Archives

Home > Archives

Unusual Novel Spin Off

July 5, 2024 by in category Writing I wrote a book of poetry based on one of my characters from The Alex Chronicles series. Love Notes, is thirty one love notes to be shared with a lover daily.

Originally, the book was for sale, then I made it perma free. Since making it perma free, it has stayed in the top 100 Free in three categories at Amazon:
#5 in Poetry About Love
#6 in Love & Erotic Poetry
#12 in One-Hour Parenting & Relationships Short Reads

I’m a little biased, but I don’t see where the book should be considered Erotic or a Parenting & Relationships short read.

I don’t complain about the category listing because it gets a great lead into on my other books.

LOVE NOTES NO. 14
I am not easily aroused, however,
When the tips of your fingers graze my skin, igniting visions of what could be, I am.

I am not easily aroused, however,
When I feel the warm air of your breath enter my ear followed by your passionate request, I am.

I am not easily aroused, however,
When I see the deep sway of your back moving to the rhythm only you can hear, I am.

I am not easily aroused, however,
When you walk past me leaving a trail of your intoxicating scent, I am.

I am not easily aroused, however
When you smile, I am.

When I am with you, I am easily aroused. 0 0 Read more

Time To Revisit An Old Friend

June 5, 2024 by in category Writing

OMG! I forgot it was blog post time. I have been in the writing cave pushing to finish a book that should have been finished several months ago. I feel so bad about doing a repeat blog, but this one fits into something I’m about to do…reread one of my books.
How many times have you reread one of your books? When I reread my books, I discover things I missed. I also evaluate the progress of my writing. I challenge you to reread something from your backlist. You might discover glitches or want to make a few tweaks. As writers, we’re quick to change the covers but ignore changing the story. Read the oldest book on your backlist and ask yourself what would you change.
I hope you find this post helpful. See you next month.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

“HAVE YOU EVER REREAD YOUR OWN BOOK?”

Happy pre-spring.   It’s almost time to shed the winter gear and replace it with light weight fabrics.

A couple of months ago, after I completed my Goodreads reading goal for 2017, I got the urge to read one of my own books as a reader…a fan.  It was never my intention to “edit” it.  But sixty plus pages into reading the print copy, I spotted a typo.  I was all set to ignore it.  But then I spotted another one.  When I finished, I had eight typos. Crap.

I like the story and wanted to continue reading the series.  The second book was worse.  It felt like the typos wouldn’t stop coming.  I couldn’t believe I released a book with so many typos.

This little exercise made me aware of something…not every book is free of mistakes.  As a creative, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I could have been so careless…unprofessional…and a host of other adjectives I care not to use.

So here’s my question.  Have you ever read your own book for pleasure? Did you enjoy the story as much as when you wrote it?

This wasn’t the first time I’d read one of my books, but it was the first time, I experienced this many typos.  I have no idea how I missed the typos.

Something amazing occurred from this exercise.  I saw my growth as a writer.  Of course I’m going to fix the typos.  But although it’s only been a little over a year since I wrote the books, I was tempted to go back and mature them up.  By that I mean, I could have gone in and changed the writing style to be reflective of my growth as a writer.  But if I did that, it could effect the tone of the book and the series.

Did I enjoy the story when I read it again?  Yes,  I immediately wanted to read the next book in the series, which I did.  I can honestly say, it’s horrible.  Because the story was written when I started writing.  It’s filled with so many mistakes, it’s embarrassing.  Here’s the sad thing, when I wrote it, I thought it was good.  Fast forward and I couldn’t even finish reading it.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished reading the books and I am faced with the inevetible…end the series.  Or re-write the book.

What would you do?


0 0 Read more

What’s Your Heat Level?

April 5, 2024 by in category Writing

Happy April. I apologize for a repeat post. I’m assisting my mother on a project which has consumed most of my attention. I’ll be back next month with a new post.

I selected this post, because it’s a good reminder to understand the heat levels of your. I consider knowing your heat levels as one of the basic fiction writing tools.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Happy October. I’ve got a question for you. What’s your heat level? Recently, I was asked a similar question about my books and I have to admit I was a little off base on a few of them. 

A few posts back, I mentioned I had hired a PA. She’s been extremely helpful. In the beginning of our working arrangement, she asked me about the heat level on one of my books. I have to admit I was at a loss. What I thought and the reality were completely different.

In the past, when someone asked me that question I would refer to my books as more sensual sometimes a little steamy. However, there was a book my PA was setting up a swap for and I wasn’t quite sure of the heat level. She sent me a heat level chart and I was a little surprised where some of my books landed on the chart. 

Talk about an eye opener…this little chart revealed a truth I didn’t really want to know, the majority of my books are not just Steamy, they’re also Sexy. Sometimes very Sexy. However, I have a book that unbeknownst to me, lands in the gray space between Sexy/Steamy and Erotic. I really didn’t want to admit this so I asked my godsister who had read an ARC for the book and she agreed it fell into the gray zone.

The heat level of some of my books is the reason I had to hire a new editor. In my defense, not all of my books fall into the Sexy/Steamy category. I have some that are Wholesome/Clean and Sweet. Those are either novellas, prequels or series starters. 

Here’s how I write some of my series. I loop you in with a Sweet book and as the series progresses the stories get steamier. It’s like a slow build up. I’ve hinted at the sensuality so by the time the reader gets to book three or the end of book two [if it’s a big book], they are begging for the characters to go further.

Now I will admit, sometimes I don’t see the intense heat some of my readers see. I’ve had reviews that were a little shocking but that’s a matter of opinion. I had one review that said they couldn’t make it past chapter four. She went so far as to call it soft porn. I may write a little steamy, but I don’t write porn. No offense to those that write and read porn. Back to this review, I felt sorry for her, because she missed out on a great book. I also had a review praise me for the sexy love scenes. That one makes up for the other review. When it comes to heat levels it’s a little subjective. What one person finds Sexy/Steamy someone else considers Sensual/Medium Heat.

I have one book to this day I really don’t know how Amazon managed to class it as Erotic Poetry. My mother and I have had several conversations about it, however she agrees with Amazon. She said it’s the implied tone. Just last week, my book LOVE NOTES, was the #1 free book in three categories…Love & Erotic Poetry, Poetry About Love and my personal favorite category…One-Hour Parenting & Relationships Short Reads on Amazon.

I can understand Poetry About Love and I’ll even acquiesce to Love & Erotic Poetry. However, I’m flabbergasted at One-Hour Parenting & Relationships Short Reads. My mother told me to stop complaining, because the book gets me noticed. She’s right. I’m also often trading top spots in the Love & Erotic category with The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. So I guess I’m in great author company.

Back to my original question…what’s your heat level? Check the chart below and see where your books land.

ROMANCE NOVEL HEAT LEVELS
Wholesome/Clean


Chats kisses, holding hands, and hugging. No love scenes – not even closed door. Just lots of emotion

Sweet
! ! 
Sex is implied. Closed door/morning after for intercourse. Any sexual activity would be vague on detail, heavy on emotion

Sensual/Medium Heat
! ! ! 
Sexual chemistry is heating up. Love scenes on page and described but still lighter on detail with strong emotional component.

Sexy/Steamy
! ! ! ! 
Sex is man component of the plot and is on-page and explicit. Swearing/dirty talk is frequent. Light kink/user-friendly sex toys might make an appropriate appearance. HEA.

Erotic Romance
! ! ! ! !
LOTS of sex, graphic, detailed, often kinky, non-conventional, and boundary-pushing. Sex is a big part of story line but still a HEA.

0 0 Read more

It All Started With A Short Story

March 5, 2024 by in category Writing

I was stumped for something to write about this month. I have been working on a book due to my editor next month. Plus, I need to review the edits for my mother’s first devotional. I’m so proud of her. I went on the hunt for something from my blog and came up short. However, I found something I thought would be good to share…my first published work.

I had the privilege of writing a piece for Christian Fiction Online Magazine (I don’t know if it’s still publishing). I remember being so excited at the opportunity. Looking back now, I see how different my writing is. I used to use this as a free download for new subscribers. I took it down, because it no longer represented my writing style. In looking at the publish date, I discovered it was the fourteenth anniversary of my first published writing piece. Talk about shocked. I can’t believe it’s been that long since I began my writing career.

Here’s my first short story. Tell me what you think. If you’ve read any of my current works, this will be extremely difference. Trust me, I won’t be offended by your comments. See you next month.
_____________________

CAREER REBORN
(Published 01.21.2010 Christian Fiction Online Magazine)

I had been wanting to quit my job for the past year and a half, but the timing was never right. But fortunately, that is no longer an issue. My boss was fired last week, and it seems likely that everyone on her team will be fired as well, leaving me, her assistant, or as she referred to me “The person she was forced to hire,” jobless.

I know God hears me when I pray, and I was trusting Him to show me what to do next. But in the meantime, I put on my favorite black Prada skirt and pumps, black cashmere sweater, and the floral print Hermes scarf my generous but scathing boss gave me for my last birthday, and grabbed my most recent Christmas gift from her, a black leather YSL Muse handbag. I figured mourning attire would be appropriate, since I was on my way to the funeral service for my dead career. I took one last look in the mirror, picked up my keys, and walked out the door, not quite sure how painful today’s meeting with Human Resources would be.

I treated every step of this morning’s walk to work like a funeral procession, absorbing everything in sight and unsure if I would travel down this street again. When I arrived at my office building, I rode the elevator with the rest of the people from my boss’s team, each of us quietly staring at the brass doors, trying not to look at one another. As the doors opened and we exited the elevator to our new futures, we were greeted by Marcy Gibbons, the head of Human Resources.

No greeting. No smile. Just her curt command: “Follow me.” Surely an omen of what was to come. She turned and led the way down the hall. We followed her into the conference room and took seats around the large oval mahogany table, waiting for the official word ending our time with the company. As we fidgeted in our seats, still avoiding eye contact, the door whooshed opened. Mr. Thomas, the head of the company, strode in. This was a first. In all the years I’ve worked here, I have never known him to personally fire anyone. He didn’t even fire my boss. He never lowered himself to deal with such menial tasks; he left those duties to Marcy.

He surveyed the room. “Good morning, everyone. As you know, Christina was let go, and after careful examination of your collective work, I have uncovered some rather interesting information.”

As his voice rumbled around the room, I looked over at Marcy, sitting as still as a statue.

“Marcy and I have come up with a plan to handle this unique situation.”

He cleared his voice and our eyes met. Instead of feeling nervous, I was very calm. Okay, God, hit me with it. I know whatever it is You have planned for me, You have also instilled in me everything I need to do it.

Marcy stood and walked around the table, handing everyone a packet with their names printed on the outside. When she came to me she walked past without giving me anything. Okay, I guess that means as Christina’s assistant I won’t be getting a severance package like every one else. I shifted a little in my seat and placed my hands in my lap. All eyes were on me, but I remained calm.

“Jillian Morgan.” A chill ran up my spine when Mr. Thomas called my name. “Sir.” When senior level executives are fired, it’s customary to fire their assistants as well. And in extreme situations, their entire team is demoted.

“You worked for Christina for five years, giving you access and insight to every account her team handled. Is that correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And is it true that among your many duties, you assigned the territories to each manager, developed the team strategies, composed the quarterly reports for upper management, and did the team’s bonus reviews?”

“Yes, sir.” I needed a good review for my next job, so if ever there was a time to toot my own horn, it was now.

His eyes locked on to mine. “Tell me, Jillian, when exactly did you start doing Christina’s job?” Busted. I thought my duties for Christina were a secret. Now I know I’m getting fired . . . and without severance.

“Uhm, I-I . . .” I cleared my throat and looked around the room at all of the people on Christina’s team. They all thought she was a genius, generous, and a dynamic leader. After all, every year the strategies the team had employed worked; they exceeded their goals and got big fat bonuses. “She had me . . . I mean . . . for the past four years.”

“I see.” He nodded his head and looked over at Marcy before continuing. “Come here, please.” I got up and walked over and stood next to him. “I have reviewed every report this team has filed in the past three and a half years and discovered the change in productivity occurred when Jillian arrived. I know you all thought you were being fired, but there’s been a change in plans. No one is being fired.”

A collective sigh resonated around the room.

“However, Jillian, you will no longer be allowed to stay on as an executive assistant.”

No surprise there. My stomach clenched.

“Instead, I am promoting you to Senior Director for this team.”

“Excuse me?” I couldn’t keep my mouth from hanging open as he extended his hand to congratulate me. How had I gone from a lowly assistant to Senior Director? Thank you, God. I shook my head trying to process everything. I looked around the room and everyone was smiling.

“There is nothing wrong with this team. You all work well together. And I believe with Jillian at the helm, you will continue to do even better. Keep up the good work.”

“Thank you, Mr. Thomas. We won’t let you down.” He shook my hand as everyone jumped to their feet and applauded. All I could do was try not to faint.


0 1 Read more

Mailing Goal Update

February 24, 2024 by in category Writing

A new year means new goals. Last year, one of my authorship goals was to build my mailing list to 10,000. A lofty goal, considering my mailing list was only 3014.

So what was my plan and why build my list?

First, a little history on my mailing list. When began my writing career, I knew very little about author marketing. I have another business which I have mentioned in previous posts. However, I didn’t realize some of the marketing tools I use there could be used in my author business. I have a decent mailing list with my lingerie business, but like any mailing list, it requires nurturing which I failed to provide for both entities.

There are several authors who do well with a list that size. Frankly, if everyone on my list bought every book I released on release day, I would be excited and pocket quite a bit of money on that day only. No matter how much I may like my stories, every reader on my list won’t feel the same and that’s okay. Let’s say, every subscriber did buy everyone one of my books, what happens in between releases? What if I only release one ebook a year at $4.99 (before printing fees), that would yield approximately $15,000. Not bad by any means, but that’s all I would earn based on a mailing list with no growth. We’re only talking about my mailing list not any additional sales. This example also doesn’t include my backlist, because those subs would already have every one of my books.

Relying solely on my list seems a great idea, but in order for this to be sustainable or for me to have a steady income, I’d have to release four to six books a year. For me, that isn’t doable, because it’s more detailed than it sounds. Trust me, I speak from experience. Remember my lofty release a month project in 2016?

Back to my reason for building my mailing list. When I started my writing career, I wasn’t focused on a mailing list. I thought you wrote a book, put it up for sale and it would magically sell, but that’s fantasy. In order to sell books people need to know about your book. With my first release, I had a handful of organic sales. The rest were family and friends. It was a crawl building my list. Once I did, I saw some movement with that book, but even more with the next release. The list was slowly growing but I needed to make a move. Then I discovered Mark Dawson’s free course on how to build a list. I followed the plan and it worked. My list got up to 3000 plus. I was rocking. Some of my new subs preordered my new releases making release day better. I still didn’t have every sub buy every book, but I was making strides.

I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way, the list started to shrink. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I tried pretty much everything…paid list building, facebook group promos, newsletter swaps, signing events and ads. All were nice, but didn’t produce the results I desired.

The other reason I wanted to increase my mailing list was author swaps. I had tried some swaps, but because my list was so small, I wasn’t able to swap with authors with larger lists. In order to sell books, the book and author need access to readers. I am not knocking authors with small lists, because that’s where I am. However, there are authors with grand lists…20,000…40,000…60,000+ subs. I already hear you saying, a list that large is expensive and you’re right. However, a list that large more than likely will supporting itself.

Here are the facts about my journey. My mailing list has 4084 subscribers. However, for some reason not all of then want to receive the newsletter. At the beginning of this challenge, I had 3014 subscribers who wanted to receive the newsletter. However, I believe some of those not receiving email, neglected to click the “receive email” box.

Here are the numbers.
Goal to get to 10000…………………6986
Mailing list at start of 2023………..3014
Lost Subscribers……………………….-432
New Subscribers……………………….7451
New mailing list total……………….10033

When this challenge was completed, I had reached my goal plus 33. Side note, I haven’t done a thorough review of the new subs, so there might be some duplicates. Like most lists, some will probably leave and that’s okay, it only makes room for people who want to be on the list. Also, remember with each email sent, some subs might leave. In my case, I lost 432 plus the 1070 who opted not to receive emails.

So how did I grow my list? I joined a lot of Book Funnel promotions. These are free and easy to join. I’m still not fully versed in how the BF system works, but I’m learning. I also joined an assortment of paid list builders, a few facebook group list builders and a couple of book signings. Since the Book Funnel promos are built on free books, that meant I gave away 7451 books. Not too bad. I also did bi-weekly newsletter swaps. The mistake I made here was not tracking the results of the swaps. I also failed to track the organic growth not associated with any of my promo efforts.

I am a fan of the Book Funnel promotions and have decided to make the Book Funnel promotions part of my ongoing marketing campaign. If you’re looking for a free way to build your mailing list, I highly recommend the Book Funnel promotions. Now that I reached my goal, I’m eager to see how this effects my author career.

See you next month.

2 2 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>