New York shows here. I've seen quite a few road tours. It was my hope to get to see Carrie Fisher's show this year, but I think time and opportunity are the big enemies there. Maybe for my next trip to the City I can try for some Irving Plaza Tickets for Cheap Trick or something else.

This February, though, Cats is coming to town, and I'd like to take my daughter to see that one - I was about 13 when I saw Cats and had a great time. I don't think five would be too young for her to be scared. She got through the Haunted Mansion okay, if that's a gauge. I had friends in Michigan who scored the Palace of Auburn Hills Tickets for that Star Wars in Concert thing I wanted to see - I just didn't want it too much to spend 80 bucks a head for it. Yikes! Amazing how the price of entertainment rises, it's why I rarely go to movies anymore. Somebody needs to invent an easy way to remote view so I can stay home and watch shows.

Wait, there's a TV for that.

New F/F Short, Share, Available

Share200I seem to have a two-track mind these days. Right now I'm working on an M/M novella in the Dareville universe, and here I have another F/F short available. One day I'll get back to writing het - I actually have many started. If anybody asks how I'm doing on NaNo, I'll say I have 50K written, across 50 stories. Heh.

Anyway, here's the scoop on Share. This is actually a short I'd written a while back, and only now decided to polish for public consumption. It had originally started as a Phaze Books Sparkler submission, but I set it aside and sent in Voyeur instead. I still think it sizzles a bit. Hope you like it.

Share - Leigh Ellwood
Lesbian Erotica - $.99 eBook

eBook available at the following merchants:
ARe * Scribd * Smashwords * 1Romance

Desperate to achieve release with a little help from her trusty toy, Marissa tries to be discreet and not disturb her roommate. Nell, however, is quick to convince Marissa to change her plans...and to share more than her battery-operated pet.

Read an Excerpt.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Feeling Sapphistocated


I'm a bit late into the game here, seeing as how I've been without Internet when the EPIC Award finalists were announced. Phaze Books snagged four nods this year - a new high for us, and I'm hoping we'll take something home this time. My congrats to Brenna Lyons (Matchmaker's Misery), Sapphire Phelan (Being Familiar with a Witch), and the authors of Sapphistocated and Coming Together: Against the Odds. I'm happy to say that with the exception of the Coming Together volume, I edited the nominees for Phaze this year.

The EPIC site had me listed as editor of Sapphistocated, but if we do win for that one it's my hope to find a way to split the trophy into fours. Really, the credit for that award goes to the four authors and their wonderful stories. It's funny, too, to think this book almost didn't happen because I was considering dropping F/F fiction from the guidelines. In recent days, however, I have seen there is a market for it - it's slow but growing, and it could be a force in the future. I don't really know. I don't think anybody expected M/M to take off like it did, so we'll see. Right now, Phaze is open again to F/F, particularly novel-length, which I'd prefer to receive since it's easier to put into print. For all the specialized off-site events we do, we have people asking for lesbian romance, and we always seem to come up short. Sapphistocated was a hit at a recent pride event in Roanoke, Virginia, so we'll be sure to keep plenty on hand at the next LGBT function we attend.

Speaking of F/F, my Dareville short Where Angels Dare to Tread is a category best-seller at ARe! I've found it quite encouraging, so I'm planning a follow-up to that one. I'll also have month-end stats for DLP Books to share, too, for the curious.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Roughing It

It's been a looooong weekend. If you've kept track of the weather activities over the past few days, you've heard the Mid-Atlantic coast had quite a storm. It hit us pretty hard, but thankfully we sustained no damage. Some neighbors had flooding in their garages, and our neighborhood took some water, as seen in this short video I shot:




We lost power for a few hours on Friday, but unfortunate our TV, Internet, and phone access (which are bundled through the same fiber optic setup) is inaccessible. So basically I've been "roughing it". I can't conduct business over the Internet until I'm back online. Luckily there are others who can update Phaze and take care of some things, and I don't plan to release another DLP Books title immediately, so I guess I can survive it.

I've been hopping from free wifi station to station, sneaking hours when I can. I think I might try to use the time to catch up on NaNo (sooooooooo far behind), but otherwise the time will be spent editing Phaze works. Will I survive. We'll see.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Sale at Phaze!


Friday the 13th doesn't have to be a bad thing! All day today, Friday, November 13th, take 13% off everything at Phaze Books! Use this sales code at checkout:

FRIDAY13

Shop and enjoy!

Phaze Books
Exceptional Erotic Fiction

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Authors After Dark: After Dawn


Two weeks later, I still look back fondly on the Authors After Dark event, and am excited about the next one. Talking to Stella Price the other day, there was much brainstorming about authors to invite for the next event, and I was happy to hear a number of M/M writers have agreed to attend! I won't reveal just yet, I want to be sure it's official before the news is spread. In the meantime, you can enjoy here what you might have missed if you attended. Or else, if you are thinking about joining us in NJ next year, maybe these photos will tempt you:

The sisters Price, Stella and Audra.

100_0161

The Tease Publishing Cocktail Party with Tilly Greene
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Cat Johnson shares the writer's real secret weapon.
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One of the many wonderful reading panels at AAD. You can see Rosemary Laurey, Joey Hill, Sunny, Mechelle Armstrong, and Samantha Sommersby among the authors.

Heart-ening News!


Nothing better than waking up to a story acceptance. A while back I submitted a short for inclusion in the All Romance 28 Days of Heart Campaign. This morning I learned my M/M short, GPS, was selected!

From the ARe page:


During the month of love, when everyone’s attention is focused on matters of the heart, we at All Romance (www.allromance.com) want to help fight the number one killer of women, heart disease, and we need your help and your submissions. Beginning February 1, 2010, we will release one new short story per day for the entire month. All proceeds from the sale of these shorts, which will be offered exclusively on AllRomance.com as individual eBooks and also bundled into 4 eBook anthologies, will be donated to the American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org).

What's especially cool about this line of fiction is that Charlaine Harris has written the forward for the anthologies that will be created from the 28 stories picked. So a story will be released every day that month, then bound later on. So now I can say I'll be in a book with Charlaine Harris!

I wasn't given an exact date of release, but I'll have it on Twitter and the Web site the second I know. With my experience in "erotic altruism", as fellow author Alessia Brio coins it, I'm very pleased to be a part of this venture. Truly, All Romance/OmniLit is a force in the eBook industry - it's amazing to see their growth and success. I'm very excited for this campaign.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Now Available: Long Awaited Friend by Leigh Ellwood

LongAwaitedFriend200Long Awaited Friend - Leigh Ellwood
M/M erotica - $1.59 eBook
Buy from DLP Books

eBook ($1.79) available at the following merchants:
ARe * Scribd * Kindle
Smashwords * 1Romance


Missed opportunities with unrequited love force drummer Keith Zander to hit the road on his motorcycle. With each mile ridden he hopes to dull the ache of the truth that his bandmate Nat may never be his. But when Nat and Kurt, the third in their trio and Nat's lover, track him down with a surprising revelation, will Keith return home or keep running?

(This story features explicit male on male encounters, and multiple partners.)

Read an Excerpt.

NaNo Submit...no?

For the record, of all the times I attempted NaNoWrimo only one of the finished products went on to be published. I won't tell you which one, however, because I wouldn't want anybody poring through my backlist to hold up one and declare, "Yeah, this looked pretty rushed." I haz feelings, too. :/

Anyway, word on the Twitterverse is that agents and editors are reluctant to look at finished NaNo projects. I have one theory why - it could be some received enough of these books in December - with very little polish - from novice authors that they decided it wasn't worth digging for treasure. I can understand that - as an acquisition editor I am occasionally sent a work that read as though somebody literally hit send on the email after typing "The End." No proofing, no edits, no beta reads. I love the concept of NaNo and especially how people who think they can't write a book actually achieve their dream, but I would have to agree with some agents and editors that a rough NaNo project is not submittable material.

Now, this doesn't mean Phaze Books won't consider a NaNo project for publication. As I mentioned on Twitter today, we have contracted at least one work produced during NaNo, aside from mine. That I know of, anyway. If we've done more, I've either forgotten or the author didn't see fit to mention it. Would I contract a NaNo novel again? I might, if it falls within our guidelines and has been cleaned up for professional consumption. A seasoned writer knows well not to send a child out into the cold unless it's properly dressed. After November 30 has passed, don't submit your book on December 1. Close the file, take a few days off and decompress. Put some mental distance between yourself and the book, so when it's time to do that second, third, etc. draft your eyes aren't so tired and you can review your work more critically. Check the typos and discrepancies, because you will make plenty. If your hero's eye color changes over the course of ten chapters, it won't look good to an editor.

Anyway, as it's still November, don't even worry about publication right now, or editing. Get down the bones. There's time to worry later. Good luck!