Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Self-Publishing To-Do List

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! The writing career series has come to a close and is now available as Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and Createspace. Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, also available in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and Createspace.

Creating a To-Do List can simplify the self-publishing process and keep the author on track—and writing. Having all the necessary tasks compiled on a list also helps her see the light at the end of the tunnel, giving a sense of accomplishment each time an item is checked off.

The first step in any publishing path is to finish the book. It’s the single most important part of the process. Without it, the path doesn’t exist in any form.

The second most important step is making sure the finished book is well edited. Most authors can’t edit their own work. They know the manuscript too well to catch minor mistakes like missing words and typos. A professional editor is the first choice, but they can be expensive and the really good ones often have a waiting list. Research any freelance editor before using his/her services. Anyone can claim the job title, whether she has training and experience or not. Excellent critique partners and beta readers can also provide great feedback to help create the best possible product. However, realize that one person isn’t going to see every little error. Multiple sets of eyes are a necessity.

The book is finished and edited. What comes next?

While the book is in the editing process, a number of tasks can be completed. Create or purchase cover art, purchase ISBNs, and create front and back matter to prepare for formatting the book and publishing at retail outlets. Write taglines and blurbs, plan a marketing and promotion strategy, create a metadata list, and update social media to prepare for marketing and promotion.

Formatting has somewhat of a learning curve. Different retailers have different formatting guidelines. Always check the retailer’s website for the most current guidelines and practice to become familiar with the way page breaks, section breaks, and odd/even headers work.

Once the book has been formatted and published to the retailers’ sites, buy links can be added to websites, blogs, and other social media. The author also needs to decide if she’s going to register the copyright and complete the necessary paperwork.

The process isn’t over yet!

Next up is marketing and promotion. Spread the word about the new release—without breaking social media etiquette rules.

Self-publishing is hard work when it’s done correctly.

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book.
2) Polish and edit the book.
3) Write taglines and blurbs.
4) Create or purchase cover art.
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book).
6) Create front and back matter.
7) Format for e-book and/or print.
8) Update website, blog, and social media.
9) Create metadata list.
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!

Writing books comes first and last, making it an ongoing and vital part of the process. Never forget that the next book helps keep the author's name in a position of discoverability.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Michelle Roth

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! This week's guest is Michelle Roth. She's sharing a peek at Lip Service, the second book in her Private Relations series, and some insight into her writing process! Be sure to comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of this Siren erotic romance!

For Chris Marks, his best friend's little sister, Chloe James, has always been off limits. In a moment of weakness he admits his attraction to her and Chloe seizes the opportunity to take what she's always wanted. Him.

On the heels of a break up, Chloe isn't looking to settle down. She's just looking for a good time and she suspects that she'll be able to find that with Chris. Together they explore her submissive side and she discovers that they've got more in common than she ever thought possible.

Chris isn't looking for a relationship. He isn't looking for any sort of emotional attachment at all. He gets far more than he bargained for though, when he starts to have real, deep feelings for Chloe. Will Chloe be able to break through the thick walls that Chris has built around his heart? Will he be brave enough to let her in?

Buy Link:

Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Michelle: I love it. It's like reading but the characters and scenes take place in your own mind. I really have no idea why I didn't try this whole writing thing much sooner!

Me: This book is the second in a new series. Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Michelle: I love the idea that you can follow characters through a series. You see people from the first book that you loved. You can get to know them as the books progress, and learn more about those that just made a slight appearance in book one.

Me: Give us some insight into your main character. What makes him/her special?
Michelle: I hate those books where the main characters are weak or cruel. I don't particularly find any of that romantic or sexy. I try to make my characters good people. They've got issues and flaws, otherwise there'd be no conflict, but I have a rule. If I would punch them in the face in real life, they cannot star in my book. There's no way I could devote that much of my time and energy to someone I dislike.

Me: Is there a message in your novel you hope to convey to your readers?
Michelle: Love is huge. Love is important. It should be celebrated in whatever shape or form it happens.

Me: I love a good conflict. What draws your main characters to each other and keeps them apart?
Michelle: A physical and mental attraction that neither of them can deny is really what pulls them together. Plus, there's that hint of forbidden fruit in this case. She's younger, and he watched her grow up so he feels a little bit like a perv, ya know?

Me: How did you come up with the title?
Michelle: It needed to be a double entendre, naturally. Also, I wanted it to have to do with their profession. The men in this series all work for a PR firm. As for the process, I usually bitch that I can't figure out a title for my book about half way through. Then it hits me. :)

Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
Michelle: I am HUGELY into contemporary romance. A little historical.

Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Michelle: It can be literally ANYTHING. Music, songs, movies, other books I've read that get me started down the path.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Michelle: I wrapped up book three in the series (Unexpectedly Yours) which should be out in August. I'm on to the next series now. It's about the socially awkward types that turn out to be dead freaking sexy.

Author Bio:
Michelle Roth is a novelist from Los Angeles, California. When she’s not disappearing into foreign lands, or making two perfect strangers that she invented fall in love, she’s probably curled up somewhere with a glass of wine and a good book.

In her spare time she is typically hanging out with her awesome boyfriend and their two equally awesome cats. She likes taking road trips to nowhere in particular, cooking elaborate meals then making other people do the dishes, and being nerdy on the internet. Visit her blog at for information on her latest releases, exclusive excerpts, and more.

Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page:

Sounds like a fun read, doesn't it? Remember to comment by midnight EDT on Wednesday, July 30, for a chance to win a copy of Lip Service!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Intro to Self-Publishing

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! The writing career series has come to a close and is now available as Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and Createspace. Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, also available in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and Createspace.

This week’s post begins a new series on Self-Publishing. With all the choices in the publishing world today, many authors are self-publishing, either as the sole means of getting their work to readers or as hybrid authors with more than one publishing platform.

What is self-publishing?

With this publishing platform, the author is the publisher and is responsible for all aspects of book production, distribution, and marketing, including but not limited to editing, cover art, and formatting expenses. The author receives all royalties directly from the chosen distributors.

It isn’t the same as vanity publishing, in which the author pays to have her book published. Vanity publishers charge fees for book production, distribution, and marketing, in addition to handling royalties.

Self-publishing requires an initial investment if the author hires contractors to edit her book, create cover art, and format the book for publishing. Those contractors do not/should not receive any part of the royalties. One-time fees are the norm for editing, cover art, and formatting services. Narrator contracts for audio books may contain a royalty percentage as payment rather than a set fee. However, a flat fee is not uncommon. The author must review the contract and decide if the cost and payment method are fair before signing.

Yes, all contracted work—editing, cover art, formatting, narration, promotion—should have the terms and costs in writing and signed by both parties. This protects the author and the contractor.

Once the book is complete—is edited, has cover art, is formatted—the files are then uploaded to retail outlets like KDP, Nook Press, iBooks, Kobo, and Createspace by the author or formatter. After the files are approved and all information is completed on the retail site, the book can be published and will be available for purchase within a couple hours to a few days. Each retailer reports sales and pays royalties to the author according to its terms.

Self-published works depend on the author for marketing and promotion, much like many of today’s small digital publishers. The author also has to make all business decisions, besides deciding what type of business to have—sole proprietor, LLC, or S-corporation.

A lot of time and effort goes into a successful self-publishing path, and it isn’t a good fit for everyone. Take time to research the process and contractors. An educated author is far more likely to succeed than one who dives in headfirst.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Serena Fairfax

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! My guest this week is Serena Fairfax. She's sharing her latest release, Alchemy, and some insight into her life as a writer. Be sure to comment for a chance to win a Mobi copy of Alchemy!

Set in sun-drenched Lake Garda, church mouse Tamsin Heriot, an English rose, pairs off with sexy, privileged Luca Leopoldo who’s half Italian half Somali. But Luca isn’t what he seems…

Orphaned, aged seven, when his childhood in Mogadishu is brutally destroyed, Luca is left emotionally broken. Ragged and starving he seeks refuge in Italy where kindly aristocrats adopt him.
Ever since she was fifteen, Tamsin has had a crush on Luca and the summer before she goes to university, she’s determined to lose her virginity to him.
It’s eight years before their trajectories re-converge. Tamsin, still lusting after Luca, receives devastating news that triggers her return to the dilapidated family casa when an unexpected bond develops between her and Luca’s widowed, adoptive mother.
A will alters what starts as a dalliance and there’s no shortcut to love, everything to lose, as the relationship between two wounded people, Luca and Tamsin, is pushed to breaking point.

Buy link:

Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
Serena: That I could write a Mills & Boon. I’d read many and put pen to paper. Never managed to crack that nut, though. However, I did get taken up by Hale Ltd who published STRANGE INHERITANCE and PAINT ME A DREAM. I’m very fond of those two as they were my first efforts. Then I wanted to write something bigger so I self-published WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS which is a sweeping novel set in India. I broke out of the romance mold with IN THE PINK. Its book cover depicts a wall that I photographed when I was travelling between Azerbaijan and Georgia, a few years ago.

Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Serena: It’s now very much a career given that my role in the day job has morphed from hands--on to managerial. With me, every enterprise is all or nothing so I’m pretty focused on authorship. Wasn’t it Maya Angelou who said ‘there’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’

Me: Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Serena: Single titles are my preference. I suppose it’s because to me The End means just that and I don’t believe in reincarnation. I like to start afresh with a new plot and new characters that take me on a different and new journey. Cindy Ross hits the nail on the head: ‘Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; you have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.’

Me: How did you come up with the title?
Serena: Well, I rather think it chose me. I like one-word titles and given the cultural mixture and passion in this book, ALCHEMY seems perfect. It came to me in a blinding flash when I was about to drop off to sleep and I actually remembered it the next morning because it had squatted in my sub-conscious and refused to be evicted.

Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
Serena: I love writing contemporary romances with strong plots and to read I’m a fan of biographies and cookery books. I’m only an average cook and despite shelves of recipe books and fancy cookery courses, I haven’t gotten any better over the years. Still, I’m generous with the wine so no one really notices my culinary shortcomings.

Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Serena: Generally on public transport--taking a tube (subway) or a bus. It’s amazing what nuggets one can pick up when eavesdropping that are pure gold. I scribble it all down before I forget and it sparks to all sorts of exciting permutations.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Serena: I like the way you put that in the plural and that just about sums it up. I’ve two on the go. One’s an erotic romance with a twist and the other (still in a seminal stage) looks as if it’s going to be 80,000 words about an American who marries an Indian and goes to live with her husband’s family in India.

Author Bio:
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm. Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content, that you can download free from her website until 1 August 2014. She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog, Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat on the Thames which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure. Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).

Amazon Author page:

Remember to comment by midnight (EDT) Wednesday, July 23, for a chance to win a copy of Alchemy!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Now available!!! WTW: Career

Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook is now available in e-book and print!
Get it at Createspace and Amazon in print for $4.99 and Amazon and B&N in e-book for 99 cents!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Terminology

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. 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.

Terminology is an important part of writing and publishing. Knowing these terms gives the author credibility in the writing and publishing worlds. Communication with editors and agents is easier and the knowledge builds confidence so the author is better equipped to handle questions from readers, other writers, and interviewers. Workshops, classes, and conferences are less stressful for a prepared author. Writers can also supplement their fiction-writing income by writing non-fiction articles for magazines, blogs, and informational sources.

The terms are divided into sections, based on topic.

Writing Craft Terms:
Author intrusion – inserting research facts designed to “teach” the reader; inclusion of social, political, religious, and economic views when they aren’t important to the story’s plot; using dialogue/dialect that doesn’t fit the character’s education/upbringing/location
Backstory/information dump – history of the character or information that is “dumped” into the story all at once instead of vital bits of information being fed to the reader as needed
Beta Reader – a person who reads the manuscript and gives the author feedback before the publication process to catch plot and character inconsistencies, pacing issues, areas that need clarification, and grammar/punctuation problems, depending on knowledge.
Blurb – short description of the book designed to hook the reader; usually 25-150 words; used for promo and back cover
Character arc – the process in which the main character(s) grow, evolve, and/or change over the course of the story
Characterization – how the character’s life experience has influenced who she is, how she interacts with others, her mannerisms, etc.; personality traits
Foreshadowing – subtle hints at upcoming conflicts and actions
GMC – goals, motivation, and conflict
HEA – happily ever after
Headhopping – changing point of view without proper transitions or breaks
HFN – happy for now
Misplaced/dangling modifier – adjective phrase that modifies the wrong noun
MS – manuscript
Pacing – the movement of the plot from beginning to end
Pantser – writer who begins writing the book without having a thought-out plot
Active vs. passive sentence structure – sentence in which the subject is doing the action vs. sentence in which the action is being done to the subject by someone or something
Pitch/elevator pitch – very brief blurb designed to draw immediate interest from an editor or agent; a face-to-face or online opportunity to “sell” your book to an editor or agent, using a brief blurb
Plotter – writer who plots the story before writing the book
POV – point of view
POV glitch – when the POV character shows things that can only be known by the other character(s)
Query – submission letter to an editor or agent
Synopsis – tells the chronological order of your story, using your characters' goals, motivations, and conflicts to describe what each character wants, why he reacts the way he reacts, and how those decisions and behaviors affect him and his growth (character arc) through the events that happen; also tells the progression of the plot and its resolution--whether it's permanent or temporary--and is written in present tense from a narrator's perspective
Tagline – brief phrase meant to spark interest in the book
Voice – intangible quality that adds depth and personality to a story; sets the mood and tone; influenced by word choice, punctuation, word order, and sentence structure
WIP – work in progress
World Building – process of creating the world in which the story takes place

Publishing Terms:
Advance – money paid to the author in anticipation of royalty earnings. The amount is subtracted from any royalties earned. Generally, the author does not have to return the advance, even if it exceeds total royalties earned.
ARC – advance readers copy
Copy edits – checks for grammar, spelling, and punctuation; also verifies legal and usage questions and checks or questions facts
Developmental edits – edits for plot and character development
Digital-first publisher – publishes e-book version first and may also offer a print version at a later date
DMCA takedown notice – Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice; notices sent by authors and publishers to pirate sites for the removal of pirated files
DRM – digital rights management: technology that limits the use of digital media for users
E-publisher – digital publisher; some also publish POD versions
ISBN – international standard book number
KDP – Kindle Direct Publishing
KDP Select – Kindle Direct Publishing exclusive
Line edits – checks the pacing, story continuity, and content
Nook Press – Barnes & Noble self-publishing venue
POD – print on demand
PW – Publishers Weekly
Royalties – percentage of the sale price earned by the author on sold copies
RT – Romantic Times
Self-publishing – publishing in which the author is the publisher and is responsible for all aspects of book production, distribution, and marketing, including but not limited to editing, cover art, and formatting expenses. The author receives all royalties directly from the chosen distributors.
Series or "category" romances – books issued under a common imprint/series name that are usually numbered sequentially and released at regular intervals, usually monthly, with the same number of releases each time. These books are most commonly published by Harlequin and Entangled.
Single-title romances – longer romances released individually and not as part of a numbered series. Single-title romances may be released in hard cover, trade paperback, or mass-market paperback sizes.
Subsidy/Vanity publishing – the production of books in which the author participates in the costs of production or distribution in any manner, including assessment of fees or other costs for editing and/or distribution. This definition includes publishing programs that withhold or seek full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs; publishing programs whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books; and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and associates.
Traditional publisher – print publisher; some also publish e-book versions.

Genre Definitions:
Contemporary Romance – Romance manuscripts that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and have a contemporary setting.
Erotic Romance – Romance manuscripts in which the sexual relationship plays an integral part of the plot, sexual language is explicit, and sex scenes are graphic.
Historical Romance – Romance manuscripts set in any historical time period.
Inspirational Romance – Romance manuscripts in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship.
Paranormal Romance – Romance manuscripts in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal elements are an integral part of the plot.
Romantic Suspense – Romance manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
Young Adult Romance – Romance manuscripts geared toward young adult readers.

Erotic Romance Terms:
BDSM – bondage, discipline/domination, submission/sadism, masochism
DP – double penetration
D/s – Dom or Domme/submissive
GLBT(Q) – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, (questioning)
TP – triple penetration

Sexual partnering:
MF – male/female
MM – male/male
FF – female/female
MFM – male/female/male (men are not sexually involved with each other)
MMF – male/male/female (men are sexually involved with each other as well as the woman)
FMF – female/male/female (women are not sexually involved with each other)
FFM – female/female/male (women are sexually involved with each other as well as the man)
MMM – male/male/male (all men are sexually involved with each other)
FFF – female/female/female (all women are sexually involved with each other)
MMMF – male/male/male/female (men are sexually involved with each other as well as the woman)
MFMM – male/female/male/male (men are not sexually involved with each other)

Knowledge is power. It builds confidence and helps improve writing by creating a strong foundation for a successful career.

This post concludes the WTW career series. Did you miss some of the topics? Or would you like to have them all in a single handbook like WTW: The Writing Craft Handbook? I have good news! WTW: The Writing Career Handbook is coming to e-book and print on Friday, July 18!!! Here's a peek at the cover:

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway + Cover Reveal--Elle Boon

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Elle Boon is back for another visit with her new book, Two for Tamara, from the Ravens of War series. She's sharing a super hot excerpt and giving away a copy! Read about her writing process, check out her brand new cover, and be sure to comment!


Rafe and Vin, had been best friends for thousands of years. They were part of an elite group called the Ravens of War, and were made up of twelve men created by Zeus. When they were no longer needed on Olympus, they’d been sent to Earth to find happiness, and hopefully their Fated.
For Tamara she’d given up finding that one man meant just for her, having the ability to see the future ran in her family. So when she saw her own death, she set out to enjoy what she had left. That didn’t include two larger than life men who claimed she was their one.
Cronus pulled Tamara to Hell, and planned to use her as leverage to get his granddaughter, Selena, whose Tamara’s best friend to bargain for her life.
Rafe, Vin and all the Ravens need the help of the gods and goddesses from Olympus to save not only Tamara, but Earth itself.

Adult Excerpt:
If this was how she was going to die, Tamara was okay with it. In fact, she was ready to sign the papers right then and there.

The feel of a hot, hard body covering her again, and something much larger than fingers or a tongue between her thighs, brought her eyes flying open to see Rafe poised above her. He had that monster he’d assured her would fit, in his right hand, but it was the anxiety in his eyes that gave her the courage to raise her arms and welcome him into her body.

“I’ll go slowly,” he promised.

She nodded. The head was flushed a deep purple, and as he slipped between her thighs she fell back and closed her eyes.

“Hey. Look at me.” Vin turned her face to him. His hand went between her and Rafe.

She was sure she couldn’t come again, that her clit was too sensitive to be touched, but Vin’s fingers proved her wrong.

Rafe entered her an inch at a time. So slowly, she swore it would take him forever before he was fully seated. With Vin playing with her clit, and sucking on her breasts, she didn’t feel any pain, only a slight burn that turned to complete bliss. She wanted to have him fill her completely. Her hips lifted and pressed forward to get his thick shaft deeper, until every inch of him was in her. Finally, when his groin was flush with hers, she stared up into his dark-as-night eyes and realized she wanted to spend forever with these two amazing men. She turned to see Vin was propped up on his elbow staring at them. She reached out to pull him into a deep kiss, wanting him to be connected to her too. She cursed the fates, for allowing her to come to the realization that she was completely and totally in love with not one, but two men, only to take it all away so soon.

With a groan, Rafe started thrusting, going deep and then pulling out. She loved the sound of their flesh slapping, loved the feel of his balls hitting her rear on every downward stroke. Gods, but she actually enjoyed having Vin’s finger there too.

Tamara was lost to everything, except the sensation of lips and tongue, and being filled and loved by two men. Time didn’t matter, her world narrowed down to being with Rafe and Vin, to how it felt to finally know what love was.

Each time Rafe withdrew she whimpered, and then gasped as he pushed back inside. His thrusts sped up. Her body became attuned to his, taking everything he offered and wanting more. She closed her eyes, feeling the tug of Vin’s mouth on her breasts, sending an echo to her clit. The orgasm she was sure she’d not reach again was close.

“Come for me, omorfia mou,” Rafe whispered. And just like that the tingle started in her toes, and worked its way up.

“Yes, god…yes,” she screamed.

Vin released her nipple with a pop.

Rafe continued to thrust his hips, his hands holding her thighs wide until he too groaned out his own satisfaction. He bent and kissed Tamara long and hard. “S’agapo,” he murmured.

As Rafe rolled to the side of the bed Vin wasted no time. She expected him to be a gentle lover, but wasn’t surprised to find he was every bit as large as Rafe, and a bit impatient.

“Good, god almighty. Seriously?” Tamara wasn’t sure how he or Rafe packed all that into their jeans.

“We are size appropriate, love.” Vin winked.

She raised her hands and held them apart. “That is size appropriate.”

Vin stuck his bottom lip out. “Can we discuss this later?”

Tamara laughed. He was just too darn cute.

He dropped down on top of her and rolled. She was still laughing when he sat her astride him. “Do you know how to ride, darling?”

“I think I can figure it out.” She placed her hands on his muscular chest. Neither he nor Rafe had any hair on their chests, but both had a happy trail leading to their groins.

She worried first one, then the other flat male nipple with her tongue, then nipped it with her teeth.

He gripped her hips with his large hands, and while she was rubbing back and forth, teasing them both, he plunged inside her in one swift push.

“Fuck, yes,” he groaned.

“Oh, Vin…” Tamara tossed her head back. He stretched her, gave her no respite. His hands lifted her and brought her back down. He set up a punishing rhythm. And she relished it, sliding down his cock as if he was big enough to split her in two. Only he and Rafe were right. They were made for her, and she was made for them.

Vin groaned, the sound so carnal she knew he was close. His head was tipped back, the cords of muscles in his neck stood out. She had an urge to lean forward and bite him. A hand at her back, pressing her forward, settled the internal debate.

A finger rubbed against her ass, but the pounding of Vin in her pussy and the constant friction against her clit, had her close to coming again.

Buy link:

Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
Elle: I had been beta reading for several authors and they sort of pushed me to try my hand at writing. Since I always had stories in my head it was a normal thing to do, and I am sooo glad I did.

Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Elle: I do and I don’t. I mean I love doing it, and I can see me doing it for the rest of my life (hopefully), but I don’t do it because I have to. In my head people have a career to pay the bills, where writing for me is something I truly love. It’s like reading to me. I couldn’t imagine a day where I wasn’t either writing or reading.

Me: This book is the second in a new series. Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Elle: This is book 2 in my Ravens of War series. I prefer series because it gives me a chance to build a world and characters that people can fall in love with. That’s something I as a reader prefer as well.

Me: Give us some insight into your main character. What makes him/her special?
Elle: I actually have 3 main characters in this story. Two for Tamara has one heroine Tamara Mejia, she’s a feisty Cajun/Spanish woman who has dreams of her future. The heroes are immortal demi-gods and part of Zeus’s Ravens of War Rafe and Vin. Both men are larger than life and will do anything to protect the one woman fate had chosen as their Fated. Picture The Rock for Rafe and Vin Diesel for Vin, those were the two men I pictured while writing the characters lol.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Elle: I just finished book 3 Jaklyn’s Saviors in the series and have started book 4 Kira’s Heroes. So far all the stories are going to be ménage and super HOT, but other than that I think they are all very different, especially Jaklyn’s story. And here's a peek at my brand new cover!

Author Bio:
I’m a wife and mother who is a retired stay at home mom. I say retired because my youngest is 14. When my baby went to school, reading saved my sanity, and then the same year he started school, I was diagnosed with Cancer, again reading saved my sanity. When I recovered and realized how quickly life changed I made a bucket list. The number one thing was to live. Check. On that list was to become a published author. Eight years later I have accomplished that goal and several others.
I live in the Midwest, but am a southern girl with only a slight twang who says y’all quite frequently and am known to say “bless your heart” A LOT. If you know what that means, you do not want to be the one I say that too lol. I cuss worse than if a trucker and a sailor were put together, but I do it with class lol.
I write what I love to read, erotic romance. My books are definitely full of lots of story, but I leave nothing to the imagination when it comes to the sex. My hope, is that after my readers have read one of my stories they fall in love with my characters as much as I have.
The best part of my new journey is that I get to create new worlds and have all kinds of stories in my head just waiting to be written.
I love to hear from readers, you can find me on twitter or Facebook or my website, but I’m on Facebook all the time, so find me, I’d love to hear from you ☺

Facebook profile:
Facebook page:
Amazon author page:

Remember to comment by midnight EDT on Wednesday, July 16, for a chance to win a copy of Two for Tamara!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Hybridization

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. 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.

Authors have many choices in today’s publishing world—traditional, small press, digital first, e-press, self-pub. The best part is being able to choose more than one, otherwise known as Hybridization.

What makes a hybrid author?

A writer who uses two or more publishing platforms for her work is said to be a hybrid author. Examples: a series contracted to an e-press, a different series self-published, another series published by a digital-first publisher, and a three-book contract with a traditional publisher OR two self-published books and a series published by an e-press with POD. Any combination of traditional, e-published, and/or self-published is defined as hybrid.

Why go hybrid?

By publishing through multiple venues, an author builds a strong foundation for her career. If one publisher goes out of business, she has other publishing options to make her work available to readers. Income stops from only one source.

Publishers can and do shut their doors. It happens quite often with small e-publishers. Some are in business to make money from authors’ books by not paying royalties on time or at all. If an author chooses to write for a single publishing company, she risks losing her sole source of writing income.

The Big 6 has shrunk to the Big 5 and will likely fall to the Big 4 soon. If a traditionally published author is dropped by these less-risk-taking publishers, she needs a safety net in place. Starting over with a new publishing house is difficult for the vast majority of writers. Expanding, while having an existing career, isn’t nearly as stressful.

Not all royalties are paid on the same schedule. Hybrid authors may receive payments more frequently than single-house authors—monthly, quarterly, or biannually, depending on the publisher or self-publishing venue.

More publishing platforms can mean more exposure and more readers. This is especially true of e-presses (digital only, digital first, and digital/print). Many have loyal customers because they have a large selection of genre- or sub-genre-specific books. When buyers encounter new authors on the site, they often purchase based on their experience with the publisher.

Although self-publishing currently yields higher royalty rates, those rates may decrease as supersized vendors adjust their business plans. What is now a 70% royalty on a $3.99 book may become 60% or lower without much warning.

Diversification gives authors a bit of job stability in these unpredictable days. Keep the options open and look out for that writing career. What’s your backup plan?

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Mary Lou George

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! This week's guest is Mary Lou George and she's giving us a glimpse at her contemporary story, Saving Destiny. She's also sharing a peek at her writing process and what's next! Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Saving Destiny!

Sloan Ridgeway and Mac Watson's fairy tale ended in tragically-ever-after. For years they've been separated by the grief and guilt surrounding his little sister's death. Devastated, Sloan traded small-town Kentucky for star studded big cities and tabloid fame, but life in the limelight was filled with emptiness and betrayal.
When one more highly publicized broken engagement sends Sloan home to lick her wounds she comes face-to-face with Mac. He obviously hasn't forgotten the past, but despite his antagonism, he's more compelling than ever. To save herself the heartbreak, Sloan vows to keep out of his way, but destiny won't let her. Desperate to rescue an abused horse in foal, Sloan is forced to enlist Mac's help.
Working together day after day begins to reignite the passion they once felt for each other. But is passion enough? Can Sloan and Mac breathe new life into their malnourished hearts and prove that true love trumps tragedy every time?

Buy Link:

Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Mary Lou: Yes please. I hope and I pray. I can’t help myself. I just love telling stories.

Me: Give us some insight into your main character. What makes him/her special?
Mary Lou: Sloan Ridgeway is the daughter of an alcoholic mother and an absent father. Most would think the fact that she’s heir to millions is what makes her special, but that’s so far from the truth. After tragedy ruined Sloan’s relationship with Mac Watson she led a life that titillated millions of tabloid readers. Think Paris Hilton without the sex tape and entitled, vapid attitude. Everyone, including Sloan believes she was driving the car that killed Mac’s little sister. What relationship could survive that? But what no one else knows is that Sloan suffered retrograde amnesia in the crash and can’t remember what precipitated the accident. It takes a great deal of courage and grit, but after ten years she returns home and faces a town that hates her and the man she’s never forgotten. Mac makes it clear he can’t stand the sight of her, but that doesn’t stop her from enlisting his help to save a pregnant horse in desperate need. Sloan puts the welfare of the innocent before her own comfort. She’s been hurt more than anyone knows, but her pain just fuels her determination to do the right thing. She’s worthy of a happy ending and soon everyone realizes it.

Me: I love a good conflict. What draws your main characters to each other and keeps them apart?
Mary Lou: At the beginning of Saving Destiny Sloan and Mac have already fallen in love and been torn apart by tragedy. Who could forgive the person who killed your sister? But love really can perform miracles. Green Hills is a small town and Sloan has a very big personality and a burning need to do the right thing. For the sake of a horse in desperate need, she bargains, badgers and begs for Mac’s help. The horse’s need supersedes Mac’s resentment. The past hasn’t erased their physical attraction and resisting it only ratchets the tension tighter and tighter until they give in, only to have reason pull them back again. While working together for a common goal – something therapists recommend for couples seeking to heal – Mac and Sloan’s friendship begins to reassert itself. Passion and friendship leads them back to love.

Me: How did you come up with the title?
Mary Lou: My sister has dedicated her life to horses. She named one particular beauty, Destiny, and I always loved that name – so I stole it. Sloan and Mac are destined to be together and saving a beaten and starved Destiny brings them back together. Thus, Saving Destiny.

Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Mary Lou: I’m like you. For some reason I get a great deal of work done while I’m driving. That doesn’t mean other drivers need worry. It’s all done in my head. I’m a hands free thinker. If I’m stuck on something I just go for a long drive and grease the wheels in my mind. Pity the people in the car with me. They’ll get no scintillating conversation out of me for the duration. There’s plenty of pity to go around because I’ll use anything as inspiration. If a friend’s husband done her wrong his name somehow ends up in one of my books. Trust me, I make him the big bad.

Me: What new stories are you working on?
Mary Lou: I’ve got a number of projects on the go. I’m editing the fourth book in my New Crescent Series. Originally, the series was mapped out as a trilogy, but too many people had a hankerin’ for more of that magical little town and Travis has so many brothers. I’m plotting out a novel about two people who where ‘just friends’ in high school and meet again after the hero’s wife leaves him for another woman and the heroine has embraced her spinsterhood. Yes I’m bringin’ spinster back! The second book in my Bloodstalker Series is germinating. My brother-in-law is a Baron. That’s right, a real Baron. His family had their castle confiscated by the Russians during WWII. His noble heritage is going to be the inspiration for an interesting family of vampires. And, I’m also flirting with a follow up to Saving Destiny. My editor commented, “I love Erick!” and fell into my trap. All Erick’s salty goodness is going to get a story of its own.

Author Bio:
Canadian Mary Lou George worked in the design studio of a major Art Museum for over twenty years. The creative atmosphere there helped to keep her imagination fertile and her humor ever at the ready. These days she concentrates on the art of romance. Hailing from a long line of earth mothers and animal lovers, her home is filled with love and laughter. Mary believes there’s a little bit of magic in each of us and working hard for the happy ending is always worth the effort. She’s written 4 mainstream, paranormal romances and one mainstream mystery romance for Siren/Bookstrand. Her sixth book, Saving Destiny (published February 2014) is the first straight up mainstream romance story she’s crafted. The print edition is also available.

Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page:

I love second-chance romances, don't you? Remember to comment by midnight on Wednesday, July 9, for a chance to win Saving Destiny!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Piracy

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. 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.

Piracy can be one of the most infuriating issues for writers. In this digital age, the practice of stealing artists’ work is far more prevalent than pre-internet days. Although pirates have been copying music and movies and distributing those illegal copies for decades, the ability to upload files has changed the landscape. Any artwork that exists online—music, movies, photographs, books, etc.—is a target for people who participate in the criminal activity known as piracy.

Pirates and those who frequent pirate sites are, more often than not, people who wouldn’t normally purchase the work they’re stealing. Some simply believe art should be free. Most just want to get something for nothing, whether they really want it or not. Unfortunately, other sources of pirated books include reviewers and contest winners.

What’s an author to do?

Authors can locate (some) pirated works with Google alerts and by using paid services like Muso to search for them. DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notices are sent by authors and publishers to pirate sites for the removal of pirated files. However, DMCA is US copyright law and many pirate sites are based overseas. Effectiveness of takedown notices is questionable at best for sites located outside the US since they aren’t subject to the laws. In some cases, users download viruses or have personal information stolen from pirates. Payback???

Few authors and their books avoid piracy. It’s a battle with no end. If the site removes the files, will they reappear a few days later? Do I want to give up writing time to deal with this side of the publishing business? Do the people who download books from pirate sites actually read them? Is it truly a lost sale?

Yes, piracy is wrong, but each author must weigh the pros and cons of conducting searches or paying for someone else to do the searching and sending takedown notices.

Go to the source. If a review site upload seems to coincide with pirated copies popping up, reconsider using that review site. Research reviewers and choose carefully. For contests, give gift codes or gift cards rather than the actual e-book file. Some contest participants and blog commenters are serial entrants with the sole purpose of uploading their winnings to file-sharing sites.

Another must—NEVER post the link to a pirate site on social media. Shaming doesn’t work and the source may be inadvertently shared with the wrong people. Share with authors in private to avoid guiding more users to sources of pirated books.

A combination of prevention and takedown notices can reduce the number of pirated copies, but the reality remains that in a digital society, piracy will not disappear. Be proactive, and leave time and emotion for writing.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!