Sunday, December 26, 2010

Free Audio Erotic Romance from Leigh and Nobilis

Erotica author Nobilis is known for his regular erotica podcast, where the discerning podcast listener will find original works and audio presentations of stories by other writers. Recently, Nobilis had offered to include stories by Coming Together authors on his podcast, and I happily volunteered my Dareville short, Daring Hearts, which appears in Coming Together As One. Imagine my pleasure to learn today it is available for your 18+ ears only!

Daring Hearts is actually a Valentine's Day story, and a menage a quatre featuring my two main Dareville couples - the Garristons and Briscoes. Nevertheless, it's the perfect story for a night like this, with snow up to 18 inches (the only inches I don't like) and no relief in sight. So why brave the lousy weather. Get your earbuds in and download this baby to your iPod or computer right now - it's free! If you have the notion, though, you're welcome to consider a donation to the ONE campaign or any of the other charities that benefit from sales of Coming Together books. Daring Hearts is the second of my stories to make audio - Truth or Dare is still available from Audio Minx, and I hope to have more aural goodness soon.

Speaking of, I recently downloaded the Audible app for my iTouch in hopes of downloading some audio books. With the car adapter I got for Christmas, I'll have more opportunities for listening, so if you have recommendations I'm all ears!!!! :P

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dead Barchetta is now available!

Dead Barchetta
If you attended RushCon 2112 several years ago, you might have seen me auction off some signed books with the promise to write the winning bidder into my next book. Well, the day I thought would never arrive finally has. In commemoration of 12/21 (or 21/12), I give you the result of six years of hard drinking and hair pulling.

Dead Barchetta is finally available for sale in eBook format and print. Buy links are available here: http://www.deadbarchetta.com/

Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords links should be live soon, and the print for Amazon.com goes up next week. Signed copies will be ready to ship mid-January.

This is probably the biggest departure from my usual style yet. If you're familiar with my stuff, you know I write the naughty and the inspirational. This book is somewhere in between - probably a mild R rating. Because RushCon was partly responsible for making this happen, I would like to donate a portion of sales to their charity. Of course, I have to sell books first. Please let your mystery loving friends know there is another book available for their reading pleasure. Or, try a new genre for yourself, you might like it. Learn more about the book via my video trailer:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun With Nigerians

Swear to Ged, this actually happened.

If it appears I am on Facebook all the time, it is because I am. I work in social media, Facebook is social media, therefore Facebook is my job. While I appreciate the occasional chat pop-up from friends and family, unwanted contact by Nigerian scammers is not fun.

I'll admit, as an author I won't always look at who is friending me. I also use Facebook to promote my work, and the more friends the better...I hope. This morning I ended up in chat with a gentleman I apparently friended a while back. His name is Amusa Hassan, so he wants us to believe.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1665293436

Amusa claims to be a lawyer, but who the hell knows. He is probably sitting in some corral of cubicles in Nigeria with a group of other scammers looking for fish. Today he found me.

Here is our conversation from this morning. His words are in italics.

how are you?

hello

how are you doiung?
doing?

ok

where are you lol? (For some reason he finds this amusing)

at work

i am a lawyer and you?

writer

good
nice job (really?)
i love to know you better
which country are you now?

Canada (It feels like Canada here now, anyway)

there is snow there now (No! Really?)
wow
are you there?

yes, I am working

i have important matter to discuss with you lol (Important and amusing. This is the sound of a man who thinks he's about to reel in a juicy one.)
can i send it your mail?

no

how do you want us to discuss it lol (Maybe he's ticklish?)

I don't have any money

i dont ask you for money lol
why do you say that? (Because I know where this is going.)

you're not the first to come in chat with an important matter to discuss

i want to introduce a good oppotunity
is a good benefit for both of us (Yes, it's not uncommon for lawyers to randomly select people in Facebook chat with "good opportunities." All of my lawyers friends do this all the time.)

I am not interested in MLM, thanks

i have a client here (Actually his friend Clive in the other cubicle, in serious discussion with a lonely Minnesota housewife.)

I'm sorry I am very busy, please get to the point

my client MRS MONICA JOHNSON, she lost her family in UK terriorist attack 2007 and medical doctor discoverred that she has cancer and she will die soon, that is why she want to donate her fund to homelesss and church. if you can help her to use the money to the work of God (I've often wondered why the Nigerian mails capitalize the name of the "victim" like this, as though branding it in our minds. Oh, and those beastly British! How did I not hear of this terrorist attack? Bush and Blair covered this up, I'm convinced of it.)

Why does she need me? (To stop the British horde? Fine, give me Hugh Jackman, I'll show that gorgeous bastard what's what.)

she need reliable people in canada and i am her lawyer, i promised to search nice person for her

ok, what does she need from me?

she just want to help her to use the fund to the work of God and help homeless people, after you receive thre money in Canada (What, she doesn't want to seek vengeance? Here I had my Uma Thurman jumpsuit packed and ready for the plane ride.)

so is she going to send me something in the mail?

yes

ok and you need my address in Canada?

and she want to discuss with you and some evidence
yes and your email address (Ah, yes, by now he's high-fiving his buddies, congratulating himself on hooking a live one.)

Okay my email address is goblome@hotmail.com
It would be better for her to send the mail to my husband

ok

His name is Tim Horton, the address is (ADDRESS DELETED), Toronto, ON M5J 1R7, Canada (Mmm, donuts.)

i will call her now  to mail you (You do that.)

that is his work address
thanks
I have to get back to work, will look for her mail.

your mobile, i need to hear your voice to know who i am chat with

I don't own a mobile phone (I own two, and you're getting neither number, buster.)

other number?
home?

let me give you my work number

my is +233 70877419 (Give him a call. Tell him Hugh Jackman has a message for him.)

(NUMBER DELETED) -
bye now

ok


After which I deleted Amusing from my friends list and blocked him. My apologies to the Tim Horton's in Canada that probably received a very confusing phone call this morning.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What a Dream Looks Like in Your Hands


My proof of Dead Barchetta arrived in the mail today. Finally, after six years off and on of working on this novel, and wondering if I would ever finish it, I can look next to me on the couch and see that it is finished, and it is ready. Seriously, if you are a writer and have had that baby project you wondered would ever see the light of day, you know what I'm talking about. I pledged to write this book six years ago and, after several false starts and do-overs, it's done. I'm emotionally exhausted and thrilled at the same time, and I realize now my work has only begun.

Dead Barchetta launches on 12/21, known as International Rush Day to fans. So far I received a nice mention on the top Rush blog, Rush is a Band, though I intend to find some interest among mystery blogs as well. If you love mysteries and thrillers, or know somebody who does, send them my way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Keeping Warm With Hot Reads

You know what I say, if you haven't read it yet, it's new to you. If you're on the prowl for a hot holiday-themed read to keep in the season, I can definitely help you. First off, I will suggest picking up my winter short A Winter's Dare, part of the Dareville series. This is an interracial erotic story (WW/BM) with paranormal themes - the first Dareville story to feature both elements.

Holed up in Dare House Museum, Kate Robeson is content to live with the ghosts of the past. Finding a man can wait, much to her mother's consternation. Yet, when Kate discovers the ghosts haunting the oldest house in Dareville have their own plans for Kate, she quickly reconsiders her solitary position, and yearns for the missionary one!

When Devon Williams happens upon Dare House for a research project, Kate is instantly struck. The secrets he reveals of his connection to Polly Dare and her servant Athena are shocking, yet with a little push from some otherworldly friends, Kate comes to see that all work and no play makes for a dull winter, indeed.

I wrote this story with the intent to expand more on Kate and Devon as a couple. If you've kept up with the series, you've seen Kate in other stories, mainly as a supporting player. If not, this is a good place to start, since the short stands alone from the main four Dareville novels. To get a better picture of Kate's family, you can check out The Dares That Bind for her sister's story, Handle With Dare for her mother the cougar (rawr) and Dare and Dare Alike for her hot twin cousins.

No time to read? Send something hot to your iPod or MP3 player. Truth or Dare in audio is available through Audio Minx! This is an unabridged version and you really have to hear it to enjoy it. If you're into aural romance, definitely give it a good, hard listen!

Keep a watch out, too, for a special sale on my books. I haven't decided how it will work, but you'll be the first to know!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Moving Away from the Mom Purse

I am happy to announce the days of lugging around the Mom Purse are coming to a close. For the last several years I had been designated as the person who carried everything: the diapers, the wipes, the box of crayon, and the plastic container of Cheerios with the faulty lid that never closed correctly. I look forward to the near future when I can cast away the cereal crumb-lined bag for a nicer, designer handbag that doesn't look like Chuck E. Cheese threw a party in it.

Question for me now is, what type of purse should I get? I've looked at hobo purses and clutches, but I worry what is out there is too small for what I need. Lately I feel the need to tote around more gadgetry than money, and if I do get that eBook reader I asked for I'll definitely need to keep with something large.

I used to have a nice cross body purse that came down to my hip. No inner pockets, it was just a huge pouch that bulged with my wallet and makeup and a small notebook. I liked the security of that bag - with the strap across my chest, I felt more confident it wouldn't get snatched, not that I had anything worth stealing in the old days. Now, with the iTouch and eBook reader and credit cards...girl can't be too careful.

So a purse is foremost on my holiday wish list, but Santa will have to sit this one out. Only I know for sure which is the perfect bag. Now to find it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Showin' You the Money

Normally, I would be happy to. You see, though, here's the thing: the money is spent. The second it gets into my account it's dispersed to several places. There's the 529 I have set up for Little One, then a bit is transferred to the checking account to satisfy the regular cycle of bills. If I have promo to buy, or a con registration to pay, there's more gone. I'm trying to build my IRA, too, so I try to put some away there when I can. I'm also seeding a vacation fund to take Little One on her dream trip to Japan, but hubby's eying that money to pay taxes, so who knows when we'll go.

Oh, and I haven't eaten yet.

With the end of the year approaching, I've seen a number of blog posts about self-publishing and the challenges/benefits tied to it. Of course I have regularly followed JA Konrath's journey, and recently Selena Kitt posted some impressive numbers. Of course, if you've followed this cute little number you know I have a venture of my own in DLP Books, which was built primarily as a house for my back-listed mystery books, but has since grown to accommodate some new works and shorts by some very close friends who have entrusted me to help sell their works. They, in turn, have allowed me the status to get our titles into a few shops, so I am grateful for that. As for how I've been doing as a self-publishing magnate, I'll be honest: I'm not making Konrath/Kitt bucks, but I wouldn't consider the venture a failure.

For me, I did rather well. From October, 2009 through October, 2010, I sold five thousand self-pubbed units. This number does not include the works by Nona or JT, nor does it include free books. This also does not include my works with Phaze, Samhain and Loose-ID, or my DLP titles sold from B&N PubIt, as I really didn't get that started until November. I'm counting here books from ARe/OmniLit, Kindle, Bookstrand, Smashwords, and My Bookstore and More before they closed to third-party pubs.

I won't divulge money made - not because I'm embarrassed to say, but because right now I'm more concerned with how many books are sold and hopefully read. I have been published professionally since 2001 (and in erotic romance since 2004), and I am always interested in building a readership to stay with me through the next decade and beyond. I found in this last year of operating DLP that I have learned more about myself and those interested in what I have to offer. Some things to note:
  • M/M is usually my biggest selling genre, but this last year I sold an incredible amount of F/F fiction. Share outsold many of my gay romances in this time period.
  • Truly, I am a believer that cover art can make the difference in sales. You can have Pulitzer material on the pages, but the cover is what attracts readers to click through to learn more. Just looking at some of my individual title sales has suggested to me that perhaps if I had done A to Cover B, maybe that work would reap more sales.
  • Why did I only sell so many as opposed to other self-pubbers? Different factors come in play. Not all of my titles are erotica, and that's clearly a 400-pound gorilla in the eBook world. Some people have been doing this longer, some people managed to get in on a few vendors before they capped (Fictionwise, for example, isn't taking on new vendors, and I imagine I might have made a dent there.), and some people have more time to promo.

I'm nowhere near the end here - in fact, this is but the first mile in a long journey, and in 2011 I'll be doing different things to see which direction I should turn next. I will self-pub more, but I will continue submitting works to publishers. This year two houses sent personal invitations to send work, and I'm flattered by that. Now I have to get something written.

Come along for the ride. I'll bring food.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Professional Studio Space and Production...Am I Ready?

I have been giving serious thought, of late, to starting another podcast. If you recall, the last one I did focused mainly on excerpts from works by authors I knew, mainly those with whom I had a publisher in common. I also excerpted my own works and talked about where I planned to sign books, and so forth. Recently, the audio adaptation of my first romance was released, featuring a beautiful female voiceover talent and voice acting for the narrative. I was very pleased with the production, but I've since learned they are full at the moment. If I expect to take any more stories to audio, I should either try for a larger studio or do it myself.

Now, since I have handled my own book production, audio should come naturally, right? Hard to say: I'm not exactly a voice talent or a whiz at audio production, but I do know if I need a voice actor for my next book there is a very good media production company nearby. Studio Center specializes in a variety of services:

  • video production
  • music production
  • voice actors
  • television production
  • commercial production
  • voice over talent
  • script translation
  • search talent
  • radio commercial production
  • Los Angeles video production
  • New York City voice actors
  • New York music production studios
  • New York video production
The Studio Center total production experience is very professionally done; I actually know people who have hired their services in the past. As I do own the worldwide audio rights to most of my works, I may look into contacting them about voice over acting talent to read for an Audible release one day. It would be nice to have a male voiceover for some of the M/M works, but I'm not sure I need tv commercial production just yet. Maybe when the audio books start selling - I do own the film rights to me stuff, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Earlier I Plan, the Sooner I Can Break Them

Somewhere I have written down all the New Years Resolutions I planned to hold for 2010. Two of them, I know, I satisfied: one was to finish Dead Barchetta, and we'll soon see the results of that labor. The other was to lose weight, which I did...only to gain most of it back over the summer and beyond. Sigh. It seems quiet serendipitous, therefore, to see that Weight Watchers has rolled out a new plan just in time for 2011. Now we have to figure in protein and carb grams - I swear that calculator keeps getting more complicated, and now the points values on my favorite foods are higher! Perhaps that is the goal of WW, to get me to eat less spaghetti. I'd rather stay plump than give up my pasta. I'm Sicilian, that would be like denying me oxygen.

I do have resolutions for 2011, and not all of them are writing related. It is my goal in the next year, though, to complete another full-length Dareville novel. I am a few chapters into Dare's Destiny, which is good or bad depending on your point of view. Destiny is actually the sixth full book in the series - I really need to work on Dare Devils first so some of the story in Destiny makes sense. Scenes from Devils run concurrently to the events in Dare to Dream, so it only makes sense that I should shelve Destiny  and backtrack. Then again, four chapters under my belt of a story is a good start, and I'd like to keep that momentum going. Decisions, decisions.

What else is on tap for the next year, I hope?

1) Cut down on side projects. Some women buy shoes, I purchase web domains. I have quite the arsenal in my GoDaddy account, and the idea was to set up satellite sites and hopefully rake in a bit of affiliate money. I am getting some, but I definitely can't live on it, and I don't have the time to properly nurture these sites. So, as the URLs expire, I will reluctantly let them lapse. I don't like doing that. I had LivelyWriter.com for some time and let it go - a big regret. The problem with letting a domain go is that somebody is right behind you to snatch it up. If you ever want it back, good luck.

What I might do with some of these instead is either direct them toward Amazon stores or combine my projects into one thing I can better manage. I have done a video series of chocolate reviews, and I've considered getting back into podcasting - so I may look for a way to combine the chocolate and the romance writing, effectively jettisoning an albatross or two.

2) Read more. I simply haven't been reading at the volume I enjoyed when I was younger. These days I struggled to finish a book, and I should read more. Also, I need to use my e-readers more. I packed my Kindle App this month, so that's a good start. It is my goal in 2011 to only buy eBooks.

3) Get the weight back down. I've done it before, I'll do it again.

4) Camp more. I love camping. I'd do it every weekend if I could, and my daughter is coining to love it as well. It's a great bonding getaway and I intend to do more of it.

5) Revive an old NaNo project. I have two NaNo winners taking up space on my TBF shelf. Some people criticize NaNo writers for shipping off their novels to agents on December 1, but the ones I've done I've kept hidden for good reason. With Dead Barchetta done, it's inspired me to return to madcap mystery, and the one I have almost done is a perfect project for 2011.

6) See Rush in concert. Yep, another tour, and I have a connection with a front row seat at one of the Spring shows. This time five months from now, I could be close enough to tug the cuffs of Alex Lifeson's jeans with my teeth.

So let's meet back at this post next December and see how I did.