Monday, December 23, 2013

"White Christmas" Ramble

Betty and Bob from White Christmas are my favorite movie couple. They're not exactly a sexy, erotically
charged couple, but they are great, so I don't care that this post doesn't match the blog. It is still about character, after all.

I'm Betty. I've always been Betty, ever since I was a kid. Older sister. Responsible, honest, safe sister. She doesn't party. Misbehaving is beyond her experience. And in this movie for once, just this once, the responsible, safe sister gets the guy without having to change.

She doesn't need a makeover. (In fact Bob rejects the idea of so much as changing her hair color at the beginning of the film.) She doesn't have to "find herself" or "learn how to live."  Betty is quiet, strong, ethical, independent. Bob loves her for it and she doesn't have to change at all for him to love her.  And the movie revolves around Betty and Bob, the safe characters. The wild characters of Judy and Phil are the secondary story-line, focusing all of their attention on the two main characters (albeit for selfish reasons).

"But where is the character development?" you ask. Screw it.  Let Judy develop into someone who isn't a manipulative liar or let the General develop into a man who knows how to accept help. Betty is perfect and lovely and she's even the fat sister! I know Rosemary Clooney  isn't remotely fat, but compared to Vera-Ellen (who suffered from anorexia)....she made me feel good as a size twelve D-cup teenager when my little sister wore a double-zero.

Betty is awesome because she is a proper role model, who proves you can get the guy by being yourself, even if "yourself" might not feel particularly exciting. I think it's important to have characters like her in the center of a story sometimes. Because quiet, sensible people deserve to have stories and romances written about them that accept and celebrate their sensibility. (Yes, Betty did run away instead of confronting Bob, but I blame that on the writers, not the character.)

My mom and I watched White Christmas together every year when I was a kid and teenager. We don't get to spend a lot of time together any more, but I still watch it every year. It's not the most exciting love story, or the most passionate, but it's me.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Release...this ones a little different.

I've published my first volume of children's stories. I've written it under the name L. M. Bricker. It is currently only available on Amazon.

"The Adventures of Prince Edwin, Princess Alice and Friends" is a collection of five stories written for my niece and nephew. They are kind of special because all of the people and places in the stories are people they know and places in their neighborhood in Akron, Ohio.  There are tons of in-jokes for people from the neighborhood (none of which are reading this post).

I don't know anything about writing for children. I didn't write these stories for an open audience, but for my family.  I wrote what would make my dad laugh and characters that would hold the attention of a video game playing 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl who is interested in kittens and princesses (while still being feminist forward of course).  My beta readers thought they were funny (and one hates children's lit) so I figured I would pass them on to the world.  If you're not interested, cool.  If you want to give them a try, it's only 99 cents. (That's like a 5 piece chicken nugget but with less cancer-causing chemicals.)  I'm pretty sure I haven't written anything inappropriate (unless you're a conservative christian arsehole). I mean, how many kids know what Krav Maga is anyway?

Amazon 99 cents

Blurb:
This is a collection of five children's stories written for the author's niece and nephew. With little practice writing for children, the result is an idiosyncratic but charming collection with lots of humor that will also appeal to any adult reading aloud to their child. (The author would guess this work is at a third or fourth grade reading level, but the stories can be enjoyed by all ages.) There is no overt violence but does include evil witches, zombies, and a princess who wears pink and carries a sword. 4,000 words.

The stories are:
The Christmas Dragon
We meet Prince Edwin and Princess Alice, royal siblings from the kingdom of Kenmore. They must rescue the village of Redfern from a dragon at Christmas.

Osa, Sedona, and the Frog
Two dogs encounter a frog in a Mud Run Swamp.

Price Edwin Meets the Grass Man
Prince Edwin meets a new friend and they rescue the dogs of Kenmore from an evil witch.

Jules and Nigel Save the Day
Orange cats Jules and Nigel save Grandpapa Jorge from a cannibalistic zombie squirrel.

Princess Alice and Lady Tali have a Tea Party
Unfortunately it's interrupted by some mean fairies.

Amazon 99 cents

Monday, December 16, 2013

Books I Will Never Read (and Why)

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a blog that listed books that the blogger had no intention of ever reading. I liked the idea, but the only reasoning the author gave for any of the books was "meh."  (I didn't save the link, nor do I even remember what blog it is, sorry.)  Here's a few books I have no intention of ever reading, and why.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Or anything else by Rand for that matter.  I tried reading it as a teenager but could only get a few pages in because I found the writing tedious, but my reasoning as an adult is that Rand's philosophy of pro-capitalism is just horrible.








Pet Cemetery by Stephen King
I don't handle dead cats very well at all. The beginning of the movie made me turn it off real quick, and I will probably never pick up the book. Also, all respects to Stephen King, I think he's a great story-teller, he writes wonderful short stories, and I've enjoyed every movie adaptation of his work I've ever seen, but his novel-writing style and I have never meshed.





Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer
I read the first book because it didn't seem fair to make fun of it without having at least tried, but I have no intention of ever reading the others.  It's really one of the worst written series that never deserved to get popular. Anti-feminist, melodramatic, obnoxious characters, and the absolutely terrible writing makes these books the worst books ever written.





Fifty Shades of Grey series by E. L. James
Ditto.









Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
I watched the 2008 mini-series and it traumatized me for life.  Most depressing story ever. My fiance hates movies with misery in them (this story is nothing but misery from beginning to end) so sometimes to torture him I follow him around all, "She was raped and she named the baby Sorrow and then it died!" And he hates me.






The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks has a very punch-able face, don't you think?  I actually know little about his work other than it's drippy christian romance, and that's enough for me to stay far, far away.

Friday, December 6, 2013

New Release: The Punishment (DL 3.5)

I wrote this short a few months ago when I was offering autographed copies of Deadly Liaisons volume 1. This
was slipped in with the books as a special gift. So if you ordered volume 1 directly from me, you already have a hard copy. If you want it digitally as well I'll make sure you get it for free.

That being said, this story is going to be free for a short time on Smashwords, probably until Monday. *Update: Have decided to leave it free for the month. Merry Christmas. It will be listed as 99 cents on Amazon unless you guys price match it. (Please do!)

I'm struggling along with book #5, which is entitled Daybreak.  I made a whopping 8,000 word start during nano, but it has a complicated plot complete with flashbacks and possibly a 3rd POV, which I havent done before in this series, making it a little bit different.  So you guys get this while you wait. I'll also be releasing something in January, but it's still up in the air what that something will be.

Buy at Smashwords (FREE)
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Amazon UK

Description:
After the disastrous events at Club Midnight Jamie-boy is angry at Damian for not letting him have his moment in the spotlight when reporters flock to New Franklin. Damian is angry at Jamie-boy for risking his life. Someone just might have to be punished. (Contains m/m sex, bondage, spanking)

Excerpt:
“I’m sorry.”
“Somehow I doubt that.” Damian walked towards Jamie-boy, looking dangerous, his eyes burning dark as he stared at him. Jamie-boy backed up until he fell into the couch and then Damian was straddling him, pinning his arms against the back cushions.
“Wh-what are you going to do?” Jamie-boy asked. The fear he felt was the terrifying thrill at the top of the roller coaster before going over the edge. Something was going to happen and it was going to hurt…but he was probably going to like it. His cock began to stir in his jeans and he knew Damian was aware of it.
“Not everything we play is a game,” Damian said, gripping Jamie-boy’s wrists tighter. “Someone died. More people could have. You are not allowed to put yourself in situations where you would be killed. It would annoy me greatly. But beyond that, you disobeyed my direct orders. Don’t you understand what you've done by aligning yourself with me? Can you possibly think I’m some fluffy, de-fanged, cuddly vampire?”
“I-I don’t think that.” But just as he knew Damian would never hurt him, he also knew Damian was law-abiding and just. He might not be de-fanged, but he did not kill people. Other vampires, maybe, but not people.
“I think you do.” Damian stood and pulled Jamie-boy to his feet by the front of his t-shirt, yanking him across the room and down the hall to the bedroom. Damian dropped him on the floor. “Clothes off, now."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Nanowrimo Post

art frm Allie Brosh, stolen with love
Thank god it's finally over. Thanksgiving came at the absolute worst time for Nano. I'm very much an introvert and Thanksgiving was 3 days of constant socialization for me, so at the end of every night I was a frazzled mess, and I knew I had to write over 10,000 words to make my word count during that time.  I also kept having to get up early. I havent had more than 5 hours of sleep a night in days.

Needless to say, my writing got really weird towards the end (oaky, it was weird pretty much all the way through). Lesbian fisting, furries, centaur cocks, snuff, and I wrote FOUR children's stories that probably arent fit for children because the squirrels are zombies, I have dudes kissing frogs, and the princess knows Krav Maga.

I wanted to work on "Deadly Liaisons #5: Daybreak" and a m/m steampunk novella called "Made to Love Him" and get both pieces done. Well, DL5 only hit 8,000 words and MtLH is at 15,000 words.  The rest of my word count is spread across ten (finished!) short stories. The kids stories are for my niece and nephew for xmas, four of them are already published under other names (they're not my usual style, but I have sold 10 copies so far) and two more need polishing. One of them might be pubbed under Leigh Wilder (lesbian fisting), but the other (the centaur sex) probably will not.

Below I have made a nifty info graphic illustrating how a semi-professional writer deals with Nanowrimo. (I make lots of pictures when I nano. It helps with the stress.)


Saturday, November 30, 2013

A List of Writers

Here is a list of writers that have inspired me over my nearly 20 years as a writer.  Some of them are on the list because of how they write, or what they write.  Some are on the list because of who they are and what they've done.  (Example: I dont like Stephen King's novels, but On Writing is the best book about writing I've ever read.) I even managed a poet in each list. (Very proud of myself for that.)

As a Kid:
Robin McKinley
Christopher Pike
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Joss Whedon (yes, tv writers count)
Paul Zindel
L. M. Montgomery
Nellie Bly (19th century journalist--I was a historical kid)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
M. E. Kerr
Judy Blume
Margaret Mahy
Patricia McLaughlin
Shel Silverstein
Terry Windling

As an Adult:
Jane Austen
Neil Gaiman
William Shakespeare
Kate Chopin
Charles de Lint
Warren Ellis
Stephen King
J K Rowling
Alan Moore
Stephanie Meyer & E L James (They proved to me that if their shit can make money, mine can too, and inspired me to seek publication.)





Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday Sale!

For Black Friday only I'll be selling all Deadly Liaisons titles for 99 cents each (except of course Drain Me Dry, which will remain forever free).  Save $4.00 when you buy the whole series!  If you're new to the series visit HERE for book trailer and blurbs.


Amazon Links:
(prices might not be in effect early in the day--waiting on amazon to process the changes)
Drain Me Dry

Club Midnight and Bloodlines are normally $2.99.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Release: Fancy and the Mechanical Man

I am notoriously good at missing deadlines. Almost all of the short stories I've self published are the result of finishing a story sometimes months after I've missed it.  This release, "Fancy and the Mechanical Man", is such a story.


I've been toying with a steampunk idea for years. There are so many versions of this universe floating around. I finally nailed down a few key elements of this world with this story. Decisions were made. I'm currently working on a m/m novella length story set in this universe, the city of Karstenhaven.  I'd also like to eventually put out a collection of stories from this universe, but until that happens, here you go.

This is a very short story, only 2,500 words, and I understand that it might be a little too pricey at 99 cents, which is why I've been putting off publishing it for a while. But I figure, its up to you guys to decide if you want to pay that much for it, not me.

Buy from Smashwords
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon.uk

Description:
Karstenhaven. The city of science, of wonder. The engineers of Karstenhaven could work miracles. But there were no miracles in Storyville, where the shine of the city turned to filth and the streets were populated with opium addicts and whores.

Fancy is a prostitute in Storyville.  When she opens her door one day to a young, attractive, rich man, she knows there's been some mistake. Men like that didn't visit women like her. But this man was different. He has a problem with the ladies, but his problem is Fancy's miraculous gain. He has a mechanical hand, and that hand can do amazing things.

Excerpt: 
Fancy sat on a chair in the middle of her flat, legs spread wide, an electric fan blowing warm air up her raised skirts. “If it gets any hotter my make-up is going to drip off,” she complained to the empty room. She had already stripped off her shoes, stockings, and pantaloons. “This heat,” she moaned. “I would do anything to get out of these clothes—”

A knock at the door interrupted her train of thought. “Like a customer,” she said, jumping up and quickly arranging her wine red skirts.

Her face fell a little as she opened the door, but she tried to hide her disappointment. “Are you even old enough to be here?” she asked her visitor.

The young man at her door scowled. “I could take my business elsewhere—”

“No,” she said, pulling him inside. “Wait.” She shut the door and studied the figure in front of her. His light brown linen jacket matched his hair and eyes. He wore a vest, top hat, and white gloves even in this scorching heat. A ton, on her doorstep? It wasn’t unheard of, no, but they normally were not so young, or good looking. The youth was slight, but obviously well-built even beneath the layers of clothes. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-two,” he said. Does he even need to shave?

“Yeah? When is your birthday?”

“August tenth. 1871,” he answered correctly.

“And you want my services? Can’t find a pretty young thing easily impressed by a bit of flash?”
“I am, Madam, at a disadvantage when it comes to wooing young ladies.” He unbuttoned one of his gloves and pulled it off. Fancy saw exactly what he meant. His right hand was smooth polished brass and steel instead of skin, muscle and bone.


“I understand,” she said, her voice softening. She reached out, taking the mechanical hand in both of her own. It was warm and buzzing with the whir of cogs and gears. The city of Karstenhaven was notorious for its mechanical abilities—far beyond the technical innovations of the rest of the world. This young man was not human or machine—he was somewhere in between.


Friday, November 1, 2013

It's Nanowrimo Time!


It's that time of the year again.  I've been doing Nanowrimo since 2003! Usually failing of course, but having fun all the same. The first year I won I was so happy...that book was full of problems and it still sits unfinished (and probably never will be) in my filing cabinet (not even sure if there's a digital copy still in existence).

Now, the smart thing to do would be to start my novel now that I'm 8 minutes into the month, but Procrastination is for winners in this game. :)


So as a veteran Nano participant, here's some tips for making it through the month.

1. Pacing yourself is for wimps. If you feel you can write 5,000 words a day, by all means try. Normally I only write about 2/3 of the days in a Nano month, pounding out thousands in one sitting and then staring at the TV for three days straight.

2. Procrastination is for winners. Sometimes you need a break, and that's okay. Let off some steam by playing mindless video games, or take the time to clean something that hasn't been cleaned in forever.

3. The following sites are your friends: Writeordie and Written?Kitten! Use them every day and you'll get your word count in.

4. Decide what's more important--your word count or writing something worthwhile.  Both are valid goals. A lot of people start churning out crackfic (yes, that's technical term) just to make their word count, but if you're trying to work on a serious piece and you get stuck in a rut, don't give in. Work on another project and keep going, or save your words in a separate document and start ripping it down to bare bones.  I usually count the words of two to five projects during Nano--even my blog. (I'm at 300 words so far! Now 309!)  This summer I did Camp Nano and I wrote a novella, a short story, and worked on two other projects as well.  It was a productive month for me.

5. Make writing friends.  It's a lot more fun to have someone to compare notes with or have word sprints, not to mention someone to race to the finish line.  Find a buddy on the Nano posting boards, twitter, or go to your local IRL write-ins. (I'm notoriously bad at this but I'm going to try this year.)

6. Try not to overeat. Makes you sluggish and sick. One nano I did 18,000 words over thanksgiving weekend eating nothing but turkey and Oreos and I did NOT feel good at the end of it. (That was the first year I won though.)

7. Have fun and do the best you can. Even if you don't hit 50k you'll still have the work you started, and that's better than nothing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Porn Redux


Here we go.  This train wreck involves UK store WHSmith and the UK branch of Kobo.  I'm linking to the Daily Mail article on the subject because its a more colorful read than some of the other news sources, and it will best help you muster up proper indignation. (Side note: how can they be "Porn is bad!" and yet go all "Hey look! Celebrity boobs!) Also, Kobo's statement is here. Basically, WHSmith has pulled down its entire website and Kobo UK has pulled all of its self-published titles because of the porn I was complaining about a few months back. They are specifically concerned about the "disgusting porn" like incest, rape, and bestiality. My concern earlier was that the badly written trash was "drowning out" my proper erotica.  Now my "proper erotica" is getting taken out of stores because people are offended by the badly written trash.

I'm on the side of the badly written trash here.

As you know I've recently decided to try my hand at some bestiality erotica of my own. (Out now! Buy it here!)  It isn't porn. There is a plot, a love story, and the good guys win.  I have also written a brother/brother incest piece called "Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools".  It is a drama about family and mental illness and it does indeed have graphic incest sex. So even though my work is well written and well plotted, does my subject matter mean my work will not be reinstated?  Will they decide other, more benign erotica or porn pieces fall into the same category simply because it's graphic sex?

I am not a bad person. I'm a very good person. I don't break the law, I don't hurt people, I donate to charities and I pay my taxes.  Yet I kinda like the idea of some incest and there are instances where bestiality and rape can be a turn on. Are these things wrong in real life? Absolutely. But this is fantasy here.

There is concern that reading or looking at sexual violence will make people go out and start raping babies, but that is not the case. Even if you like to read about it, you're not going to do it unless the inclination was already there. And as for pornography warping the minds of children and teenagers, a child that has been raised up properly will not grow up to be a rapist, no matter what kind of porn it happens to stumble onto.

You cannot punish or hold the creators of these works responsible for what the readers do.  Wanna prevent violent perverts from seeing images that might provoke them to attack? You'll have to remove 95% of entertainment--books, movies, video games, television, music, classic works of art, advertisements, fashion, sports--from society. We can watch Sesame Street or stare at paintings of fruit all fucking day long because those are the only things that will be left.

If it's not offensive it isn't art. And that is the bottom line. If a work of art isn't provoking some sort of emotional response from the reader/viewer/listener is doesn't mean a damn thing. It might as well not exist.  You can't keep us safe from art.  It's supposed to be dangerous.

It's supposed to be dangerous.

Now put my books back on the shelf, because I really need the 70 cents I'm probably going to lose over this fiasco.  I'm poor over here people!

Friday, October 11, 2013

"The Battle of the Dragon Slayer" (Update: Available!)

I feel like it's been forever since I released something. We're switching gears here from gay vampires to lesbian dragon slayers. Yeah, I'm not at all consistent.  I started writing this as a joke reaction to the dinosaur porn chicks, but only a few paragraphs in I knew I had a story that was actually real literature (or as close to real literature as my writing gets) so really I was dead serious when writing this...girl/girl/dragon erotica.

I mean it. It's a sweet coming of age lesbian romance with a climactic scene of filthy dragon sex.

I don't condone IRL bestiality in any way, but this is fiction. It isn't real, so when I say anything goes, I pretty much mean it. If you're into torture gore fests, as long as you're not doing it in real life or supporting those who do, watch all the weird Anime you want.  If incest is what gets you off, don't go having sex with your brother, but by all means read about fictional people who do.  

So yeah. Dragon!sex. I wrote it and I'm not ashamed of it. It's a really good story that happens to contain lots of dragon cock.  I need to sell 12 copies of it to make back what I paid for the cover image. Be a pal. Give it a try.  

The Battle of the Dragon Slayer
Contains graphic f/f/dragon sex.  6,000 word short.

*This title goes live Tuesday*
Available through Smashwords.
Available on Amazon.

Description:
The village of Breakwell Mountain has been plagued by a dragon for centuries. Every year a virgin must be sacrificed to save the village from certain doom. This year Adelie turns eighteen and she must draw lots with the other village girls, but Adelie has a secret. Deeply in love with the betrothed Bella, she knows there is no place for her in the small town. She has decided to sacrifice herself to assure Bella's safety, her final loving gesture to a girl who can never love her in return.

The day of the sacrifice a band of gypsies appear, claiming the ability to slay the dragon. Gypsy prostitute Rohesia is a new dragon slayer. She's been training since her youth to do what few can imagine--screwing a dragon into submission before stabbing it through the heart. 

Armed with a sword, a knife, and a big jar of lube, Rohesia and Adelie take on the dragon together.  Adelie discovers there are worse things in the world than losing your virginity to a dragon, and that love, acceptance, kinky sex and happily ever after is only a gypsy caravan away.

Excerpt:
The moon rose higher, lighting up the clearing. A figure approached Adelie. It was Rohesia, the gypsy girl. “What are you doing here?” Adelie asked.  “I told you, this is my sacrifice.”

“You’re sacrificing yourself for a woman who doesn't love you.”

“I know.”

“Killing yourself isn't the smartest of options.”

“I can never be happy. I might as well make my life count for something. Now go away.”

“What if I told you that we can slay this dragon and live?”

“I wouldn't believe you. And it wouldn't change a thing. I know what I feel for Bella is unnatural, but slaying a dragon won’t make it go away.”

Rohesia grinned. “No, but you are not unnatural. You aren't the only woman who loves like a man.”

“What?” The dragon disappeared from her mind and Adelie looked at Rohesia with curiosity. “But you lay with men, don’t you? You’re a whore.”

“A whore who also fucks women and slays dragons. Do you want my help or not?” 

Overhead a roar like the rushing ocean announced the dragon’s arrival—a dark splotch in the sky that circled and grew larger—a giant, fire-breathing creature larger than any horse or bull in the village. “We didn't come here by chance you know,” Rohesia said, shouting over the roar as the wind whipped at the wheat field behind her. “Granny heard your village had a dragon problem. She was a dragon slayer when she was young, you see, and so was my mother. Now it’s my turn to take up the sword. To save girls.”

“Girls like me?”

“I have a feeling you won’t need to be saved.”

The dragon was close enough to smell, of brimstone and musk. Its scales gleamed of gold in the moonlight. Adelie was too frightened to move, except to take Rohesia’s hand. “What do we do?”

“Nothing yet. Pretend to be the docile little virgin you think you are. We can’t kill him until he’s in his lair.”

“Why not?”

“You can’t kill a dragon while it’s awake. Everyone knows that.”

“And you expect that we’ll survive long enough for it to fall asleep?”

“Yes.”

“Have you done this before?”


“Not even remotely.  Here we go!” The dragon landed with a heavy thud in front of them, it’s tail thwacking the ground....

"The Battle of the Dragon Slayer" is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Writing Gay Sex (A Ramble)

A few weeks ago I was asked to be a guest on the Gay Sex Cast podcast with Dean Sage, Lichen Craig, and their new host, Benny.  (Link is HERE.)  This was really exciting for me because I got a chance to address my target audience with my for realz voice, and talk a little bit about my series and other topics of interest (fanfic and Anne Rice).

One of the questions I was asked was, "why gay sex?" Which is an obvious question to ask a woman. Some people seem completely blown away with the idea of a woman writing about sex between two men, and question why we would even like it.  (This answer is quite simple: for the same reason men like to watch two women get it on.)

The thing is, non-standard sexual attraction doesn't get much of a reaction out of me either way. So you're a dude who likes dudes. So you like to get it on while dressed up in cat ears or are sexually attracted to cars. Whatever, you know?  As long as no one is getting hurt, do what you want.  I write m/m sex because it turns me on and gets me off. Het sex and f/f sex does too. If you look at my bibliography I'm all over the board.

I identify as bisexual, though some people suggest I need to use the label "pansexual" to include trans people. I'm not comfortable with the idea of separating transgendered people from the rest of us. If you ID as a dude, you're a dude. End of discussion, regardless of whats in your pants.  Anyway, because my sexuality is all-encompassing, I really see all types of sexuality as, well, normal.

I write gay sex because I'm good at it. Because people like my characters. Because I think there needs to be more gay and bisexual characters in fiction. I write gay sex because it's fun. Yep. That's why I do it. 'Cause it's fun.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How I Became a Writer

This is probably the most personal post you will ever see on here, and also one of the longest. Apologies for writing a whole book on the subject...

Asking someone why they became a writer is an easy question to answer. "I've always loved reading" and "I love being creative" or "I like playing God in fantasy worlds."  "Books were my only friends as a kid." "Writing helps me express myself." "The story was there and it needed to come out."

These are the most likely responses you'll get from writers. They are also 100% why I became a writer.  But the "why" is easy.  "How" is a lot harder.

I started writing my first romance novel when I was 12, on a family vacation to Virginia Beach.  I was a lonely and weird child (I'm still weird, but not nearly as lonely now) and I had a hard time connecting with anyone. I took an omnibus edition of Sherlock Holmes with me (totally light beach reading for a pubescent girl), but what I really wanted was a love story. So I got some paper and started writing.

It was bad. Terribly bad. Looking at my spelling you would assume I was dyslexic.  I basically took the plot of another book I'd read that year and stuck it on the beach was writing on. The characters were laughably Mary Sue-ish. I even named the hero after the boy I had a crush on.  I gave up about 80 hand-written pages in (damn good for a 12 year old I think).

I wrote a tragi-comedy about a kid who goes swimming and is drowned by a ghost living in a lake.  I wrote a few revenge stories about some bullies at school. I still have all of these, by the way. Hopefully in the future, when I am studied by scholars my juvenilia will be discussed at length.  I wrote a couple things for school that were considered good enough to be read aloud at morning assembly. It was a discovery period. They were original stories that copied the styles of books I read. Lots of Christopher Pike-esque stuff full of murder and monsters.  (He was my favorite.)

When my mom upgraded our family computer I got the old one for my room.  That was exciting--a computer all to myself. Most of the kids I knew didn't have a family computer at all, let alone one of their very own. Who knows if I would have kept writing without it.  I didn't learn how to spell until I had a computer in my room, that's for damn sure. I felt like a real writer behind that computer.

While at my computer I had to wear an ugly grey cardigan, stick pencils in my hair, and drink lots of tea.  Because that's what writers did.  I knew I was going to become rich and famous, and have an apartment in Manhattan with a white cat. I was going to publish my first book before the age of 23, because that was how old Christopher Pike was when he published his first book.  (Reality: suburbs in Ohio writing in my kitchen, but I did have a white cat until she passed away recently.)

I learned how to write in high school writing Buffy fanfic. Say what you will about fanfiction, but when you're copying someone else's work you start paying very close attention to characters. You have to learn what makes them different from each other, their motivations, their secret pain.  You want to get it just right.   Plot also becomes a focus.  Whatever you're writing has to be something that hasn't been done on the show before.  You want to be original, to stick out from all of the other Buffy/Angel romance fests.  For the record, the "Gem of Amarrah" story arc in season 4?  I wrote it as fanfic back in season 2.

With fanfic it's important to get the tone right. With Buffy you need to be quirky and fun over darkness. In Harry Potter you need a level of juvenile angst--but not over the top like Twilight.  In Jane Austen you better get the language right above all else.  If you only write one genre your entire life, style isn't something you have to think about.  But I like to jump around and fanfic became an invaluable teaching tool in learning different styles. Writing a story that sounded like the original was very important to me. Language is different. Tone changes.

I spent about six years total writing almost nothing but fanfic. Buffy, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and dozens of other books and movies. Then I discovered Nanowrimo. (That's National Novel Writing Month, in case you've been living under a rock.) I wrote a 35k word novella--the longest finished piece I had ever written.  It was terrible. Naive and kind of obnoxious. I was a 19 year old mostly straight girl desperately in love with a lesbian at the time, so you can imagine the politically incorrect trainwreck that resulted.

Nanowrimo is great for learning how to write because it makes you write. It encourages having fun with your book, but it also encourages diligence. Finishing is so very, very important, and something not a lot of young or beginning writers manage. Hell, I've been at this for more than half my life and i still have more unfinished pieces than finished ones. 

I published my first professional story at the age of 20 in an erotica anthology. I will not tell you where or under what name, because it is terrible.  I was trying to write erotica when I'd only been having sex for a year and I had the emotional maturity of a potato. For a few months after selling the story I was elated, especially once I got my $50 check and 2 contributor's copies.  I was a real writer. I'd made it.

Once the excitement wore off I read the book and hated every story in it. They were badly written. They were juvenile....and so was my story.  

Ouch.  

So after that I decided to "work on my writing" for a while before trying to publish anything again.  I started reading about writing a lot.  I got magazines, The Writer and Writer's Digest from the library by the armfuls.  I learned that editing involved more than checking your spelling.  I took literature classes, film criticism classes, and creative writing classes. The other students didn't seem to appreciate my work (there were an awful lot of Christians in my class) but the professor told me I would be in bookstores one day.  

(Side note: Its amazing how much encouragement from a teacher can have an effect on a person, even as an adult. No matter how many people tell me how good my workis, my teachers' opinions have always mattered the most. If you are a teacher, no matter what you teach, if you see something special in a student make sure they know.)

I learned how much money a writer gets for a first advance. (Almost nothing.) And I learned how often those first books never sell.  I learned about slush piles and agents and that sometimes your book sat with editors for months without a reply and they all hated simultaneous submissions.  I got realistic.  I kept writing, but publishing was no longer the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Fast-forward, 2007.  I mostly wrote for my classes (going to school part-time it took me 10 years to earn my degree) and still wrote fanfic.  I discovered a new form of writing--online serials. It wasn't really new. Lot of books were written as serials in magazines as far back as the 1800's. Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote novels this way.  Stephen King used the same concept to write The Green Mile. (It was originally published as a 6 part novella series.)

These serials were like the long-form fanfics I loved to read and write, except they were originals written on blogs, and the authors had found a way to monetize them. Some only relied on ad revenue. Others would only post new chapters when donations were made. Some posted bonus chapters in exchange for donations.  The authors interacted with the readers as they wrote the stories.  All of this appealed to me. I wrote four of them between 2007 and 2010.  I didn't make a lot of money doing this, around $600 total, give or take. Because of the method I wrote them in (mostly by the seat of my pants), the stories are all deeply flawed.  But these stories were definite confidence boosters and were the first time I considered self-publishing a valid option.

Too bad I lost my boyfriend, my job, my house, and my cats in the years between 2008 and 2011.  I got a little depressed. A lot depressed. I don't need to talk about it here, but it was really, really bad.

When life got a little less horrible I knew it was time to put away the fanfic and the serials and start becoming a writer "for real."  I got a few shorts published in some anthologies, and 50 Shades of Grey showed me that there is a market for self-published porn.  And here I am.  I'm not making a lot of money, but I'm making some, and as long as I keep at it I will soon be making more.

My writing has changed a lot between that first published story ten years ago and today.  Living as an adult for ten years has definitely shifted my outlook on love, relationships, and the world at large. I'm not writing silly adolescent fantasies anymore more. Maturity in writing comes not only from living to an older age, but from writing through that whole life as well. Learning, failing, succeeding, it makes a difference on the page.

The little girl I started out as, lonely on the beach, wrote a disaster of a book. But each year she got a little bit better. The differences between how I wrote at 20, and 25, and now in my 30's are amazing. Everyone's first book is a disaster, even if they become world-famous with it and make millions of dollars.  It's a long journey from that first book to something truly great. 

The more you write, the more your work changes. My books are different from what they used to be...imagine what they'll be in another ten years.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ramble About Reading Habits, Past & Present (with graphs)

Because I was curious, I looked up the statistics on Who Reads.  The top Google search result was this article from the Pew Research Center. 19% of Americans NEVER pick up a book.  Most Americans are either occasional readers, (32% say they read 1-5 books a year) or moderate to heavy readers (26%).  Look, here's a graph:


I'm not the least bit surprised that the number of people who never read books has gone up since 1978.  There's a lot more out there to distract you. In those days you had 3 black and white channels on TV and portable music was one of these things: 



(For the record, while I am too young for 8-tracks my dad still had his collection and we had a 8-track stereo in the garage when I was growing up. When I was a kid my portable music was an AM/FM radio shaped like Super Mario...I was too poor to have a proper Walkman.)  Back to books! The point is, people were so bored they didn't have any choice to but read. Now we have Netflix and Youtube and cable packages with 500 channels and the ability to watch TV shows from other countries when we get bored of our own. In this day and age we can and do spend hours a day watching cat videos on the internet.  

It's amazing any of us read.

I was an introverted child. My mother says I was shy, but the truth is, I thought people were boring and tiresome. Books were better. Once I really got the hang of this reading thing I stopped talking and I was forced by many an adult to put down the book and go outside and play with the other kids. In the summer between the 4th and 5th grade I read 113 books (I kept a list).  As a teen I borrowed the 2nd Harry Potter from a teacher in 2nd period and returned it to him, finished, at the end of 8th period. My record was 3 books in one 8 hour school day. (No, I didn't pay much attention in class--how did you guess?)

But then came the internet. My family got the internet early (especially for a bunch of poor people, but my mom liked credit cards) in about 1996. I started using heavily in 1997 when I discovered Buffy fanfic. I was still reading, but fewer books were being consumed.

Then streaming video and downloading became a thing. It was easier to watch a story than to read one, and cheaper too (books are expensive to people who are not accustomed to $6 coffees every morning). Also, the more I write, the more my internal editor starts to criticize the books I do pick up (guys, I'm secretly an asshole).  What it really boils down to is, it's easier to do something else than read. Part of the reason I read so much as a kid was because I was stuck at school for 8 hours a day with people I hated. In the summers an obnoxious woman with horrible children baby-sat me and my siblings, and the best way to get through every terrible day was to hide in another world.

I can see why mothers are big readers. A surprising number of fast-food employees read--a friend of mine works at Taco Bell and the women who work there pass around books like they're joints.  We read to escape something unbearable, and when things get a little more bearable (when you like the people you are around and are not stuck in a desk all day long) you find other things to do other than read.  Books are escapes, and if you don't need to escape...you just don't read as much.

Now, at 30, I've dropped from the 3% who read over 50 books a year to the low end of the 26% who read 11-50.  I probably read around 20 books a year, and as an author that is just terrible.  But other things keep getting in the way.

I read when I'm depressed. I read when my fiance is out of town and I'm lonely. I read when I'm on the bus and dont feel like writing. I read when I was at work and I had writers block. I read in line at the grocery store (I get line rage if I don't keep busy--it's not pretty).   But other than that...I never seem to find the time. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Deadly Liaisons PRINT Pre-order


Info about the Deadly Liaisons series can me found HERE. (Watch the book trailer--I paid $20 for it.)

This is the ordering page for Deadly Liaisons print volume 1.  The book is 168 pages and consists of the first three stories in the Deadly Liaisons series.

The pre-order period for autographed copies is from now to 9-15. They do not cost any more than non-signed copies. On 9-15 I will order the books from the printer and ship them to you as soon as I get them. *Update: I've ordered a dozen books. I have a few extras if you would like an autographed copy. Buttons to order are at the bottom of the page. The book costs $7.50. Packing and shipping will be $3.25 if you order an autographed copy.

The book is being printed by Amazon Create Space.  The reason I went with this printer is not because I feel they turn out the best product (they dont), but because I want to be able to offer this book to the reader at the lowest cost possible. Createspace is cheap, but it's not perfect. While the book is well put together (its not going to fall apart) and the interior is almost perfect, the cover is not ideal. It looks great from a few feet away but slightly blurry close up (still completely readable though). The spine is also not perfectly aligned to the cover art. I have spoken to Createspace at length and fought with my graphics for hours and what the solution boils down to is, "use our covers if you want it to look good." I think I will take imperfect graphics over a generic/badly designed cover.

Sadly other printers cost more than twice as much per copy, meaning if I wanted any money at all from my books I would have to charge you an arm and a leg, and then only like, one person would buy my book and I will have wasted god knows how many hours designing this thing. :-) So I hope you will forgive my imperfect cover, so beautifully designed but poorly executed.

If you are a bookseller and would like to buy multiple copies, send me an email (leighwilder000@gmail.com) and we can work out a discount price.  Otherwise, order below:


Autographed Copy (USA only. Shipping late September) $7.50 + $3.25 s&h
Non-autographed copy (shipping now) $7.50 + $3.49 s&h
CREATESPACE

Non-autographed copy @ Amazon main store $7.13 + s&h
AMAZON  (note--I'll make more $ per copy if you buy directly from me or Createspace.  The book is available at overseas amazon stores as well--just do a search for "Leigh Wilder Deadly Liaisons")



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vampires to Inspire

Guess what I've never seen? The Vampire Diaries. Or Trueblood. I'm not much of a fan for any vampire movie that's come out in the last ten years either, when it comes to that. I take my inspiration from the vampires of my youth, so to speak. I read all of LJ Smith's vampire books, and Christopher Pike's, and the lovely Anne Rice. I memorized The Lost Boys and you should see my Buffy scrap book, which I carried religiously for 4 years of high school.  Below is a list of vampires I consider the cream of the crop, which have definitely shaped how I write vampires.

None of these vampires are guilt-ridden, non-murdering, pitiful drama-queens
 like a lot of other vampires you may know. They have accepted their undead status and glorify in it.


Angelus (Buffy)
Not Angel--he's a pansy. Angelus.  No one does sadistic the way Angelus does.  Fond of torturing women into insanity before turning them into vampires, Angelus loves mind games. He is best known for horrifying audiences by killing Jenny Calender and traumatizing Giles with her dead body.  Also for turning Spike into a cuckold by getting it on with his lady.



David (The Lost Boys)
Keifer Sutherland plays a vampire that just wants to have fun and kill shit. He is the original Teenaged Vampire, a real embodiment of youth and immortality. Best known for practical jokes involving maggots, hanging out with a bunch of dudes at the beach and pulling off a mullet.  (No, this movie isn't gay at all....)  David takes having fun with your lack of conscience and immortality to new levels.


Claudia (Interview with the Vampire)
Played by 12 year old Kirsten Dunst in the movie Interview with the Vampire, this character was only like, 6 years old in the books when she was turned into a vampire. She takes creepy and wrong to new levels in her relationship with Louis, which is why I love her. Best known for keeping corpses as pets and the repetitive murder of her sire (unfortunately it's Lestat, and the man cannot be killed).  Claudia makes you feel not quite right about things even when you love her.




Evil Vampire Willow (Buffy)
AU Willow plays the role of psychotic sexual master so very, very nicely. Her one track mind of torture and fun are an inspiration to all that know her. Best known for being bisexual (and very into the idea of having sex with herself) and her one-liners like "Bored now" and "In my world there are people in chains and we ride them like ponies."  You can't get any kinkier than this and get away with it on television.




Dracula (Bram Stoker's Dracula)
Gary Oldman really brought sexy back to a tired tale. Dracula is the longest lasting literary vampire to date (fun fact--the first literary vampire, Carmilla, was a lesbian) and the vampire on which all vampires are based. They just don't keep making him movies because he's public domain--he was the first "sexy" monster after all. Best known for keeping multiple wives and stalking teenage girls.  He is classy and classic.



Lestat (Interview with the Vampire)
Lestat is a vampire among vampires, the most powerful, impossible to kill and impossible to resist.  Despite being only a few hundred years old he's fed off of every ancient and important vampire in his universe. The biggest Mary Sue ever written. Not that anyone cares.  Best known for being overtly gay, turning his mother into a vampire (Freud would have a field day), and becoming a rock star. Lestat is the embodiment of flamboyancy and everything that's right about being a vampire.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Copyright Post

Copyright. The fanfic writer's worst enemy. (And, I suppose, the plagiarists, but they are assholes and we don't like them.)  For the record, I am no expert on the subject, I've just read about it a lot when I do things like decide to write Alice and Wonderland porn. If you're not 100% sure about the legalities of using something in your work either find someone who IS an expert...or maybe let the idea rest for now.

This article is based on US copyright. I'm not familiar with the copyright laws in other countries, but I think most are very similar.

Basic Rules
Works created prior to 1923 are considered public domain. Any works produced after that year are considered public domain 70 years after the death of the original creator.

What Can be Copyrighted?
Any work of art, literature, or music. Titles, names of characters, words, and phrases can not be copyrighted, meaning if you want to name your book after your favorite Beatles song, you can. These things can be trademarked though, so make sure you double-check.  A specific arrangement of a song, as far as I know, cannot be copyrighted.

How to Copyright
You don't have to "purchase" a copyright anywhere. As soon as you create something it legally belongs to you. The best way to assure that you can legally prove a piece belongs to you is to have it date stamped in some way. In the old days the best way to do this was to mail your manuscript to yourself and not open the envelope, that way you would have a sealed document dated by the government.  Nowadays we have computers. When you make a file the date it was made is encrypted into it.  (You can email it to yourself if you want too--also great for keeping backups.)

Public Domain
Works written prior to 1923 are public domain, as well as works where the copyright has lapsed. These works can be used and abused without fear of being sued.  This means you can re-write as much classic literature into zombie porn as you want and no one can do anything except tell you its in bad taste. This applies to art, music, and film as well, meaning you can use these things for covers and promotional material with no problems. (Mind you, while a song might be in public domain, a specific recording may not be.)

Creative Commons
This is a piece of work (literature, art, music, film) that is NOT in the public domain, but is still legal to use, usually with restrictions, like you have to attribute the artist or you're not allowed to use it to make money. When in doubt, check with the original creator.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Release: Bloodlines

Bloodlines will be live in about 24 hours.  As soon as it is available I will post links.  IS LIVE!!!

BUY IT HERE!

Love, love, love this story. It has the feels for reals. And check out my lovely book trailer for the series.

As you know, book 1, Drain Me Dry is free in many markets (click here for a list). As a treat I'm reducing the price of Addicted to the Bite to 99 cents on Amazon and it will be FREE on Smashwords from the 15th to the 22nd.


Bloodlines Synopsis:
Damian owes his immortal life to his sire Marcello, and now he owes him money too.  To pay his debts Damian must board the Bloodlines Cruise Ship, which will sail to international waters where there is no law against turning humans into vampires. He must share his blood with one of Marcello's 'guests'--humans paying large amounts of money for the chance at immortality. Damian doesn't want to turn a stranger into a vampire. He doesn't know what he wants.

Jamie-boy is pissed off. Damian refuses to admit his love for Jamie-boy, and he begins to question whether or not it exists at all. To make it worse, Damian has been taken away by his beautiful sire for ten whole days. Jamie-boy doesn't give himself a chance to feel alone though, because an incubus named Trent is more than willing to be his new friend.

Loyalties and love are tested in this latest installment of the Deadly Liaisons series.

(Contains m/m sex, BDSM, violence)

Excerpt:
Summer was coming to an end and the beginnings of fall chill stirred in the air once the sun went down. Jamie-boy was wearing a pair of very short cut-offs and a baggy black sweatshirt. He liked to wear as little clothing as possible around Damian because he liked the reaction he got from the old vampire. Somehow it was like the era of shorts and mini-skirts had never happened in Damian’s mind, because Jamie-boy often caught him staring at scantily clad people in public.

They walked up together. Jamie-boy was proud to be at the side of the city’s most important vampire. Everyone loved Damian, and he belonged to him. Everyone they passed in the bar would stop to look at them and say hello—sometimes Damian spent half the night just greeting people.

“Evening Damian,” the vampire working the door, Veronica, said.

“Everything going well tonight?” he asked.

“Lover’s Walk was late, but they’re setting up now,” she said, referring to the first decent band Damian had ever managed to book. As she and Damian spoke Jamie-boy’s attention wandered. His eyes scanned the street and grew wide at the large antique limousine driving towards them. It ignored the curb, pulling up onto the sidewalk in front of the door. Jamie-boy jumped and Damian pulled him back out of the way as it rolled to a stop feet from where they stood.

The vehicle had a giant chrome grill and round, buggy looking headlights resting on the front fenders. A large silver swan rested primly at the end of the hood. It was the kind of limousine Damian would ride in if Damian rode in a limo, which he never would. Grand displays were not a part of Damian’s personality. To Jamie-boy it was part of what made him so comfortable to be around. He could be ostentatious if he wanted to, but he wasn't. Aside from his car and the occasional suit worn to the bar he looked like everyone else, only his calm authority raising him a step above the other vampires in New Franklin.

The driver got out and opened the back door. A pinstriped leg stepped out of the limo, followed by the rest of a three piece suit and a silver-topped cane. The person connected to all this grandeur had to be a vampire, otherwise he was a kid younger than Jamie-boy with a real superiority complex.

The vampire was about Jamie-boy’s height, slim in the well-fitted suit and blood red tie. His dark chestnut hair fell loose around his shoulders and only his clothing gave away his gender. His face was androgynous and perfect with full lips, high cheekbones and dark eyes like pools of ink. He was too perfect to be real, beyond the celestial beauty Jamie-boy thought of when he looked at Damian. If Damian was an angel, this vampire was a god.

Jamie-boy glanced up at Damian. His blue eyes were locked onto the new stranger, who seemed to float across the sidewalk like he weighed nothing. “Damian?” Jamie-boy questioned. His vampire lover ignored him.

“Marcello. What are you doing here?” Damian demanded of the stranger.

"What? No 'hello, I missed you so?' I'm hurt."

"No you aren't," Damian. "Seriously, what are you doing here?" Jamie-boy looked at Damian, at the stranger and back to Damian again. His gaze on Marcello (whoever he was) was intense and unwavering. The stranger only raised his eyebrows, making Damian sigh with the same exasperation he often gave Jamie-boy. "Fine. Hello. I missed you so."

"That's better. So this is what my money paid for?" he asked, looking over the front of the building and it's shabby, smoke-stained bricks. Jamie-boy immediately felt defensive of the bar he had grown to love. The front door was beautiful heavy oak and the stained glass windows glowed with light from within. He thought it looked old-fashioned and lovely. This vampire didn't seem impressed.

"Damian," Jamie-boy said, grabbing at his hand.

"Not now Jamie-boy. Go inside, I'll be right there."

Jamie-boy pulled away, hurt. Veronica gave him a sympathetic nod as he went inside. He didn't like knowing that Damian was often with other people (humans mostly, as a precursor to a meal), but he always knew that he was the favorite. He spent more nights with Damian than without him, even if it was just a short hello before he went in to work the night shift at the Taco King. But this Marcello was different. Damian watched him like he was everything. Maybe he was. “It’s nothing,” Jamie-boy tried to convince himself. “Just because he’s so beautiful doesn't mean anything.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good Art, Bad Art, and Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. The guy in the
boxers is Chad--he looks just like Jamie-boy, for the record.
Last Monday I decided, as a depressed crazy person, to do something properly crazy for once in my life.  I bought a non-refundable bus ticket I couldn't afford and went to NYC to see Amanda Palmer play at Lincoln Center.  I went by myself and slept on the couch of a complete stranger that night and the scariest part was deciding to do it. Once I was there it wasn't scary at all.

But this isn't a "look at my amazing vacation" blog post. I do have a point.  I'm even going to talk about writing eventually.

First, if you don't know who Amanda Palmer is, you need to fix that.  She's kinda rock-pop-cabaret-everything. She plays the piano and the ukulele, often only 1/2 clothed. She doesn't believe in shaving her pits.  Her music is beautiful and emotional and true. Some people find her off-putting because she's so brash and wears her heart on her sleeve (and they don't understand what she's trying to say), but I wish I could do what she does and be the kind of person that she is.




So the point. Right.  At the show Amanda sang two songs that I want to talk about.  The first one is not one of my favorites by any means, but it makes a point. She wrote it as a response to the existence of Lady Gaga a few years ago. Its called "Gaga, Palmer, Madonna: A Polemic."   In this song Amanda talks about how "art is great: you can do anything--you can make pop music, you can paint ducks" and that "art is simple, just ask Andy Warhol." As a rule I don't like 95% of pop music and I think Andy Warhol is kind of...weird and unoriginal (I've seen one of his pieces IRL--it was giant wooden boxes painted like Brillo Pad packaging and I was all "I don't think he's trying to say anything....") BUT what it breaks down to is--Andy Warhol or Lady Gaga, they are artists, and while they might not be what I consider good artists, that's not really the point. 


The other song I want to talk about is fucking amazing and one of my favorites.  It's called "Ukulele Anthem" and it talks about Sid Vicious and John Lennon and how if Lizzie Borden had been able to express herself musically she wouldn't have axed her parents.  The song is about making art, and how it enriches the world because making art is more important than anything. "It takes about an hour to teach someone to play the ukulele, about the same as teaching someone to build a standard pipe bomb--you do the math!" she sings at one point.  Art is important. Art is the whole reason we are people instead of animals, and this song is saying, it doesn't matter if you can't make art well--the point is you need to do it.  

Good art takes years of practice, dedication, skill and talent. But making bad art is fine too, because it's all about passion and being alive.  "Stop pretending art is hard: limit yourself to three chords and do not practice daily," Amanda suggests. She's right--good art is hard, but art doesn't have to be good to be worthwhile, and even if you don't have the time or the inclination to dedicate every moment of your life to mastering something doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Ten years ago I had a great singing voice. Now I don't spend 2 hours a day in choir rehearsals so it's not so great anymore, but I should still sing and not be ashamed of singing in public (mostly I sing only when I'm home alone) because I love to sing even though it's bad.

I admit that I can be mean sometimes. I bitch about bad writing a lot, and while it's fine that I don't like it, sometimes I say these bad artists (especially Stephanie Meyer and E L James) shouldn't be creating their art.  And that's wrong. 

They should be able to write as much bad sparkle porn as they want.  I'd rather I didn't have to see it, and I sure as hell am going to be mad and jealous when they make millions of dollars with their books while I make $75 a month, but to say they shouldn't do it is mean.  Make as much bad art as you want, and if, for some bizarre reason the world wants to see it, good for you. And good does come out of bad art.  For example, when Twilight came out all of L. J. Smith's excellent teenage vampire romances from the '90's went back into print and she got a bunch of TV show money with Vampire Diaries.

And when E. L. James' terrible self-published porn went big I looked at my own work and thought, "Fuck. I'm 50 times better than this--I need to get out there and share my work too." And now I get $75 per month that I didn't have before doing what makes me happy--writing sappy gay vampire erotica. And people love it and tell me they love it and they feel for my characters and that makes me feel so good inside. Because I'm a depressed crazy person and being an artist is the only thing that has ever mattered to me.

So I'm going to try to not make fun of bad art so much. It's not fair and it's mean. Make as much bad art as you want. It's healthy and liberating and free.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting it Free: Marketing and a Plea

When Drain Me Dry went free a while back in the US I talked about how having a free book on Amazon helps with sales. This is still very true. Will comment about that in just one second.  First off, book 1 of the Deadly Liaisons series is FREE for everyone to try.  You can get it for free in the following places:

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon Germany
Smashwords (carries Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and more)

Now, I REALLY wanna get this title listed for free in the UK, but I need your help.  Amazon works with a price matching system. When multiple people report a lower price elsewhere online they will match it on the main page. I'm sure the number of people is very small because I don't have many readers in Canada and it went free there this month. If just a handful of you would go to the Amazon UK page, scroll down to the "tell us about a lower price" link (under the book/file stats) and give them this link right here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/241395 I and all of the gay vampire fans in the United Kingdom would be eternally grateful.  I really would like "Drain Me Dry" to be free there by the time "Bloodlines" goes up for sale in a few weeks.

Now, for the authors/writers reading this page, let me tell you about my experiences with offering Drain Me Dry for free now that I've been doing it for a few months.

I get about a 10% return on all those free stories I give away (20% in Germany--they really like me there).  I give away about 500 copies of Drain Me Dry every month and sell around 50-60 copies of "Addicted to the Bite" and "Club Midnight."  It's totally worth it, given that Drain Me Dry is an 8,000 word short story I wrote last September.

(Indie fantasy author Lindsay Buroker has had great success with this method, btw. Check out her stuff here.)

As a reader I don't want the first four chapters of something--I want an entire, neatly wrapped package.  I feel the author is a kind, generous person and it makes me much more likely to go read more, and spend money on said author. If you're writing a series, I think it definitely helps to make the first book free. Writing a shorter intro story is also a great way to step into a series (while "Drain Me Dry" is a short story, "Addicted to the Bite is a novelette at 12k words and all of the books from "Club Midnight" on will be at least 20k) or even a nice intro to a stand alone novel. A free short which directly ties to a full-length novel would be a great way to pick up readers.

So, free stuff is great.  And UK readers should go whine to Amazon for me. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tools for Tweeting

Not exactly a writing or story related post today, but some of the tools I left out of the Tools for Indie Writers post a few weeks back were social networking tools, and I wanted to share what I use to keep up my Twitter account.

Before I started on this indie author business last year I had a twitter, but I didn't know what to do with it. The only people I followed were Neil Gaiman and my fiance and I never tweeted. But no one will seek out your stuff unless they know you exist, so I got online, learned how to use Twitter effectively, and here I am, making enough money to pay TWO bills every month. (Woo!)

I like Twitter over other social networking options for a few reasons. A gajillion people are on it, for one. For another, it doesn't seem to care how pornographic my posts get. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you know I can get...interesting.  It's easy to use and limiting one's posts to 140 characters is great for the short attention spans of the 21st century.

The best part was getting to the point where I needed tools to manage my twitter account. Most twitter management programs require you to pay them money, but as long as you don't have more than one account I've discovered it's easy to cover your bases with just two management sites.

Manage Flitter
Their paid membership covers all kinds of stuff, but if you don't want to go that route, this is the best site I've found for finding and unfollowing your unfollowers (allowing you to free up space for new followers). It also weeds out spam accounts. Sadly that's about all you can do with the free account, but it allows you to bulk unfollow and while it limits the number of unfollows you have per day you can unlock more with little issue.

Social Oomph
This is the site's shtick is being able to post across multiple types of social media...with a paid account. It has a lot of options for free though. I mainly use it to schedule tweets for later. Back when I had a job I used to work a lot of double shifts w/o access to the internet. I didn't like my presence being gone all day long, so I would write out posts in advance.  You can schedule as many tweets as you want ahead of time with this service's free account, and it also offers a variety of statistics, a URL shortener, and some follower management with the free account.

And those two sites are the only things I use to manage my Twitter account. I've found facebook to be mostly useless and tedious. I have a facebook page, but I pretty much ignore it.  Ditto Google+ (though I get more traffic there than on Facebook). I'm considering the possibilities of Pinterest right now, but I still havent decided if I like it or not. I'm not active on Goodreads because I find the site design tedious.  Twitter. It's where its at.