Friday, March 10, 2017

Yet Another Opinionated Post about Writing Craft--Setting and the Novel (#iamwriting #romantic suspense)


Outstanding books are memorable for a variety of reasons. Perhaps in one it is the romance we find so compelling.  In another, the characters stay with us for a long time. 

But for many readers, the sense of "being there" is the aspect that draws them into the book and keeps them there despite distractions.  I call this a sense of place, or setting.

Its importance can't be underestimated.  Some genres, such as certain subgenres of romance, are based totally on a unique or special setting, such as the English Regency or American West.  Some readers will purchase nothing but books placed in their favorite setting. People will read books in their favorite setting--Middle Earth, Hogwarts--over and over again just because they want to again experience the feeling of being there.

While I was editing professionally, I sometimes came upon a submission in which it was impossible for me to know where the book was set because the author assumed way too much. In one, for example, I had to go to the author's website to discover where her werewolf/vampire series was set. 

Fortunately for any of my readers who like to feel deeply grounded in a book, I love to travel and then put my observations and experiences into my writing.

http://a.co/j79CdEA
I set a couple of recent re-releases in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived for about five years and still visit frequently. Here are a couple of snippets from those books:

...she took the handset and walked to the window, hoping to see a street sign so she could tell her partner where she was. Unfortunately, the view four stories below showed only a small back garden, typical of homes in San Francisco. It was beautifully landscaped with Japanese maples and azaleas, which were in bloom. A small stone bench sat by a pond.

The above is from Phoenix and Dragon, a novel set in San Francisco, and the description of this courtyard is based on one I saw years ago, in the Marina District, I believe. 

And here's one from Spy Game, which takes place farther south. This clip describes Skyline Drive, which is off Highway 17 between San Jose and Santa Cruz, which I call Santa Laura in the book. It's best not to be too tethered to reality when writing. Otherwise one gets letters from irate readers stating that "I've been there and it's not like that!"

http://a.co/eklA2RJ
The wooded, two-lane road wound up a hill past a playground and a park. A swing set and a jungle gym were nearly invisible in the night, lit only by a few dim streetlamps. At the lane’s crest a row of mailboxes sat with a whimsical stuffed or carved animal perched atop each. A wooden bird with brightly painted, outstretched wings roosted on the box marked #2730...a little cottage that screamed “hippie heaven.

I would never have dreamed up the mailboxes with the sculptures, so visiting the area while I was writing was a really good idea. Touches like those add a sense of reality to a book, which is really an imaginary construct even if it's a contemporary set in a recognizable place.

It's hard to make it as an author these days, and every aspect of the writer's craft must be well-honed and perfect, including setting in the novel.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Naughty Novellas...and a Contest from the Naughty Literati by Suz deMello



A project that we in the NL have been contemplating for awhile is a shorter collection of longer works, which we've dubbed Naughty Novellas. It's available for preorder at 99 cents and will be published on March 1--when the price will go up--so order now!

What's it got, you ask?

Including BDSM, Contemporary, Fairytale, Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Shape-shifter & Threesome from bestselling authors!

The Woodsman by Belle Scarlett
Kahn’s Haven by Nicole Austin
Anything You Want by Tina Donahue
Tropic of Pleasure by Tina Donahue
The Property of Twin Dragons by Berengaria Brown
Walpurgis Night by Katherine Kingston
Edge of Passion by Kathy Kulig

By day, Belle Scarlett is a mild-mannered story consultant, film producer, and award-winning screenwriter in Lost Angeles. By night, she assumes her super-secret identity as Belle Scarlett, author of futuristic and paranormal romances with a high sizzle factor. Belle is also a proud member of The Naughty Literati - romance authors who publish boxed sets of their hot stories several time a year.

Aiding Belle in her quest for kick-ass, magical romance and out-of-this-world, passionate-ever-afters are her trusty sidekicks, Tall-Alpha-Blue-Eyed Boyfriend, upon whom her heroes are based, and Evil Feral Cat, upon whom her villains are based.

Goodreads ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Amazon ✯ Website

Colorado: The new frontier. This is the voyage of Nicole Austin. It’s been a lifelong mission. To explore awe-inspiring vistas. To get out of the rut, seek new experiences. To boldly go where she’s dreamed of being.

Now she lives in an incredible world where fantasy comes to life in bold, vivid detail. Well, until real life intrudes, but Nicole fights a valiant battle to keep reality moments at a minimum and hold on to the dream.

Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work.  Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

Berengaria Brown is an award-winning, best-selling, multi-published author of erotic romance with over one hundred published digital, print and audio books. She writes contemporary, paranormal (magic, ghosts, vampires, fairies, dragons, and werewolves), futuristic, medieval, and Regency-set historical. She loves to read all different kinds of romance so that is what she writes: MMF, MFM, FMMM, FFM, MM, FF, and MF. Whatever the characters need for their very hot happily-ever-after, Berengaria makes sure they get it.

Goodreads ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Amazon ✯ Blog

Katherine Kingston is the author of a dozen or so novels and novellas, most of which are currently out of print but re-edited and re-released now. Currently the first three of her Suburban Dominants series are available at most ebook retailers. She’s also a member of The Naughty Literati and has had a story in all of their anthologies so far. Kate writes in a number of genres including contemporary BDSM, historical, paranormal, and fantasy.

Facebook ✯ Amazon ✯ Website

Kathy Kulig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist of erotic contemporary and paranormal romance. She’s a science geek by day and escapes into her writer’s world at night. Known for writing dark and edgy stories, Kathy’s books are passionate, emotionally-charged and always have a happy ending. She began her writing career in journalism, publishing articles in magazines and newspapers. Now she lives in a fantasy world making up sexy stories to entice her readers.

When she's not writing, she loves to work out, travel, read stacks of books, watch movies and have dinners out with her darling husband. She lives in Pennsylvania in a 100 year-old Victorian house with a garage built out of reject tombstones.

Facebook ✯ Website ✯ Twitter ✯ Goodreads ✯ Amazon ✯ Blog ✯ Pinterest 

Amazon US ✯ Amazon Int'l ✯ B&N ✯ Kobo ✯ Goodreads

And there's...




Friday, February 10, 2017

#FreeBooks from Suz deMello

It's no mystery that writers, especially indie writers, are constantly creating new ways to find readers and convert them into fans of their books. One favorite way is to discount books for a short period of time, or maybe even offer a story or two or three for free.

This tactic works especially well with books or stories that are the first in a series. 

Viking in Tartan is the first in my six story Highland Vampires series. Three are short stories and three are full-length novels. Best if they're read in order, but each is a fine standalone.


Here's what the series is about:

Rumors have followed the chieftains of Clan Kilburn for centuries. Said to be descended from the Viking Berserkers, they were ferocious in battle, known for tearing off the heads of their enemies and drinking their blood.

The gossip is frightening, but the reality is even darker.

From the elegant mansions of Mayfair to the mist-shrouded Highlands, the Kilburn vampires hunt, swive and kill. None are immune to their dangerous allure.


Who are the women who would dare to love them?

About Viking in Tartan:

Medieval romance from the Highland Vampires series.

Scotland, Yule Eve, 1260. A Viking raider with mysterious powers brings change to little Clan Kilbirnie, especially to the chieftain’s daughter Rhona.

Find it here: 



I also offer two more short stories as freebies. 

Here they are:


Agent Kathie Belmont has long lusted after her boss, Ross Guerrero, but has never even flirted with him. Could he be the strong but tender Master she craves?

Ross wants Kathie in his life—on her knees. But the constraints of their jobs with an ultra-secret US security agency have come between them. Will their undercover roles as a sex slave and her Master bring them together...forever?

Get it here for free: 

This next story is a complete departure. It's the first story I wrote and my first (and only, alas) #1 bestseller on Amazon. When it came out, it was #1 in free parody and satire  :)




Here's what it's about:

Suz deMello flips the traditional Regency romance upside down and sideways in this gentle satire in which Marlene, the Earl of Maybegood, roughly woos gentleboy Georgie Longjohn on the eve of his first Season.

Find it here for free:

Hope you enjoy these stories and that you become a fan of my work!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's a bouncing baby book! FOR MY MASTER, BDSM romantic suspense by Suz deMello (#BDSM #thriller #free)

Giving birth to a new book, even a new edition of a reverted work, is always exciting. In the case of For My Master, even more so, because I wrote this BDSM-laced short story before I had any real experience with BDSM. Re-releasing it as a freebie on its own gave me the opportunity to correct some of the more egregious errors, though it remains a pretty fantasy-laden view of a BDSM relationship. In my defense: when I write a romance, everything is at the service of the romance. I will unapologetically twist facts, make stuff up and even invent new words if I think it's helpful.

I also enjoy designing my covers, but because I'm offering this as a freebie, I didn't spend much time on it. Hopefully it gets the point across, enticing the reader to download the story.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699930

So what's it about, you ask?

Agent Kathie Belmont has long lusted after her boss, Ross Guerrero, but has never even flirted with him. Could he be the strong but tender Master she craves?

Ross wants Kathie in his life—on her knees. But the constraints of their jobs with an ultra-secret US security agency have come between them. Will their undercover roles as a sex slave and her Master bring them together...forever?


And what did readers think of the previous editions?


Five Stars! Great read. If you like kinky sex or light BDSM then this book is for you.  
--Mary Roya, Goodreads


I love BDSM books and this one just did it for me.  
--Rhonda D, Romance Book Fiend


Top Pick! "A definite if you like D/s." 
--MizLoveLovesBooks.com


Rating: 5 magical wands…not for the faint of heart…explicit…a fun, quick read
Tralana, Enchanted Ramblings


Rating: 4.5…Suz deMello’s FOR MY MASTER is a hot BDSM story that will captivate readers imaginations… kick-butt characters whom I loved reading about… I anxiously kept reading just to find out what would happen.
Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies, Blue Ribbon Reviews


Rating: 4...A sinful seduction laced with the sweet sting of pain... a story to pull out again and again.
Ophelia, Erotic Escapades


Rating: 4…The story is so expressive, hot and steamy that I could almost see smoke coming from the computer on the sex scenes.
Lisa, Fallen Angel Reviews


Rating: 4…intriguing characters with great personalities.
The sex scenes between them are hot enough to fry eggs.

Susan White, Coffee Time Romance


Rating: 4.5…For My Master is one very hot tale, and will appeal to any reader with an interest in the BDSM lifestyle. The action is fast and furious, the lovemaking is hot… I highly recommend this—with a bucket of ice and a freezing shower at hand!
Frost, Two Lips Reviews


Suz deMello’s FOR MY MASTER is a peek into the world of bondage and submission that is hot enough to have erotica fans begging for more.
Tammy, Love Romances and more


And did I mention that it' s FREE?
Get it here:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699930

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Today’s Embarrassing Left by Suz deMello (#Milo #politics #protest #FirstAmendment)

On the evening of Friday, January 13 I went to UC Davis with a friend to hear what Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos had to say. I was intrigued by this darling of the alt-right, who seemed to be a mass of walking contradictions: a gay Jewish man aligned with the most regressive, repressive bigots on the planet.

Milo, walking contradiction and
alt-right rising star
I was introduced to Milo by my cousin’s kid Jonah, a slyly charming teenager who always is the best dressed, most intelligent person in any room. When I met him for the first time, it was at Friday night dinner at my uncle’s home in north London. His brother came in wearing a T-shirt and cargo pants. His parents were nicely dressed, but Jonah outshone everyone with his navy pinstriped three-piece suit.

Wow. A teenager whose professed favorite music is heavy metal (the Iron Maiden logo is his FB profile pic) in a navy, pinstriped three-piece. Wow. I was suitably blown away.

A few days later I ate dinner and hung out with his family. Up in Jonah’s room we explored music he liked and talked politics. He’s very conservative, while I am about to fall off the far-left wing feather of the American eagle. Nevertheless, I wanted to give his ideas a fair hearing because he’s a smart, thoughtful person.

He introduced me to Milo by showing me a few youtube vids, and I was again impressed by a right-wing Brit. He seems articulate, intelligent and personable as well as layered and interesting—the kind of person I most enjoy.

So we went out to UCD to see and hear Milo. We arrived at about 6:30 p.m., the time that the event was supposed to start. With the help of our phones’ GPS and by following a stream of other folks, we found the lecture hall where the event was scheduled to take place. As we rounded a corner, we were confronted by a noisy protest that blocked easy access to the building. We asked how to get in and were directed to a line that stretched along the side of the building, curving around stands of pine and, more prosaically, a parking structure.

We waited patiently in the cold for a half-hour, then called it quits when rumors
Embarrassing..."speach"? At a UC?
of cancellation began to circulate; apparently the event had been called off because the university couldn’t guarantee Milo's or anyone else’s safety due to the nastiness of the protest. I can testify that as we left, we noticed that the protest had become much rowdier.

I understand that liberals on the left are scared and sad about the Electoral College results and Trump’s ensuing presidency. I feel the same. The PEEOTUS is illegitimate, the ideas he espouses are dangerous to our democracy, and the people he has proposed for cabinet positions are either unqualified or corrupted by conflicts of interest and even treasonous behavior.

A very smart person once told me that "it's easier to be mad than sad," so our sorrow and anxiety are manifesting in counter-productive ways. The left’s anger has led to revolting, offensive acts that are self-defeating. For example, at this event, a Breitbart cameraman was sworn at and spat upon. No one who’s lawfully doing his job deserves that.


The next day, Milo reportedly led a protest that centered upon the denial of his right to speak.  

The left's over-the-top protest ceded the moral high ground to the alt-right. Whatever happened to “when they go low, we go high”?

Whatever happened to the peaceful sit-ins I remember from my teenage years? Of course, these events occasionally became violent, but the violence was generally started by the police or National Guard rather than the protesters. 

Remember Kent State?
Four unarmed students were shot and killed at an
anti-war protest at Kent State University in 1970
I sure do.


On top of that, events like the over-the-top protest at UCD contribute to the decline of civility in our society. If we cease to be polite and kind to others, eventually society will become a vicious arena that no one will enjoy. That civilization and civility have the same Latin root isn’t random.

What can be done?

Insist upon courteous discourse when discussing politics. For example, on FB I block users who come onto my page and insult me and others by name-calling.

I hope that others will adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding rudeness. And please don't use the excuse "the right behaved badly when Obama was elected." So what? Remember: When they go low, we go high. 

This doesn’t mean that the left should roll over and play dead. For example: what if, instead of a protest, folks participated in a sit-in? At least a hundred protesters were there, so the building would have been effectively blocked and the event cancelled—same result without the participants looking like immature, rude jerks.

What if the protesters had made certain by getting tickets in advance that the lecture hall was filled with liberals? That would have provided the opportunity to ask Milo pointed questions that would perhaps puncture the balloon of his alt-right beliefs.


Another great example of a creative, courteous protest is Colin Kaepernick's taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before football games. It's quiet, respectful and very effective; other football teams all over the nation, both pro and student, copied him. Brilliant.

And if people really want to make a difference, read this document and
Don't get mad. Take action.
 It's easier than you think to make a difference.
implement its recommendations.



Change can happen. Resistance isn’t futile, but choosing one’s battles and fighting them with intelligence and creativity leads to better results than what we saw in Davis this weekend.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thunderclap, Headtalker and other Promo Mysteries by Suz deMello (#marketing #promotions #Thunderclap #headtalker)

I'm running a Thunderclap to support Temptation in Tartan, and one of the purposes of this blog is to ask you to help out. 


http://a.co/a20pe37

And here's the book and its blurb:

She has to marry a monster. 


Rumors have followed the chieftains of Clan Kilborn for centuries. Said to be descended from the Viking berserkers, they are ferocious in battle, known for tearing off the heads of their enemies and drinking their blood.



But English noblewoman Lydia Swann-Williston will marry Kieran, Laird Kilborn, to bring peace to the Kilborn lands after the horror of Culloden and the brutal pacification. A widow, she also brings needed wealth to the clan. For her part, eighteen-year-old Lydia wants children. With her husband killed at Culloden, she will make a new life in the Highlands. 



The old chieftain of Clan Kilborn also died in battle, and Lydia hopes the new young laird will lack his ancestors' ferocity. 


She was wrong.

But I'm not only concerned about getting enough supporters but to compare these two promo devices. Both are "crowdspeaking" platforms. When you enlist supporters, each presses a button that permits their system to tweet or post about your book (or any other product or message) at exactly the same time. The object is to create a "disturbance in the Force," i.e, to get your book or product trending.


So which should you choose?

Both are free. However, Thunderclap will not allow a user to change a date without a steep charge: $55. Plus, 100 participants is the minimum required for a T'Clap to drop, and if a user doesn't garner enough participants, all the effort required to get even 99 is wasted.

Kickstarter suffers from the same issue. If a user doesn't hit the monetary goal, all funds pledged are lost. That's the reason Indiegogo has been so successful.

Headtalker seems the better platform. No minimum number of supporters necessary, and a shorter lead time--one day as opposed to three, though in reality people will need at least a week or two to get enough supporters to make the effort pay off.

Hope this info helps other authors as well as others with products to flog. Good luck!



Friday, December 30, 2016

NAUGHTY LITERATI ANTHO SALE! Be warned--on 1/1/17 prices will go up! by Suz deMello (#99cents #sale!)


We in the Naughty Literati have been tinkering with pricing throughout our two year publication schedule. We've placed books on permafree, raised and lowered prices, did rolling sales...everything we could think of. And now, another change is in the wind.

For a while, we'll be releasing each new set at 99 cents and increasing the price after a month to $2.99. The anthologies are still a great deal--most of them have ten stories or more, and therefore are at least a $10 value, offered for one-third the price.

So get them now, while they're still 99 cents!

Anthologies on sale now include the bestselling Naughty List:


http://a.co/h0xRzwM



This set, which contains thirteen stories by award-winning, bestselling authors including Lynne Connolly and the late Charlotte Boyett-Compo, has been a perennial favorite with our readers.

Tired of the winter? Read our set of sexy summer getaways, Naughty Escapes:



http://a.co/2RD3qIn

Are you a fan of Sabrina York? If so, pick up a copy of our latest, Naughty Flames, a set of intense stories that will heat up those cold winter nights.

http://a.co/4z1cfd8



GET THEM WHILE THEY'RE HOT!

REMEMBER PRICES ON ALL ANTHOS WILL RISE TO $2.99 ON NEW YEAR'S DAY!