Sunday, December 11, 2016


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.


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.



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.
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.
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.”
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.