Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thanks for making my Rumpling Riley release so very awesome!!

A little more about Rumpling Riley...


If you hadn't heard, Megan Slayer and I got together and created a series called Zero, Ohio (You can check out the fb page for the series here.)

The first two books debuted this week. Rumpling Riley was my story and Megan's was Saving Sam. Both have done AWESOME so far and a huge thank you to everyone who helped make that happen!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Goodreads isn't Goliath

And you're not David.

Well, you might be David. That's not my point.

Recently there has been much talk about Goodreads and getting poor ratings there. Although I never ever ever (10x ever) condone internet bullying, the truth is...

The ratings aren't sales and a poor Goodreads rating does not equal a poor seller any more than a fantastic five star will equal a bestseller.

Case in point: I have a book that released late January/early February kind of area. It has sat almost consistently on at least one, sometimes three, Amazon bestseller lists since it released. It's now AUGUST.

I've sold a decent number of that book. I'm happy. I call it the Little Book that Could.

For the longest time, it had one rating on Amazon. ONE. And that rating was a two star because it was 'to short.'

It has, to the moment of this posting, ONE Goodreads rating. That rating is a TWO STAR. (Although, I suppose if the bully folks don't like this post...it may get a bunch more bad reviews. Who knows?)

Other books I've authored have TONS of ratings. TONS. (Thank you, folks who've read my books!) Most of those ratings are really good. I average ABOUT four stars or better on Goodreads for most of my books. Ditto for Amazon. (I suck at math, but it looks like most have about four. Mathematicians who disagree with my averaging system...sorry.)

The one that consistently outsells and outshines the rest? The one with the worst rating...my lowly two star only book on Goodreads.

Basically...if someone gives you a poor rating/bad review, I posted this same topic the other day on Facebook and I stand by my sentiment. (Although you people attacking the authors themselves should stop that...it's mean and why you wanna be mean? Seriously...stop that shit.)

Here's what I said about reviews:

A lot of my writer pals have been celebrating their debut novels recently. Since I just fired of an email on this topic to one of my authors, I will share here since I really don't think I can say it enough.

Don't let the reviews feel like a grade. It's not school, so if one gives you an A--you're not guaranteed to be a bestseller. On the same token, if one gives you the literary equivalent to a failing grade (or completely slams you to the mats, leaving you bleeding and sweating and way too close to the smell of gym socks) it doesn't mean you're a hack or that readers won't adore your work.

Those who leave reviews do so because they love books as much as we do. They take the time out of their day to give their honest opinions on stories that moved them--whether in a great way or a really squicky, oops I just touched a stranger's boob in the grocery store way. Some of them are going to get you. Some of them are going to wonder why in the heck you got a contract on a book.

Storytellers tell stories and some resonate, some fall flat. Education comes from the Latin to bring up or to bring into the light. We get to do that once in awhile--we bring readers into the light, or as Kristan Higgins said in her awesome luncheon speech at RWA, "Each of us lives through a time when darkness surrounds us...but our books--the books we've written and struggle to write still--are a lantern in that darkness."
Write the book you have to write. Write the story of your heart, the one that no one else has ever told or ever could tell because you're the only one who lived it, felt it, laughed about it, or cried about it...

And understand the reviews aren't judgments on you, the storyteller. They're readers who took the time to look at your words, to soak them up and think about them, whether they loved it or hated it. Just like the people around you every day, not every one is going to adore you.

But all of them? They chose to spend time with you. And, really, that's the part you should remember. They could have been with their kids, their spouses, doing the dishes, working, whatever.

Instead, they were with YOU. Reading your story.

Hope this helps some of you struggling with those bad reviews.
 
Oh, and reviewers?  I love you guys. Seriously, big squishy wet kisses and hugs--even if you gave me the failing grade.

*steps off soapbox*

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Measuring Maturity in Stickers...A photographic guide to me Growing Up


 
So, my first laptop was pretty cheap. Since I replaced a seriously kickassitude desktop (really, this thing had ninja cutouts in the tower and leds), I was very meh about my new Acer. On one hand, it was my first laptop (we're talking 2008 timeframe...) and on the other...

It wasn't shiny.

So I stuck a sticker on it.

I wrote a few books on that trusty beasty. It's still alive, still running...even though my son once dumped a half gallon of water into the keyboard. It's like the beater car of laptops. My tank. My old friend. Also, I like skulls.

Time passed and I figured I was taking my career seriously. I needed a serious machine to keep up with my badassery. I bought a stunning Vaio, blue, fast, all the bells and whistles.

She's currently--moment of silence--in the broken fan graveyard waiting for rescue. Her loveliness has yet to be matched and she never got stickerified since, well, I was mature. (*snort) Also, I like blue.

Due to the fan fiasco, I needed quick and dirty replacement machine. I still had a bit of a devotion to Vaio (Blue. Seriously fast. Blue.), so I got another Vaio.

This one was never fast. It was never shiny. Also, I discovered Get Glue.

Um, so, yes. All that. ------->

*clears throat*

When I bought the new laptop--the shiny 3yr warranty laptop with a touch screen and bells and whistles and Office 365 (Which I've now finally figured out how to wrangle for edits)...

My adopted dad/computer guru spent a whole day helping me install All the Things and transfer All the Things and verify backups and all that good stuff you're supposed to do with a new computer.

He looked at my brown Vaio. He looked at my sparkling new TouchSmart SleekBook...

And he tilted his head at me.

You're not going to cover it with a bunch of stickers, are you?

Since I'd already been pondering how long until I could get another GetGlue shipment, I paused. "Um, why?"

"Don't."

*sigh*
 
Well, Dad, I didn't cover it in a bunch of stickers.

I got one big one.

I hereby introduce to the world my new laptop. Lookie!!  A GIANT STICKER!!!!

I feel I've really come a long way in maturity with this one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Real life joys of country living...

I love to write stories of small town life. It's funny, it's real, it's identifiable.

This is a story of real life country living. So, I have this ginormic fish tank. I don't keep anything really exotic in it. Huge goldfish, a couple googley eyed black gold fish and one black clawed aquatic froggy.

But their tank gets rank and my old method of cleaning it out was to take pitchers and big cups and just take it out bit by bit by bit...

For about 80 gallons. It took me a minute. And when I was done, I reversed the process. Luckily, I could fill it halfway with the hose--the other half had to be warm water, so I got that from the sink using the haul method.

My friend was over at the beginning of summer and pointed out I should suck on the end of a bit of unattached hose and create a vacuum and siphon it out. Brilliant! Suddenly, cleaning the tank wasn't such a huge and epic task. The hose hung out on the milkhouse and all was good.

Until today.

Today I went out to the milk house, grabbed the hose and shoved one end in the tank. I yanked the other end outside, shoved it in my mouth and sucked for all I was worth.

Something, feeling a bit stringy, got in my mouth and my first thought was, "Spider web?"

Then it moved.

When I spit out hundreds of tiny black ants, I resisted screaming, to give me credit.

So, well, yes. That.

Just sharing.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Excerpt and new release in the sexy paranormal Soul Girls series from Heather Long!!

SOULGIRLS #2
TAKING THE STAGE
by HEATHER LONG
Roseâtre takes one look at the white tigers that the stage manager has brought in to shake things up at the Midnight Mystery Lounge, and nearly has a heart attack. It doesn’t matter that the beautiful creatures’ handler raises her pulse and makes her want to purr. The tigers are sure to recognize her—and arouse her need for the hunt.

Pride outcast Anthony diNapoli wasn’t expecting to encounter an Amazon princess when he brought his white tigers to the lounge. The lucrative show will go a long way toward securing his future, but not if he gives in to the urge to make her submit to his dominance, and claim her as his mate.

No matter how desperately her body aches for the sun-kissed stranger and his completely lickable abs, Roseâtre is no man’s prize. Yet she finds herself hungering for Anthony to defeat her and take her for his own.

It’s show time in the Arcana Royale’s Midnight Mystery Lounge and all bets are off.

Warning:  Contains sword fights, shackles, sexy showgirls, and a game of dominance between a determined weretiger and an Amazon who refuses to submit. Blades, bliss and battles, oh my!
Taking the Stage
Soulgirls #2
Release Date: Aug 13, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61921-580-1
Samhain Publishing

About the Author:
A national best selling author, Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. In addition to military romance, Heather writes a wide variety of romance from paranormal historical western romance to contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She loves characters and the stories they have to tell. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Contact Details:



Enjoy the following excerpt for Taking the Stage:

“Not the toes.” Roseâtre refused to squeal. As lead dancer for the Arcana Royale’s Midnight Mystery Lounge, she would never squeal or scream, but her voice pitched high enough that the syllable at the end of toes cracked.

The great white tiger snuffling her feet through the five-inch strappy black-and-sapphire Louboutins rolled his head away. Instead of obeying, he stroked a whiskered cheek down her bare leg.

“Cut!” Voice booming, the show’s stage manager hustled out from the wings. Heidi was a brisk woman with a quick temper and a stout body, dedicated to creating the best shows. After Pandora’s escape from her contract, she relied on all of her girls to have the same dedication to the performance, Roseâtre more than most.

Pandora. She’d always made the lead look easy. She’d walked out on the stage and owned the audience. Roseâtre believed Pandora could have shared the stage with twelve chimpanzees and it wouldn’t have mattered. Gazes would have been riveted to the tawny nymph.

The white tiger stretched out his neck and yawned, showing off a mouthful of glistening teeth. He flexed his paws, claws scoring the stage. She wasn’t fooled by the sleepy-eyed expression or house-cat similarities. Big cats weren’t pets.

The rest of the dancers relaxed from their poses, some even dropping down to coo and stroke the cats whose arrival had elicited a long round of awws and aren’t they sweets. Roseâtre, however, shifted away from the cat with his tickling whiskers and raspy tongue.

“Rose?” Heidi beckoned, a pen behind one ear and a notebook tucked under her arm. She pursed her lips in a you’re-not-in-trouble-yet moue, but the wrinkles knitting her brow told an entirely different story.

“Yes, ma’am?” Roseâtre didn’t drag her feet. One certainly never dragged Louboutins, but she couldn’t quite resist displaying her mutiny with an uplifted chin and wrinkled nose.
Cats.

Her nose twitched. Her sinuses burned. Her eyes threatened tears. But she maintained her composure.

Damn cats.

“Look, I know you’re not thrilled with this idea.” The opening gambit was classic Heidi, softening her up for the too-damn-bad often attached to those statements.

Closeted together at the far end of the stage, Roseâtre was glad to be out of earshot of her shield-sister Cerveau, the other dancers and thankfully, the damn tigers.

The Midnight Mystery Lounge was closed for an entire week so the dancers could learn this new act. She’d woken to the bad news that the diNapoli Tigers—tigers—were joining the show for a three-month trial to drum up business in the magical casino and resort.

“But you’re just going to have to get over it. The apothecary will provide you with a tea for your allergies. We need this show and you’re the headliner. That means you and the tiger will be all over each other on that stage and you’re going to love it.”

And there it was, the verbal slap demanding submission. The command chafed. But a promise was a promise and she was as bound by her oath as her shield-sister Cerveau was by her curse.

“Is there any way we can do this without cats?”

“Not really, no.” The sympathy was real, but from Heidi’s compressed expression, the stage manager was plainly not on Roseâtre’s side. “I’m sorry, Rose. But the diNapoli Tigers were an enormous success in Monaco and Paris. We need them for resurgence of interest or the Overseers may very well break up the show.”

“Really?” Panic drifted under the surface of her skin, sending her heart puttering. The Overseers controlled the Arcana Royale, the sprawling complex where meta-humans of all types were welcome and could be themselves. They controlled the shows, the people and in the case of the dancers, their souls. Breaking up the show meant the dancers with varying leases on their souls could be placed elsewhere at the Overseers’ discretion.

Worse, Roseâtre and Cerveau could be separated. Roseâtre couldn’t allow that to happen. She’d sworn an oath. Pride could be sacrificed. Honor could not.

A shield-borne oath was an oath.

“I’ll try. It’s not just the allergy, though.”

“What is it?”

No simple answer existed. Roseâtre glanced over her shoulder to where the great cats lounged. Some groomed themselves while yet another rolled over on its back, presenting its belly to Peppermint for attention. Of all the dancers, Peppermint was the most gracious, the most loving and the most likely to enjoy gamboling with the tigers on the stage.

“I assure you, nothing is wrong with my cats.” The dark, deep masculine tones teased up her spine. She jerked her attention back to discover a bare-chested, bare-footed blond god had joined them.

Oh my. Who did he kill to get those abs?

She snapped her jaw shut with a flicker of irritation, and forced her gaze up from the hard six-pack of clear-cut muscle to roam over the ripped planes of his chest and shoulders.

Dear gods, does it end?

The cool dislike in his blue eyes slapped her back to the present. Everything about the man seemed larger than life, from his thick thighs, easily three times the size of hers, to his wide hands and square, chiseled jaw.

“Roseâtre, Anthony diNapoli.” Heidi’s snapped introduction rebuked her. “Anthony, this is our headliner, Roseâtre.”

Be professional. She extended her hand and kept her gaze focused above his chin. Despite the five additional inches her designer shoes added to her considerable height, topping at around six foot, the man towered over her.

And he inspected her with an air of detached amusement, his gaze clearly dipping below her chin to where her breasts strained against the confinement of the black leotard.

“Your pleasure, I’m sure.” The bastard smiled and ignored her hand.

“Anthony’s cats are in high demand, and he’s graciously consented to this trial contract so we’re going to do the best we can to make the most of this situation.” Heidi turned to Anthony as though unaware of the icy drop in Roseâtre’s regard. “We’ll add extra rehearsal time so Roseâtre and her cat can get used to each other.”

We will? Incredulous, Roseâtre could barely pull her eyes away from Anthony to look at the stage manager. “More rehearsals?” Tired of holding her hand out to the air, she let it drop.

“Absolutely.” Heidi nodded briskly, clapping her hands and striding away to gather the dancers, completely ignoring the cats with the poise of one who was likely more dangerous than the wild animals. “Ladies!”

Cerveau stood next to Kiki, Peppermint and Amber, the question in her expression obvious, but Roseâtre shook her head, waving her off with one short hand gesture. She didn’t need backup.

“So what’s your problem with cats, princess?” The words shivered up her spine. Anthony’s voice prowled behind her, his body heat brushing against her in challenge and invitation.

“Does it matter?”

She didn’t have to play nice. The bastard couldn’t be bothered to shake her hand.

“It might. You’re going to be riding my tiger every night for the next three months.” The words dripped with mockery and some other indefinable emotion.

Roseâtre shifted away, sparing him a dismissive look. She’d practiced the art of cool disdain for years under her mother’s tutelage. He might call her princess in his low, rolling sexy voice as a jest, but it didn’t make it any less true.

“What’s the problem now, princess?”

“You’re getting sarcasm on my shoes.” She lifted one, taking great care to inspect it.

Anthony threw his head back and laughed, a deep belly-trembling shout of amusement.

The noise drew the dancers’ attention like children to free chocolate. Cerveau’s face twisted comically, a mixture of censure and curiosity reddening her cheeks. She wouldn’t approve the tone, but she would appreciate the cause.

“You still haven’t told me why you don’t like my cats.”

“They’re cats.”

Head canted to the right, he studied her. The deep blue of his eyes was enhanced by a circle of darker blue along the iris. His pupils seemed to blink on their own, but that wasn’t possible. Roseâtre forced her gaze back to his dimples, just barely disguised by the thick rush of blond beard coating his cheeks.

“Cats are magnificent, bold and affectionate creatures. They are slow to trust, but have unshakable loyalty.”

“Until you’re dead and then they just eat your corpse.” She shuddered.

He laughed again. “You don’t need your body when you’re dead.”

She was missing everything Heidi was saying to the other dancers. Clearly, the stage manager didn’t care because she wasn’t even looking in Roseâtre’s direction, much less shooting her with her optic laser beams of impatience.

“I’d rather my body was undisturbed, thank you very much. The idea of anything feasting after I’m dead is unappealing.” Not to mention sacrilegious. A warrior’s death should be honored with blades and flame, never teeth.

Or, the gods forbid, a hairball. Roseâtre grimaced.

“Would you prefer they do it while you’re alive?” The silken whisper brushed against her ear. Tingles raced over her skin from the sweep of his beard on her cheek.

Heart leaping, Roseâtre barely managed to suppress her startled scream and settled for smacking his chest. The hard muscles didn’t even budge as her hand made contact, leaving a vivid, white mark against the golden tan.

“You really need to stop doing that.” Enough is enough. The man might be here at Heidi’s request or the Overseers’, but his job was to deal with the damn cats.

“Stop what?” The mock innocence coating his teasing grin reminded her more of the tiger yawning than it did a conciliatory gesture.

“Invading my bubble.” She rolled her hand in the air between them. “You haven’t been invited into my bubble.”

The coolness in his gaze warmed considerably, his grin widened. He was obviously enjoying the hell out of her irritation.

“How does one get invited into your bubble?” He batted the air in front of her, a downright playful gesture that sank its claws into her belly.

Nope. Not going to be turned on.




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WIP Wednesday...

Here's a peek at something I've been working on...

She didn’t expect him to be right behind her and she turned and found herself almost in his arms. Stumbling, she also didn’t expect his hands to close on her elbows to steady her.                “Careful.”His low, gravelly voice sent a shudder of awareness up her arms and she sucked in a breath in surprise.
And closed her eyes. Even with a smashing headache, the man smelled delicious. Like warmth and sex or something. Dammit. Shaking his hands off a bit more briskly than was needed, she glared up at him. “I’m fine. Don’t touch me.”

Happy Writing!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Taking Control on sale for a limited time only!

On sale for a limited time only for .99!!

Taking Control (a 1Night Stand story)

Looking for Love...

After being voted off Find Your Hubby, a reality TV show, Mellie gave up on finding love. Instead, she spends her final check on a spur of the moment fling, paying for a matchmaking service that offers the perfect person-For One Night Only.

Can you buy passion?

When the ‘perfect person’ turns out to be a woman, Mellie first questions Madame Eve’s choice...then her own desires.



Grab it on Amazon today!