No Regrets!

One scene from finishing my novella last week, I decided to pitch it. It didn’t suck and I probably could have come up with a halfway decent story, but the hero was getting on my nerves, so he had to go.

This was much easier than I anticipated it would be. I’ve abandoned stories before because they were not working, but never when I was almost done. And it’s not even like the story wasn’t working. I just didn’t like one of the characters. I would have loved to have done this with Cross My Heart  — I was happy with the final result, but that book was murder to get through and I think I could have done better if I’d had more time.

I knew I could do better with this one, even if the story is incredibly short, and so I exercised the freedom of not being on contract to ditch it.

In the end it was more of a rehab. Same concept, same dirty girl, different dirty (dirtier) boy.

And lesson learned, one that was brought up at that indie vs traditional workshop I went to last month: you’re the boss of that book, you can totally do whatever the fuck you want.

Initially I planned to release two at once and backtracked after the WIP went into the toilet, but now that things are back on track I think I’m going to instead release one in May and one in June, and aim to have three more novellas by the end of October. Because why not? I’m the boss and I can do whatever the fuck I want.

BOTM April (aka Muahahaha!!!)

Ahahaha! I did it! I didn’t think I would do it, but I totally did it. I managed to squeeze in some books for April. Not the books I intended to read, mine you, because I ran out of time, but still I have some books that came off my very filthy TBR list.

29339082.jpgFirst was Lucy Felthouse’s Love Through a Lens. Lucy’s Stately Pleasures was on my original list and I’m kind of bummed I ran out of time because, well, threesome, but I loved Love Through a Lens. I bought this because it’s an older man/younger woman story and for some reason I’m all on this May/December kick when it comes to writing. I wasn’t expecting adorable, which is exactly what the hero and heroine were. Nice bit of banter with some sexual tension thrown in, some great descriptions of the wild English countryside, and a heavy dose of the warm fuzzies when hero kissed heroine for the first time.

I love a good vanilla romance. I’ll admit it freely – I love Nicholas Sparks and those sorts of stories. I love category romances with slow-building romance and Love Through a Lens hit the spot.

Oh, and sex. There was sex. Excellent sex. An awesome scene in which the heroine, Celine, gets a good look and feel for Edward before some very dirty stuff starts. I’m picky about sex in traditional romances, as I’ve read too many that could have done nicely with a fade to black, but this was a nice lip-biter and the pacing went really well with the rest of the story — so bravo to Lucy for pulling it off so nicely.

Next, I finished off Alison Tyler’s Blushers. I thought all Alison stories were equally brilliant, but I was proven wrong with this anthology. “Stickler For Details” is superior to all other Alison Tyler stories I’ve read. I won’t even try to explain why, but this might have been the perfect erotic story (not counting Those Girls/Those Boys, obviously, because that’s a novella and deserves a category all its own.)

I finished off with Giselle Renarde’s Spanking in the Woods. Classic Giselle. Filthy, dirty, give-no-fucks erotica. A genuine and glorious hate fuck. The kind of erotica that makes Good Reads reviewer Lindsay Boilard angry.

So those were my filthy Books of the Month for April, all highly recommended. I won’t be as ambitious next month, since that bit me in the ass this time around. Let’s just say I plan to get into the dirty parts of Stately Pleasures at some point.

Check!

Well, slap my ass and call me Sally, I actually destroyed my to-do list. This never happens. I’m a compulsive list-maker who almost never follows the list, forgets to put things on the list, and so on. My lists are usually fake lists to make myself feel more productive.

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Fearsome guardian of the almighty to-do list.

But I did this one. All things on it. Finishing Red-Handed. Finishing two other stories. Sending out a query (via snail mail, at that …) and — the one that took an agonizing week — starting a second non-smutty book. I even managed to squeeze some graphic design in there.

The to-do list now has new things on it, all of which have to do with editing what I already have, finishing a smutty story, and continuing with the second non-smutty book.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don’t have any deadlines to worry about. Shit gets done when it gets done. That and it’s been a month since I moved out of the worst apartment, which has done wonders for my ability to sleep. While I’m starting to get a little stressed over the idea of some summertime renovations, I’m nonetheless optimistic that in the down-time I’ll be able to go through a few more to-do lists.

And read. I’m waaaay behind my BOTM with the delicious Stately Pleasures by Lucy Felthouse because of the week spent flipping the bird at my computer screen over the second non-smutty book, but I still have two weeks in this month.

In case you missed it …

… on Twitter & Facebook, I’ve finished something. Ok so I finished a few things, but this is the smutty one:

Red Handed
There’s only one way to set a bad girl straight.

It’s the first of 3-4 spanking novellas I’ve got on the go. ETA is May, but I’m hoping to release it at the same time as another one so it might be closer to the end of May. At the end of the series, I’ll probably put it all together as a print anthology for those as dedicated to their naughty shelves as I am.

Go me!

 

 

Hermit writer leaves the cave

Hermit writer leaves the cave, actually learns something.

I went to my first ever writing workshop last night. It was a worthwhile two hours, assuming you don’t count the absolutely insufferable writer who only came to promote herself and dispense questionable advice. The topic was traditional vs self-publishing, and while I already knew a lot of this stuff from my own experiences, but the most important thing I took away from this was the fantastic advice from hybrid author Steve Vernon (one of two people leading the session.)

This guy basically said the opposite of all those “this is how you self-publish” pieces in that his advice was that there are basically no rules and it’s not fucking rocket science to self-publish a book. Write well and learn to do as much yourself as you can.

I could point-form all the great things Steve said about his own self-publishing experience, but that’s the gist of it, and I could have hugged him for it.

My biggest seller is All To Myself, the NA romance I wrote in a week, had a friend edit, made a cover and threw up on Amazon expecting nothing. I did almost nothing to help it along. I submitted it to one single blogger and a bookish tweep for reviews. It still out-sells all my erotica. I’ve sold more copies of All To Myself than the Carried Away series combined. It ultimately led me to take the plunge and write the YA, but that doesn’t make it any less baffling for me as to why ATM was the one people not only read but reached out to me to tell me how much they loved it.

To me that’s the nature of self-publishing. It’s just fucking crazy and random and that’s something that has been affirmed by other authors telling me similar stories. No one has a clue, so do your thing and don’t worry about what other people say you should be doing r not doing.

Anyway, while I went to the workshop specifically with my non-erotic stuff in mind (and I’m already 95% percent sure I want to go indie for this instead of charging ahead with getting a traditional publisher) I did have a long sit-down last night and decide it was time to get cracking on the smutty stuff as well, then further committed myself by making covers and mapping out what I want to release and in what order, and how to balance that with what I need to do in my non-writing life.

BOTM – Lecture Notes & Seven Kisses

I read three books in March! Hurrah! This is nothing compared to the 97 some folks read, but for me it’s huge.

As I mentioned last month, I decided to start my one-woman BOTM club just to keep me reading – one non-erotic, and one erotic. Done and done, plus one! I was so fired up after reading Justine Elyot’s Lecture Notes that I dove right into Giselle Renarde’s Seven Kisses.

All right, first up, Justine Elyot’s Lecture Notes.

This is easily one of the best erotic books I’ve read, and it blows just about every dom book I’ve read out of the water simply because it’s so much fun. It starts off with Beth, your typical university girl – smokes too much, drinks too much, is in debt, and is flailing academically — fantasizing about her handsome but tyrant of a history professer, Eliot Sinclair as he gives a lecture:

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Well hello there, Mr. Sinclair. And it’s not long before Beth finds herself over Sinclair’s knee after she accidentally hands in her dirty little fantasy instead of the paper she was supposed to submit.

The dialogue is loaded with some real gems — (on Sinclair’s popularity among female students: “We are all besotted with him. I despair of the future of feminism, frankly” — on her massive debt: “They were Blahniks! They were on sale! It would have been rude not to buy them!” — on Sinclair’s pre-television appearance grooming: “My God, has he had his eyebrows waxed?”

And on top of that there is Justine’s usual style of writing sex scenes that leave everyone else in the dust.

But overall, what makes this book so much fun is how perfectly matched Beth and Sinclair are. They’re opposites — the student who is constantly fucking up and the professor who is so orderly it’s a wonder he can bend over for the stick up his ass — but they’re both gleefully perverted.

So, high on having read Lecture Notes I dove into something equally perverted — Giselle Renarde’s Seven Kisses: A Beauty and the Beast Dark Romance. I’m really not sure how to talk about this one, since doing so could easily spoil it for anyone who wants to read it, so I’ll just go as far as the first couple of chapters.

Gabrielle, a young woman living in Ontario (I presume) heads off to do some urban exploring, specifically the trails surrounding  Loindici ravine. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a Victorian mansion that houses the Loindici Rehabilitation Centre — and after she’s mistaken for a runaway patient, she makes the mistake of pretending to be “Suzanne” so she can spent a week in a swanky house where celebs go to dry out — except it’s not that kind of place.

Seven Kisses starts as a bit of a mindfuck. Gabrielle is drugged and strapped down, and you can’t really be clear what is real and what isn’t, including the “beast” who is brought in to represent Suzanne’s sexual addictions. This book definitely won’t be the cup of tea of anyone who likes their erotica tame. Giselle is not known for holding back in her writing, and this book is no exception.

Great choices to start my one-woman BOTM club. For April, I’ll be reading Stately Pleasures by Lucy Felthouse for sure, and hopefully I’ll have time to throw in something taboo by Giselle’s alter-ego Lexi Wood.

I like the idea of bridge.

One of my favourite movies is Julie & Julia. Not the Julie parts (movie Julia is a pain in the ass, real-life book Julia much less so), but the Julia Child parts. Particularly the sequence where Julia is trying to find something to do with herself while her husband is at work. She starts off with hat-making and moves onto bridge before deciding to go to cooking classes.

“I like the idea of bridge,” she tells her husband when discussing her latest search for a way to occupy her time.

This is me with all the hobbies. I like the idea of them. I just don’t particularly like them.

Baking, for example. I can make banana bread (who can’t?) and my tea biscuits are pretty spectacular. I have successfully made a peanut-butter pie with chocolate ganache. Ginger molasses cookies, brown sugar fudge, double-chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, and scotch cakes. But I hate baking. I get no joy out of actually making something from scratch.

Jewelry-making. I liked having a OOAK necklace or anklet at the end of it all, but actually preparing to make that piece is a royal pain in the ass for me. Going to the craft store, realizing I don’t have the right tool, ending up with aching fingers, dropping beads on the floor and not having an idea where they went. Ugh.

Painting. I don’t like painting. I go back to it every so often as something to do. I buy a $20 paint kit from the craft store because I know that by the time I get to the last canvas sheet and my paint tubes are gone, I’m over it.

The only thing I can really tolerate is a jigsaw puzzle now and again and the occasional colouring page I see on the internet, but these are like reading a book — in the end I have a sense of completion without actually creating anything on my own, so it’s not really accomplishment.

I do, however, like writing smut, and since I’ve altered the way I produce I’m getting much more enjoyment out of it and writing a lot more of it. Last night as I sat down to watch some television and pulled out my laptop. I know there are authors who are hostile to other authors who aren’t serious and are happy to do it on the side, but it works for people like me. I get to enjoy it again and I get to have the freedom to change my authorial hat whenever I feel like it.

I think I’m OK with not having a hobby, because what’s more fun than creating a book? So the next time I get into my head I’m going to take up rug-hooking or pottery, I’ll try and remind myself that I can buy a new OOAK coffee mug on Etsy and that I hate vacuuming.