A Little Weekend Freebie

I have had a crazy busy week, and let my free promotion of “One Night To Tango” go mostly unannounced. However, it’s Saturday afternoon and finally I have a few minutes to sit down and blog about it! Don’t worry readers – you still have two days to get this little treasure for free on Amazon. Go check it out!

So the story behind “Tango” is based on a real event. Back in my college days, there was an annual ball at the university. People dressed up in beautiful evening clothes – some folks even rented extravagant costumes – and danced those wonderful old-fashioned dances; waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, polka… and for a brave few couples, tango. While I was dancing demurely with all those elegant gentlemen, I was reminded viscerally how close dancing is to sex. It’s the give and take, the lead and follow, the moving together toward a common goal. Actually, ballroom dancing is really hot!

The only things that could have made that ball better, I thought, were: 1) Masks. Anonymity is beyond sexy (plus I love sparkles!). 2) A ridiculously handsome, talented, and seductive dancer… and let’s give him a melodious foreign accent while we’re at it. 3) Some one-night-only, up-against-the-wall fucking. Now THAT’S my idea of a good dance!

Interested? Check out “One Night To Tango” on Amazon, free until tomorrow evening. And if you read it and like it, please review!

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In Defense of Indie Cover Art

As you all probably noticed, my cover art doesn’t look like traditional romance covers. Not even a little bit. Actually, they seem to be just figures with heavy black outlines, block colors, and that funky black-with-red-and-yellow stars background. You’re right, that IS what they look like! And they look that way because I made each and every one, from sketch to published cover. Why? How? What for? Read on to find out!

1) Why?

So there are many amazing artists out there. Millions of people have more artistic talent than me, not to mention graphic design skills I never learned. However, I flatter myself that I have decent skill at drawing. (Drawing was my first love, along with writing; I’ve just kept up the one and not put as much time into the art part.) Plus, after spending so much time writing each story and getting to know the characters, I get a distinct impression of them in my mind. When I do my own cover art, I can create exactly the image that’s in my head. My style is straightforward, clear lines and bold colors. They end up looking somewhat like tattoos, woodblock prints, or old-fashioned Tarot cards. At least, that’s what I’ve heard!

2) But really, why?

Another reason is to avoid the inevitable placement in time of my story. Nobody wants to read an 80’s trashy novel, no matter how good it is, because the cover is a total turnoff! I don’t want to dis any romance cover-art aficionados out there, but we all know what those Fabio covers look like, right? (Oh, Fabio! He’s an icon. Check out his Top 40 book covers here!) And can’t we all immediately pick out a cover made in the 80’s? Mulletastic! A prime example:

(Fabulous snarky post about said cover – and other gems! – here at Smart Bitches Trashy Books)

At least my covers will never, ever have a mullet or any other inappropriate hairstyle. Not to mention whatever short-lived fashion statement rolls around next. Simple is timeless!

3) How?

I start with a pencil sketch on good-quality white paper. When I’m happy with how it looks – after much erasing, cursing, and redrawing – I finally outline it in heavy black pen. That’s my working outline. I upload this to my computer, and then use an online program, Pixlr.com, to fill in the outline with the colors I want. When it’s done to my satisfaction, I add my signature background: black with big red stars and tiny yellow ones. This became my signature background rather by chance, since it looked great with the cover of An Amazon’s Equal that I did. Fills in the space nicely without distracting from the centerpiece of the cover! Finally, I pick out some great word art to make the title, and voila! A one-of-a-kind, all-made-by-me eBook cover.

I love feedback about my cover art as well as my writing! What do you think? Do let me know!

Why only 99 cents? Because I want to!

Pricing your work is a delicate business. You want people to buy it, but you also don’t want to look like somebody who mass produces cheap crap. Since we set our own prices, indie authors have the unsavory task of deciding how much their work should sell for. As a newly minted indie author myself, I thought about this at length, and eventually I decided to go ahead and offer my stories for the minimum price Amazon and Smashwords will accept: 99 cents.

To understand why you need a little bit of history.

I started writing erotica in college (many, many years ago, folks!). At the time, the only place I knew to share them was Literotica. Literotica, by the way, is an excellent site where you can find TONS of free erotica! Of varying quality, of course, but hey, it’s free, and some of it is really quite hot. Anyway, using that venue I started gaining confidence, enjoying reviews people left for my work, and because I got so many good reviews I started writing more. It’s the fans who feed the muses for artists, really. Then, on a whim, I entered a Literotica contest and won 3rd place! That REALLY made me feel inspired to write more. And of course, all of this was for free; I wrote for free, people read it for free. (Except for the contest, in which I won $75 and felt awfully good about myself!)

But Literotica is only for amateur authors, so when I decided to publish I had to offer my work for sale, you know, for actual money. I chose not $1.99 or $2.99, though I believe my writing is at least at the caliber of authors who promote their erotica for those prices. Instead, I went for $0.99. The reason for this was threefold: first, I wanted people to feel like reading erotica is an affordable luxury – more affordable even than picking up a candy bar at the grocery store checkout line! Second, I hoped to flag down impulse buyers, people who might not usually read erotica but who might think “What the hell? I can give it a try for less than a dollar!” (Yes, impulse buyers, I want you!) And third, I want to offer my sophisticated readers some really great reading for a fair price. The reason it is fair is that I get as much enjoyment in writing erotica as you get in reading it! Why charge a bunch of money when I do it for fun?

So there you have it, folks! 99 cents is a bargain price for (if I do say so myself) some sexy, sophisticated erotica. If you haven’t read my work yet, give it a try – for 99 cents you might as well. And you never know, you may just find your new favorite fantasy… I certainly have.

New Adult AND Erotica? Well, I tried it anyway!

So for those of you who don’t already know, I recently released my first full-length novel, An Amazon’s Equal. As is always the case with novels, I spent a long time putting it all together, writing it, editing it, rereading and reediting it, and all the while I was thinking to myself: What IS this?!

My heroine, Pyrena, is a young Amazon warrior confronting her society’s view of men and love, in the face of her growing feelings for the handsome and gentle Greek boy she captured. The theme is really that of a young person struggling against injustice and discovering her place in the world. Also, sex – of course, since that’s what I like to write about! All that said, it’s not really a traditional fantasy romance novel (definitely NOT a virginal heroine here!), but nor is it strictly erotica. I found myself in a pickle when trying to decide what to call it.

That’s when I learned about New Adult. The working definition for this type of literature is still developing (though I think the folks at NA Alley got it pretty good here!), but essentially it is literature dealing with the themes that young people confront when they are just taking their first big steps into adult life. Generally this is around ages 18 through 26, though that too can vary. In any case, as soon as I heard about NA, I knew that’s what I had written. In fact, I began work on An Amazon’s Equal when I was a very “new adult” myself! Almost ten years after I began it, way back in my freshman dorm room in college, it’s finally published, and finally in the category it belongs: New Adult Erotica.

What do you think? Did I succeed? Is erotica even a genre that belongs in NA? I don’t know, but I sure tried it!

Curious? You can buy An Amazon’s Equal on Amazon, in print of Kindle edition. I would love to know what you readers think of my attempt at a New Adult novel. At the very least, I can guarantee plenty of fun erotic bits!