Archive for Ebooks

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

 

My Favorite Word…Fuck

I’m sure it’s not hard to tell, just look back through my posts. I love the word ‘fuck.’

image

This past weekend was an abnormally cool one for August, and I found myself doing one of my favorite things- driving fast with the top down and the radio up.

After the first four songs on my play list finished, I realized something about myself: I love saying, and loudly singing, the word fuck. Smosh’s song ‘Firetruck’ blended into Buckcherry’s ‘Crazy Bitch’ which faded into Theory Of A Deadman’s ‘Bad Bad Girlfriend.’ Then came 3OH!3′s ‘Dirty Mind,’ all which say Fuck, loud and proud. And then In This Moment’s ‘Blood,’ played, which doesn’t say fuck, but really should. Such a good, dark sex song, and I was loving every second.

It’s my favorite curse word, followed closely by both shit and damn it. Have I mentioned I have the mouth of a sailor? Anyway, there is something so very satisfying in the word fuck.

Depending on the tone of voice when it is said, it can mean so many different things.

Anger- “Fuck!”

Laughing at yourself after doing something stupid- “Aww, fuck!”

Confusion- “What the fuck?”

Pure awe, say like after looking at the picture still to come of the beautiful man below doing naked push-ups- “Fuck!”

Resignation- “Well, fuck.”

Hot and horny- “Fuck me, baby.”

It is the general, catch-all of all the curse words, and you know you read them in your head in the exactly right tone of voice. Come on, admit it.

It just feels good to say, not to mention do. I love making love, but there is something so primal and satisfying in a good fuck. It’s just so… Mmm.

Speaking of Mmmm… Here’s a gratuitous photo, just for my own enjoyment, and hopefully yours, too:naked

Oh, fuck yeah! I saw that photo on a friend’s facebook page, but I tried to Google it to upload it here. I couldn’t find it when I Googled it, I had to go steal it from her page, but wow were there some doozies when I Googled ‘Naked Guy Doing Pushups.’ Interesting :)

I was shocked to see this though:

Naked Man Doing Push Ups Struck And Killed By Car

So, the moral to the story? Keep your naked push ups safe, sane and sober people!

 

Paralyzed By Too Many Choices

I’m blocked.

I’m still a big believer in doing whatever I want as an indie author, and I know none of ya’ll give a fuck, so I’ll keep my whining brief. :)

It’s not that I don’t have any ideas, it’s that I have too many. I have the third and final novel in my other name’s trilogy I need to write. I’m only an outline and two chapters in.

I have a half-written erotic version of Romeo and Juliet waiting to be finished, Romeo, Juliet & Mercutio.

I have the first in a planned series ready to go- Claimed By The Cowboys, with plans for a second and third.

But I can’t seem to write them. I sat down about a week or two ago, with a few fingers of whiskey and an intent to write part 2, and whipped out a very short, 2,600 word, 4th of July fireworks, taboo, public, menage story instead. Then I adapted it into a non-taboo version as well. It is free right now, from July 4th through July 8th:

The Taboo Version, click to get it free on Amazon.

The Taboo Version, click to get it free on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

The Non-Taboo Version. Click to get it free on Amazon.

The Non-Taboo Version. Click to get it free on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I haven’t been able to write anything since.

So I looked around, reading, trying to find what my muse wanted to write. I discovered milking stories. I read a couple by an author I respect and enjoy on one of my social sites. I thought, “I can do that, too!”

And I read some more, discovering shifter stories- your werewolf, werebear, and dragon shifters. Man did I have an interesting 4th of July weekend. I liked them, too!

I thought I’d prefer dragons, because, well…dragons are awesome! But my favorite was a wolf story. The animal need, the mating, the protection of the pack, the…well… the everything.

I want to write that, too!

Should I get a new new pen name or two? Milking and shifters are way different than my norm, and from each other. Or just hope that readers like to read a bit of everything and keep to just the two I already have?

I couldn’t decide. I still haven’t. And I still haven’t written anything new. So I did what anyone does when they are putting off doing what they should be doing- played some more on the internet.

Wow, did you know you can buy dragon dildos? That squirt? So, I found this new site, thanks again to my author’s forums, way to keep me productive, guys.

Bad-dragon.com

Bad-dragon.com

Check them out- Bad-Dragon.com. And I still don’t know what to write next, but man, am I catching up on some reading.

 

 

 

Guess What? No One Gives A Fuck!

Ok, so I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for about a year now, and I figured I’d share my wealth of knowledge. Here is everything I’ve learned, in no particular order:

NO ONE GIVES A FUCK!image

Yep, that’s it, guys. Thanks for reading, see ya back here in two weeks.

But seriously, some of the things I have learned:

You should always put your click-able Table of Contents at the beginning of your book, of course. Duh!

And, you should never put your Table of Contents at the beginning of your book, because when readers hit “Look Inside,” they should be able to jump right into the story, getting hooked, so they buy. Besides, if anyone wants to use your Table of Contents, they can always just click on it on their device.

(But in reality, once they are done looking at your book, they don’t really give a fuck.)

You should always have reviews and an excerpt in your blurb. How else is anyone going to know how good you are at first glance?

And you should never have reviews or an excerpt in your blurb, cause that irritates the hell out of people.

(Really? The placement of reviews is going to determine my entire career? Umm, nope. No one really gives a fuck.)

You should always have a small summary at the beginning of your book, so people who downloaded you months ago can be reminded very quickly of what your story is about when they get around to actually reading it.

And you should never do that, cause again, it irritates the hell out of people.

(Say it with me guys, who gives a fuck?)

You should definitely put your book in Kindle Select, because that is where the money is. And you should never put your book in Kindle Select, because you are leaving money on the table by not having your book available at B&N, Kobo, etc.

(And again.)

You should totally write pseudo-incest, because that genre is swimming in cash. But you should never write pseudo-incest, because it creeps people out, and no one will carry your book.

(You know the drill.)

I’ll stop, although I could go on FOREVER. The whole thing reminds me of that guy who finally wrote the manual on understanding women- it was blank. Here’s the thing- everyone is different, and you can’t please everyone.

I frequent a writer’s forum that is a wonderful mix of authors, in many different genres, all helping, learning from and fighting with each other. It’s awesome 99% of the time, although people do get testy. But even that is fun to watch.

Anyway, the other day someone asked one of those, ‘how do you get out of a slump when nothing is going right, and you can’t even give your book away for free because life sucks?’ kind of questions. I tried to help, by giving her my way of looking at things, but I think it just made her day worse. She responded to everyone else’s answer except mine. Oops. :)

I knew it was a risk to answer her the way I did, and I struggled with hitting ‘post,’ cause I am a people-pleaser at heart. But I truly wanted to help.

So here it is: (the word fuck wasn’t in the original post, because of their censors, but this version is how I really felt)

“Just know you are in good company. Everyone gets that way. And, this is either going to be very freeing or very harsh, but NOBODY GIVES A FUCK.

Telling myself those words breaks me out of my slumps.

I mean it in the very freeing way, not the harsh way. I don’t do harsh, I am the least harsh person on the planet. So, if there are two ways to take anything I say, take it the well-meaning way. I learned this early, thank God. I’m trying to teach it to my teen as well. NOBODY GIVES A FUCK.

That huge zit you fixate on when you look in the mirror, not seeing how awesome the rest of you is? No one else cares. They are just grateful they don’t have one. They probably don’t even see it. They see you, not the zit. Or they think, wow, sucky zit, and then they move the fuck on. You are not the center of anyone’s universe.

When your hair does that weird thing? Pull it back, no one else gives a shit, honest.

My favorite author waited five years, FIVE YEARS, to release a new book. Guess what? I don’t care. I’ll read it.

If this is my last post ever, and ya’ll never hear from me again, guess what? You won’t even notice. Nope, not suicidal. Nothing scary here, I promise. Just odd  :) Just a ‘we are all ants on this tiny little planet’ observation.

What the writer next to you does, doesn’t effect you! Their 250,000th sale, doesn’t effect you. Wait, is that effect or affect? Guess what, beyond the 2.2 seconds someone thinks ‘it should be the other one,’ no one gives a fuck.

Everyone cares about themselves. And that can either hurt, or open the entire universe up to your fingertips. (I choose the second one)

My kiddo heads off to face her day, depressed that her face is redder than normal. I tell her, you guessed it, no one cares. They are your friends, or your enemies, but no one cares if your face is redder than normal. They love you or hate you as is, regardless. Your red face won’t change anyone’s opinion.

Write what you want, revel in the sadness when you need to, revel in the joy when you can. Some will love you, some won’t. The ups and downs are inevitable.

Rant and commiserate. We do care. We feel your pain, not cause it’s happening to you, specifically. Hell, we don’t even know ‘you’. But cause we get it, we understand, cause it happens to us. No one looks closer at your successes or failures than you do. No one looks closer at my successes or failures than I do, cause guess what? Yep, you don’t care.

Run with that. Don’t write if you don’t want. Take a day off, take a year off. No one cares but you. Do what makes you happy. Write what and when you want to. Those that love you will find you. But not if you aren’t out there.

I write porn for God’s sake. No one cares if I ever put out another book. I will never be a bestseller, I will never change the world, I will never win an award, but I am happy, writing what makes me happy. If I stop being happy writing porn, you won’t care. If I go get a job at McDonald’s, you won’t notice. The world will rotate just fine, no matter what I do.

And guess what? Everything will be fine, no matter how it turns out!

Ten years from now you won’t remember what today felt like. You’ll either have ten years of work published, or you won’t.

That is so freeing to me. If I don’t hit ‘post’ you’ll never know I wrote this. If I do, some will take it the way I intended- as freeing and awesome, and some will think I’m an ass. But I can’t control that. So I carry on, making me happy.

So make you happy. People will buy your work, or they won’t. You can not control the sales numbers, you can only do what you can do. So let it go.

I know people hate the cliche, but it is what it is. You can not control the world, your sales, what others think about you, or damn near anything.

So be you. Write you. Be depressed when you feel depressed. Cry at weddings, laugh at funerals. Drink too much, be bitter when you must. What is that other cliche? You can only be you- every one else is taken.  But revel in it, cause there will never be another you, not ever.

So write what you want, what makes you happy, cause no one else can. This knowledge gets me out of the slumps. I hope I just made your day better, not worse. I promise, better was my intent.”

That is what I’ve learned about self-publishing. It is a lot like life- no one gives a fuck about you, but you. I mean that on the grander scale, of course. I love my child, I do. Very much. But do I give a shit if she grows up to become a doctor or a bar tender? Nope, don’t give a fuck. I’ll love her and be there for her either way. It’s her life, not mine.

I’ve found that there are two kinds of people that emerge once they realize that in the grand scheme of things, they don’t really matter- those who find that terrifying, and those who find it freeing.

I find it freeing. Cemeteries are full of people who lived, loved, cried, laughed, tried to make a mark on the world, lost children, lost jobs, were happy, were miserable, were human. But do we, now, really give a shit? Nope, we care about us, now.

Free on Amazon, today only June 24!

Free on Amazon, today only June 24!

One hundred, five hundred, a million years from now, no one will give a shit if I wrote a book. Or not. Or even know my name. And I love that! It gets rid of the self-imposed microscope we think we live under, allowing me to do whatever I want, knowing that whatever I choose- no one else gives a fuck, but me.

So live your life, for you, cause you guessed it- I don’t give a fuck.

Oh, and Shared 3- Our Anniversary is out now, if you care. And today only, Occupied! Is free!

Censorship, the End of Erotica, A Hope?

Despite our best efforts to play by Amazon’s rules (their rather unhelpful “about what you’d expect” rule that is) our publishing account was suspended this week. We watched in horror as our whole livelihood — my full time job — was threatened before our very eyes, leaving us powerless to do anything about it.

yellow censorship tapes

Just a month ago Amazon had given us the option to change and tweak our books covers/titles to meet their acceptability standards. Then this week they decided without warning that if they deem something out of their standards, there’s no second chances at all.

So that’s Amazon, their store, their “rules”. If you can truly call a statement so vague as “no offensive material” a rule.

We can publish our material again with them, but only after a written promise not to repeat our actions. Oh, and extra review processes for all our books.

So what does that mean for us and our readers going forward?

It means we can never have a set book launch date, even for our romance novels. The extra review period will take an unknowable amount of time after all. It may mean fewer book promotions, as this review process has been known to kick in whenever you try to update a book price even.

Censorship concept with books and chains on whiteMore than that though, it means self-censorship. We think — and I stress THINK — we know that they were upset about some psuedo-incestual themes. But they’ve also been cracking down on so-called “dubious consent” erotica.

We can’t chance ticking them off again; Amazon is over 80% of our income. So that means we will have to stand so far back from Amazon’s ever changing line in the sand that we don’t risk running afoul of them again. The next time we might not be able to provide a written promise and apology to get our account back.

So while our erotic-romance novels will likely remain the same content-wise, (albeit now without an ability for us to time promotions with book launches) our erotic shorts — the big seller that makes up so much of our income — will likely die off.

There’s nowhere else to go. As we said, Amazon makes up too much of our income to compensate elsewhere, and the other ebook vendors aren’t much better anyhow, if at all.

However, that does not mean we’re done.

Writing is a passion for us, and long before we started selling our stuff, we just provided it freely to our fans on our own website. In fact, we still give out our books freely to our fans when they ask. We’d still give it out freely on our website or through torrents even, except if we did Amazon would punish us.

Since we can no longer write and sell the erotic-shorts we enjoy, however, we’re looking at new options.

We’ve set up a Patreon account, and through it if you wish to support us, we’ll produce a regular flow of dirty, kinky shorts that we’ll provide directly to you. Will it ever make up for the loss of Amazon sales? Nearly impossible. Might it be enough to justify us taking the time from our paid work to follow our passion? That’s the hope!

We wanna write the stuff our fans love. And hey, maybe this could even be a blessing. If we can give our writing directly to our readers thanks to their funding, we can go back to doing the hardcore incest and dark consent-lacking content we always did before.

Support Patreon

If it doesn’t work out? Well, the downside to making a living off your passion, is that you have to make compromises. Self-censoring to such a degree is one we really hope to avoid.

We’re truly hopeful, though, that we can continue selling our erotic-romance novels on the big stores, but get back in closer touch with our readers and fans to provide them with the stuff that really gets us going when it comes to erotica.

Even if it doesn’t work out, don’t be surprised if you see the occasional freebie popping up on our site that’s too kinky to sell, however. We love our readers, we love the dark themes. And we’ve never been great at committing ourselves to what makes the most financial sense. This is a passion of ours still, after all.

“I Am So Tired Of Fluffing. I Want A Damn Hard Dick.”

My family is very open, and kind of weird, about sex. Well, let me rephrase that. The females in my family are very open, and kind of weird, about sex. The men just roll their eyes and put up with us.

My kid is probably the most informed teen ever, in regards to sex, because I answer anything and everything she asks. And I tell it like it is, the good, the bad, and the ugly, as age appropriately as I can, and I always have.

She told me a story recently about the few minutes after dance class, changing in the locker room at school, where someone asked something about tampons. She pitched in an answer. One thing led to another, and before she knew it she had the entire dance class enthralled as she taught an impromptu sex-ed class, dispelling myths, clearing up rumors, and teaching a few biological things they don’t cover in the ‘your body will go through changes’ type crap they teach in school right now.

Now she is still a young teen, and has never had sex, but the questions were basic, like ‘if you use tampons, are you no longer a virgin?’ and ‘if inserting a tampon doesn’t feel either good or bad, then how is sex, which is kinda similar on the insertion issue, supposed to feel good?’ Both questions we had already covered, because she felt confident enough to ask me.

I was proud, but scared at the same time. The last thing I need right now is a phone call from her principal, especially in today’s sue-happy, zero tolerance times where little boys get suspended for saying pew-pew with their finger guns.

At the other end of the age swing- my mom was married to my dad for decades. She married him at 17, and he was her only partner, until he died. She is now in her 60′s, and for a few years now she has been living life kind of backwards. Her wild 20′s and college-age experiments are occurring now, in her 60′s, since she was married during her actual 20′s.

I honestly feel like I’m mothering both of them, talking to them both about men, sex and dating, only my mother’s conversations are way more graphic, as she is most definitely trying to make up for lost time.

So, it was a conversation with my mom that actually brings me to this blog post. She was venting to me about the dating scene as a woman in her 60′s (who has, since dad’s passing, dated men ranging from younger than me [oh God, so very creepy] to those in her own age group.)

I’ll spare you the graphic details, but her general gist was- do it as much as possible while you still can, because even with Viagra, sex after a certain age is hard. Well, I guess I should say- sex after a certain age is difficult, because it seems that not hard is the problem.

She made me laugh when she said, “I am so tired of fluffing. I want a damn hard dick.”

She said that even after taking the pills, and “fluffing and blowing to some semblance of hardness,” they still usually can’t finish. Which led her rant towards “I no longer care if people think whoever I’m with is my kid because of the age difference, I’m going back to the young ones. At least they are eager, willing and can actually fuck.”

Then she lamented that as women find their groove, no longer worrying about pregnancy, they get the kids moved out and wanna get down to dirty business, men slow down and can’t keep up. She closed the rant with “Sex is so wasted on the young, impatient and unknowledgeable.”

But, having the young, impatient and unknowledgeable in my life as well, in the form of the a fore mentioned teen, and personally remembering those days, as well as also being in a loving, happy marital situation myself, and seeing the full range of sexual phases spread out all around me- I told her my thoughts.

Sex is a cruel joke.

Very generalized- in your teens and twenties, when the hormones and the need are the strongest, you have to worry about your parents finding out, inexperience and not ‘doing it right’, not knowing your body, possibly not knowing how to orgasm as a female, learning to please yourself and the other partner, getting pregnant too young, being seen as a good girl or a slut, diseases that not only can grind your reproductive system to a halt, forever, but can also kill you.

Then, between say your thirties to your sixties, ish, generally- you are either married, having faithful, boring married sex, or trying to bring the spark back, while raising time-and-energy-sucks called children. Gone is the rush (and thankfully also the stress) of the first kiss, the first time, the first naked, the learning each other, the ‘of course I’m up for anything, baby.’

Or in this same time period, you are never-married singles, or newly divorced, trying to navigate the dating world, where everyone has baggage- exes, kids, etc., to work around. The bar scene sucks, internet dating sucks, it’s Sex In The City for real, heartbreak, confusion, highs and lows, but still with the ever present sex-can-kill-you threat always looming.

Want to do the hot UPS guy? Probably not a good idea in real life, damn it. Wanna try that threesome-swinger’s bar-orgy you see in porn? Also probably not a great idea. Diseases, stalkers, ‘oh fuck’ moments are way too possible.

And then in your 60′s and on, well mom’s words said it all, “I want a hard dick, damn it.”

Sex is a cruel, minefield strewn, game of Russian Roulette, at every age. The highest possible erotic, pleasurable highs, matched by the equally possible and opposite- the most devastating, life-changing emotional and physical lows imaginable.

Which I think is one reason computer porn sites and erotic books are so very popular. Granted the high highs aren’t quite as high as if you experienced the video/story yourself, but neither are the lowest lows.

Somehow this whole thought process made me remember that one scene in Demolition Man, with Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock. Remember that? It was set in the future, where procreation was relegated to the lab, and sex was had with virtual helmets?

His reaction was WTF? Where is the hands-on? The old fashioned doing the dirty? And her reaction was Oh gross! Exchanging bodily fluids?

Now I’m a big believer in the sweatier the better. If you aren’t sore, exhausted, hot and sweaty, with just fucked bed-head hair and a glowing sheen to your panting bodies, collapsed on each other recovering in a pile- you aren’t doing it right.

But I’m also very married, with kids. So I got to thinking- if that machine existed now, and you all know it is just a matter of time before it does, would I buy one?

Yep, I’d one-click-buy that baby in a second! Not the dual one in the movie, where you both sit near each other and have virtual sex with each other, no I’d still want the hubby for that one, all up close and personal like.

But a single unit? Where instead of, or in addition to, watching internet porn, or reading about some horny slut getting it on with hot twin brothers, you could actually be virtually in that situation? Oh yeah, bring it on.

A way to experience any fantasy you had, be it being pulled over by that hot cop and handcuffed to his light bar, (I wrote that one- Please Officer, I’ll Do Anything :)) to well…anything? Without the possibility of pregnancy, disease, cheating, guilt, reputation or consequences? No fluffing, Viagra, or dating someone people think is your son? (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

Of course, nothing is perfect, right?

There is a saying, “If men could lick themselves like dogs can, we’d never see most of them again.” People would be even more tied to their devices and never go outside. But honestly, if some people never left their house again, I’d be good with that. :)

And if it’s good enough for the goose, right? That means you’d have to be OK with your significant other using it as well. Maybe experiencing things you never even knew they thought about? Without you? But you could also link them together, right? Explore things together that maybe you wouldn’t really do in real life?

Maybe it would keep the sicko child molesters or rapists leashed to their machines? Or would it instead release a need for the real thing?

I don’t know. Any thoughts? If a virtual sex machine was readily available, like an erotic Xbox or something, would you get one? Pick your poison, your characters, your scenarios, plug it in, put on the helmet, brain stimulator, etc and experience everything you’ve ever watched, read about, fantasied?

Ok- quick plug: If you enjoyed Shared On My Husband’s Birthday,

Click to get the freebie on Amazon

Click to get the freebie on Amazon

I wrote a quick little follow up, Shared 2-On My Birthday. It’s available now, and free on Amazon, through today, Tuesday June 10. Go get a freebie, on me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Smut

After about two months as the milder-mannered Patience Hellsmith, wrapping up .001 Two Player Games, the second book in the planned Memoirs of a Vanilla with Sprinkles Trilogy, I needed a good dose of pure smut.

So over the past few days I’ve started another Jamie Klaire short- Claimed by the Cowboys. I’m about halfway done with it, and so far I like it. I think the back and forth of writing both the erotic romance and then just plain erotica makes it better.

My personal favorite short as Jamie Klaire so far, Shared on my Husband’s Birthday, image (which I just also released as a paperback) also came about after a long stretch writing as Patience Hellsmith. Shared is about 11-12K words, with a story, and three good, escalating sex scenes. But honestly, I kind of cheated writing it.

The very first book I ever wrote was the full novel, One Swinging Summer, as Patience. Then I invented Jamie, and went on a short story spree, but with Shared, I took my three favorite sex scenes from Swinging, linked them together, raunched it up, and had a great short. I did put in a disclaimer- something like, ‘parts of this short were taken from my milder, longer work, blah, blah, blah,’ just in case someone read both and said, wait, this seems a bit familiar. But they really are two very different titles.

It is also selling pretty well right now, which I like, because it is my personal fav, and I feel like it has been discovered somewhat.

Ok, back to the point of all this, I needed to write plain ole smut, so I started Claimed by the Cowboys, only something weird happened. The two months I’ve spent writing the milder stuff showed through. I didn’t seem to be able to pop off the 3-5K word, down and dirty little diddy I had planned. It had back story, and pacing, and might end up also having love. Go figure.

But I think it’s going to end up another favorite of mine- about 12K, with escalating sex scenes, a la my other fav, Shared. And I think I already have a sequel in mind for it. Another stand alone short that grows organically from the first one. I am very excited. I think I might be zeroing in on where I love to be. Down and dirty short meets romance and story.

I feel I’m finally finding my niche, at least for now. I enjoyed writing the novels as Patience, and I enjoyed writing the quick and dirty, as Jamie, but honestly- Jamie Klaire is all over the damn place right now.

Kitchen Capers is as far away from Shared as you can get, and both are somehow triangularly as far away as you can get from Taboo- Massaged and Shaved by my Stepbrother.

As a Texas analogy to sum it up, I feel like I’m just learning to shoot. At first the spread of bullets hit far and wide, some on target, some not, with a wide spread and wild grouping. But as you shoot more, and learn to control the gun better, the grouping gets tighter and smaller, zeroing in bit by bit on the bulls-eye.

I think I’m zeroing in on my personal bulls-eye, or at least tightening my grouping and learning to handle my erotica weapon a little better. I guess we shall see.

Umm, oddly enough, the two favs, Shared on my Husband’s Birthday and the soon to be out Claimed by the Cowboys, have another commonality between them- MMF menage with a group sex/swingers component. Interesting. Learning about myself every day :)

Also, on another side note- this one for my fellow writers out there- I found an awesome cover making website, and it is free! So far to make my covers, I buy a stock photo, and use either Createspace’s or KDP’s cover making tool to produce a cheap but good cover. (See the two covers above) But with the new website I found, I can now blend two photos, color wash, and do all kinds of neat stuff I see on custom covers that I’ve never been able to do because I don’t have photoshop, or well…skills.

It’s called www.ipiccy.com, and I found it from this tutorial: http://tirzahlaughs.hubpages.com/hub/Create-Your-Own-Book-Cover-Without-Photoshop

That website, paired with her tutorial, allowed me to blend two pictures, to play with what may be the cover for Claimed by the Cowboys. (See below)

Also, I’m finally dragging Jamie Klaire, kicking and screaming, into this century. So by the time you read this, you should be able to find me on facebook, and on my fledgling website jamieklaire.com. Come say hi!

claimed3

Promotional Consideration Provided By Oh Who Cares

” . . . when you decide to walk the challenging path — when you pull a stunt — you better own it, and rock it like only you can.” — Chuck Wendig

I’ve gotten some incredibly good news lately, about my writing life. And I’ll not be “sharing” any of it here or anywhere, really. Because braggy-brags are fucking annoying. I have far more effective ways to be annoying, dahling. [/AliceCooper] And I like to break “rules” and I also want to see if non-promotional-promotion works for me; that is, do people notice my things if my things are worth noticing in and of themselves, without a lot of promotion? We shall see.

So this post is about … self-published authors and promo. Or even non-self-published authors and promo. Is all this promo a necessary evil? MUST we do that shit? Rilly? If yes, why the fuck is that so? Who made these rules? Why? Can this be changed? Must we all do things the way “it’s always been done”?

I’ve been pretty successful in my life, in a bunch of other areas, by NOT doing things the way “everyone else” does them. The herd is kinda … herd-y. Salt lick. Moo. And things that have happened in the last couple months have reminded me that no, I don’t want to follow the herd in this either. That weird cow over in the gulch by itself? With the clump of mud boogers up its nose? That’s me. I’m gonna go my own way on this too. That’s a song. Nice knowin’ ya.

cow_hi

I’m interested in being read, duh, of course I am, and noticed, of course, for my writing. I’m here every other week, writing whatever this is that I write for One Handed Writers, aren’t I? For free. I’m not selling books or getting my name out at all by doing this, either, I assure you. (If the comment count is any indication, anyway.)

But yeah, this fucking hypocrisy thing. I mean, if I wanted to be truly “pure” of motive, as a “writer with a capital W,” I’d just have a little cloth-covered paper diary full of my scribblings, with a cute lock on it, in my desk drawer or stuffed between my mattresses, wouldn’t I?

So it’s been my own hypocrisy that’s been eating at me. More and more. Weirdly, I started a blog hop [no link, heh] for BDSM-related stuff and I can’t even bring myself to participate in it myself most weeks. I like doing it for other people, I guess, for now anyway.

I want to have people say I’m a good writer, and I guess a side-effect of that is that they would buy my stuff so I’d see some tangible evidence of their worship (heh), and then they’d all run around telling everyone else how fucking great I am. But at the same time, the ridiculous, fucked-up shit that authors do in the name of self-promo totally makes me wince.

Hi mom. And thanks.

” . . . whatever makes your grapefruit squirt . . . — Chuck Wendig