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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Author Branding

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

Every person, company, and organization in the business of selling a product or service must choose how she/it wants to be perceived by the public. This is called Branding. It plays an important role in website design, marketing and promotion, and social media.

You can use a tagline to help readers know what genre or sub-genre you write. Use broad taglines for multiple genres with the same/similar heat levels and more specific taglines for a single sub-genre. A sci-fi writer might use “Out of this world romance” to make her genre easily recognizable. “Romance you can sink your teeth into” could work for an author who writes only about vampires. For a more general impression, an erotic romance author who writes both contemporary and historical can try a tagline like “Sexy, sassy, sinful.” Be creative! The tagline can be used on blogs, websites, and promotional swag as well as in signature lines for emails.

Themes can also help portray an author’s brand. Dark, exotic colors and designs often imply paranormal branding, while flowers and pastel colors usually suggest contemporary romance or women’s fiction. An author who writes stories set in the Rockies might use mountain-themed artwork for her website or blog header or background. The theme can follow through to her Facebook cover and Twitter background.

Branding should be consistent on all social media outlets.

For marketing and promotion, use your tagline and theme to create items for giveaways and as part of booksigning decorations and advertisements. An author whose books include crocheting might offer a gift basket with a copy of her book plus a couple skeins of yarn, a crochet hook, and the pattern for crocheted potholders for a raffle, drawing, or contest prize. Examples of her handiwork, some yarn, and several crochet hooks could be displayed on the table at a booksigning. She can use crochet-related photographs or stock art in trade magazine and online advertisements with her book covers.

When your public persona has a brand, readers should be able to identify the genre of your books and find a common interest with you. Ideally, that common interest will attract those readers and encourage them to buy your books. As with covers, an author’s brand has only a few seconds to capture and hold interest and turn a notice into a purchase.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Tara Rose

Time for Author Spotlights on Mondays again! This week, Tara Rose has stopped by for a visit with Awakening Her Racy Passion, Book 9 in her Racy Nights BDSM series from Siren Publishing. Welcome, Tara!

Here's some heat to combat all the nasty winter weather we've been having! Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of this title!

Blurb:
Ria Rodriguez wants to mend her gossipy ways, make up with former BFF, Marisol, and heal the rift she caused in the Racy, Indiana, BDSM community last summer. Sexy twin Doms, Wyatt and Trent Rohan, are more than willing to help her do that. But Ria’s romance with both Doms is complicated by a murder she witnesses. The mystery goes deeper than anyone in Racy first imagined.

Paramedic Trent Rohan is drawn to Ria’s impulsive behavior, but can he escape the heartbreak in his past and learn to love again? And can he share her with his twin?

Wyatt Rohan has been married to his job as a public defender. Ria is the first woman who has crawled under his skin and this far into his heart. Can he allow himself to love her? Or will she get tired of waiting and choose his twin, instead?




Adult Excerpt:
The first strike across her ass must have been with the paddle, and it hurt like a motherfucker. She yelled, and Wyatt stopped. “Was that a safeword?”

His voice dripped with humor, and she fought the urge to call him a few choice names. She’d brought this on herself, and she’d agreed to it. She could do this. The arousal coursing through her was enough to make her dizzy. “No, Sir.”

“Use it if you have to.”

“I will, Sir.”

She grit her teeth as he struck her five times in a row with the paddle, pausing for only a second or two in between the swats. When one of them caressed her sore ass cheeks and slipped his hand underneath to tease her wet pussy and sensitive clit, she moaned loudly. “Not fair, Sir.”

“Why not?” Wyatt’s voice washed over her, sexy and teasing at the same time. They were going to kill her with this delicious torture, and she was going to love every second of it.

“I have to come.”

Trent reached under her torso to grasp her nipples, rolling them between his thumbs and forefingers. She gasped as fresh jolts of electricity shot straight to her clit. “You are not even close to being allowed to come, so don’t bother asking again. We’ll tell you when you can.”

“You two are insane.”

Trent’s breath was warm in her ear. “Yes, we are insane. Insane with lust over you, my beautiful, sexy Ria. We are going to paint that round, gorgeous ass red, and then we’re going to fuck your pussy and your ass until none of us can walk.”
“Oh God…” Shivers ran up and down her spine as Trent licked her nipples, then moved behind her to lick her pussy and then her asshole. When he straightened up, Wyatt began to paddle her again, this time not stopping until he’d given her ten hard strikes. She was panting and whimpering when he caressed her ass cheeks again.

This was the sexiest, most erotic thing she’d ever done. So many emotions rose to the surface, demanding attention. It was arousing and overwhelming at the same time. Ria needed time to process it all. Should she tell them that?

“Trent’s turn. Get up.”

“No,” she whispered.

Wyatt helped her to her feet and both men turned her to face him. He brushed a finger between her breasts. “Was that a safeword?”

She shook her head.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, Sir.” She didn’t want it to end this soon. She was enjoying this. It hurt like crazy, but the pain was all mixed up with pleasure and she wanted to prove to them that she could take this. She wanted to experience everything these two had to give her. She wanted to please them, and make them proud of her.

“Are you all right?” His voice was so tender that Ria sucked in a shaky breath. She hadn’t expected that.

“I am. Just trying to make sense of it all…Sir.”

“Play can be very intense and overwhelming your first time. But you have your safeword. Don’t hesitate to use it.”

“I won’t. I promise, Sir.”

Wyatt stood, and Trent took his place on the chair. “Time to get over my knee.”

Once she was repositioned, Trent slapped one ass cheek then the other in quick succession with the strap, five times in a row, pausing only a second in between each strike. Sweat poured down Ria’s face and into her eyes, but she was so aroused now that her pussy contracted in tiny spasms. She could feel her juices on her upper thighs. She’d never been this turned-on in her life.

When Trent paused, Wyatt licked her pussy and ass cheeks. She was so close to coming it was ridiculous. She squirmed against Trent’s thigh, but she couldn’t really move anything except her head. Each time Wyatt stopped, Trent gave her a few more serious smacks with that damn strap. The pain became pleasure, and the pleasure became pain, until she was woozy and whimpering almost constantly.

When he stopped for the last time, they stood her up, removed the cuffs and spreader bar, and then one of them picked her up his arms. She was laid on the bed and Trent was on top of her, kissing her like he never would again. She wrapped her arms and legs around him, and next to her Wyatt stroked her hair. “I’m so proud of you. You took a lot.”

Trent released the kiss and crawled off her. Wyatt took his place, capturing her mouth in a kiss so hot she was sure the bed would catch on fire. Trent teased her sides of her breasts with his fingertips. “I’m proud of you, too.”

She couldn’t even answer them. She had no point of reference for this. All she could do was try to hold off the climax as both men took turns kissing her mouth and her neck. They sucked and licked her nipples, and she ran her hands over their tats, tracing the designs in an effort not to think about how close her orgasm was. The pleasure was overwhelming. She didn’t think she could take anymore, but then they each spread one leg and began to lick her pussy and her clit, and she knew she had to say something. “No. Please stop. Please. I mean it. There is no way I can hold off my climax if you do that. Please.”

Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/awakening-her-racy-passion
Check out the rest of Tara's books on her website! http://www.tararoseromanceauthor.com

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Awakening Her Racy Passion!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Edits

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

Edits… Some authors love them. Some authors hate them. Either way, we all have to do edits—even those who self-publish.

Edits are usually grouped into three types, based on which aspects of the manuscript are being reviewed.
1) Content or Developmental Edits – checks plot and character development
2) Line Edits – checks the pacing, story continuity, and content
3) Copy Edits – checks for grammar, spelling, and punctuation; also verifies legal and usage questions and checks or questions facts

How many rounds of edits should you expect from a publisher? The number can vary, depending on that publisher’s procedure. Sometimes a combination of content/developmental and line edits makes up the first round of edits, with copy edits being performed in the second round. Every manuscript should go through at least two separate rounds of edits. Like writers, editors often have strengths in one area or another, so having one round will likely mean missed errors or issues.

The timetable varies greatly from publisher to publisher. Traditional print edits tend to be spaced over a longer period of time than e-pub edits because the turnaround time from submission to publication is longer. Some e-publishers have first-round edits to the author within a few weeks of acceptance, setting a week or two later as the deadline for return. Final edits may be sent as late as a week to ten days before release, with a five- to seven-day deadline. Be aware that missing a deadline can push back the release date for the book or may even nullify the contract.

The turnaround time for a freelance editor depends on her client load and speed. Be sure to ask when researching content and copy editors for self-publishing. The waiting line may be months long for an experienced, in-demand editor. Costs can vary greatly too.

The big question…
Do I have to make all the changes my editor suggests?

The publisher wants to make your book the best possible product it can be so it sells well. The editor’s job is to facilitate that process by correcting errors and suggesting ways to improve the story. However, the story belongs to the author, meaning she should have a say in changes. If a rewrite or expanded scene is requested, the editor should provide a reason for it. The editor should not rewrite or add to the book without notifying the author and receiving permission to do so. Always do a final read-through of the edited manuscript prior to publication. Unfortunately, editors have, on occasion, taken the liberty of making major changes without informing the author. While this may be grounds for breach of contract, the author is responsible for making sure her book isn’t reworked by an editor without her knowledge as well as addressing that line-crossing with the publisher. Be proactive.

Simple mistakes, like missing punctuation or a misspelled word, are usually corrected with track changes turned on. The author goes through the manuscript, track changes bubble by track changes bubble, either accepting or rejecting the changes. Yes, the author can reject changes if she believes the editor’s “correction” is, in fact, incorrect. Editors aren’t perfect. An inexperienced one may not be thoroughly versed in the publisher’s choice of house style and may make the occasional mistake. By improving her writing craft skills, the author is better prepared for edits and doesn’t have to rely only on her editors for a well-written book.

Other issues have comment bubbles to show the author where clarification, expansion, or correction is needed. If the plot has a logic lapse, the editor should comment on the specific problem. She might make a suggestion on how to fix it or simply point out the issue. The author uses this guidance to clarify, expand, or correct the point within the manuscript. Track changes makes those additions and corrections visible to the editor upon return for verification.

Just as critiques should provide polite and encouraging feedback, edits should be helpful and positive. Snarky or unconstructive comments should be brought to the attention of the publisher. Be diplomatic rather than defensive. By the same token, edits are meant to improve the story and the author needs to learn to accept critical feedback. Taking edits as a personal attack shows the author isn’t ready for honest opinions of her work. Unprofessional behavior on the part of editor or author can create an unhealthy relationship between the author, the editor, and the publisher.

The author ultimately has to decide which changes to make. If the publisher disagrees, be prepared to make some concessions or the contract may be terminated. Be open to suggestions, but remember that the story is yours.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Tonya Ramagos

Are you ready for another super hot erotic romance? Tonya Ramagos is joining me for Author Spotlights on Mondays this week, and she's treating us to a steamy excerpt from her latest MFM from Siren Publishing! Be sure to comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Book 1 in her Heroes of Silver Island series. Here's a peek at Book 3, Safe and Burning with Ecstasy!

Blurb:
Someone is out to get Delilah Faith Cassidy, but she doesn’t know who or why and the police don’t believe her. When everything she owns goes up in flames, she flees Chicago and heads south. Frightened, confused, and determined to stay alive, she boards the excursion boat to Silver Island, only to find herself in bigger danger when she meets firefighters Blaze Vardry and Kalvin Fitzpatrick.

Blaze and Kalvin have done everything together since their days in the fire academy. They moved to Silver Island where ménage relationships are accepted in hopes of finding that special woman they can share forever. One look at Delilah and they know they’ve found her.

But the flame that ignites between them isn’t the only one burning on the island. Trouble is turning sparks into infernos, and Delilah is in the center of it all. Blaze and Kalvin have to trust their hearts, ignore their suspicions, and find out who is after Delilah before they lose her forever.

Adult Excerpt:
Delilah wanted to forget. She wanted just a few hours where something in her life would feel normal again. Except nothing about being with Blaze felt normal. It had been years since she’d been with a man and, even then, she’d never felt this brutal need to be touched, taken, and held forever. The need felt far more than sexual. It stretched deep inside, reaching places in her soul no man had ever been.

She knew what he was asking permission to do and she wanted it. Still, her heart ached with the knowledge that what was happening between them was quickly turning into an affair she wouldn’t be able to walk away from. And she’d have to. A part of her understood that. But, dear God, how would she ever survive the fallout?

“Touch me, Blaze,” she heard herself whisper and felt the final nail drive into the coffin that sealed her fate. “Make love to me. Make me forget.”

A primal growl left his throat and then he was kissing her. He slanted his mouth over hers, licked his way between her lips, and she accepted him without hesitation. She relaxed against him, delving her fingers in the back of his hair as he took the kiss deeper, making love to her mouth with a sensuality that had her head racing with ecstasy. It stole all her thoughts, claimed her very being, and had every nerve ending in her body screaming for more.

One of his hands dropped to her ass, holding her firmly against him as his other hand fumbled with the clasp of her bra. His cock pressed at her belly, a thick wedge of tantalizing hardness she wanted to feel ramming inside her. Juices slickened her folds, seeped from between her pussy lips, and soaked her panties. His touch had ignited a flame deep inside, one she knew wouldn’t be extinguished until he thrust his dick into her aching channel.

He broke the kiss, licked his way down her jaw, and she let her head fall back, fighting to breathe as his tongue traveled down her neck. Her hands fisted in his hair as he folded his body, bending slightly to trace the lace of her dress just above her breasts with his tongue. He surprised a gasp out of her the next moment when he straightened and spun her around in his arms. His movements returned to being slow and steady as he peeled off her dress and bra, his hands sparking a sizzling path of awareness on her flesh as they glided down to cup her breasts.

Her head fell back on his chest, her eyes closing on their own accord as his large hands worked her breasts, his slightly callused palms teasing her nipples to beaded points.

He nuzzled his face in the side of her neck, nipped, and then licked the tiny dart of pain away. “Damn, you feel so good.” His voice was a rough velvet against her sensitized flesh.

A soft whimper left her throat as he released her breasts, his hands returning to their exploration of her body. Her dress had gotten hung on her hips and he pushed it down, snagging the thin straps of her panties with this thumbs and taking them down, too. She felt both garments fall to pool around her feet as his hands flattened on the front of her thighs.

“Spread your legs for me, darlin’.”

She couldn’t have argued if she’d wanted to. Feeling completely under a spell of his casting, she opened for him, her breath lodging in her throat as one of his hand moved between her legs to cup her pussy.

“So hot,” he murmured, the warm of his breath against the side of her neck sending white-hot bolts of desire shooting through her system to collide with the inferno blazing in her pussy. “So wet.” One finger slipped between her folds, swirled in the juices that coated her most sensitive flesh, and eased back out again.

She opened her eyes to see his hand coming up, his finger covered with her cream. She watched, rolling her head on his chest, as he brought the finger to his mouth and licked it clean.

A low, appreciative growl rumbled from his chest. “So tasty.” He met her gaze and the heat in his eyes made her feel as if she were burning alive. He didn’t look away as his hand returned to her pussy. The finger delved between her folds again, this time with a partner, and he circled her opening with the pad of both before slowly pushing the digits side-by-side into her flaming channel.

She clenched her teeth, sucking in a breath as her muscles protested the invasion for all of a half-second before stretching to accommodate the width of his fingers.

“Damn, you’re tight.”

“It’s been a long time.”

“How long?”

“Years.”

His fingers stilled inside her as he stared at her, disbelief twisting with what she could only define as happiness in his eyes. “I’ll take it easy, darlin’. I promise.”

Delilah chewed her bottom lip, loving the way it sparked a newfound heat in his eyes. “I promise you don’t have to.”

He covered her mouth with his, filling her with the dark taste of passion as his fingers wiggled inside her cunt. He curled them, stroked the inner walls of her channel, and wriggled them more until he found her g-spot.

Pressure built, her womb convulsed with the need to orgasm, and she moaned into his mouth. The heel of his palm ground against her clit as his fingers started to pump in and out of her pussy and she blindly reached an arm behind her, wound it around his neck, and fisted it in the back of his hair. Quivering with needs so deep she wondered how she didn’t pass out from the desire, she thrust her hips forward, drawing his fingers even deeper inside her, and felt the damn break. Every muscle in her body tensed, quaked, and released as pleasure more intense than anything she’d ever felt tore through her pussy and spread through her system.

“Fuck, that was hot.”

Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/node/866685

About Tonya:

Tonya Ramagos is a best-selling author of contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and cowboy novels. She spends most of her time in a fictional world dreaming up hot hunks and head-strong heroines. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. Anything from legal and military non-fiction to any genre of romance can be found on her Kindle. Her music tastes are just as varied with favorite artists ranging from Billy Currington to Disturbed. Her idea of relaxing is curling up on the sofa or her back deck with a book and her favorite beverage. Born and raised in Pascagoula, MS, she is now a resident of Chattanooga, TN where she lives with her boyfriend and their five children.

Links:
Website: http://www.tonyaramagos.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tonya.ramagos
Twitter: @tonyaramagos
Email: tonyaramagos@gmail.com
Buy links: http://www.bookstrand.com/tonya-ramagos

Don't forget to comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Book 1 in the Heroes of Silver Island series! Deadline to comment is midnight (EST) Wednesday, February 19!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Publishing Contracts Part 4

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

In Part 4 of my series on Publishing Contracts, we’ll delve into the business-related legalese that puts most people to sleep. Be sure to check out Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you haven’t already!

Hopefully, you’ve researched the publisher and found the company to be reputable and honest, but bad things can happen to the best companies. Does your contract state the procedure for reversion of rights if the company is sold, becomes insolvent, declares bankruptcy, or shuts its doors? How will unpaid royalties be handled? Will the new owner be legally bound to honor your current contract? Contracts can be terminated under certain conditions. Are those conditions discussed and defined? What happens to any print copies of the book still in retailers’ hands? If they aren’t returned to the publisher, the author should receive royalties as usual until all are sold. If the books are returned, does the author have the opportunity to purchase them or will they be destroyed? The contract should address all of these potential issues.

On occasion, the publisher will initiate legal proceedings against an author or vice versa. What constitutes a breach of contract that may lead to this situation? In which state must the suit be filed, either by the publisher or the author? It should be the state in which the business operates.

Sometimes, changes in the publishing world can necessitate changes in the contract. Can the contract terms be changed by mutual agreement? What is the procedure for those changes? A good contract will also mention severability, meaning that if any part of the contract is deemed unenforceable, the rest of the contract remains in force.

Does the contract mention implied agreements? Nothing should be implied. Always have all agreements in writing before signing.

At the end of the term of the contract, does it automatically renew for a defined new term? Or does the author have to contact the publisher within a specific time frame to renew or request a reversion of rights?

The contract should have clear instructions on the author’s right to request an audit of royalties and sales. The audit is most often done at the author’s expense unless a minimum discrepancy is found. The contract should state that minimum percentage, along the time frame for completing the audit and how an underpayment/overpayment will be handled. Audits can usually be requested annually, or more often if the publisher has a history of underreporting. Be sure to compare royalty statement totals to the 1099-MISC form you receive for income tax purposes. Royalties paid during a given calendar year should equal the amount shown on the 1099-MISC.

Your contract may contain a confidentiality statement, restricting the parties with whom you may discuss or reveal details of the contract. Review it carefully, as it may be meant to keep all authors working with the publisher from comparing terms. If you’re a new author, you may want to be able to get feedback from a lawyer, an agent, or a trusted friend with contract experience.

After you’ve signed, whether manually or electronically, be certain you receive a copy of the contract signed and dated by both parties. Contact information for both the publisher and the author should be included on the signature page.

A publishing contract is an agreement between the author and the publisher, where both parties should have fully defined rights and responsibilities. They have to work together, preferably in a positive atmosphere, with mutual trust and understanding.

Research publishers thoroughly. Read the fine print. Ignorance isn’t an acceptable reason to invalidate a contract.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Author Spotlight--Honor James

Please welcome this week's Author Spotlight on Mondays guest, Honor James! She's here to share an extra hot excerpt from her latest release, Finding the Blood Assassin. You'll also get to meet Raven and Jamison in a fun character/author interview!

Blurb:
Raven Kato takes the assignments no one else will, the suicide missions, the ones with a low probability of success. He doesn’t care about the risks or the chances of survival. He’s all for going out in a blaze of glory. As long as it helps his people and keeps the Vampire race at the top of the food chain, he’s all for it.

Jamison Montague is tired of being called upon to find people. Some folks just don’t want to be found. Her newest assignment is a prime example of that. Unfortunately she doesn’t have a lot of choice in the matter once she gets a read on her target. But what she ends up being pulled into may very well end not only her career, but her life.

Together this unlikely pair will have to find a way to get along, for they will all too soon have to depend on one another for everything. Not only their survival in a deadly game to which they don’t know the rules, but for their very future and happiness. As danger starts to close in, as their opponents are revealed, and as their hearts become involved, they will have to make the hardest choice of all. Fight for what they want, or give in and give up.

Excerpt:
“What do you want, Raven?” she asked softly. “I’m through pushing, Raven, either you want me or you don’t. Tell me, please? What do you want, what do you need?” She shouldn’t have to push herself into his life, into his heart, but it seemed that was all she had been doing since she met him. She had been pushing, shoving, and trying to find a place for her inside of his heart, and frankly she was tired. She didn’t know how much she had left in her to give.

Opening his eyes, he stared at her and, with fear lighting them, he sucked in a deep breath. His tongue slid over his lip as he fought some internal battle. Then he whispered only one word. “You.”

Her tears slipped free as she nodded. “And I need you, my lord. Please keep me? Love me?” Her hand touched his cheek. “Become one with me?” she whispered. “Make me forget everything that happened the last week? Help me just remember you, no one else but you?”

He didn’t understand what she wanted. He’d never had a female say things like this to him before. Hell, he rarely let those he used speak. Shaking his head, he stared at her in open confusion. “I don’t know what you want, Jamison,” he murmured, the admission painful to a man that normally was on top of everything. “What do you want?” he asked, a whisper of desperation in his voice.

“I want you, Raven. I want your love, I need your love.” Stepping in closer, she added, “I want you, Raven. I’ve wanted you to come together with me since I met you.” She licked her lips. “Remember what I said when I sent you away from me while on my ship?” She slid her hand down his neck to his chest. “Love me, Raven.”

Closing his eyes, he held her to him and nodded slowly before, in a quick move, he pulled the shirt she was wearing off over her head. Pushing at the pants she wore, he lifted her from them before he reached for his own shirt and tugged it off. He didn’t immediately reach for his pants. He needed to touch all her skin and so he did, sliding his hands over her, gently awed that she’d let him touch her, awed at how soft her flesh was and how beautiful she was. Then his eyes dropped to her breasts and he saw the wounds there, the bruises and the scarring, and he felt anger light up his eyes.

She shook her head and tears trembled on her lower lids. “Don’t think about them, please. This is for us, Raven. I need this for us so that we can get past that pain?” She took his hand in hers and placed it over one of the damaged breasts. “Show me a good touch to replace the pain?”

Gently, he cupped her wounded flesh and, lowering his head, he pressed a soft kiss to the wound on one and then the other. Sliding his tongue lightly over the bruises, he moved his arms to wrap around her. Lifting her, he carried her toward the long backless sofa in his study and, laying her down, he removed his pants and boots. Kneeling at her side, he stroked his hand down her body as he leaned in to press a kiss to her lips, capturing her full lower one between his teeth in a sharp but bloodless bite as his hand slid between her legs to gently stroke her pussy.

Her legs spread for him, a silent gift of permission for him to move his hands over her as he wished. “Raven, that feels so very nice,” she moaned out. Her hips began to move against his fingers even as his teeth moved over her cheeks, jaw, and then neck. “I love you, Raven, so much I love you.”

Closing his eyes as pain assailed him at her words, he wished, truly wished, that he could give them in return, but he couldn’t. Nibbling over her skin he teased her, his fingers delving deep into her pussy as he tasted every inch of her smooth flesh. Gently and reverently, he took one of her nipples into his mouth, and instead of suckling, he just soothed the wounds with his tongue, licking and sliding his tongue over her flesh as gently as he could.

Her hands moved into his hair as she held him to her, and after several minutes, she whimpered. “More, Raven. I need more from you. Please, Ra, help me be ready for you.” Pressing a second finger into her slick pussy, he stroked her, stretched her. Looking up he saw her open her mouth, her lips moving even as no sound escaped. Her head thrashed side to side as her hips lifted to meet each push of his fingers into her tight body. In the next moment she shivered, her body moved up and down on his fingers once, twice more. Then, before she could get out whatever she was trying to say, her eyes went wide and she climaxed, her head thrown back on a low, keening sound of pleasure.

Lifting his head slightly, he watched her come for him. His fingers drenched in her juices, her pussy clutching at the digits, and her face a show of pure ecstasy. Pushing a third finger into her body, he continued to stroke her even as he moved down her body, his mouth licking and nibbling at her tender flesh. When he reached the end of the long couch, he pulled his fingers free and, in one move, pulled her to him, draping her legs over his shoulders even as he buried his face in her pussy and began to lick and suckle at her flesh.

Jami had never felt anything as intense and pleasurable as what Raven was giving her. Hands moved to his hair and held onto him while his lips and tongue ravaged her weeping cunt. Her hips rotated, lifted. She tried to move with him and take everything he offered her as he did so. “Raven, please.” She begged because she was just so close.

He was drowning in her scent, in her taste, in the feel of all her flesh surrounding him. Before he could think on it, Raven gave into the beast a little and did something he never had before. Lifting his head, he sank his teeth into her mound and drank from her as he pushed three fingers deep into her body and coaxed her to splinter for him.

Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/finding-the-blood-assassin

Character/Author Interview:
Jamison: Honor James was ever so kind enough to write the love story of our lives so we felt it only fair that we should give her a little break from the heavy lifting and do an interview with her, in reverse.
Raven: It’s not a love story woman; it’s an action story with mayhem and near death experiences.
Jamison: We fall in love and live happily ever after, Raven, it’s a DAMNED LOVE STORY!

(Yes, even the crickets were quiet after that display)

Jamison: Honor, thank you for the lovely retelling of our lives, we’re very excited to have people read about how Raven and I met and all we had to overcome to be together. What is the hardest part of writing a story for you?
Honor: Not at all, Jamison, I was more than happy to do it. That’s a good question and has several answers. Sometimes figuring out just who the characters of the story are is tough. Other times it’s trying to decide what to reveal about who they are and when. The absolute hardest part of every single story I’ve written though has to be the ending. I truly hate saying goodbye.

J: *sniffles & wipes at her eyes*
R: *rolls eyes & passes her a tissue* Honor, when you are editing do you have a method to the madness?
H: Not really. I have great editors over at Siren who help me figure out what I’ve missed, what I’ve glossed over and what I’ve royally screwed up. Without them I have no idea what any of my stories might have ended up like.

J: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
H: Honestly? I probably shouldn’t admit this, but it’s the truth so I’ll share, dreams mainly. Weird, totally f-ed up dreams. I often wake up and flash back to my dream and then in a mad dash try and jot down as much as I remember of it as possible as quickly as possible. Then I usually show it to my sister and ask for her opinion and assistance in figuring it out. I think I may have turned her into an alcoholic because of the dreams. Just kidding…probably.

R: When you are writing your books do you have any rituals or superstitions?
H: Not really. Depending on the book I will play certain music to fit the mood I’m trying to go for in it. Or, if I’m having trouble I may watch some TV or a movie or read a book until something jars loose. Other than a caffeinated beverage and, usually but not always, something chocolate, I don’t really have any pre-writing rituals.

J: Oh, they are telling us now that we have to cut this short.
R: What if we weren’t done damn it?
J: What did I tell you about cleaning up your language, Ra?
R: *grumbles something incoherent*
J: We will be talking when we get home, my lord. Honor, thank you so very much for letting us switch roles today. We are looking forward to the next book in this series. Anything you could perhaps hint about in regards to it?
H: All I will say, or rather hint about, is that it will have a blast from the past in it and the female lead character will be different from any of the others so far.
J: Great! Now I really want to read it. Do you have something you could show me later?
H: Well…okay, stop by my office later and I’ll let…

I'm finding myself in the mood to read about vampires...

Mellanie Szereto
Romance... With A Kick!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Publishing Contracts Part 3

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

We’ve covered a lot of territory concerning Publishing Contracts with Part 1 and Part 2 already, but we’re not done yet! This week we’ll look at promotion, marketing, and distribution.

In today’s publishing world, the author is expected to participate in promoting her book. The contract should clearly state what promotional tools and opportunities the publisher will offer. The vast majority of us aren’t going to get a publisher-paid booksigning tour, but some publishers will provide books at no cost to the author for signings at major conventions and conferences. Will the publisher schedule a blog tour or place ads in RWR (RWA members’ magazine), RT Magazine (Romantic Times), or other industry publications? What about online advertisements? How about reviews? Will the publisher send ARCs to reviewers or are you responsible for contacting reviewers and submitting your work?

Speaking of ARCs (advance reader copies), will the publisher give the author ARCs for giveaways and reviews? Yes, give—as in “free to the author.” Print or digital format? Both? How many copies?

Part of marketing your book includes having a social media presence. Many publishers now require the author to have a website at the very least. What type of presence does the contract state? Website? Twitter? Facebook? Google+? Is the wording general or specific?

While marketing and promoting, you’ll sometimes mention your publisher. Are you permitted to use the publisher’s logo or other marketing tools? The contract should list which items may be used and in what manner.

Publisher websites often include author pages. Are you required to provide an author bio and photo to be included on the page and possibly in the book itself? Be sure to ask your photographer if you’ll get digital rights to your photos. Many times they aren’t included with the purchase of prints. Respect the photographer’s copyright, as you hope others will respect the copyright of your book.

Distribution outlets should also be discussed in the contract. Almost all publishers sell their authors’ books on their websites. In addition to that outlet, books may also be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and several other online retailers. Which of these outlets will sell your book? Will your book be available at brick-and-mortar bookstores? While not all of these details are specifically outlined in the contract because the publishing industry is changing too quickly to stay accurate, ask about current outlets to get a good feel for the breadth of distribution.

Next week, we’ll wrap up our in-depth look at contracts!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Voice Your Opinion!

The Houston Bay Area RWA's contest, Judge a Book by Its Cover, is now open for judging! Yes, you can go choose your favorites and have a say in which covers win this contest! Love Served Hot is in the Single Title category. Bethany Michaels of Dragonfly Press Design does fantastic work, doesn't she? Hint, hint! Judging closes February 9, so go check it out now!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Author Spotlight--Hennessee Andrews

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! This week my guest is Hennessee Andrews, another Siren Publishing author. She's here to share some hot cowboys, so show her lots of love!!! Plus her latest book is a free read!

Boots, hats, Wranglers, and balls of steel required…only the fearless need apply.
The XYZ Ranch is scouting for the best of the best, so saddle up, this ride will get rough in the saddle.

Last summer I happened upon the Love Has No Boundaries event. The premise was for readers to post a picture and a prompt for a story they’d love to read. I flipped through countless entries, each met with, “No, no,” and, “Not for me.” The I stumbled across this pic:
The reader wrote: Dear Author, these two guys were childhood friends. They tried to hide their relationship in the rodeo but they got caught so they ran away. That is when they found the gay rodeo. HEA and please not too much angst. Sincerely, Ang.

“Bingo.” A light bulb when off in my head and I had that big, “Ah-ha,” moment. I immediately claimed the story and began writing and thus the free read, Rough in the Saddle, was born. Not long after the release, I began receiving messages from readers asking about other characters in the story. For some reason they were entertained by my three strapping cowboys at the XYZ Ranch and their ménage relationship. A few months went by and I still received messages. “I want to hear about Zander.”
It was then I gave some thought into creating a series, but in order to do so I had to backtrack to the very beginning and tell Zander’s story, thus all stories after my free read are prequels. Zander’s Story spurred on Warren’s Story, and Warren’s Story kicked off Joe Ray’s Story, and then Everett’s Story hit me.
What I like most about this series is the fact each story is different. The characters vary, as well as their naughtiness. Eleven men are contained in five hot tales that are sure to kick start your libido. The original story, Rough in the Saddle, became Macon’s Story. It is still free and always will be. Start your journey with Macon and Wade, courtesy of myself and Siren-Bookstrand.

Macon Sumner loves two things in world. One is taboo, his best friend Wade Sutherland. His second love is the rodeo, where their problems begin. When a nosy reporter clicks a picture at a rodeo, capturing Wade and Macon kissing, life is never the same or relationships with their family and peers.
As outcasts in their small, narrow minded town, Wade and Macon feel the effects daily. Wade becomes secretive with their relationship, foolishly believing that hiding is the answer. What he doesn’t realize is how much harm he is inflicting on Macon by doing so.
Sneaking away for intimate moments with Wade are as hurtful as the glares Macon receives from people who are suppose to be neighbors, friends. Even roping buddies have stopped inviting them to functions. He can’t stand how he feels or how Wade is treating him. When he receives a call from Zander Wesley, he sees a new life and opportunity for him and Wade.

http://www.bookstrand.com/macons-story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUjgRPKMbgk

Hennessee’s Links
www.hennesseeandrews.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hennessee.andrews
Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/hennessee-andrews

Go grab that free read!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!