Thursday, October 24

The search for good art...

I have a problem.

I collect pics that I might use for covers.

Right now, I have more pictures than I could probably use for the number of books I am capable of writing in the foreseeable future.

I'm gonna have to write a lot more novellas, just to use them all.

But they're so yummy!!!

Bare male bodies, muscles sliding beneath tanned, oiled skin. 5 o'clock shadow that makes you shiver just to think of what it would feel like against your flesh. Brilliant eyes in all shades and colors.

And then there are the females... Not nearly as inspiring for me, but they serve their purpose in the romance/erotica cover-art world.

Then there are the backgrounds, artists' renditions of various planets, galaxies, space ships, eco-systems... not to mention the graphic backgrounds to put teasers and quotes against and the very real shots from the NASA website.

And once I collect all these fantabulous pics, I have to decide which way I want to go with the cover... artsy? Graphic heavy? Naked writhing bodies? A combination of them all? Or do my best to come as close to representing the characters and the world they inhabit in the book?

I should have been born with artistic talent as well as crafting skillz. :P I can't draw very well. True story.

So if you go to my Pinterest boards and look at 'book cover elements', you'll get an idea of what I'm looking at. Of course, I would use various pics, meld them with others to create a 'scene', make whatever changes I need to make to come close to my characters, etc. But you get the idea.

Fortunately, one of my author friends is working on a possible cover for me. We'll see how that goes. If she can get the hair color right on the woman, it'll be awesome and as close to perfect as I'm going to get without paying a sketch artist to do the whole darn thing from scratch. And it's such a pretty cover... if it works out, I can't WAIT to share it!!! It will go on the revised edition of Hearts, once I have all the revisions done and can upload all the changes. :) And of course I'll post when that happens, in case you want to go get the revised version (hopefully I'll be able to do it in such a way that it will automatically update to anyone who already bought the book. Checking into that.)

Sigh... There are so many aspects of being an author that you just don't really think about before you start writing. Or is that just me?

Ah well... Got almost 10K words written last night. Pretty thrilled about that. It was on a new story, but hey... it's another story coming out. That's a very good thing! And I think you'll like this one, when I get it done. :) So far, it's full of surprises for the heroine, which is fun. Her guys really like springing things on her, apparently, the rats! But she'll love 'em anyhow, because that's how she rolls. And she might even be able to turn the heart of the one that doesn't want her but is stuck with her. Can't wait to see how that one plays out...

Okay, that's enough teasing for one day, huh?

In other news, I'm only 3 'likes' away from 400 on my Facebook page!!!!! That's so exciting for me!!!!  AND.... *drumroll please* I'm only 2 sales away from breaking my one-month record at!!!! Here's the link to Hearts of Ishira, in case you haven't read it yet and want to take a sneak peek into the first chapter....

WHOOT!!! Okay, it's not a best-seller or anything, but hey... breaking your own records is still kinda awesome. :)

On that note, my sweetie just got home from a very long day at work. I'm going to go watch Castle, then football with him, then hopefully get a bunch more writing done after he goes to bed. :)

Wednesday, October 23

Things that make me wanna throw my e-reader at the wall...

Ya know, back in the old days, before e-readers, when you got a book that made you positively insane, you could throw it at the wall, get a satisfying thunk out of it, and then either keep reading, give it to a local charity, or in very rare cases, throw it away- since nobody needs to be reading such crap.

With the advent of e-readers, you can't really do that. Unfortunately.

I read a book yesterday that I won't divulge because, well, your mileage may vary. It was free, thank goodness, but that didn't excuse it, IMHO.

When a book says it's a romance, I expect certain things.

Romances should have happy endings, and this one kinda did... but not really.
Romances should be about building a relationship, and even if there is subterfuge in there somewhere, there needs to be an actual resolution BEFORE THE END OF THE DAMN BOOK.
Romances should have good sex, if they're going to have sex. Sex should ONLY be painful the first time, if she's a virgin or he's really hung. I do NOT want to read about it hurting every damn time. That kinda takes the fun out of it.

These are my opinions, so feel free to disagree.

In this book, there were aliens and humans. The heroine was a virgin, caught the eye of a rich alien CEO. He decided he had to have her. She decided she had to betray him because she had no other choice. She does give in to sex, though she hates the guy and feels trapped.

The sex is painful for her. Every. Time.
She's not all that likeable.
She betrays him, he uses her to betray the people she's betraying him to, but he still wants her in his life, even though she keeps telling him she wants to be free.
He's got a superiority complex from hell and doesn't let her forget that he's better than her and that she can't run.
 And at the very end, when she realizes that she can't kill him because she's falling for him (why???), he decides to take her to his home, where they'll start their happily ever after.

And the book ends there.

No 'happy' DURING the book at all. Nothing but constant fighting, scorching (to them) sex that she then has to have medical attention from him to recover from. Nothing but betrayal and threats keeping them together. HE likes her, she doesn't like him, but she likes his cooking. Go figure.

Bottom line... HOW was this a romance novel?? And if it was intended just to be an erotica novel, the sex was rather vanilla and perfunctory. A bit of nipple tweaking and kissing, a little finger action elsewhere, and then pain, discomfort, and only in a passing sentence did the author go into the bit about something else that made the sex 'mindblowing'.

Basically, this was '50 Shades' with aliens. Only the writing wasn't as good.

So why did I keep reading it?

Well, I THOUGHT that at some point, it had to get better. There had to come a time when the hero and heroine actually resolved their differences, admitted they were falling in love with each other, and had sweet, real love-making that didn't involve pain and -literally- drugging kisses.

I thought that there would be more of an explanation of why the heroine was being such a bitch and why the hero just had to have her, in spite of that.

I thought that at some point she'd grow a personality that would explain his obsession with her.

And I kept thinking that no way could this book have that many good reviews and be this bad.

Guess that'll teach me! :P

Sorry... I hate it when I pick up a book that's supposedly from a great author and end up hating it. I devoted far too much time to the story, and that's my fault, but still... I was incredulous that it was actually that bad.


So this is my version of throwing my Kindle against a wall. I can't do that, because I LIKE my Kindle and want to keep reading wonderful books on it.

But I can eviscerate the book. Even if I don't tell you the title. I'm sure the author is a perfectly nice person. Maybe her other books are awesome. I don't know and won't likely find out. I'm certainly not inclined to read the rest in this series!


I had to read a mindless menage to get the taste outta my brain. Turns out the menage was much better written and more entertaining. :P Who knew? :)

Ah well.

When a book makes you want to throw something, what do you do to relieve that stress?? I'm curious! :)

Tuesday, October 15

Life is finally calming down, I hope!

I know I've been absent a lot... but I think life is calming down, finally. And NO, that is NOT a challenge for the universe! I'm quite in awe of your life-attack skills, thanks, and do not need another lesson at the moment. Kthnxbai!

Anyhow, while I'm getting a series of book reviews together, I will tell you that I got a LOT of reading done this summer, with my back and my arm in mostly un-usable condition. So today I present to you the authors and series that I think you should check out, if you haven't already.

(I have not been asked nor paid to endorse any of these authors. These are my honest opinions and suggestions.)

In no particular order:
1) Anything by JR Ward.
   *The Black Dagger Brotherhood was all it was reported to be, and then some.
     -Vampire/paranormal, sexual content-HOT, HOT, HOT!!!
     I love her writing style. It's raw, edgy, and because the back-stories interlink, you keep seeing glimpses from past characters in each new book. I will mention that you want to start at the beginning, though. This is NOT, IMHO a stand-alone series. You will want to know a lot of things about each character in subsequent books, so just do yourself a favor and start at the beginning. Also, "Lover at Last" is a very touching, wonderful love story, but it does contain gay sex, so if you're not into that, either skip the sexy bits or risk missing bits of the saga.
    *I'm currently on book three of the Fallen Angels series, and it's really good!
    - Angels and Demons
     I love the concept of what's going on, the fight for souls that could go either way, and the raw fight between good and evil, sometimes within one person. I'm in love with Jim!

2) Victoria Danann
     *''The Order of the Black Swan' series.
      -Vampire hunters/paranormal/demons, sexual content- spicy!
      Fun, feisty, fast reads, all of them. Again, the stories of each character intertwine, so you'll want to start at the beginning and read through. This a different series concept, in my experience, in that the main character is introduced in the first book and seems to be much of the focus of subsequent books, with each 'couple' in the following books being sort of a side story to the main story. Not always, but for the most part. Hard to explain, but the fun part is that the characters you get to know and love in the first book are seen again and again, which is what I love about sagas. I HATE falling in love with book folks and then never seeing them again in a series.
     The caveat to this one is that with the last book, I felt just a bit disappointed. The story was good, but the only sexy bits were mistaken identity, and that kinda turned me off just a bit. But the rest of the story was good enough to keep going, and in the end, I was very glad I did.

3) Rebecca Ethington
     *The Imdalind Series
     -YA, Paranormal
     I started reading this before I realized it was YA. Since I tend to like my books spicy, I steer away from YA and NA most of the time. But sometimes, fate intervenes. I started this one and was hooked from the very beginning. I HAD to know what was going on. Before I knew it, I was downloading book two, and I just bought book three. I haven't read it yet, but I'm confident it will be as enthralling as the first two books. Highly recommend it!

4) Penelope King
    * Demonblood and Spellbound series
     -demons, witches, paranormal. Sexual content: not much at all in the Spellbound series, but there is some in the Demonblood series... not too hot, but definitely there.
     This was something completely different from what I've read before, which is why I kept with it when, again, it was a NA novel, instead of my usual. :)  Two aspects of the same person, living in one body, with completely different personalities and lifestyles. One exists by day, one by night, and though they know about each other, they are unaware of what the other aspect does during their 'body time'. It's a very intriguing series, and I can't wait for the third book!
     Spellbound Series:
     A sweet YA series, dealing with coming-of-age witches. Predictable, but in that good way, when you know what's coming, but you love the characters enough to want to know how they get there. There's a reason the 'formulaic' stories work... if the characters and plot twists work together, it's a hit. I thought these books were definitely well-done and enjoyed them thoroughly. :)

5) Keary Taylor
    * Branded: Fall of Angels
     paranormal/angels, first book: no sexual content, though there is some sweet attraction and kissing. :)
     Another one that I started reading without realizing it was YA. But WOW. What a story! I was blown away! I can't wait to get the rest of the series (so many books, too little income!!!!) but the first book is AMAZING. Very well-written, emotionally engaging and with such an intriguing plot that I could not put it down. I'll report on the others in the series as I'm able. :)

So there ya go. 5 authors that, if you haven't already experienced them, you should. I have very eclectic reading preferences, so while things like the Spellbound series are sweet and clean, the Black Dagger Brotherhood is definitely not either of those.. it's raw sex and violence, but in a way that makes you want to wade into the fray and start busting heads. Demonblood straddles the two categories, with parts of it being innocent and timid, and the other parts being bold, courageous, and sexual. Black Swan is just outright fun, with some gory parts (I mean, they're vampire hunters. There will be blood) and interesting cross-overs, literally, since you're dealing with different dimensions.  And the Imdalind series is a class unto itself, IMHO, as is Branded.

Have fun, and feel free to let me know what you think of these authors, if you decide to read their stuff. :)

Now that I've done an update... time to get back to Ishira! :D