A word to the readers #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here. I’m going to aim my post today specifically at the readers. Those lovely folks, who buy our books, cheer us on and generally speaking keep us writing.

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Us authors would be nothing without our readers, and we really do love loyal readers. I know, I love getting e-mails and messages, and I’ll do my utmost to reply in a timely and informative manner, as do most of us I should think.

Now, before I get to the point of this blog post let me say here that this is not aimed at any of my readers. And let me say a great big thank you to all them.

Thank You - Words on Yellow Sticky Notes

Like I said above us authorly types do love our readers. However… we love it less when our readers turn into hecklers.

What do I mean by that? Well, those that take it upon themselves to inform us not only how we should write, but what. The ones that are constantly asking after one character/story and get their knickers somewhat in a twist, when, in their eyes, the author doesn’t deliver.

I get it, you know. You, the reader love a particular series that author writes, so naturally, you can’t wait for the next installment. I stalk my favorite authors as much as the next person eagerly awaiting that next book.

And from an author’s point of view, it’s awesome to know that readers are so loving a series that they can’t wait for the next one.

However, and there is always a but in these things, it is never, ever okay to turn on said author and give him/her grief because he/she has chosen to write something else instead.

I use the term chosen tongue in cheek here, because most authors, myself certainly included in that, cannot write to order. We are slaves to our muses, and unless said muse wants you to write a particular story it’s just not going to get written. Trust me on this, we don’t chose to jump between series and leave you readers hanging.

So, next time, you find yourself tempted to voice your frustration about how long it takes an author to write, to finish that series, or, indeed, any other gripe that takes your fancy, remember us authors are only human.

We have lives, families, issues that we may not share with you, struggles that have nothing to do with writing, yet impact on it anyway.

By all means ask, just do so nicely, and know, we’ll try our best to deliver.

Do stay naughty, folks.

 

D xx

 

 

You write what? #Tuesday Thoughts with Doris @mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here. I must admit I had no idea what to write about this week, and then hubby was giggling about something, namely a colleague’s reaction as to what I was writing, and I thought to myself, yeah, let’s revisit that topic.

It ties in somewhat nicely with Ravenna’s post on what Erotic Romance really is.  You know, even though I write under my own name, it’s surprising how many folks have no idea what I actually do.

Then again, maybe not. Unless you’re friends with me on Social Media you probably wouldn’t guess that I’m an author. I don’t go around handing out business cards at the school gates, that’s for sure, or any other time for that matter.

But, every once in a while it will come up in conversation.

“Oh, what do you do?”

I usually smile and say, “I write erotic romance.” That results in one or the other reaction but nearly always this face.

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Especially, when I then go on to explain what I mean by that. Always amuses me greatly, I have to say, especially when folks get so embarrassed by the mere mention of sex that they turn red and scurry away like frightened little rabbits.

I kinda feel like saying, “It’s okay, you can’t get pregnant from reading a book, you know.”

*sniggers*

Of course, you get the other reaction too. The wink, wink, oh I know what you’re doing now. No wonder you have nine kids and do your husband and you really do that…

Well, as far as I’m concerned that is almost as rude and nosy as the folks who exclaim about the fact that we do have nine kids and don’t we own a telly etc.

My standard reply to that always is, “Yes, but sex is so much more fun.”

Cue, red faces and they slink away. I once gave that response in the middle of a crowded church hall, after Sunday service.

I ask you. Mind you, that same church also insisted that I stop writing erotic romance and hubby lost his job as Sunday school teacher after he point blank refused to take me in hand and make me stop writing.

I kid you not.

He is still most annoyed about the taking me in hand comment. As it happens he is my Sir and thus in charge in the bedroom at least, but he would never dream of stopping me from doing something that I love to do or to presume to run my life for me.

No, sireee, not our dynamic at all.

Anyhoo, I digress, as usual.

The point is, folks will have all sorts of reactions to your writing, and you need to grow a thick skin early to deal with the fallout. And there will be fallout unless you write under a pen name and keep it completely 100 % secret, and heaven help you when that secret comes out.

Of course, there is also a different kind of fallout, the positive one. I’ve met so many lovely people, both authors, and readers as a direct result of my writing, they, by far, outweigh the odd neigh sayer.

So, be proud, own the fact that you’re writing in the bestselling genre there is, regardless of what subgenre you might be writing in.

You rock, folks!

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty,

 

D xxx

 

 

 

 

That all important cover #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with my thoughts on covers, and in particular how to fill in that all-important cover art questionnaire to ensure you get the kick ass cover your story deserves.

You know that old saying….

Handwritten quote as inspirational concept image

Yes, well, in the days of e-books and thumbnail covers on websites, I’m afraid books do get judged by their covers. You want one that stands out, while being true to the spirit of your story and, of course, as best an interpretation of your characters as you can get.

For the vast majority of us that means relying on a cover artist you employ, or the one your publisher uses. We are very, very fortunate at Evernight that Jay Aheer from Simply Defined Art truly creates magic on the Evernight covers.

Just look at our latest releases in the side bar, or check out Evernight Publishing’s website, if you don’t believe me.

Jay is a true artist and goes out her way to ensure the cover matches up with the writer’s expectation. With every cover she has created for me, she’s blown me away. It’s almost as though she’s plucked the characters out of my brain and brought them to life.

While Jay and other cover artists like her, surely do weave magic with stock images, composition, and the inventive use of Photoshop, they can only create that magic if you give them the material to work with.

So, how then do you achieve this, I hear you ask?

Well, the starting point is a damn good blurb. You need one to hook any potential reader, but the right blurb will also convey the feel of the story to your cover artist. They are experts at reading between the lines and judging the right mood for the cover.

If you use visual inspiration for your characters, then do share those on your cover art request form. Again, it sets the mood for the artist and they will usually try their utmost to match the stock models they use on your cover to your inspiration.

If you hold the rights to the images you use, then, by all means, pass them on, but don’t get your knickers in a twist if your artist can’t use them.

They may work seeming magic, but there’s only so much they can do with any images available to them. Some publishers also prefer to use their own models, stock image sites, so whatever you provide may not be used for those reasons.

So, be gracious, here.

Provide as much physical description of your main characters as you can, and any details you would like to see on the cover. Be sure to also state here what you definitely do not want on your cover.

After one of my covers with my other publisher where one of the heroes looked as though he was wearing make-up, which was just so wrong for this particular hero, it became a standing joke between myself and the cover artist for a while.

What don’t you want on the cover?

No men with makeup, please! 😉

no thanks stamp. sign. seal

A word of warning here, on how to handle it when you do disagree with the cover artist’s vision of your story.

Do not go in guns blazing or as I witnessed several years ago now, one author belittling this cover artists vision publicly on FB. Hell, NO!

Remember your manners and be polite when you request a different version, and, really, if the artist got the interpretation that wrong, then maybe you need to take a good, long, hard look at yourself and what you actually wrote down on that form.

Like I stated above, be concise, give as much description as you can, but don’t be too specific. If your hero is scarred down one side, like one of mine was, be aware that you will not have the exact same scarring or tattoo, for that matter, on the cover as you describe.

As it happens with my scarred hero, Jay placed his face in the shadows and it worked beautifully.

Another one of my heroes with my other publishers was in a wheelchair. I made sure to state that on my cover art request form and also stated that I knew it might be hard to get the right match, but, you know what, she did.

See, if you ask nicely, you usually get what you ask for, or as darn near a match as you can.

One other trick I have learned over the last five years is to give your cover artist as much free reign as you can. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t position a good cover if my life depended on it. I know what I like, but how to convey that in a request… well…

I simply give as much physical description as I can of the H/H and the general mood of the story and then put this.

Please just work your magic.

They invariably do and blow me away with their interpretation. ‘Cause you know, they are good at this, very, very good, and you can trust them to do their best without you breathing down their necks, and micro-managing their creative process.

The perfect cover is very much a creative process of its own, and I for one like to leave it to the professionals.

That’s all from me today, and if you have any other tips to share, please do so  in the comments.

Do stay naughty, folks,

 

D xxx

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.

*sniggers*

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.

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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.

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

*sniggers*

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

 

 

The Friends Game #TuesdayThoughts from Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello lovely peeps, Doris here. Today’s thoughts are on the subject of Social Media, namely the collection of friends and likes on FB, followers on Twitter.

I say collection on purpose, because we all know folks that do just that, right? Accept anyone and everything, and send out friends request galore.

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As an author we are told the more likes you have, followers etc, the higher your marketing reach, the more folks will buy your book….. and…

But will they, really? Is there much to be gained by joining FB Page like parties, doing giveaways for likes/followers, and saying yes to every Tom, Dick, or Harry who sends you a friend request?

Having been in this game for a while now, and having fallen into that particular trap in the early days of my career, I’m going to put a big emphatic NO to that one.

1000 followers aren’t worth diddly squat if they only pressed that like button to enter your giveaway. 100, 50, heck 10 committed readers, who follow and interact with you because they like your books, now they really do make a difference. Readers, who like your books, will follow you as a matter of course. They will tell their friends about you, re tweet your stuff, and jump up and down with you in glee when you have a new book out.

Those are the friends you want to have, and you’re not going to get them by chasing that elusive high following on whatever platform you’re using.

However, all of that will not happen overnight. It takes times, it takes commitment, it takes you, ya know, just being you. Be approachable, be you, and don’t make your social media all about your books. That’s boring, and folks will stop listening to you.

I was on FB a long time before I became a published Author, so my personal profile is very much me. I post funny things the kids did, pictures, anecdotes of my daily life, the odd rant. I celebrate and I weep with my friends on there, and they do the same with me. And yes, I also share my blog posts, and talk about my books, if it is appropriate to do so. More on that below.

That’s why it’s called Social Media, after all. You interact.

Happy Friendship Day background or concept.

Things are slightly different with my Author Page. I very rarely post personal stuff on there. Instead you get Man Candy, saucy excerpts, and book stuff galore. My Author page is set to an 18+ Audience, and I share everything book related from there. Including the links that eventually end up on my personal profile. It’s a simple, yet effective safe guard to ensure no minors see stuff they shouldn’t and it keeps me off the FB police radar.

I always shake my head when I hear of authors getting banned for xyz. Sometimes, it is just FB being an arse, and some easily offended sort reporting you for something, but quite often it’s not. So be savvy, protect yourself, and that does include not accepting any request that you get.

Especially when you write erotic romance/erotica. It seems to make you an automatic target for any nutjob out there. From the bible bashing brigade, who tell you, you will rot in hell, to those praying for your eternal soul, or trying to get you to stop writing what you do.

From men who think they can try it on, because, hey you write hot stuff, so clearly you must be gagging for it, to, the myriad of US military generals who just have to be your friend.

Yeah, sure. Delete, delete, delete, and block if you need to.

Being an author does not obligate you to accept every friend request you get. Sure, you want to be accessible to your readers, but ya know they can simply follow you, and they will.

Always err on the side of caution and if you’re at all unsure, delete that request.

You can normally tell who is a reader, and who not. Typically readers will try to get in touch with you, not send a friend request out of the blue. You might have ‘met’ them at a FB party, or such like. You get the picture.

The odd times I’ve ignored that little voice in my head, guess what happened. I ended up with some nut job, and usually a dick pick, or  spam on my wall.

*rolls eyes*

A word on twitter here, as well. You’re under no obligation to auto follow anyone, despite what you might have been told. I don’t, and there is a handy block facility on there too. Use it, if you have to.

Above all have fun out there, and be you. Social media get a lot of bad press, but it can also be amazing. Use it to your advantage and treasure your true friends and readers, rather than collect them.

And one last thing, don’t ever pay for likes, follows etc. That’s just tacky and counter productive.

That’s all from me today

Do stay naughty, folks,

D xxx

Everyone’s a Critic #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely folks, Doris here. I’ve touched on this subject before, but recent events on the good ole thing we call internet prompted me to write another blog post on this subject.

Namely this:

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It has got to be one of my favourite quotes, and it’s something I remind myself of daily, before I hit post and I wade in on any subject. Take a breath and ask yourself if your opinion is really needed on this occasion, or if you’re just adding unnecessary fuel to the fire.

It’s a motto that will get you far in life, never more so, than on the internet, when the written word just sits there. Once it’s out you cannot take it back. Sure, you can delete a particular post, but you bet someone has taken a screen shot on it, and if that post was on FB. Well, guess what? A hell of a lot of folks with their settings set to e-mail notifications will get that opinion  in their inbox.

I always chuckle to myself, when I read something, and then later find it has been deleted off FB. And yes, I’ve done it myself, on occasion. Nowadays I tend to write a post and then hit delete before I post it. Works wonders for getting that rant/opinion off your chest, and it doesn’t add to any potential blow up.

Ranting to the lovely Raven McAllan in Skype has a similar therapeutic effect, and if I absolutely feel that I have to post something, I run it by her first, to make sure I’m at least diplomatic.

You see the problem with the internet is that you cannot tell when someone is saying something with a smile on their face, tongue in cheek, or they’re really just a downright twatwaffle.

I always like to give folks the benefit of doubt, but sometimes you just have to sit back and shake your head in amazement.

So, what prompted this post, I hear you ask? Well, several things. A few of not so good reviews for a hero I love dearly, readers harassing authors for free books,cover models being douche bags of the highest order, and the general nastiness that seems to pervade on FB in particular at the moment.

Why everyone just can’t mind their own business, do their job to the best of their ability, and only express an opinion when they are actually asked for one is beyond me.

Wouldn’t the word be nicer place if that happened? Yeah, right along with Utopia , I know.

Anyhoo, this is my mini rant today. 🙂

Seriously though, as my gran always used to say. Think before you open your mouth/ type something, and if you haven’t got anything nice to say…. yeah….just don’t go there.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

How to write BDSM #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@MamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, peeps. Are you ready for some serious Tuesday Thoughts? Yep, cause this is a serious subject and as a collared submissive myself, a subject very dear to my heart.

 

Couple domination and sex games

Mainly the amount of so called BDSM books out there, which are anything but.

At best they are so farfetched, that you just have to laugh at them. At their worst, they seem to tick all the boxes and then end up doing something far from safe sane and consensual as you can get.

My editor at Evernight always comments on my BDSM stories along the lines of, “At last… I never read anyone making that distinction…”

While those comments make me grin, they also make me sad.

It is not that hard to get it right, it really isn’t. You don’t have to be in the lifestyle to write it, but you DO need to do your research. And do the correct kind of research. Ask someone who is actually in the lifestyle to beta read your work.

Leave your ego at the door, and take their advice, and for goodness sakes, if you’re going to write BDSM, then do it, because you’re at least curious about it. Not, because you’ve heard it sells, and you want to jump on that particular band wagon.

Yes, believe me, there are authors out there, who have done just that.

*shakes head*

Having got that little rant of my chest, lol, let’s get to the nitty gritty of it. I’m going to start with the basics, and I’m shamelessly nicking this off Tymber Dalton, as it sums it up beautifully.

Ready?

Okay, because there is a LOT of bad advice out there, I’m giving you the “TRUE” rules for BDSM… ready?

 

Safety Note: By “rules” I’m not talking safety issues (bio-hazard precautions for needle play, safety issues for fire/wax play, strangulation/drop hazards for suspension play, no handcuffs for suspension, where/how to use implements as not to cause serious injury, etc.).

 

Rule One: Everyone involved in the play MUST be a CONSENTING adult. If their consent withdraws during play, play STOPS.

 

Rule Two: No one must be HARMED (physically, emotionally, sexually, mentally) by the play. (Hurt and harmed are two different things. They might WANT to be hurt. Harmed is lasting damage beyond the play.)

 

Rule Three: Everyone must either be having fun and/or getting what they need from the play.

 

 

That’s IT. That’s ALL there is to it. Seriously.

 

If anyone tells you you’re doing something “wrong” and it’s not a safety issue, tell them to go fuck themselves. You’re not an unsuccessful submissive if you don’t hit subspace. You’re not a failure as a Top if you consider your bottom’s feelings and needs during play. A lot of Doms are not harsh, heartless, cruel, mommy-issue-ridden abusive, narcissistic fucks. Some of them are Daddy Doms who enjoy caring for their submissive. Some are sadistic, evil fucks who might gleefully put a submissive into tears of pain, but who would never dream of violating a hard limit and would feel horrible if something “bad” happened to the submissive under their care.

 

REAL Dominants thrive on learning, have open minds, and are never afraid to admit they’ve screwed up or don’t know how to do something.

 

REAL Dominants never forget that the people in their care, who are trusting them, are also people, too.

 

REAL Dominants never put principles over people in their care.

 

You can be whatever you want to be in the lifestyle. You can define your play however you want it to happen. There is no right or wrong as long as you don’t screw up any of the three “rules.”

 

Don’t sweat it, in other words.

 

So go forth and play in joy and fun. And forget the “won twue way” fucks who tell you you’re doing it wrong.

 

–Tymber Dalton. (writer, BDSM switch, collared slave)

 

While I’m bigging up Tymber, she has an excellent resource book for writers.

tymber's book

Click on the cover to find out more

Another resource book that both Hubby/Sir and I found very helpful when we first embarked on our own kinky journey is this one.

 

screw the roses

Click on the cover to find out more

There is also a wealth of information to be found online.

These websites are all helpful:

General BDSM Websites:

FetLife.com: http://fetlife.com

Leather and Roses: http://www.leathernroses.com/

BDSM Unveiled:

http://bdsmunveiled.blogspot.com/?zx=f238ea15179ed2d4#axzz2KGMQaPDL

BDSM Glossaries:  http://www.submissiveguide.com/topics/playtime/bdsm-basics/bdsm-glossary/

http://www.xeromag.com/fvbdglossary.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_BDSM

http://www.differentequals.com/glossary.html

 

Now that I’ve blown your mind with that entire information overload, lol, I shall leave you to digest that for a bit.

This is the first in a series of posts by yours truly on BDSM, so I hope you’ll check in again next week.

Before I slink off, let me state here that I’m by no means an expert, and I would never claim to be. There are so many facets to this lifestyle, no one can possibly call themselves an expert on the entire lifestyle, and if they do…. RUN, run fast and don’t look back.

No, seriously, do. There are those who will claim there is only one true way to live the lifestyle. Yeah, whateva…

I refer you to exhibit A ^^^ the True rules of BDSM.

Nuff said.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx