Dear Indie | From Hybrid to Fully Independent

Hi Indies! It’s been too long–yes, since I’ve posted–but, also that I’ve been waiting for this day. 😀

Today, I am officially no longer a hybrid author, but fully Independent. Today, all of the rights my publisher ever had for any of my books are completely reverted to me to do with whatever I want!

That means revising, polishing, re-editing with an editor who actually knows what editing means, re-covering, at least one re-titling, and then re-publishing all – but not just in eBook format. Now I can take these beauties and make them available in paperback and audiobook format, too!

That’s the upside and I wouldn’t trade it again for anything!

The downside, though, means that none of those Titles are available for sale anymore and I’ve lost any and all reviews on retail sites I may have received for them. If you were one of those reviewers, I’m deeply sorry and I will be offering free copies of the new versions as they become available for those who would like them. *Note: Reviews will still be up on Goodreads, since they don’t allow the deletion of any books, even out-of-print versions.

The even bigger downside is that I now have to pay a butt-ton of money to get these books back out onto the market, which means it won’t be happening as quickly as I would want it to.

Changes


Currently, I have already revised both Hearthstone Alpha and Little Queen, they’re ready to be sent off to my editor and I do plan on getting those back on the market first in every possible format. If you’re a fan of the Úlfrinn series (now the Midgard Úlfrinn series) please know that I have not changed anything in the story, only cleaned it up to get rid of unnecessary words and a timeline issue I never noticed before – and already have Violet Night underway, which will be the 3rd installment for that series, starring my violet-eyed wolf, Shayd Eklund. (Don’t worry, you’ll still get plenty of Reyna and Corbyn, they’re just no longer the MC’s).

The Zen Lounge will be given the new title: Seducing the Darkness and getting a major clean-up revision, but again I won’t be changing the story, just hopefully making it easier and more enjoyable to read! 😀 The second book to the trilogy is nearly complete and will be in editing before I re-release the first book.

Dark Duplicity, book 1 of my Dark Descendants series will be getting a fresh edit and will not be released again until book 2, Dark Legacy is already in editing, which is currently about halfway finished.

Euphoria, book 1 of the Pleasures of Paradise trilogy will be completely re-written. The elements of the story will remain the same, but not necessarily the structure or storyline. If I decide to re-release this one at all, it will be last on my list for ALL of my books and probably not until the whole thing is complete.

In Other Book News


Between revising these older Titles from my publisher, I am also working as quickly as I can on Fox Trot, the 3rd installment to the Dark Day Isle series, which is about halfway completed and will *fingers crossed* hopefully be released by the end of this year.

Irreparable, book 1 for the Broken Ones duet, a new dark psychological romance is finished and ready to go to my editor, but will not be released until book 2, Irrevocable is in editing.

The remaining 6 books for the Hell on Earth series are worked on as much as possible, and I’m still unsure which will be released next, Lust, Envy, or Gluttony, they all currently have about the same amount of material completed–but Sloth, Wrath, and Pride will be the final 3 books released, in that order.

A Personal Note


2020 has unarguably been the hardest year so far for a lot of us between the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the severe crimes against humanity being conducted–issues that shouldn’t even be issues still in the 21st century–we’re all struggling with something in our lives, so please let’s not forget that.

In March, I lost 2 people that I love, respect, admire, look up to, and had known since I was 9 years old as if they were my own parents. They passed away within 3 days of each other and our large, unruly family is still trying to cope with their loss.

On top of it, I’m one of millions of people fighting an autoimmune disease, taking medicine that suppresses my immune system during the worst pandemic of our time, and was just recently super, scary sick – so PLEASE, to all my fellow humans: Stay safe & healthy, take really good care of yourselves, be kind, compassionate, PATIENT, and uncharacteristically understanding of the other humans around you. Be with your loved ones in any way you can and most importantly, never forget that YOU matter.

❤ A.C.

Meet The Character | The Last Descendant

Everyone knows my story. It was a fucking blockbuster hit. But, they say truth is stranger than fiction. In my case, it’s just more depressing. No one would be applauding if they really knew all the things I’ve done; the accomplishments I let burn, and lives I destroyed when my own was in chaos. Fire may have been the start, orphaning me as a man, after I’d already been orphaned as a newborn. I was a rising star in the art world, a successful painter with a wealthy patron and my own gallery on the Cornish Coast.

I’ve also been a thief from early on, honing my skills on the streets of London. Hobbies are a healthy break from the monotony, any expert will tell you that.

But, I went mental to the point of utter detachment, returning to lucidity with no recollection. I lost days, possibly weeks all in one go, painting nightmarish portraits of evil, obscene landscapes of blood and depravity. I lived on whiskey and a will that wasn’t my own; a marionette caught in the twisted strings of my feverish mind.

Therapy was a last, desperate attempt to claw my way out. Instead, I was pushed beyond the brink of madness and that’s where I found clarity. It can happen. You can go so crazy you come out sane again on the other side. But, it’s a different kind of sane. It’s the irrevocable death of your former self. I was reborn scarred, changed, unable to return to the life I’d known. I closed my gallery, packed all of my possessions into storage, and abandoned the only family I had left. A clean break. I can’t hurt the ones I love if I’m not there, if they don’t have to hear my voice over the phone reminding them of the damage already wrought.

Across the pond, I kept my skills honed in Vegas, while learning new, highly pleasurable ones and working as a strip-club bouncer. That’s where they found me, all the ones who would turn my life into something only ever seen in movies, setting me on the path to becoming a vampire, and a prince.

Albeit, a prince of Hollywood, but for Americans that’s the closest thing they’ve got to royalty. So, I walk the red carpet same as I’ve done for three years now. I smile for the cameras, as every flashing bulb hurls me back to a rainy afternoon in a London cemetery–and I hate every fucking minute of their repetitive questions.

They want to know if I’ll make another movie, if I’ll play the same role the way my costars have, and the answer is always, agonizingly yes. Legend Studios has a running series and we’re all contracted to fulfill our character obligations. Whatever Evelyn wants, Evelyn gets. She rules our existence; controls our fates. If she wants the vampire, the last descendant of the Order of the Dragon, then she gets him.

When I left England, it was never with the intention of forging kinships again, but the running joke of my life has cast two new brothers for me. Much like this version of sanity, my bond with them is different. My siblings back home were family without blood because we came up together. With Trystan and Dorian, it’s the brotherhood of soldiers fighting the same war, suffering the same tragedies and injustices. We have a common enemy, and she’s drug us across the fucking country to scout a new filming location.

A new movie can only mean one thing: our family’s in danger of getting bigger. My mates and I are on guard, watching Evelyn to see who she’s watching. Keeping track of those she takes a keen interest to. So far, she only seems focused in the filming site. At her request, I seek out the man with the answer on whether or not she gets to use it.

I already know it will be a cold day in hell before Evelyn takes no for an answer, regardless of what the man says, but I do as I’m told like the good soldier I’ve never been. The sexy brunette that runs smack into me in the parking lot is a thrilling, unexpected distraction. I can’t recall the last time I’ve felt this kind of intense chemistry straight off. Discovering that she’s the one with the answer I need doesn’t deter me from pursuing more than just a business deal.

And it’s dangerous, I know. I’m losing sight of the mission, taking my attention off the enemy for the much better view of golden-green eyes and a mouth made for sin. But, I ca’t help it, her ignorance is just as enticing as her clever humor and gorgeous body. She’s never heard of Legend Studios before, isn’t familiar with any of their movies.

Kallie’s got to be the only woman on earth who has no idea about who or what I am. She’s never seen the vampire, the last Dracul, and I’m in no hurry to change that. To her, I’m just Luke, the infuriatingly quick-witted, silver-tongued Brit that can’t get enough of seeing her all flustered and blushing.

And when she threatens to douse me with mace if I get too cheeky, it’s a challenge I simply can’t turn away from. The feisty little Historian is about to learn that I am a man of many skills.

~ Lucien Alexander Drake

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Dear Indie | Writing Male Characters Part 2: Types

Welcome back, Indies! Today in Part 2 of Writing Male Characters, I’m going to cover the most common character types, talk about the difference between writing human and non-human heroes, and touch on some of the good and bad aspects of writing non-human heroes.

COMMON MALE CHARACTER/HERO TYPES IN ROMANCE

I think I pretty much covered the Playboy already in my last post, but that is probably the #1 most common character type for heroes in romance. Especially, erotic romance. They’re usually billionaires to boot, which I think might be the 2nd most common type. So, let’s have a look at what kind of lists I can conjure up off the top of my head for the genres I’m most familiar with.

Romance & Erotic Romance

  • Playboy
  • Billionaire/CEO
  • Dom/Daddy/Sadist
  • Mafia/Mobster
  • Biker/MC Prez or VP
  • Club Owner (usually a sex club of some sort)
  • Foreign Prince/Duke/Noble/Dignitary
  • Military/Special Forces/Personal Security
  • Fireman/Cop/Detective
  • Cowboy/Rancher
  • Single Dad

Paranormal Romance

  • Shifter
  • Vampire
  • Werewolf (not to be confused with wolf shifters)
  • Witch/Wizard/Warlock/Sorcerer/Shade
  • Demigod/Pagan Deity
  • Demon/Reaper
  • Angel/Fallen Angel
  • Devil’s Son
  • Ghost

SciFi Romance

  • Alien
  • Human-Alien Hybrid
  • Ship Captain/Crew-member
  • Galactic Mercenary
  • Space Pirate
  • Time Traveler
  • Bounty Hunter (everyone loves the Western/SciFi mash-ups, come on)
  • Special Operative for an Alien Control Agency

Okay, I’m not as familiar with SciFi as the others, so I’m sure I missed a lot. You can call me out on it, I don’t mind.

It’s no surprise that writing male characters/heroes that aren’t human can be a somewhat different process from writing heroes that are. Most supernatural/paranormal heroes aren’t restricted to the same laws that humans are, let alone the same laws of physics. Of course, the more flawed and ‘human-like’ they are, the more readers will root for them.

The reality is that unless your non-human hero is displaying only non-human traits throughout the entire story, it is very difficult for readers to remember that minute detail. That’s why in my book Hexed, I tried to slip in a reminder here and there simply by having Hex repeat to Zoe that she couldn’t “humanize” him. Because, he does come across with a lot of typical human male traits, but is also very much demon and proud of it. I also tried to give him more demon-like reactions and responses, to add weight to those reminders.

Despite being creative with massive imaginations, we writers still tend to rely on the things we know as points of reference and inspiration – and I, personally, don’t know any real life demons, angels, werewolves or aliens (that I’m aware of). O_o

Well, then what really is the difference between writing human heroes versus non-human heroes? I think, most obviously, is making sure they possess personality traits associated with whatever kind of supernatural/paranormal being they are–and then keep it there. Don’t have your hero starting off as the epitome of a vampire and then start behaving more human than vamp as the story progresses. Besides, I think it’s equally entertaining when a character’s supernatural traits are revealed gradually, rather than all at once.

When it came to writing the characters for my wolf shifter series, I first did a lot of research on real wolves because I wanted to depict the pack dynamic, not just the relationship between the hero and heroine. And I really wanted to incorporate wolf traits into my characters’ personalities, because that just seemed more realistic to me than their wolf traits only coming into play while they’re in wolf form. On top of that, how they think and believe as wolves plays a major part in the way they approach the world around them. Ways humans might not. For example: real wolves mate for life. They’re completely monogamous, so I’m not going to use the ‘cheating’ trope to create conflict between my hero and heroine. It would be unrealistic to do so for their supernatural type.

Now, I know many of you might be thinking: “But, it’s a supernatural book, you don’t have to follow real-life protocol.” That’s true. Writing PNR and Fantasy certainly opens up our ability to be as creative and extraordinary as we want. But, it goes back to creating ‘believable’ characters. We know wolf-shifters aren’t real, but for however long it takes a reader to read my book, I want them to believe that they are 100% possible. So, I’m going to make them as realistic as I can.

THE GOOD & BAD ABOUT WRITING SUPERNATURAL/PARANORMAL HEROES

Without a doubt, the best part about writing non-human heroes is the freedom to give them personality quirks/traits that would normally be frowned upon coming from a human man. Drinking blood isn’t something we could readily forgive our lover, just because. But if he was a vampire and it was the only thing keeping him alive (undead?) then it’s excusable. I mean, the man’s gotta live, right? Or not die all the way?

Another favorite aspect about creating supernatural heroes is getting as close to an original idea as possible. These character types have been around for soooooo long, it’s pretty much impossible to come up a completely new, never before seen kind of vampire, werewolf or wizard. Some authors succeed in at least contributing one thing that stands out from the rest. Stephenie Meyer gave us sparkling vampires and whether or not you appreciated that as a fan of vampires, she at least had an original idea. Her “imprinting” idea for the wolves was also a bit unique. At least it was for me, but then I haven’t read every wolf shifter book on the market, either.

The point is, I respect any writer that attempts to break away from the overdone, cliched, stereotypical character type to offer something as different as possible. I also appreciated the realism of her vampires being that freaking cold to the touch. Often, that realistic side-affect of being ‘undead’ isn’t even mentioned in vampire novels.

Then again, we can only guess what a ‘real’ vampire would feel and act like. As my heroine, Kallie, states in Dark Duplicity: “Aside from making freakishly realistic vampire movies—which, by the way, should be considered an oxymoron…”

The only bad aspect to writing non-human heroes that I have personally come up against stems from my Hell on Earth series. In the series, all of my main male leads/heroes are the actual demons/devils assigned to the seven deadly sins. The problem with writing about demons and devils is that 90% of the books with “Devil” in the title or description for the Romance genre are about human men. Likewise, a good 95% of any series claiming to be about the seven deadly sins is also only about humans.

That’s irksome on its own from a reader’s standpoint when I’m trying to find books to read about actual demons and devils. But, knowing that, going in – I first made the executive decision to use the Latin names of the sins for my book titles and left the word “Devil” out of it, altogether. Then, I backed it up with a Trigger Warning in the description that clearly explains it’s about demonology, occult, devils, fallen angels, etc. Yet, I still get readers who complain that it’s about demons. And it’s not just obvious they missed the trigger warning – it’s because the amount of books about human heroes depicted as-and-referred to as “devils” is far too prominent. So, that’s what readers are expecting. Their eyes just kind glaze over the word Devil anymore.

Another downside is that I’ve gotten reviews where the reader complained about how the hero doesn’t possess the usual ‘good’ qualities and ‘decent’ attributes they typically like to see in their romance men. 😐 My first thought to this is always: “Well, he’s not a man, he’s a devil from hell, so I don’t know what to tell ya.” But, I understand that this reader reaction goes back to what I mentioned before about the way we present our non-human characters.

Despite being 100% fallen angel/demon, my hero lives and works on earth, so he acts human to fit in. This “act” makes up most of the personality traits my readers are presented with, so I can’t really get too upset when they expect those traits to carry all the way through. Even though his “act” is anti-social disorder at best and he displays random abilities no human man could ever possibly pull off, it’s the equivalent of having an unlikable vampire. To most readers, it really doesn’t matter “what” your hero is, as long as he’s a lovable hero.

Personally, I think Aliens should get the largest pass for not acting human, but once again, I’m not as fluent in SciFi romance as the others. I thoroughly enjoy Anna Adler’s Silenia series, but her heroes are Alien-Human Hybrids, so of course, they’re going to both look and behave just as human as alien. I’m also a fan of Gena Showalter, and I love her Alien Huntress series, but all of her aliens are extremely human-like in personality, even if their physical appearances are anything but. If you know of any great SciFi romance books with Alien heroes that lack most human traits, please let me know, I’d love to check them out for comparison!

This is also where picking the right genre for your book is vitally important. Most romance novels that are labeled “Dark”, “Thriller”, “Suspense”, “Psychological” or even “Taboo” get an automatic pass from readers when it comes to how their male heroes are depicted. I tried my best to advertise the Avarice trilogy as “Dark Erotic Romance”, but unfortunately that’s not an actual category option on Amazon from the main set up screen. I haven’t learned the art of hidden categories yet, but if you’re facing the same problem, it might be worth looking into.

Alright, Indies, that covers the topic of writing male characters/heroes. Please feel free to let me know if I missed an area you’d like to see discussed. In my next post, I’m going to talk about common tropes used in the romance genre.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see a post about, let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Series Updates & Introductions

typewriter

What are you writing?

So, after a great comment on my last Dear Indie post (you know who you are, lady), I got a bit of a guilty conscience on whether or not I’ve shared current updates on my series with everyone. If this is redundant for my newsletter subscribers, I apologize – just want to make sure everyone’s getting the same info.

Indie Series Updates

Dark Day Isle Series:

Scavenger (Book 2) has returned from beta readers and is in the revision process. I’m hoping to get it to my editor by the end of January. If all goes according to plan it should be published by March at the latest.

Hell on Earth Series:

Avarice Unleashed (Book 3) is still with my last beta reader, expecting a return by the end of this week. I wanted to get this one published by February, but just learned that my cover artist is booked all the way to April 😦 So, unfortunately, this won’t get released until sometime in the Spring – if that changes, I will let you know! *fingers crossed it’s sooner!*

Publisher Series Introductions

Summer 2017 will see the release of a brand new Paranormal Romance series from my publisher, Red Sage. This will undoubtedly be labeled as a Wolf Shifter series and delves into ancient Norse and Greek Mythology without leaving present/modern day times. In total it will span 10+ full length novels.

June 2017: Hearthstone Alpha (The Úlfrinn series, #1) – A Contemporary Paranormal Romance with a touch of naughtiness thrown in. This is completely done and with my publisher.

July 2017: Little Queen (The Úlfrinn series, #2) – An Erotic Paranormal Romance starring the same MC’s as Hearthstone Alpha. This is completely done and with my publisher.

August 2017: Violet Night (The Úlfrinn series, #3) – A Erotic Paranormal Romance starring different MC’s than the first two books. This is about 1/3 of the way done and I’m working on it!

Sometime in Fall or Winter of 2017, two more new series will be introduced by my publisher.

Dark Descendants Series: An Erotic Paranormal Romance that delves into legendary historical and fabled figures – some villains, some heroes. It will span approximately 6+ full length novels.

Unknown: Dark Duplicity (Dark Descendants series, #1) – An Erotic Paranormal Romance set in present day/modern times and an alternate plain of existence. This is completely done and with my publisher.

Pleasures of Paradise Trilogy: A strictly BDSM Fantasy-Meets Modern World mash up with a full cast of characters that switch POV’s much like Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones).

Unknown: Euphoria (Pleasures of Paradise, #1) A BDSM Fantasy/Modern World tale that follows a cast of characters through various places in New Paradise. This is completely done and with my publisher.

Continued Trilogy

Fall of 2017 will finally see the 2nd novel following my first publication: The Zen Lounge (Matron City Trilogy, #1). This is a Futuristic Erotic Romance trilogy with prominent Crime/Detective elements and spans 3 full length novels, each with a different set of MC’s and though they can be read as stand alone novels (no cliffhangers) the character backstories and over all experience will be better if read in order.

September 2017: Shades Soirée (Matron City Trilogy, #2) – 20k words to go, then it’s done – I’m currently wrapping it up!

Of course, I’m also trying to make sure I stay ahead on the next installments for ALL of these series, so stay tuned for more updates as they come along & thanks for reading!

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