Monday, July 21, 2014

Bad news Oreo!!!

The good news is, Broken & Burned The Sacred Hearts MC Book II is completed!


The bad news is, my lovely readers, is that you don't get it until September 9th, 2014.


The other good news is I'm going to share the back cover blurb thing with you!


So without further ado:

He’s Broken…

Dray, Vice President of the Sacred Hearts MC, watched his mother die in a bloody hail of bullets at the tender age of sixteen. It broke something inside of him and he’s been pretty much pissed off at the world ever since. Worse, he’s done things since that time that have just broken down his soul even further… Dray doesn’t want to be that guy anymore. Then came Everett Moran…

She’s Been Burned…

Evy is having one of the worst days in the history of, well… ever, and she’s seen a lot of rough days. Raised an only child of a single father, Everett finds herself an orphan before she’s even old enough to drink. She knows a thing or two about loss and thanks to her boyfriend, she’s had more than a few lessons in hardship too. Still, she moves through life with a single minded determination to make her circumstances better… She harbors no illusions about life being anything other than what it is, so how in the hell could she have been so blind as to what her boyfriend Jerry was doing!?

Could the worst day of Everett’s life actually turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to her when she pulls into Dray’s garage? Could Everett’s arrival on Dray’s doorstep herald a new beginning for Dray, and heal some of his broken?

So there you have it! The second book in The Sacred Heart's series is The Vice President Dray's book.

As ever, thanks for reading and I hope you're as excited as I am about what comes next for the men of the Sacred Heart!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Writer's advice... Love the contraction... be one with the contraction!

Now when I say contraction I'm speaking in the literary sense, meaning the shortening of a word or words. I'm not talking about going into labor here. I'm (see what I did there?) also talking about it, more specifically, as it applies to dialogue.

One of the things I notice, and am extremely self conscious of when I write, is my dialogue.
I pride myself on making damn sure the things coming out of my character's mouths sound like something a real person would say. As a reader it is one of my greatest pet peeves to read dialogue that is supposedly coming out of someone who is street wise or a teenager that sounds like it is coming out of some Oxford scholar with how perfectly grammatically correct it is.
For instance:

"You are a big pain in my ass." Which sure granted someone might say but what's more likely to come popping out of someone's mouth...

"You're a big pain in my ass!"

The over use of 'you are' versus 'you're' in speech is the most notable but the use of 'can not', 'do not' and 'will not' are all equal opportunity offenders in this particular arena.

The quick, easy fix for this particular problem is pretty simple.

Do not fear the contraction.

As talkers, we love them and use them more than thirteen year old girls use glitter nail polish.
Can't, don't. Won't and you're (not to be confused with your) are our greatest friends and allies when trying to craft convincing and believable dialogue.

So to quickly recap:

A character who is an uneducated mechanic isn't going to convincingly say, "I can not deal with you when you are like this, Mary and I will not deal with you when you are acting like a bitch anymore!" in an argument with his wife rather than "I can't deal with you when you're like this Mary, and I won't deal with you when you're acting like a bitch!"

Contractions are our friends. Well, except when giving birth, even then they're sort of our buddies, but only because it means we aren't going to be pregnant that much longer... but still at that point they're more like a 'frienemy' than an actual friend. Anyways, you get my point!
Happy dialoguing friends!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Something useful... and a shameless plug.

I've been meaning to get around to this but have been pretty busy lately. When I first started this blog I intended for it to not be all about my generally random thought patterns and musings. I also intended for it to have some useful things for newbie aspiring authors like me in it too.

Today I figured I'd go over a minor but important thing that I've pretty much chosen because I dealt with it just a month ago:

So you've written the Great American Novel, are all set to publish (E or otherwise) and now you need a cover.

There are a lot of talented cover artists out there. My personal favorite (and here's the shameless plug) is Clarissa Yeo of Yocla designs... You can find her at

Now I've saved some of the important things from my last correspondence with Clarissa when it came to my latest book Shattered & Scarred. Keep in mind that Shattered & Scarred is the third book cover Clarissa has done for me so we've been through this a few times.

I finished the book and needed a cover so I emailed Clarissa with this:

Hey you!
So I've been writing... again... and I am about two books into what is shaping up to be a series and the first of these bad boys is ready for a cover. This time I come prepared with links!  

The first book's title is Shattered & Scarred with a subtitle of The Sacred Hearts MC Book I

I went surfing for some images and this by far is the first couple in the series. The only thing that needs to be changed is the eye color on both and her hair color. The length of her hair is perfect. The length of his hair is perfect these two are just freaking perfect!

The changes:

His eyes are a silvery blue. I would love for him to be in his motorcycle vest which I can get you references for what that is supposed to look like and what the patches are supposed to say if you can take on the project.

Her eyes are golden and she has auburn hair.

This couple is PERFECT in every aspect for the book couple. The only other thing I would need changed is she needs to look a little more frightened like she's hiding behind him instead of all meow sexy.

Okay so that's a bit much on the changes but you're awesome which is why I am asking about this all up front.

The only other addition is that the Motorcycle Club's logo needs to be in here somewhere and that's where it gets tricky. The logo is of the sacred heart with some changes made. In case you don't know what it is, here is an example of the sacred heart:

What I need for the motorcycle club's logo is a more human heart, wrapped in barbed wire instead of thorns, the valves of the heart morph into steel motorcycle tailpipes and the flames hover above it from the tail pipes.

What I would like is basically for you to hold onto the logo image as I'll have it appearing in some form or function on every book cover I commission for the series (3 so far)... The MC logo can appear as a patch, a tattoo, on a tee shirt... See where I'm going? It just has to be somewhere on every cover.

What do you think? Can it be done, and would you be interested and the $64,000 dollar question... Do you have time?

Out of everything I have done so far this one, by far, is my baby... the project I am most proud of and excited to market.

You've done such an uber amazing job on everything so far which is why you're my first pick for this project. 

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

That was a tall order! Most of the time you don't need to be so freaking nit-picky and detail oriented with a cover order but if you've got a good cover artist  (my opinion here) then they'll go the extra mile and some (depending on the individual) will actually appreciate the image links as it makes their job a bit easier.
So out of that single email came the following:
For the logo, which was not Clarissa's usual thing at all! She did this as a favor to me and with much trepidation and I thought it turned out pretty bad-ass!
Now as much of you know, the book in question is a Contemporary Romance Novel surrounding a fictional Motorcycle club. This was the very first attempt at a cover for the series that came through:
Mmmmmm... close. I had to send it back. Why? Well these are bikers, not vampires and not anything supernatural and I got to tell you I only had to ask for two minor changes. 1. Tone down the eyes and 2. Make them a little less pale. Those two changes my friends, made a world of difference! We went from the Twilight rejects above to this:

POW! Project completed and a pretty decent cover for the content contained therein, if I do say so myself.

So there you have it. A glimpse into the inner workings of cover art design for your project. All in all this is about what the whole exchange looked like.

1. This is what I need can you do it?

2. Yes, I can do it, when do you need it by?

3. I need it by XX/XX/XXXX

4. Okay cool. I have the time to do it around XX/XX/XXXX

It's important to note here... Do not rush your cover artist. I had my project finished and ready to go but I gave Clarissa weeks in which to work on it. The second book in the series isn't set to release until early September 2014. Right now it's July 2014 and I've sent her the next cover request already. Give your cover artist the time to work on your cover and your cover will turn out fantastic.

Now, about two to three weeks after this initial four part exchange I get an email.

5. I've started your project can you give me more detail here, here, here and here?

6. No problem, I want this, this, this and I'm easy about XYZ just do what you think is best/easiest for you. (Clarissa and I have a fairly decent working relationship after three pushing four covers so I'm comfortable letting her have full creative license in a few areas.)

7. Okay how does this look? *First images come through*

8. I like ABC but can we maybe do this, this and this over here and there?

9. Sure! I can't really do anything about that as I feel it's a little bit beyond my ability can we compromise? :/

Sometimes you absolutely must be willing to compromise! In this case I was asking about the fire over the sacred heart image. Fire is one of the most notoriously hardest things to work with/do and it was a bit of a no-go translating what I saw in my head to an actual image but on this caxe the ball of flame/spark was the compromise and it worked for me!

10. Sure! You know what? That works for me! Now can we adjust this and that?

11. Okay here, how about this?

12. Perfect! It's a wrap! Send me my invoice so's I can pay you!

So there you have it. Another successful cover art exchange. Hopefully someone heading into the unchartered waters of having a cover designed for them comes across this and it helps you through the process a bit. I can honestly say, the first cover Clarissa and I ever did together was an exercise in patience for the both of us! After all, your written piece is your baby and you want it to look it's best, but it's important to remember, your cover artist pretty much feels the same way! Their art is their baby too and they want it to look their best! So probably the most important piece of advice I can give you is to be patient with your cover artist. They're a professional and they want you to be happy as their client and they want the visual representation of your piece to look as stellar as you want it to!

Happy hunting, may you find the perfect artist to translate your dream into a reality!


Monday, July 7, 2014

WTF over!?

So over the holiday weekend I took a break from writing/restructuring/proofreading/what have you and did some reading on some books and some forums and ran into something that, quite frankly, puzzled the hell out of me! In one particular forum there was a discussion about (and I'm paraphrasing the ever living shit out of this) how some readers and reviewers found that it was completely inappropriate for authors to contact their readers, especially via commenting on a reader's review.

ASDJKF!! *Minion moment* Whhhhhaaaaaat?

I didn't comment, finding that usually explanations are forthcoming if you wait a while and let the story unfold and zomgwtfbbqsauce! What a story!

Apparently an author I will henceforth refer to as Lady V. (As in she who shall not be named...) has not only contacted readers via commenting on the reviews on her work, but has come un-freaking-glued when that review wasn't what she considered a good review.

*Screeching tires, breaking glass.*

I wouldn't have believed it, but links were provided and I read the entire train wreck for myself, over 100 comments back and forth long! I felt sick.


Because as an author I understand not everyone is going to like what I write and I feel bad about it, but not enough to engage in an argument with someone over their opinion. I thought it was a constructive thing to open dialogue with my readers and found this whole shenanigans perplexing until I saw the reason for it! Now I'm left scratching my head but fully understanding the negative backlash I received from one of my recent blog posts.

It saddens me, it sickens me and to be honest Lady V. needs to grow a freaking brain! (My opinion, feel free to come and argue with me on that point, but I'm telling you it'll be pretty one-sided because I won't engage...)

When it comes to reviews, I read them all. I would hope if I get a negative one, it is something I can fix in future installments, for example: downgraded on technical merits such as grammar or punctuation. That I can fix.

If the story line wasn't your thing, meh, not much I can do about that, I hope that as a reader that someone would stick with me to see if future installments are better, but if it's not your thing I'd also hope that something out there is and I'm sorry I couldn't entertain, but by all means, please don't torture yourself with future installments of my stuff if you really can't stand me! We're all out here working for a living and I don't want you to feel like you've wasted your money! I really don't.

Circling back here, if my stuff isn't a reader's thing, then it's simply not your thing. I'm not one to sit here and try to tear someone a new one for not liking my stuff. If I feel like I missed the mark then sure I might have a conversation about it but I see that as different, and I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, just describe the intent behind this or that scene. I do not want to be perceived as being a Lady V.

However, all this being said, the precedent has been set and that really sucks. Like really sucks, because what I had intended to do innocently was perceived as malicious and that's never fun, so I say this.

I will still thank people for their honest reviews, pop in and give a little insight here and there for what's coming up next without giving too much away and will generally try to remain a positive force in the writing community and not let the shitty shenanigans of Lady V. and others like her get me down, because if I do, then the troll wins and I for one will not feed the trolls.

Happy reading everyone! Enjoy your opinions as I have enjoyed mine!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On a roll/Honor roll... Same difference.

I've been on a roll. In the last, roughly, two months I've completed and released Shattered & Scarred, I've completed Broken & Burned (SHMC Book II), put it through a first and second round of edits, put it through some extensive rewrites and sent it through a third round of edits (I think it's about done...) and just yesterday I finished the first draft of Cracked & Crushed and sent it out for review.

I'm on a roll, but looking back at the swath of destruction I've wrought via MS Word on my trusty Surface tablet, I'm pretty sure I deserve to be on an Honor Roll somewhere too.

Now I don't want people freaking out about the fact I complete stuff in such a short amount of time. I promise you, the nature of my schedule and things... I have the luxury of devoting 9 to 12 hours a day to writing. That's a lot of time, and sometimes that's not just five days a week, that's seven.

For the most part I jot notes and write long hand during the day and go ape shit at night with the typing. My fiancé is a patient man and right now, we're working opposite schedules which sucks, but on the flip side it gives me even more time to write when I get up before dawn to get him off to work then have four or five hours to kill before I go off to work.

Readers reap the benefits, my editor gets stuff to do so she isn't dying of boredom while she's laid up and me... I just get exhausted but it's worth it! It's so worth it because I'm really in love with my own characters and it is an amazing amount of fun writing them.

It's not so much fun screwing with them, but life is a lot like:

So I understand it has to happen.

Anyways. I'm done rambling for now and I promise I'm completely approachable so if anybody is actually reading this and has questions about the series or whatever, feel free to message me. I get back to folks pretty quickly.