It’s Not Just For Virgins Anymore

No sooner do I start publishing again when Amazon sends everyone an email talking about changes to the KDP Select program.  For those of you who are readers, not Amazon publishers, KDP Select is the program authors can join (exclusively, meaning no publishing of those particular books outside the Amazon ecosphere) that gives us some benefits, like running free temporary discounts, and also shoves the books into the Kindle Unlimited program that readers can subscribe to and read books in the program for free without purchasing them.  While the royalty payments for the program were less than the royalty for sales, there was enough “borrows” in the program to make up the difference for the loss of sales at other venues.

Now the royalty payment will not be based on a flat rate for all books, but will be on number of pages read.  I’ve been expecting this for a while, it never made sense they would pay the same rate for a 20 page erotic book as they would a 500 page novel.  But, the crux of the matter is how MUCH per page they will pay.  Most people have gotten used to a $1.40 (thereabouts) payment per borrow, which would imply about 7 cents per page (assuming a person reads every page, which is no guarantee) for a 20 page book.  I sincerely doubt Amazon will pay that much per page, though, and the final amount will be closer to 1 cent per page or less.  They might start off high in the first couple of months to keep writers in the program and enticed, but eventually it will decline, just as the original program started at over $2 per borrow and gradually settled around the $1.40 mark.

Which leaves me to decide:  stay in Amazon, with its single publishing ease of use; or go wide again and hit other markets, with reduced reads but higher royalties.  I’m leaning towards the latter, partially because I think I’ll make up the difference in sales on other venues, and partially because I believe we indie authors need to start breaking the attempts by Amazon to corner the entire e-publishing market.  Just as we need to do more to support the small, local, independent book shops over B&N and other big chains, so too should we support Kobo and Smashwords and other vendors online.

And I think it pushes me to move away from the shorter fair and work more diligently on longer books, like the fantasy world erotica I’ve been developing.  10,000 words and three chapters in, and it’s coming along nicely.  :)

Nothing Changes More Than Change

I’ve been on hiatus, taking some much needed time to get my life in a new place.  Divorce takes its toll on a soul, then living alone for a while.  Let’s just say the therapists earned their dollas!  :)  I’ve left Smutwriters for the time being, though I still support the great work coming out of that diverse group of erotica writers and hope to see them continue in their endeavors.  And, I’m now doing some fresh writing and putting up some new shorts… though it seems just in time for Amazon to change their Kindle Unlimited service again in a manner that looks like the payout will be MUCH less for struggling indie writers.  It’s complicated, but maybe I’ll post about it later.  Let’s just say the writing is on the wall for anyone who is not relatively well known.  And if you’re relatively well known with a loyal fan base who buys your stuff, you’re better off skipping KDP and KU altogether so you can distribute to other platforms.

For now, keep an eye on Amazon for my new works!  I have one that’s just released called The Club, which is part of a new series all taking place in the same small town (everyone knows your secrets in a small town!).  More to come soon!

Working Hard for the Summer

Ah, summer.  How do I love thee?  Mmmmmm, it’s already become a summer of hot, steamy romance on my end with a new paramour who keeps me well… satisfied.  It’s become something of a minor distraction from writing, but they also write and we’re working hard to motivate each other to get some more stories out.  But I have to admit, taking a long hike yesterday along a lonely mountaintop overlook led to some naughty outdoor fun that was much more enjoyable then writing could be.  Other than the rattlesnakes, which we almost stepped on, but luckily they were sluggish and still waking up in the sunlight and didn’t really respond to our presence (we, of course, freaked right out when we realized how close to our bare legs and ankles they were *lol*).

Multiple new stories have been released in the past few days, so check  out my profile on Amazon or Smashwords.  The latest edition of the Dark Forest series, called Holding the Harpy, was published, along with a couple of new shorts.  Ms. Miller’s Late Conference is the story of a school teacher whose meeting with a male parent turns into more than she dreamed… and all she ever wanted.  And The Lady’s Needs is my first awkward attempt at a period piece, set in the Victorian era as a married woman learns the truth about her husband and now must find ways to fulfill her own needs.

A summer of reading… and love… what more could you ask for?

The Dark Forest, Book IV – Dreaming the Dryad

If anyone is interested, book IV of the Dark Forest series is now out and available on Smashwords, and Amazon, and eventually other fine retailers.  Continuing the tales of our various adventurers as they band together to assail the witches whose lair is located deep under the foreboding trees of the forest that lies near their village.

Dreaming the Dryad

Dreams can become realities…

Description:
Cowen wants to live. Everything had gone wrong since they entered the bleak dark forest, and now the witches have unleashed a great beast that has killed nearly all of the men, including – he suspects – his own son Stephen. Alone and lost in the forest, he seeks solace and rest in a meadow by an unnamed lake, determined to find his way home when he wakes. But when she comes, a strange woman with pretty almond eyes, will he be able to resist the waking dream he has stumbled into and make his way back to hearth and wife, or will he succumb to her beauty and charms and tumble into her waiting arms?

Excerpt:
He reached a thinning line of trees that bordered a large lake. The light was the full moon, now pregnant and pale overhead, lighting up the water with its silvery glow. There was a swath of green grass perhaps thirty strides long from his vantage point to the water, broken only by one massive, ancient elm tree. The bark sparkled with silvery green specks of light under the gaze of the moon goddess above.

“Thank you blessed mother,” the murmured, glancing up at the bright circle in the heavens. He limped down to the water’s edge and knelt, cupping a handful of liquid quicksilver and taking a few sips to quench his parched throat. He wet his hair, shivering with the chill of the evening air and strode slowly back to the elm tree.

He eased his aching frame to the ground, pressing his back against the firm, comforting bark. From one of his pockets he pulled out a hunk of brown bread, hard crusted but still soft on the inside. He broke it into small pieces as he ate, chewing slowly, until his belly felt better. He was far from full, but for the moment he felt safe and without any pressing concerns beyond that of letting his tired legs rest for a while. He would continue searching for safety and shelter soon enough.

 

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3rd Times the Charm

When I began my long cold winter of discontent, I was in the midst of several dozen stories.  I had works in progress ranging from the already blogged about “Seduced” (currently at fine e-retailers like Amazon and Smashwords), to a story about a slave girl set in a fictional fantasy world (ripped from the brilliant mind of Robert E. Howard and his Conan series).  So I’ve been able to rapidly get back on my feet and finish up a few of the more polished works for publication.

The third one that went up this week is called Turning Tables (also available at AMAZON or SMASHWORDS).  I had originally intended this for publication in a compilation of crime-related stories another author was producing, but I went into my cave of hiding and don’t believe it ever got submitted.  It’s a lovely work if I do say so myself, and I’m rather proud of the literary qualities of this particular piece of erotica.

 

Turning Tables

What happens if the client you are trying to get off, gets you off instead?

Eve wants to make a name for herself. One of the youngest members of the public defenders office, she drew the lucky straw to defend Raymond James, notorious mobster, thief, reported murderer… and now accused rapist. She enters her first strategy meeting with him full of confidence and self-assurance, but Ray is much more man that he appears. It doesn’t take long for the rolls to be reversed, and the lawyer to lose control. What Raymond James wants, Raymond James will take, and not even Eve will be able to stop him, even if she wanted to.

Excerpt:
Raymond James sits across from me, staring at the scratched and stained lime green table between us. He is much older than I had expected, his hair more white than grey, the lines in his face deep creases. Still, I can see how handsome he must have been when he was younger. When he was known as the “Don Juan” of Little Italy.

“You know why I’m here, Mr. James.”

He looks at me for the first time, and his eyes are a deep, delicious blue. His eyes are young, his eyes penetrate you, and I would swear they twinkle if eyes could really do such a thing.

“I’m sure you’ll fill in all the details.”

“I’m your lawyer, Mr. James, appointed to you by the court.”

He lets those pretty blue eyes slip down my neck and over my chest. He does this on purpose, attempting to elicit a response from me, annoy me, perhaps frighten me. He fails.

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Motivation

Motivation is fleeting.  It comes from many sources, and you have to use them when they are in place, or face losing them and having to find a new one.  I admit, I was not motivated much during the past year.  Divorce and major changes in your life has a way of playing Debbie Downer with your soul, leaving you unable to do the things you SHOULD do and LOVE to do, but which you also know require WORK and EFFORT.  Writing is like that for me.  It’s work, it’s effort, it’s at times almost drudgery… and yet I love it, I love formulating a great phrase, creating a memorable character.

So this past week I’ve been very motivated.  I’ve gone through old half written stories or nearly finished ones and tidied them up, added to them, and finished a few. I’ve always been a fan of working on multiple stories at once.  It gives me a chance to change things up and work on something different and fresh, because after a few days or weeks of seeing the same words and same characters… well, you start to get a little tired of it.  Short stories are certainly easier as well, since you don’t have to work on them as long.

I’ve already published two new stories, one of which I posted here.  Today the third has gone live, and I’m very proud of this one because the short scene I wrote was the catalyst for the story and character in Showing Off.  Some of the elements are already in place here – a spurned woman (this time still married); a hot stranger; the way her “tingle” talks to her; a little background humor; and of course, hot hot HOT sex.  Enjoy!  You can find it at Amazon or Smashwords (soon to be at B&N and other fine retailers for e-download).

 

Seduced

Some men simply won’t be resisted…

Life was supposed to be perfect for Kaitlin. Her husband provided her with a gorgeous house, a nice car, exotic vacations… everything she thought she wanted when she was younger. But what she doesn’t have is his passion, or the pleasure of his attention in the bedroom. She knows he spends what should be hers at the office on his secretary. Spurned once more, she turns her frustrations towards a local bar, where a chance meeting with a handsome Irish rogue could be just the balm she needs to soothe her wounded pride, and ease her aching needs.

Excerpt:
Tonight I pull on a fresh pair of more conservative undies and a matching bra, then a knee-length brown skirt and white blouse. A pair of pumps completes the outfit, then a little powder for the cheeks, fix up the mascara, pull my auburn hair back in a ponytail, and I grab my purse, cell phone and keys and head out the door. There is no particular destination in mind, just a desire to get out for once without family or husband and enjoy a quiet evening alone, have a drink.

I drive slowly around the back roads near home for a while, letting the tires roll where they want to go. By now the tingling below has stopped, and I feel barren and empty, and very tired. My wheels and I truck along, rolling down the steep hill on Main Street to the stop light. Before I clear town by heading under the train tracks and out past the diner, I notice the bar on the corner to my right. I turn up the side street to find a parking spot, then walk my tired ass back down the short hill and enter, the jingle of the bell over the door greeting me.

 

Seduced

Another Long, Long Hiatus

It’s so easy to not do something.  There’s so much going on in life, from the needs of our kids, to work, to the holidays.  On top of all that, I had to plan and execute a move, take care of some minor medical issues, and get through what has been the most brutally cold winter in ages, followed by a rainy spring with floods and sink holes.  Next up:  earthquakes and locusts!

I write romance and smut.  Mostly smut, the romance doesn’t seem to be selling these days.  And that’s OK with me, I enjoy writing.  But once I stopped to “catch my breath” and deal with life, it was damned hard to start again, even when I knew I had plenty of time to do so.  It takes effort to sit in front of the computer and do anything other than read the news, chat with friends, look up dating profiles (Spring is here, and like most folks sex is playing a strong role in the back side of my brain right now).  I encourage you to not take more than a few days off at a time. Once a week, then two, have passed… pretty soon six months has gone down the tubes, and your profits have all dried up because you’re not churning out new works.

With all that said, it’s with pleasure I’ve released my latest short story today.  Returning a little to my roots in erotica as a… ahem… person with a very kinky mindset, here’s my new title, which you can find on Amazon or on Smashwords (and eventually Barnes and Noble and other fine retailers).

 

Can the vows she has taken overcome the pull of her past?

Sister Sarah is the youngest and newest member of the convent. But she’s a nun with a checkered pasts, and secrets that still haunt her. Secrets that tempt her. Secrets that take hold of her and guide her into the waiting arms of her older mentor, Sister Mary. A moment of weakness during her daily duties leads to an evening of exploration in her chambers. And Mary is going to want more… much more… from her young protege.

Excerpt:
“It might help you sleep if you relax for a bit. Let me help you.” Before Sarah could protest, Mary had placed her arm around Sarah’s shoulders. She pulled Sarah against her and began stroking her long black hair.

“Such a pretty girl you are. I’ll bet you had all the boys running around you before you took your vows.”

“Yes,” Sarah replied softly. “They all wanted… wanted…”

“Sex. They all wanted sex of course.”

 

Sister Sarah's Sinful Secrets

Following the Fairy – Book Three of the Dark Forest Series

Saturday Smut.

Book three is done!  I’ve decided to make this a seven story arch, and make the final, penultimate story a bit longer than the rest.  Here’s the latest:

Following the Fairy on Amazon

Following the Fairy on Smashwords

The forest is full of unexpected pleasures…

Marilene is an older woman who has been used and cast aside by Stephen, the miller’s son, a man who has left a trail of women in his wake. Alone in the forest, she is discovered by a fairy, who takes her deeper into the woods to a secret grotto where he and his lover like to play. And now they want Marilene to join them. Will she succumb to their beautiful charms, or return to her life in the village and her hatred of Stephen?

Taming the Troll – Book Two of the Dark Forest Series

I’m loving writing erotic fantasy, more than I expected!  Not since I did the Confessions of an IT Stud series have I had this much fun.  Book two is now up and ready to download and enjoy!

Taming the Troll on Amazon

Taming the Troll on Smashwords

 

Aislinn knows that no one in the village is better with a bow than she is. So she finds it ridiculous when she is left behind as they begin their efforts to sweep the dark forest clean of the evil creatures that have been preying on the members of her village and stealing their children. All because she is a woman. As soon as she can, she sneaks away with her bow and arrows to join them. But when she comes across a pack of trolls, she soon is captured. Now she is alone with a troll, and it’s clear that eating her isn’t the only thing that’s on his mind.

 

New Series of books starts… today!

I got a wild hair up my ass about all the dinosaur porn that seems to be the “it” thing right now on Amazon.  OK, so frankly I’m not interested in writing about dino/human sexual relationships.  But what I did find really hot was the idea of humans and mythological creatures.  Especially fairies, elves, trolls, pixies and the like.  I imagined a forest full of these creatures and the people who live near it and how they all interact.

Today, the first of this new series of inter-species sexual relations goes live.  Pursuing the Pixie is up on Amazon and Smashwords and available for download.  Already the reviews are trickling in, and it seems to be well received so far.  Please check it out and get yourself a copy soon!

Here’s the first cover (book two will be “Taken by Trolls”):

 

Pursuing the Pixie