Sunday, June 29, 2014

Better at Ranking

I wrote a post before entitled Never a Ranker in which I expressed my disappointment. This disappointment wasn't in my books but more so in myself for not pushing them harder. For not doing the research and giving them a better launching platform. With Siren's Call I made an attempt to change that. No, I didn't hit number 1....I got sooo close! But I did much better than I have with any of my other books for release date sales! I was overjoyed to see how well Syrinada's story was doing.
I had the support of my followers, I'd reached out to bloggers and reviewers. I'd even gotten into a few book clubs! I was on Cloud 9! And I was checking the ranks and at the top of it all Siren's Call was doing pretty damn well! 
Yep! She reached #13 in Sea Adventures and passed #50 in two others. I had someone tell me it reached top 10 while I was sleeping, I missed that moment but its nice to even imagine. But what did this mean? What did coming so close really mean? It meant all the work, research and time and energy that I put into the release of this book (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE!) was well worth it. Here I am nearly 3 months later and SC is still my best selling title. But she is falling and I must get back on the grind. I admit I never should have slacked in that area. But Full time mom / full time job which is transitioning currently/ family / friends/ events/ and the list goes on... its easy to over look things. 

Currently I am doing more research, pushing this book out to other bloggers and reviewers and even reaching out to doing radio and television review... fingers crossed! Authors biggest fear is that their book will become stale...and it happens... boy does it happen! But I have so much faith in my babies and I will do all that I can to make them successful!

Reviewers LOVE Siren's Call... I must do all I can to get her in the hands of more readers! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When They Say "I'll be there!" and Their Seat Remains Empty

Recently I was at an event as a speaker on a panel of authors. The concern came up that there wasn't a huge turn out and some showed their frustrations because of having people tell them they would be there and not showing up. Now this is a feeling I have encountered a lot! (Namely my Meet The Author night at a local Chicago public library.) I had so many people saying they would be there, sending me text messages for details, calling and even shooting me messages on Facebook. But did any of those people attend...nope. My grand audience was maybe 8 -10 people. Yep, that is it. and man it SUCKED! To have yourself all pumped up for this great reception and then see rows and rows of empty seats. Your heart sinks a bit and you wonder... Where are all of those people. Of course you will get messages about traffic jams and sick babies (some are true, most aren't and you know it.)

The truth is, people don't really want to show up. Sorry to say it but yes, they support your dream, they love that you are doing something more with your life, but at the end of the day... we live in front of our computers and we love it there. Its always fun to like a post and comment but do we really want to go to the 100th performance? Do we want to sit in an audience and hear you talk about yourself? We see you doing that everyday on social media. I can't lie, I am totally guilty for the RSVP and NO-SHOW! I am not proud of it but it happens. Suddenly my bed and a Netflix marathon seem just so much more interesting!

I write this because during this event a wonderful author by the name Dominique Wilkins said something that made so much sense and really helped to put things in perspective! She said, "You can't let other people's attendance determine your success." (I may be quoting her slightly incorrectly.) But it hit home. I can't let my cousin's best friend's aunt's (who said she would be front row and center, but her dog got sick and her baby burned the kitchen) absence ruin my drive. Its easy to feel defeated and to take it personal but its not a matter of personal attack. People just love to say "I'll be there!" Why? Because they think it makes us feel great. They think that they are helping. But in an event where you're on stage and looking for those familiar faces, well no, it's not a help. They don't mean to hurt you, they were really genuinely excited for you!

Here is where you flip the switch to positive. No, those familiar faces aren't there but there are a few new ones. Here is your chance to expand your audience, inspire a bit of word of mouth. Familiar faces mean that you are reaching the same people over and over. Where is the fun in that? I mean yes its nice to fill seats, but the purpose of events is to spread the word. Those familiar faces have told everyone they are going to tell about you (if any at all). New faces = new reach, new people who have never heard your story and who cannot wait to tell others about you!

I share this not to be negative but to hopefully help to change the perspective of someone who has experienced or may experience this situation. I know that hearing those words really changed my own perspective on things.

Tell me what you think...comment below.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Introducing... MALCOM - Sneak Peak

I am thrilled to be releasing my next work. This book is completely outside of my comfort zone. Usually I explore my creative expression through the lives of female characters. Malcom is my first full length novel which explores the world of a male lead. His life has been shattered and though he would prefer to remain in exile, he is given no choice. The lives of the ones he love are at stake. I am happy to introduce Malcom to the world and to give everyone a sneak peak into his story! 


It had been nearly five years since Malcom had willingly encountered another living soul. His solidarity wasn’t by choice. The solace he sought out was forced onto him as punishment. It is what happened to any a wolf who openly took a stand against the wishes of the pack’s alpha.
Her name was Serene. She was beauty, peace, light, all things good wrapped up into one amazing being. And Malcom loved her entirely, but the love he possessed for her was outlawed. Wolf numbers were dwindling and entire packs were quickly going into extinction as a result of the increased number of vampire attacks. It was made law that wolves were only to pair with their own kind. Malcom took a vow to follow that law, before he met Serene, before he fell in love with a human.
Vincent, his alpha, had allowed it, their flirtations, even the abundance of time they spent together. He would often joke about it; make quick jabs at Malcom’s involvement with her. Vincent made a mistake when he assumed it was nothing to be concerned about, that the wolf could never love this human girl. Malcom was after all his second in command bonded to stand by the leader’s side through all things.  And like a beta male should, Malcom followed him without question in most cases. Vincent was the alpha, his word was law.
It quickly became clear to Malcom that his feelings were more than the simple enjoyment of a beautiful woman’s company. Foolishly he approached Vincent, thought that he could appeal to his better side. His mistake was assuming that the alpha wolf possessed a better side. They were friends, had been by each other’s side for centuries. He assumed that Vincent’s fondness of him was more than the limited affection of an owner for his lap dog. Malcom was there to do the dirty work of their leader. And he did more than his lot of that for him. But apparently that didn’t count for much; to Vincent it counted for nothing at all.
When Malcom brought his intention to marry Serene to Vincent, he became outraged. He scolded the wolf and told him if he ever saw his human love again that he would be banished and disowned by the pack. He not only threatened Malcom’s life but Serene’s as well. Vincent told Malcolm that he was foolish and a traitor and threatened to strip him of his title. His threats were supposed to inflict fear, the assumption that Malcom would be easily swayed by the idea of losing his standings in the pack. Vincent was horribly incorrect.
Both men were foolish and they underestimated the other. Because of their egos and their inability to see outside of themselves, Serene was gone and Malcom was left to roam the earth alone. He could never again attempt to find love or any form or normality. It would only end in disaster, Vincent would be sure of that.

The first time Malcom saw Serene he was sitting at a park, on a bench, after a very long jog. Werewolves produce a constant flow adrenaline. This added boost made for easy shifts but it needs to be burned off just as quickly as it is produce. If not, it builds up in the system and over times it becomes difficult to control shifters. It didn’t end with just a disruption in shifts. The wolves would lose hold of themselves entirely. Mentally they just snapped. Too many times had he seen people get hurt and the birth of wars over a wolf losing his shit.
She had been jogging along the path on the other side of the park. He couldn’t see her but he caught the light scent that crossed over on the wind and that was enough. It was instant, the attraction, sight unseen. It did more to him than just give a firm nudge to his loins, he felt things stir inside of me that had been dormant for nearly 100 years. Suddenly all of those damn sensors that lit up. The pleasure of it was like having a caged lightning bolt in his stomach, chest and mind. He could feel his blood rushing and producing more of the hormone, he had to move or risk a catastrophe. He jumped up from the bench and ran for her. He couldn’t help himself. It was not a decision of a conscious mind to go after this woman who clearly was off limits to the wolf. The scent of her was laced with her human blood. Logic told him to stop his pursuit and yet he still ran towards her. Malcom’s movement, his race to his faceless temptation, was an act of pure animal instinct. He was claiming her with each stride, marking her as his own and he didn’t break his pace until he got to her. And once he had her, felt the warmth of her flesh and inhale the full body scent of her life, he refused to let her go.
Now his days were not so exciting, nowhere near as full of beauty, or hope. He spent most of his time hiding in the woods. Being banished wasn’t as sweet as it may sound. You would think, hell, get kicked out, take Serene and live happily ever after off the grid. If only life was so simple. You don’t just get handed a ticket out of town and go your merry way. No, but they do give you a head start, and a warning. If ever found it could mean the end of your life. It also meant you could never have a normal existence. Never have peace, love, and a family. All the things Malcom was trying to secure for himself with Serene.
Malcom was disconnected from his pack, from his family. Away from all of the people who mattered most to him in his life and the people he had put his own life on the line to protect countless times. And if they found him, the same men that once called him brother, would not hesitate to cut him down. Alpha’s command. Alpha’s law.
Malcom had been found before by the wolves out to hunt him down, but he wasn’t awarded his position as second in command for his good looks. This wolf was not one to be turned away by any female, but looks don’t count for shit when fighting against those sadistic ass vampires. It was two months after he had been forced to make his exit from his home, he’d found a little bed and breakfast he found just outside of Missouri. He would never be able to forgive himself for the mistake of not immediately going into deep cover. He knew that they would eventually come after him. Unfortunately his grief stricken mind wasn’t processing that, after everything he had been through, the only thing he could think of was sleep and comfort. And the cozy little cottage made it possible to forget just a bit of the horror he was forced to live through at the hands of Vincent. For short moments, he could forget the torture that Vincent had put him through in hopes of breaking his spirit and his love for a human. That place gave him the allusion of possibility. There he was broken, but comfortable. He was lost but not completely alone.
The place was too small for much to be done; it was where couples went for a lovers retreat. There were nights he would lay awake and listen to them, giggles of pleasure, head boards banging, the whole nine. People didn’t care that the walls were thin when they had a bit of wine in their system. Some nights he would lay there listening, and reminiscing, he would close his eyes and imagine that it was him and Serene who were the source of the calls of pleasure. Eventually it would get him too revved up and most times he would choose a quick run over his own hand.
His extended stay was welcomed by the owners. Mr. and Mrs. Dowly. They were an old little couple who were many years passed their prime but they loved that place and they put that love into each detail. From the fine wood working of the door frame that lead to the inner foyer to the delicious meals they served their customers, the two could make any lost soul feel at home. Malcom was more than grateful for them having taken him in. Malcom took on most of the heavy work, chopping up firewood and bringing it in. He also did handy work and even hunted for them. They didn’t know what he was so he had to make honest kills with a rifle. It would have been too difficult to explain a shredded carcass. Good thing he had had plenty of practice with fire arms. The guns he was used to fired garlic filled shells but it was the same concept. But he made no complaints. The couple took him in, and let him stay for a discounted price due to the hard labor he provided. They even gave him free meals. All was well; at least that was what he wanted to believe in his denial.
He’d been on his way back from collecting more fire wood. The barrel behind him was weighed down with the product of a long days’ work. He took his time as he pulled it back to the cottage. He was at peace, adrenaline burned off, to leave a soft hum across his body and his mind was swimming in thoughts of his love.  He was about 20 yards off when he caught the scent, wolf, and the odor led directly to the cottage. He ran, because he knew what it meant, he had barely taken off when he heard the cries of innocent people being slaughtered by a beast.
Devin, a beefed up newbie burst his way into the house. He had taken out everyone there, which Malcom assumed wasn’t a command from the alpha, just the young wolf’s inability to remain in control, and to keep his rage targeted. Malcom came into the house just in time to see Devin rip out the throat of the Mr. Dowly. He turned to the older wolf and growled. There was no other choice, no chance at an attempt to reason with the beast. He charged at Malcom and what happened next was pure reaction, years in battle the body knows how to move without being told. Without shifting, without really much effort at all, Malcom forced his foot into wolf’s chest, grabbed his open jaw and pulled. The bottom half of his face fell to the ground next to his body. Devin twitched for a moment and his hands clawed at the floor before he died.
Malcom was long gone before the body could shift back to its human form. He said a prayer for the people who had lost their lives because of his mistake and made a promise that it would never happen again.
That was his life now a vow to stay hidden. He kept away from humans, because eventually his once family would come for him. And if Vincent was sending out newbies to take him out, he was already getting careless. Carelessness costs lives. The thing about Vincent was that he had always been that way. Gut reactions without thought or reason. It was Malcom who kept him from going off the deep end. He reined in the alpha’s outrage, and kept him from destroying what good was left inside of himself. Alpha is a strong position to hold and a heavy one as well. For some it builds them up and sets them apart from the rest. Others crumble under the pressure. It wasn’t hard to figure out which one Vincent was.
The cabin Malcom now lived in wasn’t all that bad. It was off the beaten path, far from civilization, and built up by his own two hands. He came across the dilapidated structure about three years after being on the rain. He claimed it as his own and rebuilt the structure. It was by no means the best place he’d ever been. It had no five star amenities but he liked it, it was home. For now.