Archive for Ebooks

Que Sera Sera…

…whatever will be, will be.

That song is stuck in my head. It’s kind of fitting though, because today is my last post on this awesome website.

I have some personal issues that will be taking up quite a bit of my time, plus the holidays are swiftly coming as well, and since writing is now my full time job, it is FaceBook, blogs and forums which I need to cut.

Plus, I just suck at this blogging stuff.

One of the reasons I joined, besides loving the site and wanting to be a part of it, was that I knew it gave me a deadline. Post twice a week, come hell or high water. I figured that would help me stay on top of it, but man, I just really suck at it. I haven’t missed a single post, but it has become a strain instead of a joy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you all for having me, for reading me, for putting up with me, lol.

Normally this is where I’d leave you with a freebie or something, but I have nothing running free until Friday, so alas, I can’t even gift you with free smut upon my exit.

I wanted to say good bye with some awesome, kick ass, inspirational post, but… did I mention I suck at this?

My heart is heavy, for many reasons. Please, pray for me if you are a praying sort, and keep me in your thoughts if you are not.

Where “Romance” Ends and “Erotica” Begins

Romance. Erotica. E-rom. Points along a sliding scale? Discrete entities and ne’er the twain (thrain?) shall meet? Somewhere in between?

You decide, but for my part, I’ve never been much on drawing a clear line. I tend to find romance erotic, and eroticism romantic, which probably accounts for my highly enjoyable and socially dubious love life.

Still and all, Amazon has decided that there are two different genres, romance and erotica, and that ebooks have to belong to one or the other. As soon as you select “erotica,” that’s it — the title is permanently ghettoized, ineligible for any other categories. Romance, on the other hand, can be categorized as such and still also filed under other categories, even once you tag it as “erotic romance.”

Princess-SerenaIt’s a topsy turvy, Lewis Carroll sort of world, and one I mostly hadn’t dipped a conflicted toe into until recently. All my prior works have been firmly in the “erotica” camp (by which I mean “porn,” but Amazon doesn’t offer that as a literary category). It’s only with my most recent title, Princess Serena and the Captives of Castle Cagebird, that I’ve even started dabbling in character match-ups that are sweet and loving in addition to horny and interested in fucking.

I wouldn’t call it “romance,” myself, since the interest on everyone’s part is still whose naughty bits are or are not going to rub against other people’s. But it’s done with a sweet, loving heart, so I guess that makes it romantic.

Or maybe it doesn’t! This is sort of my point here: authors must, at some point make a call between “erotica” and “romance” if they’re selling on Amazon. And that’s silly, because a lot of completely filthy erotica is also romantic, and a lot of romances are heavily, steamily erotic. The twain meet all the time, hip to hip, with lots of bumping and grinding.

Princess Serena just went on sale today, categorized as an “erotic romance,” and I’m genuinely interested to see how that will work out as compared to a “Victorian erotica” like A Noblewoman’s FallThe two are functionally the same genre (“cocks and corsets,” I like to call it, although in the case of Princess Serena it would be more accurate to say “corsets and cunnilingus”), but they ended up filed under different headers on Amazon because of slight differences in how sugary the love scenes got.

At the risk of sounding shameless, you’re going to have to tell me, because I honestly can’t tell for myself: where does the “erotic” part start and the “romance” part end, and which one is Princess Serena and the Captives of Castle Cagebird?

Either way, I hope you like it, because it’s full of lesbians and airships and steampunk silliness, and who doesn’t like those things, really?

Happy Veteran’s Day

Today is a holiday here in the states. Veteran’s Day.

I’ve heard the occasional person ask what the difference is between Veteran’s Day, today, and Memorial Day, in May.

Both holidays celebrate those brave men and women who serve in the military, but the easiest way I know how to explain the difference is- Memorial Day is a day for remembering fallen military. Whether they died in combat, serving their country, or died peacefully in their beds of old age, many, many moons after serving their country, Memorial Day is for them.

Veteran’s Day is to honor those who are still serving, or who have served, who are still with us.

I’ve always been a bit of a sap when it comes to those willing to lay their life on the line for what they believe. I tried to enlist, even. My scores were great, but it seems no one wanted someone who fainted as easily as I do. What? It’s the south. We’re known for our ‘vapors,’ lol.

As an erotica writer, who deals with what is and isn’t acceptable to publish on various sites, who hears phrases like, ‘freedom of speech’ bandied about daily, this day effects us personally.

We are lucky to have the freedom of speech, the freedom to assemble, the freedom… well, the freedom to do damn near anything.

Look around at the rest of the world.

These are freedoms not everyone has.

These are freedoms men and women, young and old, have fought for. Fought life and limb for. So that among many other things, we can write and read what we want.

Granted, it isn’t perfect. Nothing is. But damn it, we have it a hell of a lot better than some. And it is because of those who have gone before us. Period.

I’m not offering you any free reads today. I’m not going to try to sell you anything today.

I am going to ask though, that you take just a few seconds, left or right, conservative or liberal, for or against military, hell, for or against the USA, and give this holiday a little bit of thought.

Enjoy your day off if you’ve got it. But take a second to think about the why behind the holiday.

That’s all I’ve got. Have a great day. Enjoy your freedoms, they didn’t come cheap.

The Naughty List

Please forgive me, I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’ve had a migraine headache. I keep thinking it will go away in time to write this, but my deadline has arrived and I still have a headache. Being on the computer makes it worse, so I am going to make this a quick plug post.

Have you guys signed up for The Naughty List yet?

You can sign up for erotica emails, romance emails, or like me- pick both. New releases and freebies delivered straight into your inbox. It’s an awesome service, one I not only subscribe to, but also advertise my books on.

Click to go to website.

Click to go to website.

While I’m shamelessly plugging things, Kitchen Capers is free through today, 10/28.

Free on Amazon

Free on Amazon

I also have a new bundle up, its a big ole thank you bundle to my readers.

Free in Unlimited, or $0.99.

Free in Unlimited, or $0.99.

And, my first longer shifter romance is up as well.

Free in Unlimited, or $0.99.

Free in Unlimited, or $0.99.

Check them out, but of all of them, check out The Naughty List! Ok, I’m crawling back into my migraine hole now. See you guys in two weeks!

Introducing Myself

sexygirl Hi everyone!  ((waves))

My name is Sienna Stapleton and as you all probably know I’m new here.  I just wanted to take a moment to thank M. Keep and the rest of the bloggers here for allowing me to join this wonderful little group.

Now a little about me.  Like I said, my name is Sienna Stapleton and I write BBW romance.  Yes, you heard me correctly, I write romance, not erotica.  So, why did I decide to join an erotica blog if I don’t write erotica?  Mostly because while I read romance I also sometimes read erotica.  So in my head it only made sense for me to join.

Besides, while I love to write about every day women finding their true love, I also enjoy throwing in a bit of spice.  There’s no better way to boost a woman’s self-esteem than to sandwich her between two sexy alpha males or have one ultra sexy dominant take control in the bedroom.

As a closet submissive I love adding a bit of kink to my stories.  Not all of them have BDSM in them, but many have some level of dominance and submission to them.  After all, big girls have fantasies too.

While I enjoy writing about BBW and their sexual fantasies, it’s also important to me to try and keep my stories steeped in a certain amount of reality. So you won’t find me writing about vampires or shifters.  There are plenty of great authors out there writing about shifters.  Celia Kyle comes to mind. InsteFBFWad, I want readers to identify with my stories, to be able to see themselves in the heroines and be able to live vicariously through her.

I’m thrilled to be here and you all will come to find out, I have plenty to say.  In the meantime, if you haven’t read any of my titles, please consider checking out Reckless Curves (book 1 in the Reckless Curves series). Rekindled.

It’s free.

If NASCAR isn’t your speed consider checking out my latest release If you do, let me know what you think and if you really like my work, please consider friending me on FB or following me on Twitter. I’ll see you in two weeks!

Secrets

Secrets, we all have them.

Things we don’t want anyone else to know.

Things we keep to ourselves, to protect us, to protect others. Big, small, silly, heartbreaking, secrets run the gamut. Some we’d be better off sharing, exposing to the light. Some, not so much.

So what do you do when you need to tell your secret? To someone, anyone? Sometimes just saying it out loud helps. Hearing your own words, aimed at your reflection in the mirror, aimed at a higher power, aimed at the dog.

Sometimes we tell a stranger, which is often so much easier than telling someone we love. Sometimes we tell the whole damn world, by way of the internet, things that the one sitting beside you on the couch still doesn’t know even as you type it beside them.

Secrets about why we read what we read, why we write what we write. Things that almost slip off the tongue, but that are caught instead, and swallowed back down.

When I was young, I wanted the ability to read minds as a super power. As I’ve gotten older, I realized that it wouldn’t be a super power, it would be a curse. Now, I’d pick flying. Sometimes, with the top down on a nice day, the music blaring, driving a bit faster than I should, I come close.

And yet when you come home, windblown, exhilarated, your secret is still a secret, because wherever you go, there you are.

Postsecret.com Where secrets are told for one week, and then disappear forever. (If I could get the damned link button to highlight itself, I’d link it. Guess you’ll have to work for it instead. :) )

Postsecretarchive.com where some, but not all collect.

I mailed one, once. And I watched the website. It never showed up, maybe the mailman took it home, or I missed the week it sat there, exposed.

Totally unrelated, honestly- Alpha Bitten, my first shifter short, is free through today, Tuesday 10/14, on Amazon.

FREE 10/10-10/14

FREE 10/10-10/14

 

 

Authors and Alcohol

They have been paired together forever, authors and alcohol. But why?

Are authors really a drunk lot? I’m assuming many more write sober than write drunk, but the image persists: a man (usually), his pen, (or typewriter, or computer) and his favorite drink:

image

My always present writerly companion seems to be my cat. She will not let me write alone. See this picture? It is me, writing this post, with my cat:

image

She hears me settle in, and must be a part of things. First, she tries to play with me, I guess because she knows that as my mind wanders, I have a tendency to either jack with and play with her, or pet her, in procrastination mode.

But, I must admit, that a shot glass is often also beside me as I write. I have a decent size shot glass, slide an ice cube in it, and fill it to the brim with my favorite- Jameson Irish Whiskey.

But why?

I think for me it is part routine, and part ‘I’d probably be sipping Jameson anyway, may as well get some work done.’

I discovered alcohol, and Jameson in particular, long before I started writing, so I don’t think the writing begat the liquor. I just like liquor. I like wine, some of my husband’s beers, and sipping on shots.

I haven’t actually shot a shot in years, since my bar days, (which were hella-fun, BTW, damn I miss wearing corsets with jeans sometimes) but now I just sip them. I like to sample different whiskeys, as well, when we travel. That’s how I found Jameson, actually. Touring the old distillery in Ireland. Before that trip, tequilla was my go-to. Now, I sample and sip whiskey.

I like cinnamon whiskey. There is a caramel whiskey we found in Gatlinburg, TN that my husband loved, we ended up buying three bottles, the caramel, the cinnamon, and a normal whiskey. I fear I’ve corrupted him.

Davy Crockett’s Salty Caramel, that was it. And their Cinnamon. They even had Chocolate Whiskey! If you are ever walking that street (if you’ve been there, you know the one) in Gatlinburg, stop in at Davy Crockett’s and sample all their shit!

Oh also, Jim Beam has a Red Stag line, and their Black Cherry is delightful. Goes down way too easy, my friends. Way too easy. Sometimes I mix it with Jameson (Shh!!!) just to lower the sweetness.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a bit off topic. I’m blaming the Jameson beside me, as I write this.

One of my favorite quotes has been attributed to both Shakespeare and Hemingway, “Write drunk, edit sober.” I think it is because I can relate.

There is something about settling in to write, the Ipad on the kitchen table, or the laptop on my lap in the spare bedroom for quiet, a cat on the keyboard, a full shot beside me, that just opens the floodgates to my words.

image

It seems to slide the rational, thinking part of my brain aside, and allow all the things us women are told we aren’t supposed to like, to just flow out onto the page.

Normally, I’m a classy mom, someone you’d be shocked to realize writes what I write. Or even thinks about what I think about. But a bit of whiskey, and the judgement turns to Jr. High giggles, and a story just magically appears out of nowhere.

I think I do some of my best work slightly sauced. I don’t get hammered. I don’t drive after drinking, I don’t wake up hungover, I don’t lose chunks of time, I just enjoy sipping on a couple of shots as my creative side comes out to play.

I re-read my work later, and edit it, completely sober. But I have found two things to be true, for me at least. One, I usually don’t need to change very much that I wrote while drinking. The spelling is mostly caught by spell check, but very few things need rework.

My latest piece, which you will find at the end of this post, was a prime example. I originally wrote everything from her perspective in first person, because that is how most of my shorts are. But then during his point of view, I reverted to third person. The two didn’t play well with each other. So I re-wrote her point of view into third as well. And that was just about all the editing it needed.

The second thing I’ve realized is that my slightly sauced mind can really turn a phrase. When I reread things later, sober, I am always prepared for it to be sheer crap, but it never is.

Once my judgemental, day-to-day, mom, wife, classy member of society-ness moves out of the way, I’m really quite good. Phrases pop that would never have flown had I been stone-ass sober. Of course, that is only my own opinion, but still. I’m usually quite surprised with myself when I re-read myself.

So maybe that’s why so many authors drink? It releases the creative mind? Gets the rational out of the way a bit?

Any authors out there who want to chime in on their soberness while writing? Any readers who think they can tell between an author’s sober musings and their liquor-loosened work?

There is a paranormal bundle coming out soon, that I very desperately wanted to be a part of, only I had no erotic paranormal stories to contribute. Even though shifter romance/erotica is something I quite enjoy reading, I hadn’t written any yet.

I do have a longer, four-part erotic romance shifter in the works, but for this bundle I needed a shorter story.

So, I poured myself some Jameson, sat down with my cat, and wrote one. It’s the most I’ve ever written in one sitting. I started about 4:30 one afternoon, and nine hours later, at about 1:30 am, I had Alpha Bitten written. Completely sauced by then of course.

It cracks me up. It is a shifter story, but it kind of, almost, makes fun of shifter stories, at the same time. Full moon, fairy circle, naked chanting, the whole works. I love them, so the making-fun-of is not done meanly, but is done with love.

Anyway, if anyone wants to read a story that kind of makes fun of my own love of shifters, that was written completely in one sitting, with very little rewritting, while drunk- here it is, my newest release, Alpha Bitten. It’s free for those in Kindle Unlimited, but if the cheapskates amoung you (like me) want to wait a bit, it will be free for everyone the next time I post here- from 10/10 – 10/14. I’ll remind ya then if you’d rather wait.

Click to see on Amazon

Click to see on Amazon

Amazon: The Good, The Bad, The Anxiety

If you hadn’t noticed: we authors talk a lot about how bitter we are over Amazon, or at least specific actions they’ve taken. When pursuing our whole careers– our dreams for many — hinges on the good graces of a giant like Amazon, and even their slightest slumbering twitches can destroy an authors livelihood, we’re not left with a terribly pleasant feeling.

You can feel powerless, which leaves you anxious; and anxiety impacts both your creativity and your productivity.

Authors vs. Amazon

Authors vs. Amazon

Of course, the flip side of the coin is that Amazon was what gave so many authors the opportunity to actually become authors in the first place.

For those of you too young to remember the period before eBooks and Amazon swept in to completely shake the foundations of publishing: getting your work of passion and dedication published was a near impossibility.

In the 90’s all the big publishers shut down submissions, refusing to take anything from random authors. The only means to get their attention was a convoluted, crapshoot of submitting to journals and magazines, hoping your short stories would get accepted, and that subsequently enough of them would that you might get noticed by someone.

Or maybe if you were one of the lucky few: you had connections, knew a prominent agent who could get your work considered.

Of course, all of that only got you a shot at consideration. Then your work was put before someone whose arbitrary and subjective taste determined whether you would be a best seller or a bin filler.

There was a time (and for some that time still exists) when the big publishers were exalted. They were the “gate keepers”, though heaven forbid you point out how arbitrary and shoddy they were at selection. Twelve publishers turned down Harry Potter before it found a home! Some of the worlds most acclaimed and adored authors never received much in the way of publication.

Theodoras-DescentFor instance: though he has a large fan following today, H.P. Lovecraft never was able to publish much more than some shorts in periodicals in his time, and even then it took other more successful authors who loved his work and had editorial connections to get him that. Like so many, the man who inspired our latest work of horror never received many accolades in his life time.

The eBook revolution that Amazon kicked off brought the power of choice to the reader, and freedom of self-publishing to the author. It has resulted in immense successes, like Fifty Shades of Grey, and it has led to countless mid-listers who can cater to their small but adoring group of readers.

Amazon did that against the grain of the industry, because the opportunity was handed to them. The big publishers — which had for so long dominated readers and writers alike — spurned eBooks, fearful of upsetting their own control over the industry. They passed on a medium which lets readers get what they want with ease and convenience, what would have let them produce books at a much lower cost. And the result was someone else stepped in to do it for them.

Even today, the big publishers do their best to hold back the industry. Have you seen the price of eBooks from most of them? They exceed the price of hard covers in most cases! The best they can offer up is limp excuses about “formatting costs”, a ridiculous excuse to hide the real reason: because they can.

Taken from a randomly selected new release.

Taken from a randomly selected new release. One of many examples.

Amazon even recently upturned their own apple cart, by launching Kindle Universe. And while I haven’t formed my own opinion on how I feel about that yet, I’ve gotta admire their willingness to dive head first into a new business model, rather than risk being obsoleted by the passage of time.

So what’s the takeaway from all this? Am I saying Amazon is great?

Sure, I won’t rob them of that acknowledgment. They’ve given me the opportunity to pursue a dream I never thought possible growing up in the pre-eBook era.

Though I still feel like a tick making my home upon a sleeping elephant. At any moment some twitch might throw me off, some subtle shift might crush everything I’ve built. Heaven forbid, the elephant might even wake up some day!

As great as Amazon has been for readers and authors alike, the most epic fumble of the big publishers has been depriving us of options. So blinded by greed — greed for money and greed for control — they never got their shit together enough to give us a genuinely alternative platform.

Amazon is where the sales are, and you’re a member of a very elite club if you manage to make a living anywhere else.

So forgive me if I’m not often grateful enough for what you’ve done for us, Amazon, but the anxiety of this tick upon your hind quarters causes me to worry. To fret. My future is uncertain because it all rests on you laying perfectly still.

Straight Women and MM Erotica

I heard somewhere that MM erotica was really popular right now. Silly me, I assumed that meant that gay men were getting their read on.

Now maybe they are, but I was surprised to hear/read that it was straight women that were devouring the man on man stuff. What? Why?

I thought women read sexy stuff to put themselves into the main female character’s shoes. Or panties. Whatever. How do you do that if there isn’t a female character to become?

Before reading it myself, the only experience I had with MM erotica was by accident. I was selling something on Craigslist, and started goofing off. I like goofing off in the missed connections tab, where people say things like, ‘To the girl with the dark ponytail in the yoga pants at Starbucks in front of me in line, I was too shy to say hi, but you got my attention,’ or something.

I clicked on one once that was more like, ‘To the smoking hot guy I saw at the local gym. I really enjoyed watching you shower, I’m glad you didn’t seem to mind when I started rubbing my cock as I watched you. Imagine my surprise when you started doing the same. The way you soaped your…’ and it got quite hot and explicit from there.

I didn’t get disgusted or click out of the post. Oh no, I read every bit of that one. At least twice. It was hot as hell. But why?

I still don’t get it. Why did I enjoy it so much?

Is it because all sex is hot?

I live somewhat out in the country. Seeing cows get mounted by bulls as you drive home from the grocery store doesn’t happen every day, but it happens often enough. I laugh, point, and say, ‘Get you some!’

I recently saw two dogs doing it near where I work, and weeks later, two cats in my neighbor’s yard. I admit it, I watched. It was oddly hot, in its own way. So maybe watching and reading about anyone or anything is just hot, whether or not they are your gender or even your species.

But then reading or watching two girls doesn’t do it for me at all. I need a guy. A girl and a guy, hot. Twelve girls and a guy, still hot. But I’m watching whomever the guy is with, however many that is. The extra girls doing each other? Nah.

I get why guys like it, but it does nothing for me. I need at least one cock in there, somewhere.

So maybe that’s it? The more cocks the merrier? Is it because MM is extra cocks, extra biceps, extra abs? Maybe.

I don’t know.

I know a lot of these posts ask the question, and then give what they think is the answer, but not this time. I still have no clue either why I liked it or why MM is so popular with straight women.

So of course, I had to experiment. I got Scarlet Cox’s Doctor, Doctor.

This one is free!   Click to see on Amazon

This one is free! Click to see on Amazon

It’s an erotic short that is the first in a five-story collection. You can get them individually, or in the bundle of five. It was hot! Not a woman to be seen, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I loved the little twist at the end, too. No spoilers though.

Click to see it on Amazon

Click to see it on Amazon

Then I tried Mona Lottze’s Weekend With My Boss. The third one just recently came out, but I’ve only read the first one. So far. This one is less quick, down and dirty, but is more romantic, will they/ won’t they? I loved the humor and human-ness in this one. But it’s  still hot!

I still had no idea why MM was doing it for me, so I kept going. This time it was a MM Werewolf Shifter story.

Amber Ridge’s Heart Of The Alpha was completely different from the first two, but I loved it, too. The animal need and soul mate connection of a good shifter story, with some smokin’ hot sex. Alright, I seem to have a bit of a thing for shifters- I read all three of this series.

Click to see on Amazon

Click to see on Amazon

And I still don’t know why two men was so good. Is it the same reason MF is good for me, and probably what I would enjoy about FF, if the sex did anything for me- meaning the emotional connection? Or was it hot because of the sheer power of two men?

I think power is sexy as hell. Not billionaire corporate power, that does nothing for me at all. No, power power. I like watching airplanes take off and land, the sheer force and power is hot. I like flying, but it is the take-offs and landings I enjoy, not the boring middle. (Yes I’m weird, animals doing it and big powerful machines are turn ons.)

So is it the forceful need of two strong, sexy men coming together? Still no clue.

There was a link in my face book feed showing gay men reading passages from Fifty Shades of Grey. It was hilarious. My favorite comments were, “I know I’m personally scared of the vagina, a little bit…Heterosexuality is weird.” And, “It’s actually kind of gross, if you think about it…”

Click to watch. Hilarious!

Click to watch. Hilarious!

I totally understand that! What I dont understand is why straight women DON’T seem to think along the same lines when it comes to MM.

I still have no idea.

Since I seem to have a thing for shifters, I also read Amelia Faulkner’s Wolf In Geek’s Clothing. I loved this one, too. Not nearly the sex of the other MMs, but the story was a fresh, unique take on the genre.

Click to see on Amazon

Click to see on Amazon

So, basically, even after reading and enjoying quite a few out of my norm MM stories, I still have no idea why they are so popular right now with women in general.

Any ideas? Do any of you read MM? Why? What do you like about it?

Ok, enough pondering for today. And enough plugging these fabulous authors. I have my own to plug. It’s not MM, but it is free through today, Tuesday 9/2. If you like your public menage with taboo step brother relations, pick up Taboo Times Two- Amusement Park. If the taboo part doesn’t do it for you, the same story is available without the step aspect, just pick up In Public- Amusement Park.

Taboo Version Click to get it free on Amazon

Taboo Version
Click to get it free on Amazon

Not Taboo Click to get it free on Amazon

Not Taboo
Click to get it free on Amazon

 

BDSM Has Made It To Advertising

Sex sells. Everyone knows this. But I had to giggle when I opened up a new mascara sample and read the package it came in. I guess BDSM sells mascara now.

I subscribe to both Birchbox.com and ipsy.com. For ten dollars a month, both sites send samples of new products. Birchbox.com seems to send the high-end stuff. I get to sample products I’d never buy in real life, because one, I don’t get out much :) and two, I’d never drop $50 on a new shampoo that uses oil to clean your hair. What? Putting oil on your hair to clean your hair?

I sampled said shampoo when it arrived in one of my monthly boxes, loved it, went to order it from their site (free shipping) and saw it was a $50 shampoo. Who the hell spends $50 on oil shampoo? Well, it seems that now, I do.

I also now buy $5 candy bars. Damn you Chuao Chocolatier and your amazing pop corn pop bar and your firecracker bar. I bought about 10 of their assorted mini bar gift sets and handed them out like candy at Christmas. (You rate the products that come every month, building up points. Between points, and free shipping, my Christmas handing out of OMG good chocolate was free!)

My mom is now addicted as well. For her birthday all she wanted was as many pop corn pop bars as we could find. Shipping them in the summer heat was going to cost more than my house, but we found a local provider. Between my sister and I, we bought them out. So good. I thought I’d fall for their Maple Bacon Bar, but no, the pop corn pop and the firecracker won my heart.

Sorry, I’m getting off target. Chocolate seems to do that to me. Through Birchbox.com I’ve sampled everything from nail polish to granola bars. Perfumes to face creams (the expensive ones I’d never try on my own.) Lotions, eyeshadows, eyeliners, all kinds of stuff. Some things I’ve been impressed with and gone on to buy. Most samples end up being used but never bought, and some I didn’t like. They went to my teen.

Ipsy.com seems to send the newest drug store products, which I’m actually a bit more apt to buy. Today’s samples included a dry shampoo (I love dry shampoos, woohoo!) a pore refining face cream, a lip gloss, an eye shadow, and the BDSM mascara that actually caused me to alter what I was going to write about today to write about all this instead.

It came in a little folder- here is a picture. imageBlack packaging, of course. I first noticed the name: Urban Decay’s Perversion. Loved it. I thought, Oh, I could so use Perversion as a book title. Hell, I just used ‘Corrupted’ as a book title.

Then I opened it.

“GET SEXED UP IN ONE STROKE” Ha, nice!

It went on, “So intense, you might need a safe word.” I won’t write it all here, but it also says, in regards to a separate primer, “foreplay for your lashes,” and “our creamy formula…wets lashes…”

Now usually with mascaras, kiddo gets them immediately. She loves trying different mascaras, and I have my perennial favorite, but this one I feel I should hide in my drawer next to my vibrator. I will be trying this mascara.

Sex sells. Advertising works. Subscription-based models work, at least for me.

I’ve only very recently started advertising my books. Why? I’m too poor to pay the rates I know Bookbub or Freebooksy etc charges, not that Bookbub would take anything I write, but still. I tried eBooksoda, when it was brand new and free to advertise. Nothing. So I didn’t bother with it yet. I figured I needed more of a back list first anyway.

And then I heard about this thing called the ‘summer slump.’ I was just starting to build sales, a slump was the last thing I needed. So I did a few things in preparation.

I resolved to publish something new every Monday through the summer. Even if it was just a bundle. Something. Every week. I put it exclusively with Amazon, so I could have immediate free days. I figured that putting a new title up every week was enough work, I didn’t want to deal with every store every week. I also figured once the titles did their 90-day time exclusive to Amazon, then I’d put them up elsewhere- B&N, etc.

So, I published every Monday, it was usually live sometime on Tuesday. I used all five free days the very first weekend it came out, usually Friday to Tuesday, since my day to blog here is every other Tuesday. That way I could plug some of my free days.

So basically I have new material weekly, a new freebie every weekend, and I also tried a few free/cheap advertising sites. Summer slump? What summer slump?

My sales have grown all summer! And honestly, when Amazon Unlimited showed up out of the blue- I got a big boost. Since everything I did all summer was already enrolled when that program went live, I was in the small pool that was shoved into it from the beginning. I did sweat how much the program was going to pay, but hoped it evened out, since I had both 2.99 titles and .99 titles in there.

My 2.99 titles obviously lost money per download, but they got downloaded a lot! And my .99 titles did amazing.

And as you know from my $10 a month sample subscriptions to Birchbox and Ipsy, I like the basic idea. I am trying Unlimited, free for the first month. So far I like it. I’ve read/sampled a lot of work I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. Long term it remains to be seen, as both an author in the program and as a reader in the program, but I’m willing to give it a try. If I was a big movie person I’d probably belong to NetFlix as well, but I don’t. Too busy reading and writing.

I am also in the middle of consolidating pen names. My other pen name didn’t have much to it, but was longer and less hard core. It was the one family and some friends knew about. This Jamie Klaire name was the one I hid, being more sex, less story, and also holding some taboo titles. But then I found myself wanting to do paranormal as well, and so did not want to deal with a third pen name.

So screw it. Jamie Klaire will be it, and it will hold everything. Hopefully people like to read a variety, like I do. My other name’s two novels are now renamed, re-covered, re-authored, and a series. Adapt, baby! Adapt.

Shuffling pen names, trying sexy advertising, serializing novels, hanging on for the interesting ride that is the new subscription model in Amazon, every day is an adventure!

It is a scary ride, but I’m buckling my seat belt and hanging on for the highs, lows, and loop-de-loops. What else can I do? I’m here to stay, and if staying means rolling with the whims of the big boys, so be it.

There was a survey in one of the writers boards about Unlimited. Every time I peeked in there to check the results it was dead on 50/50. Love it or hate it, whatever Amazon and the rest do, I am nothing but a small shrimp in their ocean. Here’s hoping that there are more ups than downs.

Oh, if you haven’t read my milder stuff, originally under my now defunct pen name- parts 1 and 2 are free through today, Tuesday August 19. Click the cover to be taken to Amazon.

Part 1 of the 8 part Corruption Series

Part 1 of the 8 part Corruption Series