#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?

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#CampNaNoWriMo

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Yay! It’s Day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo and I’m already plugging away at my official project for this month: Scavenger (Dark Day Isle, #2) Revision with a goal of 45,000 words by July 31st. Here’s the Most-Likely-To-Change synopsis:

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It’s only day two of the week-long getaway on Dark Day Isle, and already Tessa is having doubts about her temporary Master’s real reason for bidding on her at the auction. After an intense confrontation, there’s no going back to the way things were before between them…yet, that might be for the best.

At a luncheon social, Tessa learns details about the resort she’d never expected and the information will ease more of her concerns, while piquing her curiosity higher. Together, Tessa, Gema and Kip only seem to deepen the mystery surrounding their anonymous host, rather than getting any closer to the answer.

One thing the unknown mastermind knows best, though, is how to throw a party and that’s further proven with the evening’s selected activity. Both Tessa and Master Felix’s competitive spirits come out to play during the kinky festivities, but they’re not the only ones hoping to scavenge a prize by the end of the night.

While I’ll be trying to meet my word count goals every day – I’m simultaneously working on the tail end of Shades Soirèe (Matron City Trilogy, #2) which is way overdue to my publisher and I think they’re assembling a task force as we speak to collect it! So, I won’t be around much this month – but there are a couple of events you won’t want to miss out on…

July 3-7: Avarice Unforgiving (Hell on Earth, #2) will be 100% FREE on Amazon

July 10-14: The #AwesomeAmazonAuthors #FollowFive are at it again! Beginning July 10th, one lucky winner will have the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card in the second easiest giveaway on earth. All you have to do is follow us on Goodreads for your chance to win.

July 12th: Release Blitz for Little Queen (The Úlfrinn series, #2) hosted by Goddess Fish. The book actually released today and is already available for purchase on all your favorite retail sites, but the 12th will include a $25 Gift Card Giveaway for entries, excerpts, teasers and a $10 gift card to a random host.

Good Luck to all my fellow Campers, hope we all reach our project goals this month!

#TacoTuesday

Taco Tuesday is back! I’ve missed the last couple of weeks, so for those just tuning in, this is a fun way to share your WIPs or published works on the Writer Menu -and/or- share your favorite books on the Readers Menu. Check out the original post HERE for the objectives. There’s absolutely no time limit for you to join in, just remember to leave a pingback to your post in the comments below, so I can check it out!

This week’s ingredient is…

Writer’s Menu

Lettuce: Share anytime money was used, stolen, given, exchanged or otherwise the main topic of conversation in a significant way.

“Lay on the bed exactly how I instructed last night,” he ordered.

Tessa turned her back to him and started crawling across the mattress, moving things out of her path along the way. Her hand landed on a computer printout that read Receipt of Purchase at the top. She was ready to dismiss it as belonging to the items Remy had just delivered, until she saw her own name. Pausing, she read the whole thing.

Master/Owner: Félix Debré
sub/slave: Tessa Fauns
Auction Price: $10,000 USD x 7 Days/Nights
Total Purchase: $70,000 USD – Paid in full.

It was dated and time stamped for that morning, which meant it had been one of the ‘important’ things he’d taken care of while allowing her to sleep in. Even if she’d been right in her assumptions, going back to the auction had never been an option. Her submission had already been purchased for the entire week.

“What is this?” she asked, turning and holding the paper up for him to see.

He studied her in silence, his expression guarded. “I thought we agreed last night that you weren’t going back to auction.”

“But seventy thousand dollars?” she jabbed the paper with her finger. “Scratch that, eighty thousand, because you already paid that ridiculous bid last night!”

“And if you went back, Tessa, it would be triple that, because I would never let anyone outbid me for you,” he countered with a ring of finality.

Oh, sweet mother of pearl. She’d really never had the option of not being his sub. That insight made her extremely grateful they’d cleared the air, but it still felt strange knowing her own price. Harder to accept he’d be willing to pay more. She wasn’t that fucking special. Not enough to warrant an eighty-grand price tag! That’s what her brain said, but it touched her in other ways she was completely defenseless against. Ways that, just like trying to anticipate his next move, were absolutely reckless.

Not knowing what else to say, she simply shook her head. “That’s just… that’s way too much money, Master.” She was incapable of expressing the depth of that fact.

He smirked in disagreement, plucking the paper from her hand.

“No, my little fox, it’s not,” he debated, mild amusement edged in warning. “Now, lay down and spread your legs, before I’m tempted to show my pet why it’s not in her best interest to question her Master’s spending habits.”

~ #WIP Scavenger (Dark Day Isle, #2)

Reader’s Menu

Lettuce: Share a favorite book/series where money played a significant role in dialogue, the story line, or was used as a thrilling plot twist. (The more unique the situation, the bigger the cool points).

I know I already used J.D. Robb a few weeks back, but since the genres are different between her pseudonyms, I think it’s only fair I get to use a Nora Roberts book this week! (My game, my rules. See how that works? 😀 )

CoverTheWinningHandThe Winning Hand, which was one of the late books introduced to Nora Roberts’s MacGregor series, was by far the absolute best rags-to-riches romance I’ve ever read  – Want to know why? Because, Darcy doesn’t become rich by marrying some billionaire, she simply has a stroke of good luck when she’s at rock bottom.

Stumbling into the Comanche casino in Vegas, after her car brakes down in the desert and no one will give her a lift, Darcy’s only worldly possessions are a handbag and three lousy bucks. She’s hungry, dehydrated and looks like she just climbed out of a dystopian bunker. Some kind of heat stroke dizziness is going on, but she’s dazzled by all the bright lights and noises of her very first casino, more so by doing the first outrageous thing in her entire meek existence, so plunks the last dollars to her name into the Comanche’s biggest jackpot slot machine – and wins!

To make this story even more awesome, Darcy then proves to everyone that she’s highly capable of taking that money and using it to fulfill her dreams without the help of her ex-douchebag boyfriend (who shows up to claim her, and “their” winnings after it hits the news) or even her new love interest, Robert “Mac” MacGregor Blade (the manager and heir of the Comanche casino). She’s a woman who knows exactly what she wants and how to wisely invest her winnings to make sure she gets and keeps it for the rest of her life.

That makes this book one of the most realistic rags-to-riches stories available, because let’s face it – the odds of winning big a the casino are higher than meeting and marrying a billionaire. Especially, a hot-as-hell, half-Comanche-half-Scottish casino running billionaire with a good heart and a lot of…um…stamina resources.

Next week’s ingredient is…Onions!

Onions for Writer’s Menu: Not everyone cries when they cut onions: share an outside-influence type circumstance/object that caused a character to tear up – or – notably didn’t, when they should have.

Onions for Reader’s Menu: Name a favorite book you read where a character was brought to tears by an outside influence (ex: poked in the eye, thick smoke, laughing too hard, etc.) -or- where a character was notably incapable of being brought to tears for any reason.

Series Updates & Introductions

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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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Catching Up & Changing Routes

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Yes! I’m happy to announce that I finished the rough draft of Scavenger, got it cleaned up and shipped off to my beta readers! 😀 I’d do a happy dance, but I woke up with a kink in my neck this morning. Ugh, hate those but I don’t exactly practice proper ergonomics, either – my bad.

I’m also happy to say that I got the final cover for Scavenger done. It’s so hard keeping it to myself, I can’t wait to share it with you! Since I made Collar Me Foxy’s cover, I just decided to stick with it for the rest of the series. The nice thing about Canva is that you can make a copy of your complete cover and that way the same color theme, fonts and everything are already in place, all you have to do is replace/adjust the photo and choose the proper filter setting (if you have any) and tweak it to your liking. No need to start from scratch – so, that’s just a little insight for those thinking about making their own covers. Of course, it’s more complicated if you’re using vignettes or multiples layers.

Another little insight I’d like to talk about with my fellow Indie’s is regarding publishing platforms. First I’ll start off by stating that everyone’s experience is different, so this is in no way a guideline on what you should do – I think we all should try everything for ourselves and come to our own conclusions on what works best for us. I’m going to be unpublishing my books from Smashwords and enrolling them into the KDP Select program at the end of this month (the end of Smashwords’s quarter).

I love everything about Smashwords, why it exists and everything it provides for Indie Authors – this is admittedly a business decision, not a personal one. Unfortunately, Smashwords’s Reporting & Payment policies are not competitive to Amazon’s. I’ll break it down for comparison:

Smaswords Reporting & Payment Policies:

  • 3 months per quarter + 30-40 days for payment, so for the quarter of July/August/September an author gets paid around the end of October, beginning of November.
  • A 30-60 day lag between end of quarter and when third party retailers send payments for sales (if any) to Smashwords. (according to their FAQ)
  • Smashwords purchases reported right away.
  • Third party retailer sales updated every 48 hours under Daily Sales.
  • A $75 minimum for payment by check. A $10 minimum for payment by PayPal, no exceptions.

Amazon KDP’s Reporting & Payment Policies:

  • 60 days after each month you make a sale, you get paid. (i.e. I got paid in August for June’s sales.)
  • Your sales are updated 24 hours after they happen – worldwide.
  • A $100 minimum for check or wire transfers. NO minimum for EFT payments (direct deposit) – whatever you make, you get.

So far, I’ve only sold 1 of each book available on Smashwords, a total of under $3.00. So not only am I unsure of how many books I may have sold at third party retailers, I don’t even know if I qualify to get paid at the end of October/beginning of November. Yet, my books have been selling fairly regularly on Amazon. So, for me, this is a smart business decision to take my books to where they’re selling. Also, since both of my books fall under the 35% royalty range, rather than the 70% royalty range, going Select could be more lucrative than staying normal KDP. Here’s why:

Amazon KDP Select Reporting & Payment Policies:

  • Sales reported 24 hours after they happen – worldwide – for regular, non-KU/KOLL customers.
  • Sales reports generated the 15th of every month for Kindle Unlimited & Kindle Owners Lender Library customers.
  • KENP reports as it happens (number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners Lending Library).
  • You get paid your regular sales 60 days after the end of each calendar month for non-KU/KOLL purchases.
  • You get paid from the KDP Select Global Fund for all books read through the Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Owner Lender Library programs – from my understanding, this is paid the same way KDP payments happen – 60 days after the end of each calendar month – if this is wrong, please let me know in the comments below!

Like I said, this is a choice I’m making for my own books, not something I’m recommending for yours, unless you want to. Another new experience I will happily share with you in a future post to let you know how it works out. In the meantime, I hope everyone is doing great and making progress on their own beloved projects and I have so many blogs and emails to catch up on, I better get back to it! 😀

In Scavenger, Tessa faces a typical sub conundrum more than once. Which is: giving Master too much information, because you’re forbidden to tell lies.

“You don’t like yellow, pet?”

“I hate it, Master.”

“Good to know,” he smiled deviously.

Personally, I think Master Felix just likes having a full arsenal of future punishments at the ready. Which do you prefer in books: blatant attacks, subtle unravelings or a good mixture of both?

 

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Coming Up For Coffee

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Yes, more coffee… I don’t need more air, I’m long-winded as it is – or maybe it’s opinionated? Either way, I’m still here, just been heck’a busy in all of the best ways. I started a new job, getting kids ready for school and most importantly have been hibernating in the writing cave in between.

I’m soooooo close to finishing Scavenger, I can taste it! The finish line is just at my fingertips.

Also, giving Avarice Unforgiving a good scrubbing (aka cutting about 10k words wherever I can), because that’s going off to the editor in just under 2 weeks! The book cover’s already ordered and I’m pushing for a December 1st release date. 😀

And because there’s never any rest for the wicked, I am also on a deadline with my publisher to get the final manuscript for Shades Soirée (bk. 2 of my Matron City Trilogy / The Zen Lounge) turned into them by September 25th! blah, contracts.

So, I hope everyone is doing great and getting time in their own writing caves. I’ll hopefully be getting another Dear Indie post up soon or at least participating in some book tours.

How’s your week going? Ms. Felicia, isn’t it almost time for the release of In the Best Interest of the Child? I can’t wait to read that… drumming fingers. 😀

Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Alright Indies, before we get down to business, I’ve noticed a couple of things this week that I think are important to share.

  1. There seems to be a small flaw to the social media managing site Crowdfire. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, I just realized that any post I publish or schedule through Crowdfire doesn’t show up under my Twitter profile like all of my other posts do (If you’re familiar with this site and have additional information – like what I’m doing wrong – please let us know!) or I’ll stop being lazy and go look on their FAQ page. Also, none of my Instagram posts show up anywhere on my Instagram, whether it’s on my feed or profile. It shows up as being published under the Archive section on Crowdfire, but nowhere else. I don’t think it’s being posted. So for Instagram, I’m sticking to posting the traditional way. Which is better, anyway, since I use the NoCrop app in order for my entire picture to show up without getting cut off by Instagram’s Square photos only policy.

    NoCrop

    NoCrop Logo – courtesy of Google Play

  2. I received an email from a newsletter that I subscribe to that gave me great pause. I’m not going to name names, as I really like the site the email is affiliated with and they have really low, affordable author services on their MAIN site. This appears to be a spin-off or sister site. And the very first thing in the email is the fact that they are offering a new service that will charge you for reviews [insert gobsmacked expression here]. Paid-For Reviews are 100% BANNED on Amazon, as well as every other retail site, and Strictly Prohibited on Goodreads. Even if by some chance they can promise the review only reads: “Was provided a free ARC in exchange for an honest review” – it’s a big fat lie, because regardless if that money goes to the person who actually wrote the review or not – you, the author exchanged MONEY for that review, not a free ARC.
  • Please Indies, check out other resources before ever paying for a review. There are countless legitimate Reviewing companies out there that will review your book for free – there are countless Reviewing groups, folders and individuals all over Goodreads who are also willing to review for FREE. Granted, you have less control over if your book gets chosen or if you get a good review, or when you might ever see that review, but why would you pay to get a bad review or worse… a fake one? Reviews are important, yes, but they are NOT the end-all-be-all that sells your book – Your dedicated readers are! So focus on your readers, your followers, your newsletter subscribers more than your reviews. Just as with Beta Reads, you should never have to PAY for a review and in my humble, personal opinion, it’s just another unethical practice that ‘tricks’ consumers into spending money, on top of scamming authors!

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, this week I promised we’d cover Pre-Orders. Have you considered the process, or the purpose? Is this something you’d even want to try? There was just a lively discussion about this on Goodreads a week or so ago, and even though it only covered the ‘marketing & sales’ side of it, I did learn a couple of things on the Print end – which I’m unfamiliar with as of yet. I’m going to share those things here with you today, so you have more insight, too. 🙂

Print On Demand: There are no pre-order options with this service (I did not know that). One of the commenters warned us of that, followed with how she gets around it. She simply direct-publishes her POD books a few days before her eBook goes live so that her POD reviews seamlessly merge with the eBook version shortly after its release. So, if you’re interested in going that route, it may be something you want to research deeper. I will have a future post on POD’s, because I truly do want to try CreateSpace when I can.

eBook Pre-Orders: KDP, KDP Select and Smashwords all allow you to publish your book for Pre-Order (click on links for their guidelines). Smashwords then sends your book out to its affiliate stores (Kobo, iBooks, B&N) for pre-order as well. I would normally follow that up with a list of Pros & Cons, but there aren’t any Cons. It’s just a matter of preference and what your purpose for choosing Pre-Orders might be. The first question is usually: Does Pre-Order help with book sales? If you’re a well established author with a huge following, probably. Otherwise, you might not get a single pre-order. However, there are other benefits, and these are the reasons why I will always opt for pre-order:

When I tried to put Avarice up for Pre-Order on KDP, it came back BLOCKED. I spent 4 days pulling teeth (aka trying to get a straight answer from Amazon customer support), because they “retain the right to choose what they deem appropriate or not, without having to explain themselves” (almost a direct quote). The problem is that I had no idea if the issue was with the cover, the content or the book details – and they flat out refused to tell me – which tells me that they don’t know, it was merely something one of their algorithm systems picked up on. Luckily, I had also loaded my book to Smashwords for Pre-Order and when their infamous Meatgrinder kicked it out – they told me exactly why, without me even having to contact customer support! So I was able to take that mistake and apply it to a new upload on KDP and wallah! It went through the second time without a hitch.

Important Note: KDP will not allow you to remove or make changes to a BLOCKED book – you have to load it again, as if it’s a whole other book, under the “Create Title” option on your Author Bookshelf page.

How is that a benefit, you ask? Imagine if that had happened on Avarice’s Release Day. If I had waited until the 22nd when my book is due to go Live, I would’ve had a the worst Launch Day ever. No one would’ve been able to buy my book!

The fact is both Smashwords and KDP take 24-48 hours to APPROVE your book for publishing before they’ll even list it. Perhaps, publishing directly forces it to go through right away on KDP – I’m not sure, as I’ve never taken that route – but from everything I’ve read on Smashwords, even if you direct publish, it still has to make it through their Meatgrinder in order to make it into their Premium Catalog, before they’ll send it out to their retail affiliates. Therefore, your book may be for sale on Smashwords, but not on Kobo, iBooks or B&N until it’s been approved.

Going the Pre-Order route allows you to make sure that all mistakes (if any) are fixed, and your book is being released across ALL retail sites simultaneously, without any delays – leaving you completely free to spend your book’s Launch Day interacting with your tour hosts and readers, rather than trying to fix publishing issues. So, that is simply another aspect to look at other than just the ‘marketing & sales’ side of it.

DEADLINES: Both KDP and Smashwords allows you to put incomplete books up for pre-order. KDP limits some of your options if you’re only uploading the Rough version or what Smashwords calls “Assetless Preorders”: This is the unfinished/or unedited manuscript with or without a book cover. However – both of these sites also have Deadlines of when you MUST have your final versions with book covers uploaded. 10 days prior to its Release Date – and if you don’t, then you will not be allowed to use their Pre-Order options for a certain penalty period after that. *Note: this does not change your ability to upload an “Updated” version of your book, after you’ve met your deadline with the “final” version. You will always be able to load an updated version, even after it’s live. You just need to make sure you have a ‘final’ version up there first.

Well, that’s all I have for this week Indies! Next week’s post will be bittersweet, because I’m going to cover what to expect on your Big Launch Day! That means our Step-by-Step Guide portion is almost at an end – but worry not, even if Dear Indie turns into a Monthly post, rather than weekly, I will still be sharing every new trick, free and/or low-cost resource and anything else I continue to learn along this journey we all love so much!

Weekly Accomplishment: I’ve been diligently working on Scavenger, after having to go back to the very beginning and make changes throughout because somewhere along the way I lost my character’s true voices and was very unhappy with the tragic nosedive they were taking. Writing a scene should never feel ‘forced’ – and that’s where I was at. I’m quite happy with where we’re back to and hopefully will be soaring right to the end now. 🙂 What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments, if not for our drinking habits, then for yourself – every milestone, no matter how small should always be celebrated!