Friday, April 5, 2013

Coming Soon In May: The Caliente Blog Hop

Starting May 6th thru May 12th blogs are going to be turning up the heat! Caliente Style! The Four Seduced Muses will be hosting a blog hop of authors who will be offering more than just some "spice"!

The Four Seduced Muses is one of the most popular book/author blogs in cyberspace today! Just who are they? They are four erotic authors who have banded together and have laughed in the face of sexual taboo, kicked out the barriers, and give a "no holds barred" on their views about sexuality. Join Nicole Morgan, May Water, Maya De Leina, and Tammy Dennings Maggy as they give you Tempting Tuesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, and Forbidden Fruit Fridays. So you can only imagine what is going to come out from their Caliente! Blog Hop. Still want an incentive to stop by my blog here on the hop? Well, how about a little taste of what is to come then from The Blood Courtesan, coming soon!

I was born in 1550 in Venice, Italy. Like my mother before me, I became a courtesan since that was the only way I could provide for my family as there was no male son or dowry for a suitable marriage. It was not a choice I would have made for myself. I was mentored by the famous of all courtesans, Veronica De Franco. Venice was all about the beauty and splendor. We were revered by all that saw us in our finery, envied by women, and sought out by men of all means of wealth and power. One night, one dance, and one man would change my stars yet again for a life I would not have chosen. He walked into the ball of the Doge one night, dressed in finery unlike any I had ever seen before. His dark hair was wild, like the mane of a lion around his face but it was his eyes-those pale blue eyes that seemed as wild as a sea during a storm. Other courtesans and ladies of the court desired him, but he had eyes for no one but me. The room-the world seemed to stop as he turned from the Doge towards me, and motioned me. I went without care-without pause as if I was under some spell. He possessed me and it was then I knew that I would never be able to be touched by another man, except for him.

        I woke up a week later, although it only seemed only hours, in his bed and it was then I learned I would never see the sun again nor would my life be the same as it was before. At first I rebelled against him, my dark prince who touched my soul like he touched my body. I came to love him though and accept my life as a fledgling. For many weeks we were happy and for many nights we were like two people possessed. If I could have slipped underneath his skin, I would not have been close enough to him. Then came the sad, sad day when he had to take me to a friend, a trusted ally to keep me safe and to further train me while he was away; summoned by some force not even I knew of. I begged him and pleaded with him to not leave me-to let me come with him. He wouldn’t. However, my prince did not deliver me to a friend but to evil herself. He was gone and could not hear my cries nor could he hear my call. My prince, my heart, and my reason for living-gone and all that remained was pain and torture. In the moments that I thought I would finally lie down and seek death’s dark embrace, I was saved but not by my dark prince-but someone else.

        That is the story of Evangelia Antoinetta DiSilvo. What remains is Lia, Venus to the men who see me and to the men who are unworthy-I am retribution!

                            ****To Read More, Be Sure To Join The Caliente Blog Hop****

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Positvely The Worst Ways To Promote Yourself As An Author: Roleplaying

Surely by now everyone has seen role players and groups all over social networks and I want to be the first to say THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ROLE PLAYING! I'll say it again, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ROLE PLAYING. However, when you are an author trying to promote your published work and publisher via a role playing forum, things can get hairy, scary, and down right uuuuugly. How, you ask, well let me run it down for you.

You've worked long and hard to get your book published. Believe me, finding a reputable publisher or self publishing is harder than pulling out your own teeth. At least with pulling your own teeth out you either pass out or self medicate. I'm not advocating the actual pulling of one's teeth or self medicating-just want to put that out there but you get what I'm saying, right? Promotion is mostly on the shoulders of the author and that too is not an easy task. For however many months it has taken you to develop your story, breathe life into your characters, and're willing to do whatever you can to get a fanbase and people to buy your book. I mean literally the goal here is to have people buying it. Role playing has become a wonderful creative outlet for the masses on social networks. I have come to meet many wonderfully talented and dedicated role players. A fellow author friend of mine, Sasha D. Oliver, who is the author of The Zodiac Chronicles: The Gifts, has a great role playing group that showcases her characters and the story she's written. However, I have known people who have went that route and it has been disasterous. Sasha was lucky enough that she has a group of people that work quite well together.

Understand that when you do this, there are legalities. You wouldn't think there would be but if some social network administrators wanted to really be sticklers-they can not only ban you, delete the group, delete profiles, but they can get their legal team after you. Most if not all social networks have terms of use that forbid profiles that are not "real" people. Now, that being said there are hundreds of fake profiles and for a social network giant like Facebook-it would just take them too long to weed out every fake profile.  They rely in my opinion on people reporting false profiles. Why would someone report a false profile? Well why does anyone do anything that is mean spirited? There are people that come from all walks of life and some of them are not all there in the noodle if you know what I mean. For them, they can report because maybe they've been kicked out of a group, mentally unstable(you know those types-they forget that the land of make believe is make believe), just want to troll pages, or they act like lovers that have been scorned. No matter the reason, profiles get enough reports then the network suspends pages and even deletes them if they believe a profile violates their terms of use. That is not the only legal pitfall though.

When a person starts a role playing group and links it with or promotes the publishing company then they get into a whole bunch of copyright law violations, liabilities, and just a big bunch of funk. When an author signs a contract with a publisher, they basically have contracted their author rights to the publishing company. Now a few things can bring about a mess of legal troubles such as it can be interpreted that the publisher is advocating fake profiles for promoting their products and services. The violation police will jump on this. This can be considered that you, the role player are offering services and such which can be deemed as mass marketing fraud. This can lead to fines, court costs, jail, and money you don't have not to mention the publisher may cancel your contract thus ending your writing career before it has started. No one wants to be accused of fraud or misleading people. That will also kill whatever fan base for your book(s) you may have.

Another pitfall of having a role playing group based on your contracted book is that your story belongs to the publisher to whom you have a good standing contract with. Any publisher worth their salt, wants to make MONEY. They want YOU to make MONEY. Even if your role players are not role playing word for word from your book(s), you run the risk of violating your contract as well as copyright laws which again can lead to loss of revenue, court costs, fines, jail, and loss of a good publisher who is trying to work for YOU.

I do not know enough about the self publishing market and there are many role playing groups out there that play off books and book series that are not only sanctioned by the author but are in mass print. AGAIN THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ROLE PLAYING, I LOVE ROLE PLAYERS but a group has to make sure they have the blessing of the author as well as the publisher or they too run the risk of being called out. There are soooo many great role playing groups out there with creative people who are the most dedicated fans. They don't sell anything and they don't claim any thing-they only role play and that is it. For all us Indie writers, role playing groups do seem like a great way to dig up publicity and a fan base but it comes with perils and pitfalls. IT is a HUUUUGE risk.

Still want to start a role playing group for your book and characters? Play it safe and do it the right way. First keep in mind fake profiles run the risk of falling under the terms of service of the social network. Know that you run the risk of losing profiles and could be banned. When you set up an account, your IP address is logged in and the social network CAN block that IP address. Secondly, contact your publisher or self publishing company and check with them to see if it is truly okay for you to have a group. Outline exactly what you are doing and what content you expect to have on your page. DO NOT LINK YOUR ROLE PLAYING GROUP WITH YOUR PUBLISHER AND DO NOT OFFER GOODS AND SERVICES. Any well seasoned role player and well balanced group will give you the advice that it is never a great idea to "sell" stuff within the group. DO NOT hold contests even if they are fake ones that link to your book or publisher. For example, a Dark Hunter group that is a fan based group for the author Sherrilyn Kenyon may promote her and even post pictures of her books but they DO NOT PROMISE anything. Mrs.Kenyon has repeatedly stated that she does not have anything to do with the role playing groups even though she has nothing against them and is flattered that her fans adore her characters and stories. Make sure that the group of people you assign characters to are willing to work as a team and with you. Sasha Oliver works quite well with her group and none of them stray from her story or her vision. Give clear perimeters for each character. If you have two characters that are a couple-then of course you're not going to want them making eyes at other characters or fans/followers. You want them to represent you in the very best light. It only takes one bad apple to put a bad taste in peoples' mouths and there goes your revenue and fan base.

Think before you leap into anything. Role Playing groups especially big ones are a big undertaking and you are going to constantly be dealing with different personalities. If it pays off, then that is awesome but if you jump into it and your publisher is not on board with it, then you can really get yourself into a financial mess. Copyright laws are not something to play with. If you want to show case your talent and your characters, get a web page or blog. Don't go against your publisher. A good publisher is a terrible thing to lose. If you have to go the role playing route-then create a group that has nothing to do with your books or characters but is something new and fresh that showcases your creativity without involving links and promotions towards the publisher. Not everyone is into role playing or role playing groups. As an author you have to be a professional first-fix up a website, blog, and promote yourself by joining networks and blog events that draw people to you as an author not as a role player. You want to be taken seriously and professionally. Role playing is fun and it is a great creative outlet but don't mix your business with playtime. Books like the Dark Hunter Series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood, and the like are already in mass market and people have already had a chance to read them. They wouldn't be so widely known if they weren't. People already know and love those stories and characters-your books people probably do not and you don't want to give away all your hard work because it is like the saying, "Why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free". The same goes for books. No one is going to buy the book if they can get the gist or the whole story from your role playing group. So approach it with caution when deciding on whether or not to mix role playing with your book(s).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Sexy: What Is It About Book Guys That Have Us Drooling?

        Dreamy eyes, strong jaw, ripped with muscle, washboard stomach, wild and unruly hair, full lips, and eyes that say 100 dirty sensual thoughts and all the right equipment below the waist makes a guy character book sexy? I am not sure if those are all the requirements pour moi per say but it is a start. A very drool worthy start. What is book sexy? Well it isn't Fabio with his princess lovely locks that is for sure-then again, like most women who started reading romance novels in the late 90s, there had to be a few of his covers that  that said, "That's right baby, you want to by me. For all you know this could be a Swedish cookbook or IKEA stereo instructions but look at me in all my blond, brawn, and tight ass me." and you bought the book and you might just have gotten through it or stopped after the first three chapters. So tell me, what's book sexy to you? Are you a cover girl or are you like me-you gotta have a combination of cover  , story, and author?

          Why be a cover girl? Some readers believe it or not will only buy a book if the beefcake on the cover sets their loins aflame? Actually that is a bad visual. Who actually is responsible for referring to anything below the belt and above the knees as "loins" anyhow? Seriously if I rolled over and told my husband, "I need you to slake the ache of my loins?" he'd look at me and probably tell me to hit the local CVS drugstore or tell me to scoot over because he's not catching it. As a regular purchaser of books, a cover is what catches my eye, it says, "Hey there, yeah c'mon over and check me out doll face." If the cover can draw my attention then the blurb on the back has to give me a reason to go to the nearest cash register and pay money that will no doubt take away from my latte fund or heaven forbid the grocery fund(hey, the kids can do without meat that week, right?). Some authors believe it or not would rather have eye catching font (and yes I will be the first to admit I have passed books up because I like to have a visual aid rather than font to occasionally glance at when I'm reading or my husband is well snoring on the couch-don't worry, I'm seeking therapy). There is nothing wrong though if you base the bulk of your book buying/reading on the cover. So tell me, what guy do you like to see on the cover? Someday I might tell you who my book fantasy man is.

                       Yeah, who wouldn't want to have a slice of that? Take this time to get your drool rags, it's okay after all drool on the keyboard is unsightly. I'll wait.

                     If having a sexy Adonis on the front cover isn't your forte, then perhaps you are more into painting your own picture in your head than something visual to draw you to a book. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, how many times have you probably bought a book with a hot hunk with that come hither look on his face or with a damsel in near undress in his arms only to find out that after the first three or four chapters just left you regretting paying for the dang book in the first place? I won't mention any names, but I have sunk good money into books that "looked" promising yet were all filler and no substance. As a writer, I want people to read more than just the first few chapters. There is no doubt that sex sells but a good story is what builds a fan base and keeps people buying which makes everyone happy. Again this should also dispel the myth that the sole reason why women and even men read romance novels is because they are love lorn or want to read "book porn". I started out reading historical romances because they often had better stories that went beyond just the hot and steamy scenes. If the blurb can give me enough synopsis to capture my interest and hook me in, then the Adonis on the cover takes a back seat. However if I read the back and it just doesn't spark interest for me, it wouldn't matter if Johnny Depp was on the cover practically naked. Let me stress it would be HARD to return the book to the shelve but I would muster the strength.

                   I'm a combo kind of gal. I like a combination of both great cover art and an enticing blurb on the back. Seriously, I think both the cover and blurb go hand in hand when it comes to gathering interest for a book especially if one is a relatively new or Indie author. It kind of makes it the total package.

             So what is book sexy? Still lingering over that question? Well I think that it just depends on you the reader and the individual. For me, a guy doesn't have to be the most buff stud in the box. I like dark and mysterious, but the muscle bound bad boy works for me too. I first fell in love with the lusty Vikings, hard battle honed Highlanders, and sinewy Native American warriors that graced the books by authors like Johanna Lindsay, Lynsay Sands, Georgina Gentry, and Cassie Edwards. Then came all my favorites by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kerrelyn Sparks, J R Ward, Lora Leigh, Lora Adrian, and Denyse Bridger who all have great combinations of sexy cover art as well as blurbs that hook a reader in.


                   After all it is really up to you the reader what catches your fancy whether its a hot hunk on the cover or an enticing blurb on the back cover, or a book that is simply by your favorite author. A well written romance novel no matter what genre is going to have characters both male and female, a story that transports the reader like Alice through the looking glass, and is going to leave the reader wanting more. So happy reading. Tell me what book or books has you ensnared and enslaved and what made you just have to add it to your reading library.