Meet The Character | The Self-Sabotager

They call me Max Carver, because that’s the name on the cover. I’m the latest contender in the world of Graphic Novelists. My fans line up outside the bookstores and comic book shops, dressed like characters I created, waiting to see what carnage will be wrought and what kind of debauched mess their favorite anti-hero has gotten himself into this time.

Insidious “Sid” Strider gives all bad things a bad name, and man, do they love him. They can’t get enough of my morally-challenged alter ego. The one who’s always been free to do exactly what he wants; extending two middle fingers to the world like twin banners of pride.

No one knows that he’s been my cathartic outlet since I was seventeen; that he was born out of the madness following childhood tragedy. That he’s my much needed escape from reality, my purge of all the fear and rage. They can’t know that at times, he’s still the only solace I seek, my most trusted confidant.

Mostly, they don’t know that I’m a girl.

A young woman frayed at the edges behind an easy smile. Picking at the threads of my seams when no one’s looking. They have no clue that Sid isn’t my only sordid outlet.

In my private life, I’m a submissive of the Alternative Lifestyle known by and large as Kink. I found it quite naturally and never looked for anything else, even though I always ruin it. A subconscious demand stemming from my many contradictions, which, eventually–and without fail–push me to rebel against contentedness and comfort.

I’m the good girl in need of a strict-ass Dom who won’t put up with my shit. Though, in all fairness, it’s a lot of shit. I really can’t blame them for falling for the lies I tell myself, while pulling the wool over their eyes because they let me get away with it before. It’s not their fault I’m constantly testing them and watching them fail. Somewhere in the dark complexities of my mind, they’re fighting the inevitable.

I don’t have issues, so much as a solid record.

But Hayden’s not failing. He’s calling me out on my BS at our first meeting, switching up the rules of engagement from any other Dom I’ve ever met and you’d think that was a good thing. Except, good things are like bad thing’s crack, and I feel Sid creeping out of his cage, just waiting to make a long-lasting impression.

I don’t know if this is going to be an amazing ride or the toughest trial of my life, but I do know one thing: I’m destined to fuck it all up. I won’t be able to stop myself. I will tow the line, bend the knee, and earn my “good girls” – but in the end, I’m still a self-sabotaging mess seeking a miraculous change, while fighting tooth-and-nail to remain exactly the same.

~ Catherine Maxine Nicholson

Meet The Character | The Sadist

Screams thread the very fabric of my existence, weaving worlds of pain, blood, and pleasure together. Like any addict or connoisseur, I do have my preferences. Emissions of pleasure wrought by pain are, indeed, my favorite. But I am the Harvester; the one my Head of House turns to when he needs answers. My skills are legendary, as are my results.

They say you can’t glean truth through torture. I say they’re not doing it right. Besides, we’re not human. Most of the creatures who end up on my cross can regenerate within days, if not hours. And trust me, the agony of regrowing bones is far more excruciating than having them ripped out of your body. Loyalties never fail to leach into the bloodstained floor at my feet, the truth pouring out faster than bodily fluids.

I am the sadist without remorse, the second most powerful Elemental in the Phoenix Down Territory. Redford is my Household. Scotland is the one I answer to, for Fire is the demon I feed. But I am also half of a cruelly enforced bond. Berlin is my equal in every possible way, the only enemy I could never defeat on the battlefield and now we are two parts of a shared judgement, sentenced by Aeolus, himself. Due to our major parts in the Territory Wars, we’re now cursed with the inability to find satiation without each other. We live, eat, fight, and fuck together.

It’s much kinkier than it sounds, for Berlin is Water, my natural enemy. Our Elements are fatal to one another’s, making life and fun a little on the tricky side to accomplish with any kind of satisfaction. Of course, we found a loophole–quite a painful one, at that–an exchange I usually endure awash in Berlin’s screams.

Nothing we’ve ever known compares to the one we’re sent to capture for our Elder. Even while her Water slays me, her instant connection with Berlin riles this sadist like nothing else on earth. Because I heard her scream. And, fuck, it was like the maddening ride of an opium haze laced with delirious obsessions, triggering an orgasmic high in each of my senses. I can’t get enough. I would coax the full range out of her if it took an eternity, and I’d devour each pitch until her screams were infused with my soul–if only she were mine to render in pain so reverently.

~ Damascus Dmitri Redford

Dear Indie | Genre Trends

Hi Indies!

Have you ever noticed that whenever a certain genre niche gets popular, the market is suddenly inundated with a ton of similar books? Secret Baby trend hits big and – BOOM – 100,000 new secret baby books hit the market overnight. WTF? Were all those authors actually sitting on a finished book, just waiting for that particular niche to make it big before publishing? Why didn’t I think of that?! Ugh!

But is that the truth of the situation, or just how it appears? Are niches really popular long enough for authors to start a book from scratch and publish it while the trend is still hot–or do they just have remarkably lucky timing with what they’re already working on?

These aren’t the only questions I find myself scratching my head over when it comes to why certain books make it and others don’t, despite how alike they are. Of course, we already know why some books make it big, even from unknown authors – it’s because they had that extra. It doesn’t matter what the extra was, it set them apart from the competition. For example: Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent are all YA/NA Dystopian/SciFi and deal with a society or group of people “trapped” in one place, oppressed or strictly governed by a more powerful force. They have a romantic entanglement tossed in or love triangle, which is a common trope for this genre – yet they are so distinctly different with their “extra” that they made it through the mountains of books that just weren’t different enough – or weren’t written as well.

Those are the two key factors: Uniqueness and Well Written. The bonus third factor of course, is marketing/branding/exposure.

But I’ve got a 4th key factor that I never paid any attention to in the past, and maybe you haven’t either: Genre Trends.

I’m not saying you should be searching for a daily report while obsessively typing away to try to get a trending niche book out on the market before it drops in popularity – I’m saying once you have the book you just had to write finished, check the market trends before publishing. There’s a possibility that if you hold off just one week, two months, etc. your book will actually do 100% better at its launch, then if you publish too soon (or not soon enough).

We spend so much time and effort ensuring that our books are at their best before introducing them to the world at large, doing this one extra step is definitely not going to hurt. Impatience is just as big an enemy as procrastination. I for one am going to add this step to my pre-publishing process from now on – and maybe I’m the only one here who hasn’t actually been doing it this whole time (that would not surprise me, lol!) I just wanted to share in case others haven’t been paying any mind to the current trends when they publish, either. And I also wanted to mention it for those of you who are still aspiring writers, for future reference.

I’ve stumbled upon a good website called “Watched Plot Never Boils” that is specifically designed to keep authors up to date – weekly – on MOST genre’s niche trends. It covers quite a bit of the common genres, but misses others. Though, the website owner might be open to suggestions. It’s pretty cool, if you want to check it out and I’m sure it’s not the only one, but I like it. Week by week the trends don’t change much so it can get a little repetitive – but if you only hop on there to check out your specific genre when you’re getting ready to publish, it’s quite informative breaking down the niches, character types, and plot tropes in a way that’s fun to read rather than dry and analytical. But, as with everything else in this industry, double and triple check your information and never rely on just one source for the whole picture.

Now, I’d like to pose some questions, which you can answer in the comments below or just use as food for thought. 🙂

  1. Do you write only according to what’s popular at the time or do you write your own thing and hope for the best?
  2. Do you often find yourself searching for a way to add a new twist – that “extra” – to an old, favorite theme? ( i.e. fairytales, mythology, etc.)
  3. Would you ever sacrifice your true “writer” self just to sell books? i.e. write differently (or in your opinion, worse) than normal, try a POV you’ve never used before, or write about topics you typically wouldn’t, etc.?
  4. Do you hold fast to the long-standing belief that publishing one astonishing book a year is the best practice – or, do you think that’s become outdated and no longer smart business for the modern-day, e-commerce marketplace?
  5. Last, but not least and this is a 2-parter. #1: What’s your view on ghost writers and do you think they’re in more use today than ever before due to the high demand for faster release dates? #2: Would you take an entire year off (or longer) from publishing to just write, so that you could have multiple finished books to publish in faster succession or would you rather hire a ghost writer to pick up the slack?

❤ Okay, that’s all the questions (for now) 😀 Happy Hump Day, Indies, make it a good one!

#WordCountWednesday

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I’ve officially given up trying to stay focused on one book at a time, it’s not working. My brain (aka muse) just doesn’t work that way, apparently. All I accomplish is staring at the computer screen and getting no writing done. So, I suppose that completely defeats the purpose of my DIY 30 day Challenge. However, having to be accountable for a word count every Wednesday has been helping me stay in the habit of writing every day, no matter which WIP it’s on and that’s better than not writing at all.

I didn’t gain much on my word count this past week, because I was working on the first pass of my new book, Hexed, so I could get the MS back to my editor. Below are my new counts. By March 7th, I may still get 50,000 written, it just won’t be all on one book! LOL

Fox Trot (Dark Day Isle: The Ultimate Kink Resort, Book 3): 10,624

Mistress Wanted (Revision): 25,147 (May be scrapping and completely rewriting)

Mistress Wanted (New Book 2): 5,865

Broken Toys: 17,542 (Have not added any new words to this since the beginning of the challenge but was cleaning it up a bit yesterday, which means I may be working on it this next week)

Happy Hump Day!

#WordCountWednesday

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Okay, here’s to my DIY 30 Day Challenge. Last week I mentioned that I was going to focus on one book and get the first draft done in 30 days. My muse was not impressed by my attempts to squash her fickle flightiness, so we’ve come to a small compromise.

I’m still only focusing on writing one new book, but at the same time, I’m rewriting an old, old novel that I finished like a decade ago and never did anything with. It’s just been sitting in my documents collecting cyber dust. So, below are the word counts for both the new and the revised this week…

Fox Trot (Dark Day Isle: The Ultimate Kink Resort, Book 3): 9,200 words

Mistress Wanted: 24,221 words

Revising is so much easier than writing new content, especially when the characters aren’t that talkative – but I’m really going to have crack down on Felix if I hope to reach my goal, since I’m currently stalled in his POV! Stubborn Doms…

Happy Hump Day!

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Self-Inflicted

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Self-Inflicted

Henley sat at a small, window-side table in McCallan Point’s only café and glared at the screen of his laptop. The reports staring back at him couldn’t be right. He would’ve sworn he’d dumped far more money into his offshore account than that. Just in case. Fuck, this was his just in case, and now it was worse than he’d already believed!

His fists clenched under the table and he counted down from a hundred, combating the urge to throw his laptop across the room. What the fuck was he going to do? He’d lost everything overnight. Every business, every penny and worse, every ounce of respect his name had commanded for years. Over two decades, he’d busted his ass building an empire and with one blind spot, it had all come crumbling down. It killed him that it had been someone he’d spent half his life thinking of as a brother. His best friend. The one who’d been with him through it all. To be betrayed by the only person he’d ever trusted enough to divulge all of his secrets to, was beyond crushing. It was a living hell. A nightmare Henley simply couldn’t see a way out of. He was in ruins. Even if he could start over, take what little capital he had left and rebuild, his name was dirt. Vic hadn’t been satisfied with just ripping his wealth away from him, he’d made sure Henley couldn’t even get a fucking loan!

Nobody trusted the Crane name now. That was the worst of it. The hilt of the knife Vic had stabbed him in the back with. The salt he’d maliciously scoured into the open wounds. How had he not seen the signs? Henley prided himself on his ability to read people better than he let on. He’d always known who his enemies were, both socially and professionally. Vic had never made a blip on his radar. They’d done everything together; college, startups, women. There had been nothing secret between them and nothing they hadn’t shared. That kind of bond, that level of trust…

Henley’s thoughts were just as jarred as the bells hanging over the café door, when it was thrust open and a woman tripped inside with a shocked expression on her face. Though, that was mostly covered by stylish sunglasses. Embarrassment reddened her cheeks until they almost matched her gaping lips, and Henley felt a dangerous, familiar stir low in his gut. It was a good look on a woman. One he’d personally triggered countless times.

“Wow, I’m so sorry.” She recovered quickly, turning to apologize to the baristas behind the counter. “I had no idea it would open that easily, that is…really light.”

Henley nearly sneered at the dimwitted remark and drank in her tall, statuesque form from behind. Designer jeans hugged slender legs under the pale gray sweater that draped over her ass with a rounded hem. Even from twenty yards, he knew it was cashmere. Just like he knew her over-sized, deer hide handbag was real and carried a price tag in the thousands. Her hair was layers of golden browns and blonds, salon produced, not natural and pulled into a fashionable ponytail at the back of her head. The sunglasses she perched atop her perfectly styled hair couldn’t be found in any store in America. They’d undoubtedly been shipped directly to her doorstep, along with other accessories some Italian designer wanted to impress her with. Anything to have their brand advertised on the most effective billboards in existence: famous people.

But who was she? Henley couldn’t draw a name, not that he always expected to. Contrary to popular belief, not all rich people knew each other. There were still cliques among the elite, and they rarely overlapped. He’d spent all of his time rubbing elbows with other wealthy businessmen and women, networking among the corporate moguls and Fortune 500 tycoons. He hadn’t dabbled in the realm of celebrities, and the only time he’d entertained conversation with a trust-fund kid, was when they were actually in the game, getting ready to take their place as a rightful heir to a throne within his world. More than her name, though, Henley wanted to know why she was there. A sudden feeling of distrust settled atop the other nonsense he was struggling with. McCallan Point wasn’t a tourist destination for the wealthy. It was better known for local artists, crabbing, fishing, boating and people who just wanted to be left the hell alone. Like Henley. That’s why he’d chosen it. So, why was someone from his old life there and why so soon? He hadn’t even had the chance to lick his wounds yet.

With half an ear, he listened to her order some fancy latte to go. The moment she asked for directions, she had his undivided attention.

“Would you know how to get to White Rock Landing?”

Henley rolled his eyes to the ceiling and barely managed to keep his groan checked. She had to be joking. It was just more cruel punishment to dump on the head of someone already down and bleeding. Because fate hadn’t gotten its rocks off yet, or what? Fuck.

“Yeah, of course, I do, I mean sure.” The teenage, pimple-faced boy behind the counter grinned, causing Henley to smack his lips dryly.

Keep dreaming, kid.

Torn between prolonging his misery and just getting it the hell over with, it took Henley a few minutes to shut down his laptop and polish off the rest of his coffee. Now that he knew his nest egg was more the size of a chicken’s than an ostrich’s, it would undoubtedly be the last espresso he’d be splurging on for awhile. After standing and shoving his laptop into its carrying case, he scraped the chair in with enough noise to get everyone’s attention. He hadn’t been prepared, when the woman turned and their gazes collided. Her eyes were as undecided as a storm cloud, hovering somewhere between gray and blue. Too light to be called slate, too dark to be anything else. Her stunning features were mostly sharp, yet delicate. It was her mouth Henley was instantly drawn to. Lush and glossed with that wet sheen women knew how to use to their advantage, her top lip was a little more pronounced than her bottom. It gave her the sexy parted lip look used in almost every commercial and magazine ad, except she wasn’t posing. She was just staring at him.

“I’m headed that way. You can follow me.”

Something shifted almost imperceptibly in her eyes, but she quickly smiled to cover it up. “You sure?” she asked with fake politeness, obviously not expecting him to retract the offer, since she didn’t wait for an actual confirmation. “You’re a lifesaver, thank you.”

Henley didn’t respond. He slipped his own sunglasses into place and stalked out the door, letting her scramble to catch up. Exactly when he’d turned the proverbial whip on himself and became the masochist, he couldn’t say, but apparently he felt the need to be punished for that joke of an offshore account. With a single glance at the pretend, beaming smile molding the sexiest set of lips he’d ever seen, Henley had to admit his own sadism was outlandishly worse than he’d ever believed possible.

###

©A.C. Melody_WIP_Topple

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

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It’s time to reveal the word for this week’s #WeeklyWritables!

I’m on a mission this week to keep my Thursday’s submission much shorter than I’ve been doing so far. Last week’s results took me deep into my old ‘story idea’ archives and churned out a much longer excerpt than I’d been planning for, but I suppose finding inspiration and motivation to write is the whole idea of this challenge! 😀 For those interested in how it works, here are the guidelines again, followed by a screenshot of the random word.

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! Feel free to grab the badge/banner above for your posts, if you’d like. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

The #WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Frightening

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