Sunday, December 11, 2016

SELF-PUBLISHING BASIC PRIMER

In the past month more than one person has come to me and said they are entering the world of self-publishing.

Now what?

Caveat: All advice that follows is simply my opinion. It is not gospel. It’s not the only way. Your mileage may vary. And honestly I’m not going to cover everything or even get into deep details.

Let’s begin.

First and foremost, you really have to make peace with the fact you are deciding to become a publisher. That means you will be in charge of content, covers, editing, marketing, formatting, accounting and holding the author’s hand when they spaz out.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but so many people don’t realize they are now their own gatekeeper in a sense. Instead of submitting a query, a synopsis and providing a partial to a publisher, you will now have to decide if the book you wrote can sell.

You will now have to find an editor and hire them. If you’re lucky you can hire a former editor that you know does awesome work and is affordable. If not, you’re going to have to hunt some down. Send them sample pages to see if you fit.

This is all on you. Are you ready to take that on?

Second, find smart people that you admire and kind of sort of cyber stalk them. Go to Amazon. How many books have they published? What genre are they in? Does that match up with the categories their books are in on Amazon. (And you can find the categories at the bottom of the book’s Amazon page.) How many reviews do they have? How many are verified purchases? How many say, I received this book in exchange blah, blah. Look at their website. How reader friendly is it? If they have a series, is it listed in order? Do they have a printable backlist you can download? How are their book pages set up?

Then head over to the Facebook and Twitter to see how they interact with readers, peers, etc.

Mostly importantly, how do they promote? Non-stop? When a book is about to come out? Graphic teasers? Facebook fan group? Blogs?

Why do I suggest this? Because it’s important to know what other people are doing? How are they getting their books into readers hands?

I caution you though. Do not compare careers. Don’t do it. This always ends in tears and wine.

Think of this step as recon because this isn’t the field of dreams. If you write it, readers do not magically come to buy your book.

Third, some people will say if you don’t have Facebook and Twitter get one. Get all the social media. I would say the only thing you have to have is a newsletter. This is non-negotiable for me. Not everyone will sign up. That’s fine. No. You do not need to have constant content in your newsletter. Do you have a book releasing? That’s all you need to send to anyone who signs up.

Every fan is not going to follow you on Twitter or friend you on Facebook. How are you going to let them know you have a new release? YOU. Not Amazon sending them an email. Or Goodreads alerting them, but YOU.

Get thee a newsletter.

Put that sign up on your website where it cannot be missed.

Put it in your books. In the front and in the back.

DO THIS.

Fourth, decide where you’re going to publish: Amazon, Nook Press, iTunes, Kobo, etc. Create publisher accounts.

Draft to Digital (If you don’t have a Mac and want to distribute to places like iTunes.)

There are benefits to KU if you’re a new author and even if you’re an old hat. There are tons of articles out there. Google them.

Fifth, and this advice is the most important. Hire out if you can’t do it and you can afford it. I’m a stubborn cuss. I do my own covers and formatting. I use GIMP for the former and it has a steep learning curve. For the latter, I use a word program (any word processor will do that can save a .docx), then Calibre (This can convert your word doc into .mobi, PDF, .epub, etc.) then Sigil. (Only click the green download button. AND this only formats the .epub. I use this to create a table of contents.)

There are tons of articles where you can find a how to for the above.

BUT IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO HIRE OUT, HIRE OUT.

Why?

Because self-publishing is hard enough. Do not put anything on your plate that can be easily delegated.

Sixth, find a community if you don’t already have one. This shit is hard. It helps if you have peeps in your corner or even if they understand what you’re going through. These same folks can also point you to awesome resources. I know what I know because of Romance Divas. I stay on top of things because I’ve made friends through Facebook and Twitter. I could not do this publishing thing without my tribe.

Last but not least, this is a marathon not a sprint. Sure, I’ve had some success, but I took the long way round. Self-publishing in 2016 is so not self-publishing in 2012 when I started. Try everything at least once. Stay the course. Always be on the lookout for something new.

Keep writing good books. Remember that’s why you decided to take on this monster.


If you have any questions, I’ll answer them in the comments.

Friday, December 09, 2016

I'm Late! I'm Late! I'm Late!

*blows dust off blog*
Hey. You guys still out there?

It's been a while. A lot of has happened. I dropped BLUEST OF BLUE and went on a hiatus. I would love to say I spent all this time writing on the next Scot or the next Geek, but I kind of got distracted with filth.

Good news though. I'm writing again and hopefully the next release will be in March. I know that seems eons away, but the original guess was June. Silver lining!

With that said, I'm gearing up to put DOWN TO ASH and BLUEST OF BLUE in print. KILT TEASE is already in print and SCOT APPEAL is soon to follow.

The geeks are currently on sale at a discounted price. If you haven't already picked them up, now is the time.

TO ONE HUNDRED is FREE. Tell all your friends. DOWN TO ASH and BLUEST OF BLUE are also discounted, not to free though.

And last but not least, I come with the gift of an excerpt. Porter's book is up next. Check out the cover!
Here's a sneak peek to what's to come for Porter and his heroine. (FAIR WARNING IT IS UNEDITED.)
***
Chapter One

We need to talk.
Porter made a face at those words on his cell phone, from a number he didn't even recognize. He tried to remember the last time someone had said that to him and it had ended well.
Fucking never.”
Huh?” Grady asked without dragging his gaze away from the baby bundled in his arms. The knitted pink blanket laid recklessly over all of the baby and half of Grady.
Porter smiled. Grady, usually, the one who had it all together at all times sat in his living room with only basketball shorts, one sock and his hair stuck up and slanted to the left.
As Grady's brother would say, the end of the era had begun. The comfortable loveseat had been replaced with a rocking chair. Well, a Cadillac of rocking chairs. You could rock on your own, or set a timer so it rocked for you. Could massage all...massage you and keep beer cold or...a bottle—sure—warm in the temperature-regulated cup holder.
Is Izzie asleep?”
Fuck, no.”
Which probably explained Grady's hair. Porter stuffed his phone back in his pocket. Bad news could wait. “Give her here. Go up with Eva and get some sleep. You look like you need it.”
Tired blue eyes met his. “How old were you when Ashley was born?”
Two. First memory. She was ugly. Pinched little face, making all this noise.”
An even more tired smile breaks across Grady's face. “Nothing's changed.”
Porter sighs. “She's not ugly anymore.” One of his best friends definitely think so, which was why on a Saturday night he was sitting in Grady's house, half-assed playing a video game. Didn’t hurt to check on a friend after said friend had a baby.
He needed this touchstone. In the past year Grady had eloped with Eva before having a baby. His sister and his best friend had also married three months before. Even his other friend Wade had become engaged.
Nothing was stable and he needed something to remain the same. Craved it. Upheaval made him edgy and that's all he'd known for six months, at the least.
With a sigh, “Give Izzie over. She'll be fine.”
Grady hunched his shoulders then carried the baby over. “There's breast milk in the fridge if she gets hungry. Diapers and shit in the closet. And don't be afraid to come get me if you can't deal.”
Having handed over the torch, Grady didn't waste a moment to shag ass up the stairs. Porter chuckled and brought Izzie to his chest. She felt small, fragile in his arm. Her eyes were wide open and a cross between green and blue.
You're going to break hearts,” he murmured.
The sweetest smile he'd ever seen broke out on her face. He laughed until the toxic gas escaped the cover. “Jesus Christ, you are father's child.”
His phone buzzed in his pocket again. Shifting the baby with one hand, he tilted to the side to dig it out.
In person is best.
Porter had always assumed people were being dramatic when they said their stomach dropped to their knees, their hearts literally stopped or their blood ran cold.
We need to talk.
In person.
A cold sweat prickled over his forehead. He glanced at the baby and Izzie seemed to look straight into his soul.
He didn't have to text the person back or call to know it was a woman. It was indeed bad news.
It's Iris, btw.
Izzie began to fuss and rub as her eyes. He rose from the couch to move to the rocking chair. His knees might have gave out halfway down, but he closed his eyes and rocked.
We need to talk.
In person.
It's Iris.
It was bad news seeded three months ago when his sister married his best friend. Three months ago when he had to stand in church, before God, and hand his baby sister over.
Should have fucking known,” he murmured to the baby, and she quieted at the rumble of his voice. “Never could say no to my sister though. She had asked me to walk her down the aisle and give her away. How the fuck could I say no to that?”
He glanced down. “Don't tell your parents I'm teaching you cuss words. We can always blame Wade.”
Her little fist broke through the blanket's fold to rest on his chest. He offered his finger for her to squeeze. His gut continued to churn.
Iris.
Fucking Iris.
He slowed his rock and slouched in the chair. “But I'm the closest thing to a father for Ashley.”
Porter was the one to soothe any hurts when she skinned her knees or hurt herself when being fearless. Porter was the one who guided her, sometimes with an overprotective hand through life. Those two years between them was a lifetime because he'd taken care of her when it mattered.
He wasn't father but Big Brother meant something to him.
Literally placing placing his sister's hand in his best friend's hand, entrusting Victor with his very heart—Ashley...Porter might have acted a little irrationally afterward.
What was that saying? Chickens coming home to roost.
We need to talk.
In person.
It's Iris.
Chapter Two
Three Months Ago

With a long sigh, Iris placed her hand in Porter's and stepped into his embrace as the music filled the dance hall. Only a handful of people were on the floor—all from the wedding party. Ashley and Victor were perched at the head table watching their friends and family play nice.
Play nice, she emphasized as a reminder..
Porter’s hand slide down her back and stopped at her tailbone. She shook off the shiver and glared up at him.
I swear, if I see one rendition of that messed up running man, I'm clocking people with my purse.”
Nice to finally meet the real you, Iris.” His laugh slid into her like honey as he set them off to a slow rock.
A flash came from her left—the photographer had caught the laugh on film. It would be a good picture. Porter was...handsome. She guessed if she had to give him any kind of credit. If she didn't kind of hate him, she might even say Porter was fine as fuck. He had thick lips, brown skin, sloped cheekbones. A barber must have cleaned up the scruff along his jaw since it hadn't morphed into a beard but everyone knew scruff was better anyway.
And it wasn't like she could ignore every muscled inch of his body since she was plastered against him.
The photographer stepped back. Iris smiled then was hit with another flash. The moment the woman walked away, she glared again at Porter.
He was smiling at her. Surprise then something much warmer settled into her gut. She snorted and swayed thoughtlessly to the music. “Why are you smiling at me?”
You clean up nice.”
My boobs do look good in this dress.” She lifted his chin when like clockwork he dipped his head down to get a peak.
How long is this song?” he asked.
She swallowed the laugh. “Four minutes and eight seconds. I helped pick it out. Now this was before I thought about the fact I'd be partnering with you.”
Ashley's forgiven me but you're going to hold onto a pissed-off torch?”
A corner of his mouth quirked up and then all she could do was stare. A man shouldn't have the kind of lips that encouraged obscene thoughts.
Yup,” she rasped.
He smiled again then dipped her. She flailed at the abrupt move but he held her steady as he straightened.
This means war,” she murmured.
Yup. You better hold on.” With his height advantage over her, it was too easy to bring her arm up. “Twirl, baby, twirl.”
If you don't give me my arm back...”
He shook his head then walked around her like they were doing a tango. He brought her hand up to his lips. It was supposed to be a joke or to piss her off, but her skin tingled where his mouth had touched. The way he glanced up, his eyes dark pools of lust pretty much said he'd felt that small punch to his gut, too.
He scraped his thumb across the back of her hand before he dropped it.
Porter moved behind her, resting his hands on her hips. “We can do the Dirty Dancing moves next.”
You want to run your hands down the sides of my breast...without my permission? In HR we call that sexual harassment.”
You invited me to look at your breasts then sucker punched me in the chin when I tried.”
Sucker punch is a strong word.” But she couldn't deny she'd invited the stare with every intent to block him from indulging. She'd met most of the Goon Squad in passing. They were interesting, all five of them. They were also very, very hetereosexual men. They didn't leer, but they'd conquered the art of glancing at boobs and asses when one (or rather a pair) caught their fancy.
Iris should have felt bad over laying an obvious trap for Porter, but at the least he deserved a soft knock to his chin for the way he’d treated Ashley in the past.
She finally twirled and smiled at him. “Two more long minutes with me. Isn't this fun?”
He laughed and tugged her back into his embrace. “Could be.” He trailed his hands down until they rested at her waist. “A lot of fun.”
His timbre had dropped an octave and she had no doubt they'd stopped playing somehow. He dipped his head again, his mouth brushing her earlobe. “You're beautiful. I should have just said that from the beginning.”
Her breath hitched. “Is this how you get forgiveness?”
This is how I flirt.”
Her stomach turned weightless, but in a good way. A very good one. “You looked at my boobs. Has that effect on men.”
Nope. Not why I'm flirting.”
Then why?” Not that she cared.
Kind of.
Dammit.
Your laugh. The fact you wanted to maim me and would have if I gave you enough leverage.” He lowered his voice. “These hips.”
Never had that line ever worked on her...until he'd said it, in a voice that was made for dirty talk. He could have told her she had a fat neck and she'd still probably be as turned on. And, yeah, her panties were trying to unroll themselves.
Not because he was—okay, he was fine as fuck even though his brows naturally arched into a frown. His brown eyes seemed just one laugh away from lighting up. She'd been hellbent on irritating him and he'd turned the tables on her.
Did she forget to mention he smelled of spice and leather? It was a testosterone-ladden scent that had probably felled more than a few women in his past. Simply put, he smelled like something one should ride, at least once. The latter is why she wavered for only a moment. From what she knew of him, Porter wasn't a good guy. Probably wasn't a bad boy either.
He was still waters. Porter was lethal. One likely either sank or swam with him. Iris was too practical to flirt with drowning.
The only other thing to save her was the last strands of the song. She pushed away from him, her face heated. “Stop flirting with me.”
Iris...”
Her shoulders went up and she leaned into him. Porter once again brushed his lips along her earlobe. “I'd believe you if you didn't keep looking at my mouth.”
Had she? Probably. Thoughtlessly. They were perfect. Not too big. Not too small. She could easily imagine him closing his mouth on her clit with one long suck. Or feathering along her neck. Or brushing her torso.
She spun on her heels, headed straight for the bar. She needed a cup of ice and a bigger cup of whiskey. There was no way she'd let Porter use that voice on her again. That way lay trouble.
****

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dirty Scot Worries and a New Release

Before we get into the new release, I feel it's important to talk about the Under the Kilt series. Many fans have worried or made the comments they hope the series will continue.
At some point it dawned me maybe I should have made it clear that only death would keep me from writing my dirty Scots.
Expect more titles in this series. Though it may not be Bairds, it might be Grant and Kincaid who are Camerons. And they have family. These books will continue to be light, fun IRs with dirty Scots.
And really thank you guys so much for showing up every release day since 2013. There's more to come and I'm so damn excited.
Now on to the new release...
*****
She's his best friend's baby sister, and he's too broken to deserve her.

Victor Yang spent six years in the Army as a bomb tech, and when he came back from war, he was half out of his mind and completely dangerous to anyone who got too close to him. His friend saved his life, and now he's repaying that debt in the worst way possible.

He shouldn't fantasize about Ashley's touch, her taste. Definitely shouldn't act on those urges. But he doesn't half-ass mistakes. One explosive night later, he's learned how sweet her forbidden fruit tastes, and is coming back for seconds. And if his friend finds out Victor knows exactly how Ash's skin feels beneath his tongue, his best friend will kill him.



****TEASER****
Maybe Victor could see that truth in her eyes, because his fingers pressed deeper into her skin. The pain turned her on. She wanted to pour gasoline over them and light a match—to ignite the fire, if he wouldn’t.
And that impulse to provoke until she had a reaction, any reaction, would make him right. That meant he could see straight through her while his taut jawline and dark, serious gaze hid his every emotion.
Again, she jerked her hands to break free. This time though, he stepped into her and restrained her arms behind her back. Her breasts flattened against his chest. She was too stubborn to drop her gaze, so she met his head-on.
His nostrils flared. “I bet you're wet right now, hoping I do what you want. I'm not your puppet, Ash.”
She lifted her chin higher, but he had to feel her trembling. “Never asked you to be.”
So fucking clueless. You have no idea what I can do to you.”
Ash those craved those secrets. Lust and curiosity wasn't mutually exclusive.
She pressed against him and his dick pressed back. Her stomach jumped at the clear evidence that he wanted her, too. She wasn't alone. The hard length of his cock rubbed against her belly when she shifted to get in closer to his warmth.
He groaned, his gaze narrowing on her face. In that suspended moment between them, right or wrong didn't exist. Just heat. The longing for his mouth on hers.
Show me the truth,” she whispered, her voice husky. “Don't give me vague warnings about why I should leave you alone. Show me.”
The words left her mouth without her giving any thought to what they could do.
Ash needed to see Vic after he had torn down the walls he'd erected. Didn't matter if his knuckles were bloody and she ended up emotionally bruised. Pushing him was dangerous. Probably all kinds of stupid. She was too far gone to care anymore.
He dropped her hands and nudged her away. Before she could protest, he had her bent over the desk—her arms imprisoned behind her back once again.
A rush of arousal soaked her panties. She had wanted to drive him over into the abyss. Now she needed him to drag her there too.
I shouldn't be doing this to you.” His fingernails dug into her forearms as though holding her tighter could rein him in.
Blood roared in her ears. That was the Vic she needed. Not the one who put her in a gilded cage to keep her safe, but the one who would leave marks without an apology.
He cursed at himself—at her. She didn't care. He was touching her.
I know better,” he said. The coarse caress of denims against her thighs was nothing compared to the gruff way he spoke.
She shivered and her shoulder muscles burned. He'd wrapped his hands around her wrists and pushed up, pressing her face into the hard wood of her desk.
I want this, Vic. I want you just like this. You and me. Just us.”
It was a lie. She knew that as soon as the words had spilled from her mouth. It was never just them. They were at work. And they'd have to face her brother and the Goon Squad if the truth came out. Victor had sworn to never have her again, and she knew he was fighting that inner conflict.
If her head hadn’t been spinning with need, she might have let her own doubts settle in. But how in the hell could she think while he rubbed his cock against her? His jeans and her skirt couldn't dampen the delicious friction that made her insides quake and her pussy clench.
Please, Vic.”

*****

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The One With The Charming Bastard

SCOT APPEAL is live! I hope you pick up and enjoy Marcus and Ivy's story. And, ya know, become #TeamMarcus :)

Marcus Baird has been called a lot of things: Scottish bastard, heartless, ruthless, but thanks to his new neighbor, he could add ginger buff guy. The ruthless part is true, at least. His current occupation as a handyman is a front to fuel a bidding war between his former employer and the next private equity firm in his sights—an undertaking that should have all his attention, but Ivy makes him an offer he cannot refuse.
When Ivy Stewart imagined losing her virginity, she was at least a decade younger, a yes away from marriage, and her perfect man would make sweet, slow love to her. Waiting for that dream to unfold has kept her watching life from the sidelines. She's done biding her time. It's foolhardy to choose Marcus. He's a man with secrets and an ugly past, but he's honest about what their relationship will be, charming and...he's very good with his hands.

Since Marcus took Ivy into his bed, he's lived a lie. He could be the man she needs. He isn't a workaholic and he doesn't really have a heart of stone. But it's only a matter of time before Ivy finds out the truth, and once again he's nothing but a Scottish bastard.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Silent Roar

Fair warning: If you are looking for a measured think piece, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Click that X box in the corner. This is a curse-laden rant. It is not nice or understanding.
The roar, this time at least, started a few months ago. I wholeheartedly volunteered to be a part of an event that would shine the spotlight on romance authors who write about or who are WOC, LGBTQ.

Sounds uplifting, right?

The whole movement of #weneeddiverseromance is about putting the money where your mouth is. Don't just say you want to read more books that features these characters. Buy, read, review and in general be inclusive. The authors and corresponding article would be featured on Kirkus.

FuckYesAwesome, right?

But about two weeks ago, I was informed the corresponding article would likely make my eye twitch, if not make me lose my shit on the Internet. I was braced and then I read the article. Let me highlight one part that I think best explains the trouble we're facing in romance:

Many of the diverse authors I’ve mentioned in my column, whose books I’d like to read, don’t have audio versions, so even when a friend gifts me with credits, I don’t have many diverse options.”

Now let me try and break it down for you in case you read that and go what's the problem? I don't see the problem. When it comes to diversity people are always making a mountain out of a molehill. She's not saying I can't read books with people of color because POC is so OTHER. She's not even saying diverse books aren't on my radar and I never read one. She comes across nice, right?

One: A person decided to put together an event that would showcase diversity in romance.

Two: This event was planned months in advance.

Three: Everyone is living a busy life, and their time is limited. So...understandable. BUT...

Four: And in all those months you couldn't manage to read ONE or listen to ONE, half a of ONE, a paragraph, a sentence...

Five: And in all the months ahead, you still might not read ONE or listen to ONE, half of ONE, a paragraph, a sentence....

Why should a person reading this article go out of their way to read a diverse romance when the writer of said article couldn't be bothered to do it? For an event she put together? Instead of a showcase, what the article becomes is Reasons Why I Don't Have Time To Read Diversely But Meybe You Should????

What was the purpose of writing anything about diversity in romance? Other than to get a pat on the back because it looks good.


This article and the responding one is why there's a roar within the romance industry. The roar is silent as fuck, because it seems the only people bothered by things like this live it every day. Let me explain. If it was some misogynistic blowhard saying romance is just ladygarden porn, my feed would be exploding. If it was about rape culture, I wouldn't be able to turn around without seeing this referenced. These are issues that are inclusive as horrible as that is. It doesn't matter what color you are or your sexual preference or if you are physically disabled.

But if it involves diversity it's practically so silent it's deafening. Or half-hearted hand waving.

Let me belabor my point with another list:

It's hard to find books that features diverse characters.
The ones I read were...not to my taste.
I like what I like. Why do I have to go out of my way to read books that aren't to my taste?
I'm afraid to write a person of color because I don't want to do it wrong.
I have written A person of color or someone from the LGBTQ community or here's my one story about that vet who lost his leg/arm/eye.
Aren't Interracial Romances about race? I just want a romance.
I don't think I could identify with the heroine or hero.
I have plenty of secondary characters that are not white or straight.
We are currently looking for more diverse authors and books. (Goes to their website and there's only one person of color on staff.)
I love Kimani Romance or THIS ONE BLACK/ASIAN/LATINO author!
I did read a book by an author of color and it didn't read authentic.
Being diverse is so politically correct right now.
I'm a nice person and I can't be racist.

Here's the thing, no one wants to think they are racist. No one wants to have that Come To Jesus moment where they see their actions or speech are actively participating in the systematic oppression of another.

Ask yourself the hard question, that some (I'm not naming names) won't: What are my reasons for not buying, reading or even sometimes reviewing books of people who don't look like me, sound like me, live lives that I don't lead?

If you start to make excuses for why you don't, you are actively participating in the systematic oppression of another. You can do that and be the nicest person. Nice isn't a shield. It is not a preventive measure for unconscious bias. It's unconscious, you don't even know you're doing it...Hence the Come To Jesus moment.

And just FYI: If you do not actively participate in oppressive behavior OR you've recently had your Come To Jesus moment about the serious lack of diversity in your reading choices, buying habits, hell your blog header or writing, please do not break off your arm to pat yourself on the back. This is equally as bad in my eyes. Being a decent human being is not about brownie points or career trajectory. But I get it. For some people not being an asshole deserves an award or a golf clap.

So...this post isn't for the clueless. This post is for you. The average every day you. IF YOU ARE A NICE PERSON, YOU. Even if you have talked to me personally, and I've let you know I adore you. 'Cause really if you love shenanigans and dick jokes like me, we can be online BFFs.

You are not shielded.

You still might be saying or doing something that is oppressive as fuck.

EVEN ME AS A PERSON OF COLOR, I CAN BE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING IN SOMEONE ELSE'S OPPRESSION. May not feel like it some days, but I have privilege. I'm heterosexual. The only people who have come close to calling me an abomination are folks who dare to knock on my door Saturday morning (before coffee) with a pamphlet. I can have unconscious bias about Koreans, Latinos, homosexuals. I'm not sure if anyone would call me nice, but do you see my point? How can you demand a seat at the table when on your way there, you are tripping other people to get to your seat?

So...reviewers, bloggers: Take a look at the books you've read and reviewed. No. Seriously. More times than I can count, I have looked at a review site, and page after page I don't see one chocolate drop. Or any drop of anything other than mainstream.

Peeps: Take a look at the books you've bought AND shared on your social media. No, really. Stop and think. When someone is looking for contemporary romances that feature diverse characters do you have a long list? Awesome.

When someone asks for contemporary romance recommendations, are you including those same books? Or leaving them out because “diverse” wasn't stated?

Take a longer minute if you need to.

THIS POST IS ESPECIALLY FOR YOU.

And in case you're getting defensive, about to type a fuck you Melissa Blue, and you can suck it hard. Take another minute, and really think do I want to be a part of the problem? Even in ways that doesn't make me evil but thoughtless? Why would you want to be thoughtless? Why would you want your peer to feel like they are working in a hostile environment? Where they have no voice? Outside of readers, in this industry, you are the greatest ally.

Lastly, agents, editors, publishers: If you do a call for diverse romance novels, you should know people like me might take a look at your staff. If you believe in diversity in romance, why doesn't your staff roster show it? Otherwise, I think you're full of shit. And if you can pass that sniff test, (not likely) and you point me to your dedicated line to African Americans. Awesome. But when I look at your marketing campaign, year after year, the only thing you really do say to sell books...Hey, Black Peoples! Not Secret Baby Romance. Friends to Lovers Romance. Alphas Who Kidnap Their Heroines.

Just black peoples in romances....

THIS POST IS ESPECIALLY FOR YOU.

So TL;DR: Romance industry get your shit together. Stop looking to the people you are oppressing to help you stop oppressing them. Like Glenda would say, the power was within you the whole fucking time. (Paraphrased Glenda.) Show some goddamn initiative if you really want to be inclusive. And if you can, be a great ally in both your words and actions.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Dirty Scot Starter Kit

Either some of you have never heard of me or you've just finished reading TO ONE HUNDRED. (Or, bless you, you know my dirty Scots all too well.) The purpose of this missive is to prepare you for Feb. 11th. SCOT APPEAL will be released and there will be a sudden surge on your social media about Scotsmen, kilts, dick jokes, random trivia about Scotland and none of it will likely have anything to do with Outlander. I can only apologize about the last part, because Jaime...UNF.

So, let's do a mini-recap. (And by mini I mean the write-ups will be shorter than the books.) These books are much lighter in tone, a shade less angsty and emo, but overall fun, sexy reads.

* TLDR: UNDER HIS KILT is free if you need to catch up. SCOT APPEAL will be out Feb. 11th. (Buy links for the entire series here. http://www.themelissablue.com/under-the-kilt-series.html)

UNDER HIS KILT: Ian Baird is the hero. Born and raised in Scotland but now resides in America (California at the opening of the book) as a curating consultant. (Say that five times fast.) He knows his way around dry wit, and better yet, women. Because of that he has rules about the kind of women he'll sleep with. No one inexperienced and definitely no one he's working with. Of course that means his heroine is Jocelyn, a curator he has to work with. Her thirtieth birthday is right there on the horizon. She has lived a life that is all about work, rarely any play. She convinces Ian to teach her how to play, even if it involves anal. Yes, I typed that with a straight face. (JUST GO WITH IT. I PROMISE IT PAYS OFF.) There's a dog, angst, a big miscommunication and some backstory involving mums. Not mothers because hey Scot.

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HER INSATIABLE SCOT: Tristan Baird is the hero, Ian's older brother. Scotland is his home until his brother calls in a favor. See, Tristan used to be a con man. He's turned legit and now works as a carpenter—repenting for past sins and doing his best to be honest. His brother wants him to get him a house and that involves a little white lie. I'm-an-married-man lie. I-can-pass-off-as-my-brother lie. Since he can't do this small con alone, Keri will be his partner in crime. Keri...a little science geeky, a lottle (Yes. I'm a writer. I can make up words) sexually insecure and honest because she can't lie to save her life. (JUST GO WITH THIS PLOT. I PROMISE IT PAYS OFF.) There's almost a step-by-step guide on how to con someone, sexual facts like how many nerve-endings reside in a c...never mind. Just read the book.

KILTED FOR PLEASURE: Callan Baird is a grouchy jackass aka the wounded hero of the series. His wife died, and unlike the other Bairds he's not afraid to love. He just doesn't wanna. This book takes the reader from California to Scotland, but don't worry. The plot is totally American i.e. the hero has medical debt despite the existence of NHS. (JUST GO WITH IT. I PROMISE IT PAYS OFF.) Victoria is a kick ass heroine who gives the hero a blank stare for all his emo. Even though he is grouchy, he can be a charming bastard. And a dirty one. There's a castle, an older Baird who likes to play matchmaker for his laddies, and this time I switch things up with a shitty da. Not father because hey Scot.

KILT TEASE: Here we have the special edition of UNDER THE KILT series. It's not as dirty or angsty, but it has Kate, never to be called Kitten. By the end of the first chapter you will completely understand why I say this book has Kate and that's all you need to know to buy it. And there's Quinton, Callan's younger brother, a former rugby player who is cocky and knows it. He likes his privacy, his money and he's wary of relationships. BUT he needs a temporary girlfriend for reasons. (JUST GO WITH IT. I PROMISE IT PAYS OFF.) Lastly, I finally have a Scotsmen in this series wear a kilt. SPOILER.

That's the recap. Consider yourself prepared for Marcus Baird aka the charming bastard. I'm letting a Baird near a virgin. Mwahahahaha. I had so much fun writing this book.

Again, TLDR: UNDER HIS KILT is free if you need to catch up. SCOT APPEAL will be out Feb. 11th. (Buy links for the entire series here. http://www.themelissablue.com/under-the-kilt-series.html)

Info about SCOT APPEAL below:
Marcus Baird has been called a lot of things: Scottish bastard, heartless, ruthless, but thanks to his new neighbor, he could add ginger buff guy. The ruthless part is true, at least. His current occupation as a handyman is a front to fuel a bidding war between his former employer and the next private equity firm in his sights—an undertaking that should have all his attention, but Ivy makes him an offer he cannot refuse.

When Ivy Stewart imagined losing her virginity, she was at least a decade younger, a yes away from marriage, and her perfect man would make sweet, slow love to her. Waiting for that dream to unfold has kept her watching life from the sidelines. She's done biding her time. It's foolhardy to choose Marcus. He's a man with secrets and an ugly past, but he's honest about what their relationship will be, charming and...he's very good with his hands.


Since Marcus took Ivy into his bed, he's lived a lie. He could be the man she needs. He isn't a workaholic and he doesn't really have a heart of stone. But it's only a matter of time before Ivy finds out the truth, and once again he's nothing but a Scottish bastard.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

PSA: Retiring Titles

I published WEEKEND LOVER in 2012. That book was a fluke. As a writer I was stretching my wings and trying out new genres and erotic romance was definitely outside my comfort zone. I wrote sweet-ish romances, I thought. I would write sweet-ish romances until the day I die.

Then came along UNDER HIS KILT and that changed the course of my writing career. The past three years have been awesome and crazy. But after writing TWICE SHY, I had to admit I no longer write sweet-ish romances. And bless anyone who goes from DOUBLE TROUBLE to UNDER HIS KILT. Or a reader tries out DOUBLE TROUBLE after loving KILTED FOR PLEASURE.

Though I may be the common factor, these stories don't live in the same genre. When someone looks at my backlist, I don't want any confusion. This will only get worse as I add to my #dirtysexygeek series. So I'm retiring a couple of titles from the Melissa Blue name.

Don't freak out though. Many of these titles will be re-published under a new author name and I won't keep it a secret--PROMISE. This process will be long, but know that by 2016, you will no longer be able to purchase these titles under the Melissa Blue name.

Here's a list of titles that will be retired:

Sugar Plum Kisses
Everything You Need
Everything He Dreamed
Double Dare
Twice Smitten
Double Trouble
See Megan Run
See Lynne Chased
The One I Want

All right. Any questions don't be afraid to ask me. I don't bite unless you ask.
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