Thursday, April 10, 2014

Genre: A Ramble

After months of toil, I'm finally in the home stretch of Deadly Liaisons #5: Daybreak.  It's been a job of work, fighting this story into shape. It is a little different from the rest of the series because I've added a 3rd POV, a necessity for story clarity.  I think it works, but it annoys me that I've done it.

Another thing about this story, and the series as a whole, is the amount of sex. I've been marketing this story as erotica. I feel like I have to because the sex scenes are definitely not vanilla, and surprise!bloodplay isn't on the list of things your average reader wants to see.

So it's not erotica, but there are erotic bits.  And it's not a romance either.  Romances are about people finding each other and falling for them. Damian and Jamie-boy have gone and found each other. The stories are about the ups and downs of their relationship. I tried to keep crime-solving story lines as the driving force, but of course that doesn't happen in Bloodlines and it's all just relationship stuff there.  So I can't call it a crime series either.

And then there is the social bits, where I write about poverty, depression, and abuse.  Yeah. That fits in well with a romantic tale. And since Jamie-boy is only 19/20 in the series, it also falls into the category of New Adult.  Deadly Liaisons defies genre, and I know I'm not helping sales when it comes to this.

When I first started this crazy self-publishing scheme I didn't have much of a plan on what I was going to write.  I had a handful of mainstream, moderately kinky stuff already sitting on my computer, and then I wrote a few more. Drain Me Dry was just a Halloween thing that kinda took on a life of its own.

Paranormal and Fantasy have always been the genres I've been the most drawn to.  As you can see from the last year, my releases have reflected that.  They're also starting to focus more on story, less on sex. I started writing erotica because I'm good at it, and because it seemed like the easiest money maker (I know, I'm terrible) but the longer I'm at this the less I'm interested in sex as the focus of my work.  I still like writing sex, don't get me wrong, but I don't want it to be what the stories are about. "Roses White, Roses Red" didn't even have a sex scene to start with--I just slipped it in before publication to keep things consistent (not that the sex was out of place--it works just fine).

There are only two sex scenes in Daybreak, and neither of them are long and drawn out. (Don't worry, they're still hot.)  There's a lot of drama, and some violence, and lots of other fun stuff (including a flashback!), but it's not erotica.  I hope you guys are still cool with that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Release: Roses White, Roses Red

What? Multiple releases in one month? Astounding! Amazing!

No doubt this will bite me in the ass later when next month comes around and I have nothing finished to give you guys.  I admit, it is greed that made me do it--this is a M/M fairy tale and you people love that shit.  It's gonna make me maybe even 5 bucks. :)

Seriously though, this is a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, Snow White and Rose Red.  I wrote most of this it back in December and it's a winter story, so of course I'm publishing it in the first week of spring. Makes perfect sense.

It's a nice little fairy tale, very traditional in its telling. The story is pretty simple. Boy meets cursed shape-shifting bear, Boy falls in love with cursed shape-shifting bear...the usual.

It's a 4,000 word short, so it's only $0.99.  (I know I priced Barrendack higher than usual, but its also 3x as long as the stories I usually charge a dollar for.)

And is the cover not lurvly? (I'm a little sleep deprived as I write this, btw.)  I'm very proud of this cover, mostly because I successfully manipulated the image to fit what i needed it to be, and none of my test audience noticed.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Following the death of his father and only companion, Reynard lived alone in the woods. He encounters a bear, out in the cold in the middle of winter, and his entire life changes. Bringing the creature home, Reynard and Bear become fast companions. Reynard's happiness is only marred by dreams of a nude stranger in his bed...which turn out to not be dreams at all. Bear is no animal, but a man under a spell. A man Reynard finds himself falling in love with...

This is a M/M retelling of the German fairy tale "Snow White, Rose Red" and contains explicit material. This is a 4,000 word short.

Reynard walked until his nose was frozen on his face and his feet were cold all the way through. He knew he needed to turn around, but he walked a little bit further until he caught sight of a great, dark, looming shape--a bear floundering through the snow, his thick pelt frosted over with ice so that he glittered silver in the sun.

Reynard quickly drew his bow, but paused. The beast should have been hibernating safe and warm in his den, not freezing in the cold air. He approached the bear with caution, his bow aloft. The bear raised his head to look at him. To Reynard’s shock he saw the bear had blue eyes despite his shaggy brown coat. The creature’s expression was one of defeat and sorrow. Almost human. He took a step forward, stumbled, and fell.

The bear didn’t move.

Anger flashed unexpectedly through Reynard’s body. “Get up!” he yelled, running towards the bear. “Get up and walk you stupid beast. Don’t give up and die there!” His bow fell from his hands and Reynard threw himself against the bear, pushing and punching at it, kicking it. “Live,” he cried, unexpected hot tears falling down his face. “Don’t give up.”

He fell to his knees beside the bear. “I don’t want to be alone.” The bear lifted his head and nudged Reynard’s shoulder with its nose. Reynard wiped away his tears with the back of his mitten. “I don’t want to be alone anymore,” he repeated to the bear.

The bear pushed his heavy body to his feet and managed a few slow steps forward, following the path in the snow Reynard’s snowshoes had made. It turned and looked back at him, as if to say, “Are you coming?”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FREE Project

I've mentioned before that I used to write serialized web fiction.  For a few years it was the only thing I wrote, fueled only by readers' comments and the occasional donation. Mostly they were YA/New Adult soap-opera style pieces.  One was a fairy tale, one was a super hero story. One was "Dead End Streets," a teenage vampire story that introduced the Deadly Liaisons characters of Jamie-boy, Damian, and Rita.  (If there are any DES readers still around reading this--you are awesome.)

Web serials are fun to write. You get to tell a long, rambling, television-like story with lots of characters, and because you have to keep to a schedule you are forced to make a habit out of writing. The readers get to know the characters over a long period of time, and you might even end up with a novel when you're finished. (Or several. DES had 3 distinct plot-lines. One of them is planned for release in ebook and print sometime this year.)

My last serial crashed and burned a few years ago when I lost my house and became too depressed to write.  I feel a little guilty because I kind of just disappeared on the readers (I later found out they were worried I was dead) so I haven't tried to do it again for a long time.

But now is the time.  This is the year when all my shit is coming together. My productivity has soared since last November and I'm feeling really good about where my writing career is going. So I'm ready to try again.

It's called "House of the Dewy Trollop" and it's about steampunk whores. Remember 'Fancy and the Mechanical Man'? The characters are back for more.  It's going to be a drama, and there will be plenty of sex in it, but sex is not the main focus of the story. It's an ensemble piece with lots of characters.

I've been working on this project for about two weeks now. The first three chapters are up and available. This story will be free to read online for the entire duration of the writing process.  I will also be selling it for $0.99 a chapter on Amazon, which you are under no obligation to purchase, though if you can spare the dollar it's always appreciated.  Each chapter will be made up of 3 to 10 parts, posted once a week online. All the info you need to know about it is on the site, so go check it out and take a look.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Release: Barrendack

Where to begin...I love everything about this novella. It's a very simple story without a heavy plot, and nothing epic happens in it, but it is lovely all the same.

I wrote it quickly--in less than two weeks. The story told itself with very little effort.  I wanted to write twincest and I wanted to write a gothic romance. While I was mulling over ideas I remembered I had started a gothic romance about 7 years ago and abandoned it. Time to pick it back up!

As the new version took shape it became more medieval than the classic 19th century settings of gothic novels, but I still think it has an...optimistically gothic feel. I set it in a universe I have been toying with since last summer. (Working on the possibility of a novel-length story set in the universe.)  This story takes place in the same world as "The Dragon's Bride."

A bit on the cover--I adore this cover.  The art is by Pre-Raphelite painter Gabriel Rossetti, who also did the drawing on the cover of "Goblin Market." I love this genre of painting and, public domain bitches! :) Free art ftw! One of my pen-names has taken to only writing historicals so I can just use classic works of art for the covers. Note: Smashwords doesn't care if your nudity is DaVinci, you still gotta cover that shit up.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Smashwords

Treated with indifference (at best) by her own family, Giselle is frightened but optimistic about marrying one of the Barrendack sons, whom she has never met. When a sudden illness strikes her father en route to Barrendack Manor she finds herself helpless and nearly alone when she arrives. To complicate matters, the two sons are identical twins who enjoy torturing her by constantly trading places. The brothers eventually prove themselves, supporting her as she cares for her ailing father, yet now she is faced with a new problem. How can she marry only one twin, when she may have fallen for them both?

This is a romantica piece intended for those 18 years or older. Contains heavy M/M/F and light M/M interaction. May offend some readers. [This is my fancy way of saying twincest, btw] 15,000 words.

Lord Barrendack was a stout man of about forty-five. He had a greasy dark beard and tiny, beady dark eyes. Giselle took an immediate dislike of her future father in law, especially when he did not rise or stop eating to greet her. She stepped further into the room and stood near him, close to the fire. “I've been told there’s been an accident,” he said.

“My father had an attack of the humors,” she admitted, her voice shaky. “I apologize for any disruption to your household.”

“Is he well yet?”

“I’m afraid not, Sir,” she said.

He picked up a goblet and gulped noisily from it, wine dribbling out the corner of his mouth. This wasn't what she had expected, not at all. What if his sons took after their father in looks and manners? “The leech is being sent for,” he said. “All will be done for the old chap. Come here then, girl. Let me look at you. I’m a bit short-sighted, so come close.”

Giselle stepped next to the table, close enough to know her future father in law wasn't fond of bathing either. He squinted his little eyes at her. She didn't like being studied inch by inch. Giselle was shapely, neither fat nor thin, and stood tall and straight not because she wanted to impress this man, but because her nurse had always slapped her whenever she slouched as a child. She did wish he wasn't seeing her in her dull traveling dress, but rather the expensive burgundy velvet her father had made up for the occasion.

“How are your teeth?” he demanded.

“Fine,” she answered, a little shocked he would be so forward.

Lord Barrendack nodded. “Strong, healthy looking girl. You’ll do for my son.”

“Sir…” she said uncertainly, knowing this was not a conversation they would be having if her father were well, “which son?”

“That’s the rub of it, isn't it?” he said with a laugh, standing. He was shorter than Giselle by nearly a head and she had an instant fear of a dwarf husband. “I have two sons,” he stated. “I had a third, an older boy, but...well. The Lord is mysterious in his ways, isn't he?” He turned his head in the direction of another doorway. “Boys!”

Presently his sons entered the room. First Giselle sighed with relief. Neither were short, nor did they share any resemblance to their father. But she saw quickly why their father had laughed. The two young men before her eyes were exact copies of each other. Both were blond and clean shaven, with a fortunate aquiline nose and blue eyes. They stood shoulder to shoulder in matching blue jackets and black trousers. Identical twins.

“Which one of you is Drue?” Lord Barrendack asked. The twin on the right stepped forward. “Ah. And that makes the other one Eduard. If only your brother were alive things would be so simple,” he lamented to his sons, and turned back to Giselle. “I have no idea which one is the elder,” he admitted. “They weren't even named until we were sure they would live. I don’t suppose you have a preference.”

Eyes wide, Giselle shook her head.

“Anyway, this is the Lady Giselle of Stillwater,” he continued. “If one of you boys wanted to volunteer to marry her…”

“And should he marry her,” Eduard interrupted, “I would be stricken.”

Both twins bowed at the same time, their motions seemingly that of one man, and they greeted her in unison. “Your service, my lady.” It was too much. Too much had happened, and Giselle began to tremble.

“ to meet you,” she managed to mutter, grabbing on to a dining chair to remain standing.

“She’s overcome with joy,” Drue said.

 “Or weak with fear for her father’s life,” Eduard said. “Dear lady, let me show you to your chamber so you may rest.” Giselle nodded, and when he offered his arm she took it gratefully. As they walked away, however, she noted Eduard turn and give his brother a rueful smile.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Release: The Dragon's Bride

I've been working on this one forever, mostly because last month I was writing tons of stories, and this month my SAD got to me.  After writing "Battle of the Dragon Slayer" I still felt like I hadn't properly written my dragon I decided to try again.  (Also, dragon!sex seems to sell really well.)

I tried to write porn, I really did, but the characters got the better of me again. It also turned a bit Beauty and the Beast-esque, which isn't a surprise. I write that on accident all the time. This one is a Shifter story, which I don't write a lot of. It will appeal to a more mainstream reader than "Battle."

Buy at Smashwords
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Amazon UK

Plot: In the town of Paradise everything is perfect, thanks to the magic of a dragon.  Every year the town must pay tribute in the form of gold, jewels, and a daughter of the town.  Fiona's perfect life is a bore--void of adventure and love. At first being taken captive by the dragon is terrifying, but once he establishes that he has no intention of eating her, she begins to warm to the idea of being his bride.

18+ fantasy erotica. m/f, shifter. 6,000 words.

Massive gold chandeliers lit the room. Cold blue fire burned giving off light but no heat emitted from the fireplace spanning an entire wall. Dinner was laid out on a long table. This was it. He was going to eat her now.
Instead he pulled out a chair and motioned for her to sit. “Please. Eat.”
On shaking legs Fiona sat down.  Looking up, the dragon was even more enormous than before.  “What will you have?” he asked, and she stared as he started serving her himself, ham, pheasant, fresh vegetables and fruit, flaky fish perfectly prepared.
“Where does it all come from?” she asked.
“Why, the taxes of course. You didn't think I just sat up here on a pile of gold and virgins, did you?”
That was exactly what she thought, but she found herself too ravenous to think for much longer.  She ate every food he put in front of her and had two glasses of very fine wine. The dragon watched her eat, but did not partake himself. “You are going to eat me!” she accused when she noticed this.
“You seem quite set on this notion. I cannot eat food in this form,” he informed her. “In fact, it has been quite difficult to remain in it for this long.”
She blinked. For a moment she had forgotten he was a beast and not a man at all. “What do you really look like?” she asked, knowing she would regret it.
The dragon stood up and stepped away from the table. He spread his great wings out wide and his shape began to grow.  Human skin disappeared beneath shiny black scales in iridescent purple and gold.  The dragon fell to his knees with a great groan that became a roar.  His wings wrapped around his body and he began to writhe.
Gone was the beautiful human face, hands, legs. When he rose from the floor he was all beast, twice as large as before.  “My true form,” he said, his voice unchanged. “My name is Ithel.”
Fiona scrambled from her chair in a panic. He was too large, too frightening. A man was a man, but this...creature...was more than she could have been prepared for. She backed up before turning and rushing for the exit. But the dragon--Ithel--was fast, so fast. He moved to block the exit, stretching his full height.  His scales glittered in the firelight, his claws shined like black glass.  “You cannot run from me,” he said. “Those who do, die.”
Her legs were weak from fear; only sheer will forced her to remain standing. “You kill them?”
“Mostly they fall. There is no easy path down the mountain.”
“What are you going to do to me?”
“I have lived in this palace for a thousand years almost always alone, save for my own magic.  Every year I bring back a girl from Paradise. You call her a sacrifice, and I let you because it is important for the balance of power to remain intact.
“You think you are a sacrifice. In my eyes, you are my bride.”

Friday, February 14, 2014

V-Day Freebie

Special days call for special gifts, and I have one for you.  I'm offering "The Beauty and the Beast" up for free today.  It's more romantic than some of my other stories, and thus fitting.  The cover is also properly red with roses and all that.

It's available for free at Smashwords
While you're there you can download a bunch of other free stories too: Drain Me Dry, Boy, Saturday Night, and In the Dark are all free downloads from smashwords.

Now, as for your valentines gift to me, I like the expensive chocolates. Kay? :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The February Ramble

This post isn't really about books or writing.

February is my worst month.  It's the last month of winter (well, March technically is, but as this is Ohio, you never know what you're going to get in March) and usually the snowiest. We had a bad storm yesterday.  At ten o' clock at night it was bright enough outside to read a book, thanks to all of the white snow reflecting city lights. (Light pollution: sometimes helpful, sometimes obnoxious, and sometimes just weird.)

This time of the year last year I was probably staring blankly at the TV at best, or at worst breaking down into tears of misery over the hell that was my life.  I was working full-time at a low-paying job I hated.  This time last year "Addicted to the Bite" was just out, and I had only a handful of short stories up on Amazon, and they weren't exactly selling.

What a difference a year makes.  I've had a 100% sales increase on my books. I have a semi-successful series. One person paid outrageous shipping costs just to have my autograph in my book. I was a guest star on a freaking podcast. (I don't have a voice for radio, btw.) Between this past November to January I've clocked in a lot of words. (Most of them not for the Leigh Wilder brand though. Leigh Wilder is having a really hard time getting her next book finished.)

After 12 years of near-crippling depression I realized I was too introverted to keep working full-time with the public.  I now work between 10 and 20 hours a week.  I still dislike my job and I'm still under-paid, but the anxiety and misery that enveloped and exhausted me is mostly gone.  I still consider myself suffering from depression. Happy isn't much of a thing for me. But neutral, neutral is something that gives me more relief than I can possibly say.

I have no money.  My monthly income is between $500 and $600. That's with my day job and my writing.  I don't mind too much, but there are a few things I'd like to change. Ideally, I'd like to live someplace cheaper so I can put more money back for things that I want or need. (Mostly need.)

Right now I'm suffering from February.  Writing is hard. It's hard to stay focused. It's hard to be excited about what I'm producing. Everything around me seems boring, dull, pointless. I want to go somewhere and do something. I'm not talking about simply leaving the house (that's the last thing I want to do).  I want to LEAVE. I want to take my computer and some clothes in a backpack and go somewhere for a few months.  If I was young and unattached I could do that.  But I am old.  I have responsibilities. Not my job. Screw my job. I have two cats, a fiance, and two sick grandmothers already living 100 miles away.  Buggering off to San Francisco until Ohio decides to be warm again isn't much of an option, but I really, really wish it was.

I'm doing my best to get through. At least I'm not curled up in a ball crying, but god do I hate February.