Monday, May 04, 2015

Mission Completed: Camp NaNoWriMo

Last month, I decided to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time.  It was an exhausting endeavour but it was made easier by my "cabin" of fellow writers who, despite being complete strangers, encouraged each other to meet their targets.

With a mighty last minute push, I managed to meet my personal target of 30,000 words.  Quite the accomplishment with the usual work and family life juggling that usually makes my monthly word count a third or less than that.

For me, Camp NaNoWriMo was completely worth it and would have been useful even if I hadn't made my goal at the very last moment (too late, it turned out, to even remember to validate my winner status).  While I didn't meet my secondary goal of finishing one or more of my current romance works-in-progress, I made some major strides in several of them and I edited what I have completed so far of another project so I can (almost) jump back into that when I'm ready.

I would recommend Camp NaNoWriMo to every writer because you can set your own goals and, more importantly, focus on your writing.  Too many distractions in too many months (and days) can lead to you forgetting what you love about writing (or simply just how much you love it) and the camp brings that back to the forefront.

See you at the next Camp in July!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Doing the Camp NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge

This month, I embark on my second NaNoWriMo enterprise.  NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is actually in November every year.  The original event is held with the goal of reaching fifty thousand words, or completing the equivalent of an entire novel.

I successfully completed the 2012 NaNoWriMo challenge but did not actually complete the book I was writing.  It was about zombies.

In April and July, the NaNo group offers a "camp" where you can join to write a self-determined amount of words.  This year, for the first time, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo with the goal of finishing (or at least getting substantially on the way towards finishing) several of my works in progress, which are all romances.  My goal is thirty thousand words towards this worthy, if somewhat amorphous, accomplishment.  I kid myself that my publishers are eagerly awaiting these works but really, in the world of writing, you are your first (and often only) motivator.  So I am writing these romances for myself.  And sometimes I go a little too easy on myself, which is why I need the kick in the pants that NaNo offers.

Unique to the Camp NaNo experience is the opportunity to join a "cabin" with other writers.  You can talk to them and encourage them on their way.

I'm excited to be into my second week of Camp and so far I am on target.  Fingers crossed for a successful finish.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sale: Wild Western Weekend

All this week, my publisher Totally Bound is celebrating erotic Western romance.  Their cowboy/ western titles are on sale this weekend for 0.99.

Check out the Western Weekend romance sale, including my MMF story, Hard Luck Ranch.

Friday, February 06, 2015

ARe Cafe article: Writing the Cowboy/ Ranch Hero

ARe Café posted a blog I wrote about Writing the Cowboy/ Rancher Hero.  It discusses the difference between the archetypal cowboy and the modern romance hero, who is often actually a rancher.  I also talk about my recent erotic romance historical, Hard Luck Ranch, which is currently a bestseller on my publisher Totally Bound's website.

Check out Writing the Cowboy/ Rancher Hero!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Committing to a Story

Two months ago, I made a stupid promise.  I responded to a query from my publisher to submit an erotic romance story to a recent submission call by saying "yes", I would write a story to fit their guidelines.  That meant agreeing to write at least 10,000 words (and as much as 15,000) in a month.  Was this promise feasible?  Yes.  Was it wise?  Probably not.

You see, having published with this romance publisher many times before, I had already seen this specific submission call, thought about the theme and decided not to submit a story.  You read that right.  I decided against it.

I had many reasons not to write a piece for this call.  First of all, I have published in several of their anthologies and thought it might not be wise to submit to too many, which might lead to a de facto rejection simply based on volume.  Another thing, I wasn't too sure what the theme meant and hadn't written a lot of stories in this vein.  So, unfamiliar territory.

Of course, as always, there are other calls on my time.  I am currently in the middle of about a dozen erotic romance stories, many of which are clamouring to be finished.  (Yes, I can hear them clamour).  Plus, between work, family, and school, I already have plenty of deadlines I may or may not meet.  I didn't need another one to add to my list.

So why did I agree to write this story?

The personal query flattered me.  I write ménage erotic romances (among other kinds) and the idea that my editor would have thought of my other stories while reviewing this submission call made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Pandering to my ego works, people!

I agreed to submit a story, worked my ass off for weeks to draft and edit it, and finally submitted it in early October.  A few weeks later, I got the news that my story was accepted for the anthology!  Yay!

Bottom line: I stretched myself thin to write this story.  I think it's a pretty good one, with a non-hero character I might end up using in a future tale.  Because I tend to write according to mood, I often didn't feel like writing this story, but in the end I finished it and it turned out well.

Don't believe what people tell you.  Writing is hard work.  It isn't always up to your inclination what you write about.  It was worth more to me to please my publisher, to push aside my other projects, and to finish this story.  I gave up something to gain something.

When you commit to a story, what do you give up?  What do you gain?

Monday, September 22, 2014

How Many Books Do I Sell?

Okay, first of all, I'm not going to answer that question.  Second of all, you can find out for yourself.

The number of books I sell every month has been steadily growing over the past year or two and rapidly growing over the last few months, due in large part because of the great reviews and general lovely reception received by my latest erotic romance novella, Hard Luck Ranch.

But where have I been cyber-stalking myself, you may ask?  In case you don't already know about it, writers can keep track of their sales on Amazon (which handles a large percent of my e-book sales from my three publishers, Ellora's Cave, Crimson Romance and Totally Bound) through Novel Rank.  This site's Track Novel feature allows you to copy and paste in the link to your Amazon e-book and start keeping track of how many books you sell.  It also has cool tricks that let you see graphs of how many sales you've had in the past month or the last year and see how your book sales are trending.

By using Novel Rank, I've seen how much my sales of Hard Luck Ranch have outpaced my previous book launches and also how the success of it has spurred readers to pick up some of my similar titles like A Lady for Two and Country Hearts, pumping up the sales of my back list.

Let's face it, I like seeing my Amazon ranking climb -- my goal is to crack the triple digits one day -- but I also want to know what those numbers mean.  I don't know how scientific Novel Rank is but it seems to give me a good idea of how I'm doing and let's me anticipate how big a royalty check's coming my way!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bad Romance (Reviews)

I have to admit that the bad reviews get me down.  Most of them are tinged with back-handed compliments (good sex, okay story).  Others are just all out bad (although I take mean spirited pleasure in noting that these are the ones that also tend to be poorly spelled).

I enjoy a good review.  The meaning of a good review has changed in recent months.

When I read a book and provide a review on Goodreads, I tend to simplify the experience.  If I liked the book, I give it a four star review.  If I loved it, five stars.  Two or less stars means I really didn't care for it.  One star pretty much means I didn't finish it, which is exceedingly rare.

Perhaps I am a generous reviewer.  I don't mind.  I realized long ago that I can love an infinite number (and variety) of books.  My all time favourite books I tend to read and re-read regularly.  They're like old friends.  And you can't have enough friends.

So, back to my reviews.  I know now that not everyone shares my view on books.  Some reviewers never seem to hand out five stars.  Others have their grading curves hovering around three instead of four or five like me.  People are different.  My idea of being a book lover is being fairly uncritical.  If the book made me feel strongly, I usually love it.  Even if it makes me sad.  Especially if it makes me sad.  That's the power of a book.  They don't all have to evoke the same emotions or tell the same type of story.  Imagine if all books did.  What horror.

People like your writing or they don't.  Not exactly stunning wisdom but the truth.  Everyone reads, and reviews, in different ways.

I can write good sex scenes.  I'll take it.  I write erotic romance so giving good sex scenes is a crucial part of my craft.  But I also want to tell a good story so I do read the negative reviews and try to see where I can improve.

Do I give the bad reviews too much power?  Perhaps?  They get me down.  At least now they get me down for a few minutes when, in the beginning, I would worry about them for days.

The good reviews outweigh the bad ones, both in number and in effect.  I want people to read my stories and feel something.  Hopefully, something sexy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Historical Erotic Romance - Hard Luck Ranch

My newest erotic romance just came out from Totally Bound Publishing.  It's a historical ménage story called Hard Luck Ranch and set in the Old West.  It's already got a five star review!

Here's the blurb from Totally Bound's website:

When his best friend Wesley orders up a mail order bride, Everett leaves Hard Luck Ranch for good. Or so he thinks…until he realises that there may be room in their marriage for one more.

Emma came out West to marry a man she’s never met but she’s already fallen in love with Wesley through their letters. Life at his home, Hard Luck Ranch, is far better than she ever imagined with a loving husband and a prosperous farm. The only hiccup in her plans for the future is Wes’ best friend, the local sheriff Everett Montgomery, who may share more than a boyhood with her husband.
Everett is trying to drown his misery over his friend’s marriage with shots at the local saloon and sex with the local madam’s brother, Kenneth. But Ken isn’t Wes, the man Everett has loved since he was old enough to know what love was. While Everett loses himself in his heartache, he stays away from the ranch. But he doesn’t expect Emma to come out to find him—nor does he realize that she’s guessed his secret.

Emma loves her husband dearly and she wants him to be happy, even if it means sharing him with Everett. But will the sexy lawman be willing to accept her as part of the bargain?

Buy Hard Luck Ranch now!

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Erotic Romance - Rock Star

My newest erotic romance with my first publisher Totally Bound is now out.  Rock Star is a older woman-younger man story revolving around the chaotic life of a young hot rock god and his conservative older lawyer.

The cover only gives a hint of the melting heat within:

And here's the blurb from my publisher (what a teaser, right?):

Hollywood lawyer Maggie Ward likes her client Finn Carter’s music but the sexy younger man is far too much trouble to actually get to know… Right?

Maggie Ward is a Hollywood lawyer with a list of musician clients but none as famous as rock star Finn Carter. And he’s got the bad boy reputation to prove it. It’s no wonder every move he makes is dogged by paparazzi. So when he gets into an accident on his motorcycle and ends up in hospital, it’s splashed all over the tabloids that the car was driven by his ex-girlfriend’s new man. Finn’s manager wants him to lie low and the place he chooses is Maggie’s house.

Finn’s habit of strutting around naked is more heat than Maggie can take and when she comes home one day to find him nude in her kitchen, she finally succumbs to her wicked fantasies.

Afterwards, Maggie is more determined than ever to keep the relationship on a strictly physical level while Finn hints that he wants more. Can two such different people find more than sex in common?

Buy Rock Star now!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, Cougars!

This Mother's Day weekend, all Sophisticate erotic romance books are on sale at Ellora's Cave.  That means all their stories about younger men and older women, cougars and cubs.

The sale also includes my first publication with Ellora's Cave (my second one is forthcoming this year), Designed to Seduce.

Check the sale out!