Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Long, Hard Road out of Hell

So I kinda fell off the wagon for awhile there. It sucks, but it is what it is. Between a bout of depression, sickness from being pregnant, and a general sense of “why bother?” spawning from some less-than-productive professional relationships, I’d started the descent into giving up.

But truth be told, I’m not ready to give up. I’m just ready to be done with the bullshit. I’m ready to do my thing, tell my stories, raise my kids, and say To Hell with the internet in general. Unfortunately in this day and age of everyone trying to scream the loudest, I can’t push it all off to the side. I have to be here and present.

I did get off my duff and re-release this book, though:

Loki's Game

I still love this book. I’m ecstatic over the new cover. The story is updated a bit for continuity and grammatical uglies as well. Click the picture and take a look. I promise you’ll enjoy it. It’s also enrolled in KU, so there’s that as well.

But back to the point…

Yes, I’m struggling with my own personal demons, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is to say that I’m still here, I’m still around, and I’m still writing, very much against the desires of my subconscious.

It’s tough out there. Publishers are folding left and right. The big houses are growing even more elitist. The masses are turning more to self-publishing out of necessity than desire it seems. And the turd peddlers are cranking out even more crap than ever before. And nobody is making any money.

Last quarter, I sold four books. FOUR. And not for lack of trying. It’s extremely disheartening to know how bad the market is. And writing romance means it’s even stiffer competition. None of the readers have any money, and the ones that do are playing it safe with A-list authors they know by name. The market is flooded, and not necessarily with good fiction either.

Hence the “why bother” attitude. Sadly I’ve made more money by giving Loki’s Game away through Kindle Unlimited than I have selling copies of every book in my backlist combined. THAT is how bad the market is.

I was scrolling back through some of my older blog posts and came across one from right after I got started. It was talking about Digital Marketing and how I felt like I was doing it all wrong. Sadly, that was the point in my life when I was doing everything right. Sure, I second-guessed myself and had a pretty bumpy path in front of me, but back then I didn’t shy away from the daunting task of putting myself out there. I could sit here and make excuses as to why, but that wouldn’t be fair to myself or to you. The simple fact is this: I don’t do it. I should, but I don’t. Coincidentally, it was when I knew the least about my craft that I seemed to give the best advice.

I’m frustrated. I’m disheartened. I’m still overwhelmed. I need to learn to let those things go and get back on the writing wagon. Even if it’s 100 words a day, it’s something. I’m NOT giving up. That’s not what I’m made of. So please be patient, but expect great things. There’s always something wonderful just around the bend.

Cover Pretties: Frozen Hearts & Blazing Souls

Guys, the good news just keeps rolling in.

Crymsyn Hart and I have been up to no good together for awhile now, and we finally have something to show for it. Book 1 of our Dragon Warriors series was contracted by Purple Sword Publications back at the end of January, and last night we were graced with quite possibly the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time. That means I’m going to share it with you!

Frozen Hearts & Blazing Souls

I am so completely in love with this cover. Seriously. Mrs. Traci over at PSP has really outdone herself on this one. I’m awed, amazed, and all those fun words that I can’t even think of right now because it’s Monday. But this… yeah. I’m totally loving this. I hope y’all do too.

Oh, and here’s what the book is about. If you can stop staring at that gorgeous cover, that is.

A prophecy exists: an Empress will rise from the ashes of the ruined empire.

On the run from a vicious sorcerer, Tazu seeks refuge in a ruined temple where she collapses into the arms of a stranger. When she wakes, she finds she has unearthed a relic from a fallen empire.

For hundreds of years Ryu has punished himself for the death of the Empress he once protected, but in Tazu’s presence, the ronin discovers the strength to heal both her physical and emotional wounds. Her closeness shakes his dormant heart and stirs the inner beast he has fought so hard to control.

Kyo, a warrior turned mercenary, hunts Tazu at the request of the sorcerer, Ning­Tse. Once Kyo discovers Tazu, he also finds himself entranced by her quiet strength. The sorcerer wants to exploit the power Tazu struggles to conceal, but the two warriors who have fallen for her will stop at nothing to keep her safe. The sorcerer’s insatiable greed sets the prophecy in motion, placing Tazu and her dragons on a path toward war, redemption, and the reclamation of long­lost power.

Picking Battles & Stating Opinions, or, A Rant for the Ages

I started this blog post yesterday, originally with the intention of ranting until my face turned blue and my voice went hoarse. Then I stopped and took a breath, and for better or worse, listened to the advice of a friend.

“Pick your battles carefully,” he said. Once he told me that, I thought that I should just can the idea altogether because doing this will only start a flame war. Then I thought about it again and realized something else.

You know what? My blog. My opinion. My rules. More than once I’ve shared my opinions on unsavory subjects, and today is no different. I have a strong opinion that needs to be stated before the top of my head comes off. I apologize in advance if this gets ranty or preachy.

So the context: Yesterday, Ellora’s Cave Publishing announced that Farrah Abraham is their newest author. She also has a pumped-up release schedule of July 1, 2014. Pre-order pages are up already, and the author is on the cover of her own book.

My initial reaction to this was much the same as most of the people on their Facebook feed: “please tell me this is an April Fools joke!” But it persisted. Then it hit HuffPost. And then Jaid Black herself got on the thread and started defending the action. Then I realized, oh, shit…this is real!

My next reaction was this: “What the fuck is EC doing?”

I was immediately repulsed and offended (yes, offended!) by this decision, as I’d initially thought EC to be a prolific and respectable establishment. No, I don’t write the type of thing that they necessarily publish, but I have been a long-time reader of their stuff. I mean really, who wouldn’t want to be able to read a really juicy fantasy? I cut my erotic romance teeth on EC’s books. Their books are good.

Which is why it surprised me so much when this news hit. It shocked me to the point where I couldn’t even respond. I tried to rationalize it…I really did. I went and checked out her website and read the reviews of her other book to see what she was about. I was hoping, praying even, that she had a little bit of talent to back up this crazy announcement.

You know what I found? That this girl has absolutely no concept of the written word. Don’t believe me? Look at her website. Misspelled words, rampant bad grammar, pretentious attitude (not that that has anything at all to do with things…it just rubs me the wrong way). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re going to be a writer in the United States, you do have to at least know how the English language works. You can’t use run-on sentences, you have to use spell-check, and you should know basic things like the difference between “to”, “too”, and “two”. Typos happen – God knows I’ve had my fair share of flubs, but it’s painful to attempt to read some of the things on her website.

Let me stop here and clear something up – this has absolutely nothing to do with Miss Abraham as a real person. Do I enjoy her excessive lifestyle, the lies about a “leaked” sex tape that’s pretty much a professional video shoot with a real porn star, and the glorification of teen pregnancy? Hell no. I pity the poor girl because she thinks this is the way to validate herself. But it’s her life to live and those are her mistakes to make. I made the decision long ago not to follow along with the travesty that is her life because I don’t approve of it. But that’s not my point.

This discussion has to do with her “celebrity” status, however ill-gotten it may be. And that, kids, is the crux of my whole rant.

I don’t give a shit who you are. You should have to wait your turn and be judged on your talent and merit, just like everyone else. Being a “celebrity” should not under any circumstances grant you the ability to exploit a market you have no business entering.

There are few things I find as disgusting as “celebrity” status. I know, I know, that sounds really strange coming from someone who can technically be considered a “public figure”, but let’s face it, at this point in time, I’m a nobody from South Carolina with not enough time in my day and too many ideas in my head. Yes, I want to sell books for a living. Yes, I attend conventions and talk to people. But damn it, I work hard at what I do. I’m not in it for notoriety. I do what I do because I don’t want to do anything else. I love it.

I put my heart and soul into every single word that hits the page. And you know what? I can’t get my shit noticed because of people writing dinosaur porn and celebrities putting themselves on the covers of their books. And I’m not alone. There are thousands of amazingly talented authors out there who don’t get the recognition they deserve because people like this girl and Snooki are signing book deals. Hell, even Gillian Anderson has signed a book deal. Has she ever written anything before? No. That irritates the shit out of me. I’ve been writing my whole life and so have countless others I know, love, and respect. And we’re still the dregs of literary society.

If these people have the chops to pull it off, great. By all means, go for it. Write lots of books and be happy that all is right in the world.

BUT GET IN FUCKING LINE AND WAIT YOUR TURN.

Back to the point – the bad move.

Yes, Jaid Black has absolutely no qualms about admitting that she enjoys controversy, and that’s fine. Yesterday wasn’t the first time she said it, and I know it won’t be the last. I’m proud of her for sticking to her guns and believing what she’s doing is in the best interest of her press. I just hope that she realizes this isn’t the type of controversy she wants. She’s about to get more than she bargained for, and I can’t see it in any way, shape, or form being good for Ellora’s Cave.

She’s going to alienate her authors, some of them long-standing. She’s going to show preferential treatment to this one person – who, might I remind you, without her “celebrity” status would be listed as little more than a white-trash slut by today’s societal standards – while leaving her long-term, loyal authors in the dust. She has put this girl on a pedestal, far above the heads of the people who have built her empire for her.Rule number one of sustaining an empire – you don’t shit on the people you rely on to do the work for you.

EC is absolutely not going to show the same level of care and concern for every author it has, and when that happens those authors – some of which have built lives around EC – are going to get up and walk away. They’re going to be as insulted as I am on their behalf, and they’re only going to take that sort of neglectful abuse for so long. And chances are they’re not going to be quiet about it when that mass exodus occurs.

And then there are the readers. Part of the Facebook discussion last night came in the form of some pretty serious truth-telling. The ladies commenting on that thread are very right. Readers are going to be disgusted by the egocentric display of immaturity, and the caliber of person who will read this book is not going to want to pay $8 for it. The people who want to read it are going to wait until it’s up on the pirate sites and download it for free so they can trash it. It’s not going to go well at all.

Aside: Yes, I get that hate-reads are still reads and boost sales numbers when the books are purchased, but it’s a pretty poor business model, IMO.

And I hate all of it. I hate it for the authors and the readers, and honestly for the press as well. It’s a cheap, sell-out move and one that I’d expect from the big five (since they’ve already been doing it for years). I never thought I’d see the day when the quest for the almighty dollar would corrupt such a beautiful machine.

I hate to see something so wonderful potentially go down in flames over something that could easily have been avoided. If those in charge at EC were smart, they’d listen to the concerns of their authors and contemporaries and think twice before attempting to exploit such a cheap publicity avenue. I equate this to wartime propaganda… all show and no real substance. But unfortunately, “Keep Calm and Carry On” doesn’t apply in this situation

For EC’s sake and the sake of all of its authors, I hope I’m wrong on this one.

Jitterbug PR Presents: Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

Good morning, darlings! I have another guest today! Jan Moran is with me, to showcase her Historical Romance Novel, Scent of Triumph.

Scent of Triumph Tour Banner

We were going to play 20 Questions today, but things happen and it didn’t quite work the way we planned. No matter…check out her book anyway!

About Scent of Triumph

Scent of TriumphScent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.

Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.

Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Jan Moran

Author. Media Spokesperson.
Business Consultant.Jan Moran

Jan Moran is the author of the Scent of Triumph, as well as Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list.

As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications such as Cosmopolitan, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.

She is the founder and creator of Scentsa, a touch-screen software program for retailers and brands.  The fragrance and skincare programs are at Sephora stores in the US, Canada, France, Mexico, Brazil, and Denmark.

As a speaker, consultant, and major brand/retailer spokesperson, she has spoken before numerous groups, including Fashion Group International, The Fragrance Foundation, and The American Society of Perfumers.  She has represented brands and retailers in media on behalf of several PR companies, including Edelman and DeVries. She is available for consulting, training, and speaking engagements.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the University of Texas at Austin. As an entrepreneur and former CEO and board member, she speaks on a variety of topics, including topics in the fragrance and beauty industries, technology engagement at retail, entrepreneurship, the business of writing, and other C-level topics.

She is a member of The Author’s Guild and the RWA.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Juniper Grove Presents: The Odin Blood Series by Ronnell D. Porter

The Odin Blood Series Tour Banner

Good morning, guys and dolls. So I made this huge, bumbling mistake and forgot to actually set the following interview as a real post for yesterday. It has been sitting in my drafts folder, waiting patiently… then I realized what I’d done and I feel so awful. [Pause to hang head in shame.]

Though I’m horribly late, please welcome Ronnell D. Porter to talk about himself and his writing.

20 Questions with Ronnell D. Porter

Ronnell D Porter

SK: Tell us about your most recent work and where we can get it:

RDP: My most recent work is a sequel to Dagger Heart called Ebon Heart, and it can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords. It begins exactly one year after the ending of the previous book, and deals with Erica trying to figure out her new role in society. After being a pariah her entire life, suddenly she’s praised as a hero and is the center of attention. I imagine that would be a very daunting experience, but something she’ll have to get used to.

SK: Your inspiration – is it from your imagination or from personal experience?

RDP: The imagination. I live vicariously through my stories. I think if I lived a more exciting life I wouldn’t be a writer.

SK: If given the opportunity to meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be and why?

RDP: I would want to meet Lucius Knight. He has lived long enough to understand how politics work in this world, and I would love to chip some wisdom off of that brain of his. I would also enjoy his company more than I probably would any other character, though there are a few other characters who come as a close second. But the main attraction is that Lucius doesn’t judge, he understands human weakness, and I would be very interested in knowing how he feels about meeting his creator face-to-face.

SK: What comes first, the plot, the characters, or the setting?

RDP: I would say the plot and setting usually come hand-in-hand: I couldn’t really decide on Vikings without having to place them in Scandinavia. But usually the plot.

SK: When you write, is it with or without visual/audio stimulation (tv, music, etc.)?

RDP: I always write to music. When I first started out, I couldn’t listen to any music that contained lyrics – I found them too distracting. Now that’s not the case, and most of the songs on my playlists involve lyrics of some sort. I also make a special playlist for each novel since they tend to set the mood and help me focus quicker than I would without its influence.

SK: Who is in control when you write, you or your characters?

RDP: Most certainly myself. I tend to focus to the point that I know my characters as though they were real human beings, so I can speak for them very easily and stay true to their personality. But it’s still me.

SK: What inspires you to write?

RDP: Changing minds and challenging points of views.

SK: Think fast: give me the silliest plot line you can think up!

RDP: A good ol’ Mormon girl preparing for her mission falls in love with a gay porn star at first (accidental) sight and sets off on a road trip to Los Angeles to track him down and profess her feelings to him. I’m not sure if that’s disturbing or if I should pursue that story… (o.0)

[SK: I have to say… I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this one! I think Mr. Porter certainly needs to write this one, doesn’t he?]

SK: Golden Girls Fans: If you had to compare yourself to one of the Girls, which one would you be most like and why?

RDP: I would be a Dorothy – a tall lumbering cloud of cynicism that drenches my companions in the soggy rain of sarcasm wherever we go. But they’ll still thank me for being a friend.

SK: Best monster ever: vampire, werewolf, or zombie?

RDP: Vampires. There’s a promise of sophistication and sensuality that comes hand-in-hand with the creatures of shadow. Werewolves would come second, but nothing I would prefer to be or see outside of film. And zombies, well… They were interesting four decades ago; I really don’t understand the appeal today, but to each their own.

SK: If the apocalypse happened tomorrow, how would you react?

RDP: Indifferently. To say that there would be regrets would be to assume that I would be a special abnormality and survive the apocalypse. But since I’m assuming that an apocalypse is an end-all type of affair I suppose I really wouldn’t care once it happened since I would be dead.

SK: Tell us how you really feel about the 50 Shades of Gray hype.

RDP: A travesty in both how it came into being (Twilight Fan Fiction) and what it teaches young women to expect in a partner. Lastly I’m disappointed that I didn’t write it myself: I am not above writing the most offensive drivel in the history of mankind in exchange for a seven figure check.

SK: Be honest…which are better: Boxers or Briefs?

RDP: Neither, both were flawed and we only realized that much when the boxer-brief appeared in the fossil record of men’s undergarments. Briefs tend to be more snug where the thighs meet the pelvis. Boxers are too much trouble, first trying to keep them from bunching up when you put your pants on, and secondly having to straighten them out throughout the day when you think no one is looking. The boxer-brief solves both issues with a sleek partial legging that hugs the upper thigh just enough to remain where they should when you’re putting on your pants, and not too tight at all around the thighs and pelvic region. They are the paragon of men’s hosiers.

SK: Favorite author?

RDP: Christopher Hitchens; I’ve never seen writing quite like his. He was a master of the English language.

SK: Favorite book?

RDP: That’s a tie for The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh.

SK: Favorite movie?

RDP: I love film, so that’s a difficult one to pinpoint. A few that are in the running are Before Night Falls, Loves of a Blonde, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Pretty Baby, Love and Death on Long Island, In Dreams, Dancer In The Dark, Gypsy 83, Silent Hill, and Melancholia.

SK: Favorite song?

RDP: Marty Robbins – They’re Hanging Me Tonight.

SK: Literary Hot Button: What are your thoughts on Writer’s Block? Does it exist? How do you overcome it?

RDP: It certainly exists for me. In most cases I stop writing that story for a while and move onto something else. Then I’ll return to the previous novel when inspiration strikes again. This was the case with Ebon Heart, where I’d written the first few chapters, got stuck, and moved on to write The Untold Want. Then, much later, I returned to Ebon Heart and finished it. The cover art was also a bit of a spark of inspiration as well, once I had that.

SK: If you were told you could never write again, what would you do to fill your time?

RDP: Be the first storyteller to deal exclusively in audio books.

SK: Of your backlist/coming soon agenda, what’s your favorite story? Why?

RDP: Of novels to come, my favorite is an untitled project I’m working on alongside the third Odin Blood book. It’s a horror story about a place a few miles from my hometown called Eden, UT, which is built around a huge lake with an island at its center, and an interesting history (there is a town beneath the lake, flooded in the 1930’s). My cousin lived there and I spent my summer there growing up. It’s currently my favorite since there are characters that I can relate to more than the paranormal romance hero/heroine type of characters. These are individuals who face dark issues and aren’t expected to do the right thing by the end of the novel because they aren’t heroes.

Odin Blood Giveaway

About The Odin Blood Series

Published: January 26, 2012
Word Count: 70,000
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Note: Dagger Heart is currently FREE on Amazon!

NorwayDagger Heart by Ronnell D. Porter, 704 A.D.

The valiant King Ulfur defeated the evil that swept the seaside village of Nornör into despair; Morgan, the demon witch, has been dead for nearly twenty years. The truce between King Úlfur and the Queen of the Fae has remained intact since the day that Morgan’s dark curses vanished. It seemed that peace had finally come to the wounded souls of the village.

But this peace is shaken when three curses that Morgan promised with her dying breath are placed upon the Norwegian village: who among them has cast the spell?

Seventeen-year-old Erica finds herself trapped in the middle of a witch’s deadly revenge scheme with no way out but to fight for survival. On top of trying to end the curses devouring her village like a savage beast she finds herself at the center of attention when it comes to Viking King Úlfur’s three sons: Kriger, Paul, and Finn.

Three of them will fight alongside her.
Two of them want to marry her.
One of them could be the son of King Úlfur… and Morgan.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Title: Ebon Heart (Book 2)
Published: January 22, 2013
Word Count: 70, 000
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Sequel to ‘Dagger Heart’.

“You know not of King Bersek, Lord of Berserkers… The Berserkers are men of darkness; heartless and unyielding. They know no fear, they know no pain – and the sound of them ripping and slashing and tearing people apart by their limbs: chaos incarnate.”

One year after triumphing over the events surrounding the cursed Blackthorn Dagger, Queen ‘Dagger Heart’ Erica receives an ominous warning from a group of survivors that arrives in her village of Nornör: an army like no other, steeped in dark necromancy, heads for her Norwegian shores. With the winter solstice quickly approaching and no sign of the black wolf that used to roam the woods of her lands, she races against time to uncover the mystery of The Necromancer, as well as the absence of her dear friend and love, Finn.

The Tour Goes On!

loki_s-game-banner1

My tour, that is. Today is Day Four, which means there are three previous stops. Want to check them out? Do it here:

Day 1: Alexx Momcat’s Gateway Book Blog
Day 2: Fandom Fanatic
Day 3: Girl Who Reads

More to come as I get the links. Randomly, the Twitter Party was a blast. We actually trended with the hashtag #LGTP (Loki’s Game Twitter Party), and it made me a very happy little writer.

That’s pretty much where we stand at the moment. Oh, except for the fact that the buy links haven’t quite made it up yet. Anyone who wants Loki’s Game can get it on the SUGAR & SPICE WEBSITE. For those of you who want Amazon, B&N and ARe, it’ll be up by Friday. Links to come as we get them.

A/N: I stand corrected. We’re now available on All Romance eBooks!

And there was a bit of a snafu with the Goodreads page. Somehow the ISBN number is linked to another book already. That alone is enough to make my eyes crossed. Oh, well…we’ll get it fixed.

Then we get print copies later this year.

Yay!

Until then, take a look at the Rafflecopter Giveaway! Two copies of Loki’s Game up for grabs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Backlist Blog Hop

Hey, everybody! Thanks for visiting!

Just for coming through, anyone who comments gets thrown in the pot to win a book. Any book on the list. Just leave me a comment with your email address, book choice, and whether you’d like Nook or Kindle format.

Now, what’s your pleasure?

Do you like Contemporary Romance?  I have three to choose from:

Or are you of the edgier crowd who enjoys a good Paranormal romp? If so, I have just the thing…

"Marked" by Siobhan Kinkade

The covers are gorgeous. The stories, even better (if I do say so myself). Click on any of the pictures…they’ll take you to my backlist page where you can get the scoop on what’s here.

Pick your poison. Any of them can be up for grabs.

Be sure to head back and check out the rest of the backlists!