#FollowFive Winner!

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Congratulations to Virginia W. for winning the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway during the #AwesomeAmazonAuthors Instagram promo!

Got some new and diverse followers on Instagram and hope they stick around – I really like getting to know new people and expanding my realm of fellow authors. Along with followers, I also got some very interesting likes this week from actual Hollywood producers and casting managers – turns out when you tag your posts with #behindthescenes it gets some attention! 😀 (Dream BIG, right?)

Enjoy your weekend!

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Instagram Follow

It’s time for another “easiest giveaway ever” with the #AwesomeAmazonAuthors! This time around, we’re taking Instagram by storm. All you have to do is follow us on Instagram for your chance to win – it’s that easy! Watch all week, as we post new pics about our books, or repost some of our followers’ favorites.

I’ve decided to play on the Five Things You Didn’t Know About… the Úlfrinn series, instead of me. 🙂 It’s a behind the scenes look at some obscure references, locations and characters. You can find all these posts on Instagram throughout the day, so feel free to love, comment or repost – but don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

5 Fun Facts - Úlfrinn series #1

5 Fun Facts - Úlfrinn series #2

5 Fun Facts - Úlfrinn series #3

5 Fun Facts - Úlfrinn series #4

5 Fun Facts - Úlfrinn series #5

Make sure to come back tomorrow for another author’s 5 Pics from Instagram post! Annnnd…..

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD

To The Strongest Woman I Know

Mom,

Have I ever told you what a remarkable person you are? I should have said it long before now. You should know how unique and outstanding you truly are. I want you to set aside everything that brings you doubt, and listen to what I have to say. I love you and though you may not see it, you have played a major role in the person I am today. All the parts of me you’re so proud of and endlessly support, you don’t think you had much of a hand in, because we’re so different. But I’m here to tell you that is was YOUR example that paved the way for the adult I turned out to be.

I see you giving me that skeptical look. Just keep reading…


First – and this is for all readers – my tribute of gratitude was inspired by This Amazing Post Right Here – a touching article about tolerance and the fight for equality for ALL humankind. Please take a moment to read it, like it, share it, draw your own inspiration from it, whatever it takes to keep it moving and growing.


Now, you’re wondering how I got from there to here? I’ll explain.

Author Jean M. Cogdell shared a memory with us in her post about the moment her remarkable mother planted the seeds of tolerance within her and I was immediately touched, drawn in by my own upbringing. So, I began to leave a comment and that comment, instead, turned into this post–because I realized that the person I should be saying all of those things to, was the very woman responsible for them: My mom.

Let me tell you about my mom. She’s a force to be reckoned with, wrapped in a genuine hug. A second generation American born to Irish immigrants. She grew up in Chicago during the Civil Rights Movement and Race Riots that tore that city, and too many others, apart. She was verbally and physically attacked for having friends from the ‘wrong’ side of the segregation lines and for refusing to leave their sides. She didn’t care what anyone said, she knew that everything happening around her was WRONG!

There has never been a time my mother has backed down when she’s seen someone being mistreated, and she can’t be cowed into thinking or believing anything less than what she knows in her heart and soul to be right. She has literally taken a fist to her face to protect others – not just once or twice – not just in Chicago – this has been a lifelong stance for her. She will not stand by and watch someone else being abused when she knows she can do something to try to stop it. That is the core of my mother. Her biggest strength is her integrity, her unyielding sense of right and wrong, and the enormous heart she offers to everyone, without prejudice.

My mom never had to use her words (though, let me tell ya, she did!) to teach me about tolerance, to instill her moral compass within me – she led by example. She showed me that every last person on this earth deserves to be treated with respect, kindness, compassion and dignity. That our opinion should be based solely on an individual’s actions, nothing else. Not race, background, beliefs, nothing.

Mom, I know you feel like you’re not doing anything special, nothing someone else wouldn’t do – but you really are, and you always have. It takes courage to stand up for others–for strangers–to never stop being who you are or fighting for what you know is right. You’re the bravest, most true-to-self and strongest person I know. I’m proud to be your daughter. I admire and look up to you, and I thank you for laying down the examples you did for me, that I was able to pass them on to my children. I know they will pass these examples on to their own kids (way, waaaay in the future), and with each new generation, your influence will help tolerance and compassion for the HUMAN race gain more ground – something this world still desperately needs to see happen.

Thank you, Mom.

 Love, your ever-grateful daughter.

Readers, if you comment, I greatly appreciate it! But even if you don’t, I still hope you find some inspiration here or in Jean Cogdell’s post. We’re not helpless or hopeless, and every new generation reveals a larger capacity for tolerance and compassion. Like our parents before us, we have to empower the up and coming, to keep change in progress rather than the massive, violent regression we witnessed this past week. With enough nurturing, we might one day see hate crimes and bigotry become subjects of history, rather than headlines in the news.

Show Me Your Worst

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Getting comfortable with discomfort is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a writer, and it’s a work in progress. When I first started writing, I never left my comfort zone for any reason. Which meant, no matter how hard I tried to make my characters as epic as the ones I was reading, it wasn’t happening. I was able to get uncomfortable for my antagonists, because I didn’t have to spend any more time with them than that and I certainly didn’t need them to be likable. A completely different issue for main characters, and it took me awhile to realize that my cozy corner was their biggest enemy. Sometimes, I’m a slow learner. But eventually, I had to face the fact that I was the one robbing my protagonists of the greatness they deserved.

As most writers can attest, the ease in which we’re able to explore the emotional and psychological range of a protagonist, really depends on the character. There are the vibrant personality types that can be completely fleshed out within minutes – and, then there are the characters who aren’t nearly as forthcoming. When we decide to draw our character’s flaws to the surface and pick at them, it starts getting a little uncomfortable, because we love them and we want our readers to love them, too. But a hero or heroine who is flawless is both unrealistic and flat. Not epic. Imagine how forgettable Frodo Baggins would’ve been, if he’d never struggled with and overcame the temptation of the ring’s power.

Show me your worst. I want to see how deep the pit in your soul goes. Or do I?

It’s one thing to tell a writer: “You have to leave your comfort zone to write well.” Quite another for that writer to decide just how far to plunge into the dark unknown. Again, I think this depends a lot on the character. By my guesstimation, there are 3 basic degrees of Bad Guy/Girl protagonists.

1) The circumstantial bad: They’re bad due to horrible circumstances, tragedy, childhood trauma, etc. but really good at heart and easily redeemable.

2) The lost soul bad: They’ve spiraled so far into the darkness of revenge, tragedy, addiction, bad luck, etc. they’re barely hanging onto the edge of no return and it’s going to take more than just a quick genuflection and three Hail Mary’s to pull them out of it.

3) The unapologetic bad: They have fully embraced their dark side and have no qualms using it to their every advantage, yet there’s still a spark of good in them that allows them to love and be loved. They’re not on a quest for redemption, but to find that last missing piece that would make them feel whole.

The thing I try to consider when I’m working with option 1 or 2, is just how much work I can feasibly put into it. The deeper your character’s flaws, the steeper the climb to redemption, and to show one side in great detail without the other getting equal attention is the fastest way to disappoint readers. Sometimes, it’s a natural trajectory and I’m just following the character’s lead and then realize – Oh, snap! Now I have to dig them out of this mess. Ugh! Not just out of the mess, but within the confines of a word-count limit.

This is why I write a lot of series, that’s the naked truth of it. Word count caps and I, we’re not friends. You can laugh, but 100,000 words is rarely enough for this writer. With a series, I can let my characters get into all the messes they want and then dig them out little by little over a few books.

When it comes to option 3, there’s both an easier flow to it and more of a challenge. First, you have to convince (and frequently remind) yourself that your character has no boundaries except the ones you’re placing on them via yourself. The other side of that is figuring out where to draw the lines for your audience’s sake. Knowing your character is 100% okay with being bad frees up moral restrictions and can be extremely fun to take beyond your comfort zone – If you don’t get carried away! It’s not a good idea to make them so outrageously bad that they lack any and all qualities your readers would want to root for – especially, in a typical romance genre.

Last year, I started exploring the realm of Dark Erotica where the rules are completely different and pushing boundaries is not only expected, the lack of it will stir up the wrath of the villagers. I went beyond some of my comfort zones with the Avarice trilogy, but not to the point where I was squirming and sweating in my seat…much. A lot of Dark Erotica fans probably wouldn’t even label those books as such, but since it has triggers in religion, demonology and R.A.C.K. (Risk Awareness Consensual Kink) – which is the sadistic side of BDSM – I wanted to make sure my readers were more targeted and expectant (accepting?) of those kind of situations.

Compared to some of the Dark Erotica novels I’ve read, it’s quite tame. Definitely in the mild end of the spectrum. That just means I should push myself farther away from my comfort zones for the rest of the series. More truthfully, I want to. I want the challenge of it, to see just how far I can go while still writing read-worthy material with characters my readers want to see win in the end. Though, Dark Erotica doesn’t demand a HEA, it is my personal preference.

Writing about things you would never do in real life is not the same as writing outside of your comfort zone. I would never go skydiving, because I’m terrified of open heights. But it wouldn’t stress me in the least to have one of my main characters do it. Actually, that would be kind of fun. One of the joys of both reading and writing is to have adventures, right? But, having your main character do something that makes you feel physically or emotionally drained when your through- that’s writing outside of your comfort zone!

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far, is having an ‘unapologetic bad’ protagonist show up for an established series that’s NOT labeled dark – and by his own admission, he is one sadistic f**k. When he first appeared, I was faced with the choice of either staying true to his character or true to the genre, because I can’t really do both without sacrificing something. This is still a WIP, but I’ve decided to stay true to my character, mainly because I know it can be done. I’ve seen Nora Roberts push this particular envelope more than once and while fame may be on her side, I’m still a big advocate for characters who are purely themselves and not diluted for genre’s sake. What’s your thoughts on that, as both a reader and a writer?

 I’d love to hear more of your take on this subject: How comfortable are you with discomfort? Do you try to challenge yourself with every new novel, or do you have to wait for the right character to come along? Show me your worst, writers! 🙂

#ThrowbackThursday

 

 

Woe, Be the Spider

Woe, be the spider
Who sits down beside her
This warning I must give
Whispered words, a last lament
From the one who didn’t live:

“Little Miss, what a twist
Weaving lies to pass the day
Flaunt innocent virtue
To hide the real you;
Pander for your prey.

“Little Miss, ’twas one kiss
What a wicked trick to play!
Under deceiving label
The truth proved fatal;
Venom in thy whey.”

~ A.C.M.

originally published April 21, 2014.

#WIP Invasion

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image source: etsy.com

Can we talk for a moment, writer to writer?

Lookit, I can’t be the only one who’ll be happily plugging away at a highly anticipated novel (that’s code for it’s way overdue and readers are jumping ship by the hordes. *snort* You actually thought I had hordes of readers? Awww, that’s sweet) – and all the sudden a NEW book decides to just plop its big, bony ass right down on top of everything else with no intention of moving. A massive blob of scenes and backstory, brooding hunks, damsels in defiance, whips, chains and garden hoses (don’t ask), all reminding me that I have absolutely no willpower!

I’m not alone, right?

How do you deal with this kind of situation? Do you:

a). Ignore the new story until you’re done with the first one, because you’ve got discipline and the memory of an elephant?

b). Take the detour just long enough to frantically jot down everything you can for the new story, because your discipline’s flexible, but your memory’s a toss?

Or

c). Attempt the juggling routine, because you’re fairly sure the 100th time is the charm?

I made the mistake of thinking I could pull off a combination of options b & c….1 week later… Update: Scavenger (Dark Day Isle, Book 2) will be delayed, yet again. I’m sorry. Please refer to the part where I have no willpower.

How many #WIPs are you working on and what’s your favorite strategy for those invading new ideas?

Little Queen ✯ Book Blast & Giveaway!

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Little Queen (The Úlfrinn, #2)

By: A.C. Melody
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance ~ Wolf Shifters
Release date: July 1, 2017

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Little Queen Blurb

The bliss Reyna and Corbyn found in their unique Úlfr engagement is quickly forgotten as their ongoing conflict grows just as passionately as their hearts and desires. Reyna needs her independence and reassurance that their feelings are real. Corbyn needs to keep her safe, and for Reyna to accept him as her mate once and for all. The only thing their enemies want is to tear the new Wolf King and his would-be Queen apart. With the clock ticking toward inevitable war, Corbyn’s worst fears are realized when someone ups the ante, striking at his mate from the one place he never saw coming.

Frightened and angry, Corbyn rushes Reyna to the Elders, only to end up on their healing table next. After the back-to-back horrors, Reyna realizes she needs to make a crucial decision that will change their lives forever…and possibly save them. Fate decides to put that to the test immediately, drawing them right into enemy territory where Reyna will finally discover what’s become of Jesse and gets an unexpected audience with real Úlfrinn royalty.

Just when it seems they’ve found solid footing at last, their world is shaken in a horrific homecoming of bloodshed and betrayal. Their greatest fears can no longer be ignored, as they face off with the evidence of their worst enemy’s return–and a living Nightmare. Can Corbyn trust his Little Queen to make the right decision for herself and their entire pack, or will he lose everything he’s ever loved in one fateful night?

Available Now!

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Little Queen Teaser 2

Little Queen Excerpt

Eying the door nervously, she quickly used Corbyn’s toothbrush and mouthwash three times, before finally dragging her fingers through her curls and opening the door.

Corbyn filled the exit, causing her to jump. Happy for escape, the steam rolled over his body like a mystical molestation that had lust unfurling in her system, jealous of the wispy tendrils. Her gaze traced the tongue-tingling lines of his tattoos, the steel and sinew display of his muscles. The air thickened, her heart already beating too quickly from being startled. Corbyn advanced, and Reyna retreated into the steam. A flash of silver in his eyes stopped her, his nostrils flaring with an unspoken thrill. Oh, my. Heady desire had her mind swimming, a new fantasy born in her blood. What it would be like to be hunted by a man like him? To be caught?

“Reyna.” A quiet moan of entreaty edged with warning, his eyes widening as if she’d spoken aloud.

“I used your toothbrush,” she blurted, a self-defense quirk triggered by the increasing lust. “Three times.”

Corbyn stilled, before he groaned out a miserable laugh and shook his head. “I don’t know why that sounded so fucking naughty, but coming from you, I think anything pertaining to things being in your mouth multiple times should come with a damn advisory label.”

Reyna laughed, her cheeks burning red and Corbyn touched them softly, as if trying to feel her blush. His gaze outlined the shape of her mouth, and she suddenly felt something a lot deeper than mere lust trying to snake its way through her system to dig its roots into her heart.

“You stayed,” she whispered.

“I told you I would and I keep my word, Reyna,” he stated clearly, leaving no room for doubt. “Always.”

Little Queen Teaser 1

Little Queen Author Bio(1)

A.C. Melody is a hybrid author of Erotic Romance and its many sub-genres, enjoying the evergreen life in the Pacific Northwest. Confessed javaholic, introverted geeky girl with a twisted sense of humor and a wretched muse. She has a weakness for hard ass Alphas and the strong women who capture their hearts, without damaging their rough edges.

A lifetime lover of fairy tales, myths, legends and ancient pantheons, she spends more time researching than writing. A.C.’s biggest goal is to provide new, captivating angles on old, favorite tales with very naughty twists and characters that redefine preset expectations.

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