Raven Rambles on Etiquette

Hi all, Raven here, with Thursday thoughts on etiquette…

Yeah, weird do you think?  Etiquette and not the ‘don’t slurp your tea from the saucer’ kind. Although don’t do that either in polite company.

I’m talking about the do’s and don’ts of authoring.

title question mark cover

Be you established or not there are some things you just do not do.


Actually this applies to all people; authors, authors-to-be or not.

Etiquette can take many forms. From remembering to say please and thank you, to putting your knife and fork side by side when you have finished eating.


(source: Pinterest thepropdispensary)

To opening doors and not bloody well hijacking other peoples Fb post.

Hold on, I haven’t finished.

Is this a rant? I guess so, but not on my behalf. I saw a thread where one author congratulated another on her new release and a wannabe jumped in and asked for details of agents editors and so on. Wanted specifics.

Now we all like to help each other but was this good etiquette? No it certainly wasn’t.

First of all it was a post congratulating someone. Nothing to do with the wannabe.

Second, asking in an open post about specifics is not the place.

Third not every publishing house is suitable for every story.

Fourth, do not get stroppy if all this is politely pointed out to you.

Fifth, it is not your god given right to be helped right down to pulling your panties up for you. It was very politely and correctly pointed out to the wannabe that what she has previously said to someone she was writing was nowhere near the same genre as the person she was persistently asking for specifics from. Research is the key.

Six, Etiquette says you say very politely, sorry for hijacking the thread/harassing you.

Seven, (last one I promise) If you have queries find out who writes what you are and ask them, very politely if they have any recommendations. And do not be surprised if they say no. If you have a friend who writes (or has written) for a publisher you are interested you can ask them privately if they are happy etc and what’s the pros and cons. But that is it. And if they say they can’t go into specifics for whatever reason, accept it.

Now we all here at NQ write for Evernight, and yeah we love it because why on earth would we still here and typing away furiously if we didn’t. But even we know that EP might not be a good fit for certain people. (round pegs, square holes etc)

Writers on the whole are always ready to help each other, people who still aren’t published, readers, hell the man in the moon. If they can. But if they can’t… do not berate them.

Etiquette is the key…Well one of them. Next weeks post is another…

Happy Reading,

Love Raven xx

Wicked Wednesday with @aprilzyon

School is back in session for most of the US and I’m sure that there are a lot of writer moms who are singing the praises of school and thanking heavens for the buses that come and take their angels away for 8 hours a day.

Not because they don’t love their kids, but because finally, FINALLY, they can write!

I know that this was how I felt when my kids were little and it was school time again.

Why do we love this time of year so much?

Because we have a couple of hours each day where we can sit down and simply write. A couple of hours where we can simply either outline, plot, plan or (*GASP*) relax!

Yep, that’s right, I said it – RELAX.

Yes, writing is something that we would rather be doing. Don’t get me wrong. I would much rather be writing than doing anything else in the world however the simple truth is that we are human and we all need to take a moment to relax. We need to recharge our batteries and we need to relax our minds or else we will not be able to create the fabulous stories that are inside of our minds.

Now my darlings, our kids are all at school, so bring out a notebook and sit outside while it is still warm outside and go out and start to write. It doesn’t have to be your next best seller, hell it can be your grocery list for that matter, just do something. Write, get yourself accustomed to simply working your way through that routine once again.

I know that this is a short and rambling post, but I am in the middle of edits on 2 books and working on writing another sooo…. let me give you some of the eye candy that I’m drooling over while I’m working❤

All of today’s images come from the fabulous and amazing Furious Fotog. They are – AMAZING!!!


Facebook censorship #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, peeps, Doris here. As the title says I’m tackling Facebook and its seeming censorship of Erotic Authors.

Harsh words, you bet, but you know it’s there without a doubt. I’ve long since given up trying to boost anything on my Facebook Author page, for instance, because for some reason best known to themselves FB has decided that I am selling sexual services….

Puzzled Confused Lost Signpost Showing Puzzling Problem

Erm, ooookayyyyy, that’s news to me. As puzzling as that is, I simply shrugged and decided to keep my money. Egg on your face, Facebook, and yes I did try to contest it, but I could try to boost a status saying, “Nice weather, we’re having,” and it would still be rejected in record time.


So, like I said I don’t bother. I’m also careful to adhere to the rules as I understand them, and things that have landed me in the dreaded Facebook Jail before.

Are you ready?

WARNING: Snark, sarcasm and a hard dose of get a life and smell the roses, Facebook, coming up.

No butt crack on men, in particular, not even the hint of one. (Found that out when one of my sexy men showed half a butt cheek in profile) Oh my goodness, the sheer horror of that..😉

No nipples showing on females. They are über dangerous, don’tcha  know, and FB has been known to remove images of breastfeeding mothers for showing too much nipple. I mean how dare these mothers flash their nipples at folks, when they’re feeding their babies, eh? Don’t they know they’re dangerous weapons… which, come to think of it they could be…. of the milk squirting variety. Hussies, I say, the lot of them myself included in that😉

This is despite their supposed policy on NOT removing breastfeeding pictures.

What else will land you in hot water… let’s see.

Two men kissing….

The slightest hint of peen will get you thrown off. Heck even catching a glimpse/mere shadow of pubic hair can land you on FB’s radar.

Anything overtly sexual, though that seems wide open to interpretation, and therein lies the problem. Add to that FB’s policy of letting anyone report a picture, post for whatever reason, and you can see how us erotic authors can easily get into  trouble.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself. My author page for instance is set to an over 18 audience only, and I share anything slightly raunchy from there. I also take care to crop pictures. This hunk for instance, you may or may not get away with on FB.


Depending on how daring I feel on the day, I would probably crop him a bit more, to avoid that hint of pubic hair.

This would certainly get you thrown off.😉 Avert your eyes if a bit of peen offends you.


Yes, I’m shamelessly indulging in posting hunks, bite me…


On a serious note, though, those rules  ^^^ are relatively easy to follow, but every once in a while FB does something that makes me scratch my head in wonder.

As you’ll no doubt know, I post teases and flashes on my personal blog every Tuesday and Friday. I’ve been known to crop many a pic to make it FB safe, but I didn’t feel the need to do it for this one.

fff19th august

Bear in mind that would have come up as thumbnail size only with a link to my blog. Well, you’d have thought I committed mass murder.  FB first started deleting the link every time I tried to post it, then blocked it outright, and if that wasn’t enough, I was required to jump through hoops every time I wanted to post ANYTHING after that.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of being at the receiving end of their security feature of having to click on pictures of waterfalls, tigers, or flowers etc…. well, let me tell, you, you’re missing out, NOT.

Funnily enough after I send a snarky message telling the powers that be to get a life that security feature disappeared in  a puff of smoke. However, I’ve been known to have to do that for days at a time, and it sure get wearing.

Needless to say, FB never came back to me as to why all that kerfuffle happened in the first place. I’m still baffled as to what was so offensive about this picture, other than a woman enjoying herself with… gasp…. TWO men.

And that really is my gripe. Rules are all well and good, and when you sign up to any Social Media you undertake to follow their rules, but how exactly are you supposed to manage that when FB keeps changing the goal posts.

It seems to me it all depends which current prude is in charge of the censor button.

And it does seem like censorship when gay pictures are targeted, for instance, or perfectly acceptable covered couples, breastfeeding mothers or in the case of one of my readers, a political meme…

So, where does that leave all of us using FB? Well, for starters, be aware of the easily offended brigade, and try to stay clear of them, as much as you can. Especially if you’re an erotic author, because, believe me, it tends to make you a target for any nut job out there. Be careful who you friend, and if in any doubt, crop those questionable pics, or use something else.

It sucks, it truly does, as in most cases you wouldn’t see anything more than you would on a beach…. but hey… heaven forbid we embrace our sexual sides on FB. And don’t get me started on the amount of truly sickening stuff on FB which slips by the radar. You know the stuff, porn videos, beastiality, beating of children,  violence and hate speech, all of which FB has policies for, yet, when you report them, somehow they don’t go against community guidelines.

Show a topless man, and good grief… Call the decency police😉

*shakes head in wonder*

What can we do about it? Well, not a lot. For all its faults I do like FB, and I spend far too much time on there. It’s great for keeping up with your friends near and far, and of course it can be a great promotion tool for us authors.

I just wish they stood by their own freaking guidelines.

*steps off soapbox*

That’s all from me today, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx



A Rose By Any Other Name…

Ravennas Monday MumblingsWelcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!

Today I’d like to talk about character names and how to choose them.

This is probably as individualized as each writer’s unique voice. There is no wrong or right way to choose a name, but one thing I would caution is not to choose one that someone well-known or highly recognizable is using. The last thing you want is to become tangled up in legal issues because someone took exception to you using their name, or one very close to it, in an erotic romance novel. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but your good intentions could easily be misconstrued.

So, aside from scouring the tabloids or CNN for name ideas, where do you begin?

roseI like to match up the type of genre with my character names if possible. For example, if I’m writing something historical, I would research common names from that period, and then branch out a bit so not everyone is called William or Mary. Research also has a more practical purpose. If you’re writing a romance set in the Middle Ages, for example, you might want to make sure the name you choose was in use during that time.

Fantasy romance, anyone? The sky’s the limit here. Readers of fantasy love complicated, difficult-to-spell names that are taken from old legends or mythical languages. So have a great time, but make sure your readers can at least make a stab at pronouncing the name while they read it. Either that, or provide a glossary that spells out the more unusual names phoenetically.

Paranormal romance readers tend to like their hero names dark and brooding, to go along with that whole alpha thing. Strong, dominant names are also preferred. Poke around ghost stories, old legends, and gothic stories for ideas.

baby-namesWhen writing contemporary, literally anything goes, but you can still individualize your character’s names by choosing something about them to focus on. Their heritage, for example, or perhaps they were named after a beloved family member, and that person plays a part in the story?

Aside from googling “baby names,” or “most popular girl names in 1969,” you can also search sites like the ones below:

http://babynames.net With this one, you can search by letter of first name, country of origin, or even decade.

http://www.mithrilandmages.com/utilities/MedievalBrowse.php This is an awesome site to use even if you aren’t writing an historical. You can search it to find unusual names from any era.

http://ilovewerewolves.com/wolf-names-and-meanings/ Wolf names, anyone?

http://www.20k-names.com/index.htm This is another site where you can find female or male names from almost any country on the planet.

btn5It can be challenging coming up with names you haven’t used, especially when you’re up there in the double digits of books published, but for me, that’s half the fun of shaping a new character.

Whatever name you choose, make sure you own it. Make that character unique, and the name will stand out because of the person.

Until next week, Happy Writing!!

You’d better be sure #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira


Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday post. Today’s subject is one that we’ve touched on before here on NQ, but it bears repeating. Especially considering some of the things I’ve seen come up in my feed, both personal and author, on social media of late. So let’s get right to it…

Be Pro, or Anti whatever, but be well informed in your stance

Group of people carrying.We all have the right to our opinions, otherwise known as freedom of speech. As an author though you need to be aware that every little thing you write on your social media feeds may well come back to bite you in the ass. As I’ve mentioned before, the Internet never forgets, and people are always at the ready to image capture whatever you’ve just posted. Don’t think they aren’t. There is always someone out there more than willing, and definitely ready to use whatever you’ve said to their advantage. Even if they have to twist it out of context to fit their needs, and to their benefit.

Before you clamber up onto your soapbox let’s think this through carefully:

  • Should you be putting this on your Author page?
  • Are you ready for the backlash/response this is likely to garner? Remember, there’s always someone who is ready to disagree just because they can, even if they don’t believe in their own stance.
  • Would you put this up on your personal page (ie: non-Author) where your friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and family members can read it?
  • Do you truly believe this, or are you hopping on someone else’s bandwagon because you think it’s what you should be saying/doing?
  • Do you have all the facts, hard and coldly laid out, and are sure there is no way anyone could refute what you’ve said? ie: You didn’t get your facts off the Net from a “questionable” source.

If you answered NO to any of the above, then what the ever loving fuck are you doing?

I am not an overly political person, and while I do have strong opinions I do not feel the need to share them with the entire world. I know, you’re sitting there going, well I have two hundred “friends”, that’s hardly the world Moira. True. But let’s think this through shall we? Say five “friends” share your post, and five of their “friends” share that post, and then five of those folks “friends” share the post… Are you seeing where I’m going with this?

Good publicity flows like a gentle stream steady and sure, but bad publicity roars along like a flood destroying everything in it’s path. People are more than willing to spread the love, don’t get me wrong. Bad publicity, or anything foot-in-mouth though gets an inordinate amount of attention, and can go viral fast. When you go viral you don’t want it to be because of something you said in the heat of the moment, do you?

Footprint on a rainbow colored trail is leaving into darkness. Vector illustration.The saying is that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but that isn’t entirely true. If you’re seeking to be known as a rule breaker, a rogue, or someone bucking the system then go right ahead and say whatever whenever. Just remember that the reputation you create online will follow you through your career as an author. There is, after all a difference between having an opinion, and being strongly opinionated. Do you really want to tarnish your author brand, your name and reputation, by posting anything inflammatory (which is just about anything these days) on your author page?

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you need to chose your battles, and your platform well. Ask yourself if you want whatever you are posting to be forever associated with the image you have created as an author. Question if it would better be said from your personal persona rather than the author one. Hell, decide if you really need to post it at all. With all that is out there on social media these days, do you really want to be the one to supply more fuel to the fire? While some folks are out to pick a fight no matter what you post (recipe, puppy pic, or your opinion) sometimes it’s best to keep your hands off the keyboard.

Now, I’ve said my piece, and it’s really up to you to decide for yourself. So I’m out of here, and you should be too. Get out and enjoy the day however you see fit.

XO Moira Callahan

Passionate couple in studio

Story Comes First. Always. #SatisfactionSaturday #AspiringAuthors (@KaceyHammell)


Kacey here wishing you a good morning and Happy Saturday!  Another week has flown by and boy did it fly by. It’s amazing where the time goes isn’t it? I’ve been steadily working on my WIP this week and happy to say I’m just about ready to cross the finish line. This book will be done!

But that’s neither here nor there, today isn’t about that, but actually in a way, a family member who has had the urge to write! I’m thrilled to hear this and am eager to read a finished story by her! And incidentally enough, we had a long conversation via text last evening with a bunch of questions. It made me think of this blog and aspiring authors. So I wanted to share a bit with you some of that conversation, things I told her about the crazy writing life, how to begin and what to strive for first. Then focus on that.

And first and foremost what to strive for, is writing the story. That has to be the priority. Worry about all the other stuff that comes later after the story(ies) is complete.

Many think, at least some aspiring authors, assume that it’s as easy as just sitting down and writing a book. Unfortunately, it really isn’t. There are many areas that a writer usually needs to pursue/look into that will enhance their writing. Not only are that hundreds of great articles/information sites for writing online but there are also dictionaries, thesaurus’, grammar texts etc., that I would encourage new writers to read through/learn about before dropping in the chair to magically see words appear from their fingertips.

I have been asked many times to read a new author’s manuscripts and I wish I had time to read them all. I will read some but unfortunately there isn’t always time but I encourage writers to look for critique partners, which I have stated in past posts, and alpha/beta readers to help them learn and grow. I don’t care who might agree with me and if no one else does that is fine, but IMO there is no author that goes into writing knowing everything there is to know about the profession. It takes skill, continual building of the author’s craft and years under their belts to hone that craft.  I also suggest doing some writer workshops online or at conferences. There are many workshops that pertain to individual genres. Each author has to learn what genre they are best suited for, or if they plan to cover multiple ones, but they still need to build what they know and hone their expertise. No author, again my opinion, is perfect. It’s always a profession where an author will learn new things, understand new view points and how to take their writing to the highest level imaginable. One that will probably exceed anything they ever dreamed of before. Start with a synopsis of what your story looks like in your mind, how you see every aspect progresses, every conflict and resolution, and the little (yet big) things in between all of that. Lay it out on paper or on screen how you see your characters, what makes them tick and all their traits that you see in your mind. While I’ve flown by the seat of my pants a time or two (which means I’m a pantser), there are times as well when I am a planner who outlines and writes out the synopsis first, then writes. It works both ways for me, depends on the story, but as I learn and discover new things about my writing and my creativity, outlining has been working best in the last year. Every writer has to figure out what works best for them. And it’s okay if your process changes with every book you write, as you grow into a better writer.


Writing has to come from within the writer. The drive and determination to be successful sometimes takes a back seat to the need and passion to put those words on paper. Stoke that passion, build on it and CREATE! There is nothing better (for me as a reader) to feel an author’s love of writing from their words and the world they built. As new authors, it is important to really sink your teeth into the kind of writer you want to be, what the story needs and pushing the characters to the very limits within their story. As I told my cousin, it sometimes takes more than one story/manuscript to realize the full potential of one’s mind and their passion for writing. The author must always push themselves to be better, do better and be the best they can be. It is what drives me 9 times out of 10, and authors are their own biggest critics and nemesis. Sorry for sounding like I’m recruiting for the Army, I am not LOL, but the same logic applies … no one wants to do anything that isn’t their very best.

So while new authors are searching for an agent, the biggest editor and that “big 6” publisher, just sit down and write a story or two – sometimes multiple times until you’re satisfied it can be seen by others – and learn your craft. Learn what it takes to go into writing a full and complete story. From world building, to character depth/development to researching the minute and sometimes substantial details in your story, to even adding a title to your book, they are crucial. Each of those aspects is facets in and of themselves that have to be worked on in any and all stories. I could go on for pages and pages to cover each and every single one, but those might be posts for future posts.

And new authors need to read as much as possible. Don’t just read the genre you think you’ll write in, at least not all the time, but branch out and read authors / genres you never though you would. But read the best books out there by the best authors. Learn from the best, that’s something you can’t really go wrong with. It’s rare that an author reaches instant success overnight, and everyone has their own idea of what success is.

And with whatever your definition is of success, remember … success really simply is never giving up, never saying I quit, never throwing in the towel. I was a new author once many years ago, and though I set it aside to deal with a personal loss in my life, I am glad I finally picked up that pen again. There are days that you’ll want to throw it all out the window and yell I can’t but those are the days to take a breather then open the story the next day and remember what it is that you love about your it and why you love writing.


Until next week. Happy writing!

Kacey (2)



The Conundrum: Freaky Friday with Michelle Roth

Hey there, kids. Sorry about last week’s post. It got lost in the shuffle. Real life.. well. It exploded a bit. I’m managed to put out the dumpster fire, though. We’re back on track! Swearsies.

So… this is what I’ve been pondering the last few weeks. It’s a question that I think we’ve all faced, or will have to face at some point. Do we write what we WANT to write, or do we write what’s selling at the moment? The allure of hopping on a bandwagon, selling tons of books and making millions is strong. There’s no shame in it. But is it the right move for you?

Rather than tell you what to do, I’m going to share my story with you.

A lifelong reader, I just randomly decided that I wanted to write a book one day. It never occurred to me to write anything other than what I wanted to read the first go-round. It was an emotional, heartfelt contemporary romance that was more about me exorcising my own personal demons than anything else.

The pragmatist in me shudders at the miniscule amount of money that book made. The writer/human being is ultimately satisfied with the final product. I put hours upon hours into this thing. My pain, my sexy thoughts, my hopes, my fears. The book was me. Isn’t that worth $4.99?

In short, to most people, not really. It’s the harsh reality of the publishing. So, for me, it’s a constant war between the two. Can I justify the sacrifice of my time, energy, and the strain on my relationships that writing gives me without any sort of real hope for financial compensation?

I’ve got some great contemporary romance ideas, but… those don’t really sell very well. The market is absolutely flooded with them. So, do I write the story I want to write, even though no one will read it? (If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one there, does it still make a sound?)

I’ve also got a couple of paranormal series that I’m working on, too. Those tend to sell pretty well. Like, impressively, surprisingly well. I’m not in love with them, though. They don’t speak to me in the way that my contemporary books do. I enjoy writing them, but not in the same way. So do I keep chugging along?

Ultimately, I’ve decided take a page from George Clooney’s book on this. (Yes. It’s so punny. I know) It’s his policy to do “One for me, one for them”.  Basically, he takes on a pet project, then does something for the masses. I think it will be the easiest way to balance art and business.

In closing, the simple answer is.. there isn’t a simple answer. It’s a question that we all have to answer for ourselves. I can only hope that my aimless rambles helped😉

Until next time, I bid you adieu.


Michelle Roth


Raven rambles on square pegs in round holes in Thursday thoughts

*waves* Hi this is Raven again and rambling on… Who are we?


One of the first things a lot of people wonder when they have had their first book is what next? Followed by ohh so I’m a whatever (insert what sub genre you want) author. You know Regency, Sci Fi, BDSM whatever. Pigeonholed yourself have you?

And then panic sets in.

A screaming woman and books

ARGH but must I stick to it? Can I write another book along those lines? Am I really that sort of author?

Well you are and you aren’t.

Unless you want to be.

Now some publishers do like to buttonhole you as an x y or z author. Other such as Evernight don’t. That my lovely Evernight friends (and anyone else) is a big fat bonus.

After all, a lot of people when they start out aren’t sure just where their voice or muse will take them.

Yes they’ve enjoyed writing whatever it is but sometimes they’ll get a little voice in their ear whispering to them…

‘Why not write a *****?’ (insert sub genre of your choice)

Yes, why not? Nothing is stopping you/them/me/us.

You don’t know what you can do until you try.

I’ll stick my neck out here and be brutal. It might be crap. You (I’ll go from they to you, as you are reading this, whoever you are) might choose something you don’t know enough about, and get pulled up with a sorry but rejection letter. (Research is your friend, believe me.) You might get a no because it isn’t right for you. (I couldn’t write sci fi or horror for a fortune. Not my scene.) That’s the square peg in the round hole bit.

You night get a R and R revise and resubmit) or you might get the ‘we would be happy to…’

But you won’t know until you let your muse out to play, and discover your peg fits perfectly. A happy day.

Don’t be shy.

You won’t know unless you try.

See and now I’ve discovered I’m a poet, and I really didn’t know it.


Happy writing,


Love Raven x

Wicked Wednesday with @aprilzyon

Hello all and welcome to Wicked Wednesday with me, April Zyon! I’m writing today about edits and about this amazing thing called an “Editor’s Pick”!

No, I’m not going to self promote myself because that’s not what this blog is all about but I wanted to tell all of you that its one of the best feelings when your editor feels your book is good enough to have a little red mark on it that denotes that it is an Editor’s Pick.

This is an amazing feeling! It really is! I love this feeling! I really do.

Now, another reason I’m writing this post. Edits!

Editors are amazing!


Seriously, not just because one of my books was chosen as an editors pick but because you learn a great deal about yourself while you are viewing yourself through your editor’s eyes.

I’ve had a number of editors in my time as an author and I have got to tell you, the editors that I’ve had with Evernight have by far and wide been the best that I’ve ever had.


They’ve opened my eyes to the things that I’ve done wrong and have helped break me of some of my really, really bad habits and I’m super excited about that.

The hard part….

Remembering what they taught me. Seriously I try to remember that they’ve taught me something, that they’ve given me some amazing tools but I find myself more often than not falling back into some of my terrible, terrible habits.


So I’ve tried to start to keep a notepad in order to keep the notes that the editors at Evernight have been giving me. I’m trying very hard to become a better author, and one that doesn’t need as much editing as what I need right now.

Here are a couple things to help you all out…




**this one is HUGE for me…


and finally one last one to help you out (and me too🙂 )


In the meantime, I owe HUGE THANKS to every single editor that I’ve had over the years and especially the Editors that I’ve had with Evernight Publishing.❤

Now, the reason that everyone is here….

Today’s images come to us from Hottest Men with Tattoos


Brutal Honesty Required #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, folks, Doris here. Today’s thoughts are on the need for beta readers, critique partners, call them what you will, as long as you have one. And, really, if you’re serious about this writing business, whether you’re an aspiring author, a newbie author, or have a hundred plus books under your belt, you need that extra pair of eyes.

I recently read somewhere that some authors with the big five have a clause in their contract that they don’t need edits.


Oooookaayyy then. Putting aside the over inflated ego bit there for a minute, really? I mean, REALLY?

You think you’re that good that you don’t benefit from a critical eye cast over your story.


Thoughtful businessman sitting at the table with laptop in office


Do me and the rest of the world a favor and get out of here.

That’s the biggest load off bull crap I ever heard! For starters, we’re blind to our own mistakes. As Authors we know our characters inside out (or should do, more on that later), we know what we meant to say, read what we want to be there, and of course the story makes sense. It’s an entirely different thing to the reader. They’ll be left scratching their heads in wonder. At best they laugh, at worst they give up on what could have been a good story, and quite possibly won’t bother to read you again.

While this can happen to any author, some stories just don’t resonate with even the most loyal reader of your work, you can avoid that by making sure you have your fail saves in place.

Long before your story hits the editing stage, and whether you’re traditionally published or self pubbed, you should have had someone else check your story.

This can be an in-depth ‘redit’ as the lovely Raven McAllan and I call our beta reading, or simply a read over by someone you trust. What it must be is honest. Brutal honesty is required, as the title says, because otherwise… What is the point?

I was reminded of this over the weekend. As I mentioned on here in a previous blog, I’ve spent a few days with Raven and my oldest daughters in Scotland.

jo and i

We had a lovely time and among other things I asked her to read over a ms that I wasn’t enthused with. I kept stalling on it. I would have little flashes of inspiration, and then it would fizzle out and well… something clearly wasn’t working, yet I had no clue what.

I did like the story, knew what needed to happen, but.

That BUT kept niggling at me. I mean I had 28 K of this damn story, so why couldn’t I finish it. Raven had previously read bits of it, and loved it, so I was stumped. What she hadn’t done was read it in one with a truly critical eye, because we normally don’t do that until we’ve written the story and typed those magic two words.

Well, the way I was going The End was never going to happen, so I e-mailed those 28 K to Raven, grabbed the Gin and braced myself.

Let me tell you, the feedback Raven gave me within the first few paragraphs alone made me cringe and want to hide. What hurt the most was this comment.

“Doris, I want to shake you. I’m disappointed in you. This is a good enough story, but you don’t write just good enough. You write great stories. Make me feel. Make me care. You’re not doing this here…”

I shan’t bore with you the rest of what she said, but those 28 K came back to me with one recurring theme.


I make Raven sound a right nag, but, you know what. That was the kick up the jacksy I needed. From the first comment she made on the first page, I knew she was right. I just hadn’t been able to SEE it.

Even now when I just read it, I don’t see it, and then I look at her comments and it’s like yeah. She was and is so right.

Did I like being told, I was short-changing not only myself but also any potential reader of this story? Hell no.

But I knew Raven would tell me the truth, and that’s what I needed. I know she worried about her blunt delivery, but sometimes you need to be blunt. Raven and I know each other inside out, and I knew for her to be this cruel to be kind, I really messed up with this story. That’s why I wasn’t happy with it after all.

To prove the point, I added over 1 K to that story just in the first few paragraphs.

This, for instance:

If only she had the courage to go up on the auction stage herself. However, the mere thought of anyone bidding on her, gave her palpitations…

Became this:

She wiped her clammy hands on her barely there skirt and frowned. In truth the itty bitty floral concoction she chose to wear to the club was far too short for a woman her age, but so the fuck what. She was done with conforming and wondering what other folks thought of her. Besides, if you couldn’t be yourself at a kink club, where could you be? Not that she had the courage to truly let herself go. If she had she’d be up there on that stage.  The amounts subs went for in these Auctions never ceased to amaze her. She so wanted to be one of them. However, the mere thought of anyone bidding on her, made her already far too fast heartbeat reach dangerous levels. She could see the headlines now.

Woman gave herself a heart attack in sex club.

I think you can see the difference, right?

As Raven quite rightly pointed out, I needed to delve deeper, much deeper. Show, not tell. That last one is a classic newbie mistake, and, heck, I know better.

Why did I skim the surface on this story? Who knows. I haven’t got an answer to that one, but I do have a Raven, who helps to keep me on the straight and narrow, or should that be kinky path.😉

Either way, the point I’m making is this one.

Swallow your ego, your pride, your whatever you want to call it, reach out and ask for help. Even if you think all is going swimmingly, and you’ve written the best story you possibly could…

Trust me, you won’t have. There is always, ALWAYS, room for improvement, and no, you won’t see it. But your beta reader will.

I hasten to add the above scenario is not the norm for Raven and I. I get the odd comment along those lines all the time, and  I do the same for Raven, as we usually write fairly clean and coherent, but every once in a while, either one of us goes off on a tangent, doesn’t write to the best of her ability, and the other one is there to go, “Oi, Missus. This is not on. Do better.”

And that, in a nutshell, is what all us authorly types ought to strive to do. Write better with each story, not, as I did in this instance, think to myself, “Oh, this will do.”

Yeah, it would do, but that’s really not good enough. Do the very best you can, or don’t bother.

Brutal honesty, always, that’s what you need when you send your ms off to your beta reader, and thank the lord, Raven gives me that, and vice versa.

So, the moral of the story, so to speak.

You all need your own Raven, but you can’t have mine. I’m not sharing her, nope. Find your own.

That’s all from me today, folks.

Do stay naughty,

D xxx