What’s New Pussycat?

I know, I know. I’m late coming back here to give away audiobooks from my New Year’s giveaway. Three people had the correct answer! Yvette, Emily W and Lee Todd win their choice of audiobook from me. Yay!

TheHardestPart_200So on to what’s new…I’m sick. Well, I was sick. All weekend, puking. Turns out it was just a reaction to adding a pain med to my already long line up of stuff I take. So they switched me to something else. It doesn’t make me puke but it does make me sleepy. Makes work a challenge. And the pain med that made me puke is one I’ve had before so it has to be the combination of stuff I was on. I think it didn’t like the hormone stuff my other doc has me on. Anyway, waiting for an insurance authorization so I can get yet another CT scan because it seems like the kidney stones are trying for a reappearance.  Just what I need when I have a full schedule. Story of my life. *sigh*

Meanwhile, on the writing front I have a sweet, hot short story just out for your reading enjoyment! It’s been in the works since August so you can see how sick I’ve been. The Hardest Part is a story of love and optimism and getting what you deserve for being positive in the face of negativity. I hope you readers like it!

I’ve also got other books out in audio format. Kissing Joan Collins is out in time for Valentine’s Day which is perfect because it’s a Valentine’s Day story! Also out is Rousing Caine which is a very sexy ghost story. Check out the covers!

 

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I’ve got lots of codes for free copies of my audiobooks so look for me to be doing giveaways here and there across the net and on Facebook. Meanwhile, you can hop on over to Facebook and vote for The Hardest Part’s cover in the Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains cover contest! Your vote is much appreciated!

That’s it for me. I’m off to work. Cross your fingers I either don’t need a pain pill or that I can manage to stay awake when I take it!

Happy Tuesday!

winter-lex

 

 

Trading Opinions

I know I haven’t been around in a long while. I’ve been busy and well, tired. Really tired. But stuff has happened since the last time I took to my own personal forum here. To catch you up quickly, here’s a rundown.

BitterBonds_200New sequel to Broken Bonds released. Bitter Bonds was #1 on ARe and top ten gay romance on Amazon. Entangled was #1 free gay rom on Amazon, now still top ten. Got a contract for the revamped Insolent. It’s in edits now. Working on Out of the Pocket (sequel to Scrambling), Fire Storm (next Tales book), and Subs for Lunch (short story in the Souls in Bondage world.) Have five books now in production for audiobooks, Unbreak Me (narrated by Rebecca Roberts) and the first four Tales of the Darkworld (Shifting Winds and Hot Water by female narrator Jenny Urban, Fire Season narrated by Chip Wood, and Ride the Lightning narrated by Sarah Pamero.) In particular, Fire Season sounds soooo exciting! There’s news on the health front (perimenopause still kicking my ass) and the family front – my kid went to stay with her dad after he hadn’t spoken to her in about 5 years and my MIL has been in the hospital since the 4th of July. My hubs’ stepdad with Alzheimer’s has to go into a home now since my MIL can no longer care for him.

What can I say? Life is busy and ever changing.

EROTIC - Reviewed by LASRSo you’re probably wondering about the title of this post. Now that I’ve gotten past the what’s new with me crap, I’ll get to the subject of today’s rant. Well, maybe rant is too a strong word. Definitely, I have something to say and since I’m on my blog, I guess I think you all have the right to hear my opinion! LOL And that’s what I want to talk about…opinions.

Reviews have become a hot button these days. Giving away books in trade for an honest review. Paying for reviews. Not getting reviews unless you practically twist someone’s arm to give you one. Review places springing up everywhere. Review places only reviewing books from authors who pay for ads on their site. Review places only reviewing authors who are friends of theirs. Goodreads snark reviews. Amazon reviews of books not even read. Misinformation in reviews. Authors trading reviews.

Rated 5 cherryThe list of subjects related to reviews is a lot longer than my little list. Books I have with publishers are always sent out to the publisher’s list of sanctioned review sites. A lot of publishers carefully weed out review sites that have trashed their authors’ books and send only to those sites that seem to offer honest, positive reviews of their books. I rarely seek reviews from review sites for books I have with publishers. I don’t want to duplicate efforts. Instead, I focus my promo elsewhere.

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Now, for my self-published books, I have actively sent them out for review and lately, I’ve joined some Facebook groups where people will accept a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review or where authors trade books for review. The trade for honest reviews has been slow, but that’s okay. I don’t want or need to be one of those authors blasting across Facebook that I have 150 five star reviews. (At one time, Rainbow Award Finalist and Jessewave Top Ten Book of 2009 Fire Season had over a dozen 4.5 and 5 star reviews, but 150? Not even counting Goodreads and Amazon did it hit 150.) Frankly, I don’t believe the veracity of those claims or at least, I don’t believe all of them. I have the evil sense that they went to Fiverr and paid $5 for a bunch of 5 star reviews from people who never read the book.

RR-cir-125Now, the authors exchanging reviews thing is a little different. As a published author, and as a person with very little time to read, I don’t waste my time on books that are not my specific reading genre. So if an author of a self-help book solicits a review from me in exchange for reviewing my book, I’m going to turn him down. I don’t read self help books much and I don’t feel it would be right of me to read something I don’t really want to read. And I’m sure I don’t want to force my gay rom on a straight arrow author. I can just imagine the fiasco that review would be!

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But you know, I see all those requests for trading reviews (trading opinions really) from the self published authors on those review groups on Facebook. Once in awhile I’ll click on the link to the person’s book to see if it’s something I might want to read. Usually, it’s not. Today, however, there was one.

I clicked the link which took me to Smashwords, thinking maybe I could trade reviews with this author. I clicked the sample function to check out the book. Guess what I found? A prologue that was an info dump. A first chapter poorly written and punctuated with more info dump and a plethora of passive voice. I don’t believe it was edited. And if it was edited, the author wasted the money she paid for the edit. It was not a book I would have contracted back when I was an acquisitions editor. The author needs to hone her craft better because what she put out was entirely sub-standard.

ReviewedAtCTR

So how can I justify doing a trade of reviews with her? Yes, her book is in the genre that I read. Yes, I could give her an honest review, but that review would be hard pressed to make two stars. And if I reviewed her book and honestly said I didn’t like it and noted all the stuff I said above about the lack of quality in the writing, editing and content, would that author then be angry enough to trash my book in review? It would be her honest opinion after all except that it would be biased based on her anger at my review of her book.

And that brings me back to the whole conundrum of whether or not to participate in these review swaps. I guess I need to read the samples first before I decide to do a swap and read the other author’s reviews of other people’s books too. After all, if I can clearly see in the sample that an author needs to go back to the classroom, that’s not a book I want to be involved with even in terms of a review. And if I can see from an author’s other reviews of books that he/she is snarky and/or mean or doesn’t write an honest review where you can see that they read the book, then I don’t want that person reviewing me. I’d rather do without, thank you very much.

fourjunkiesratingsA trade of opinions, er reviews, is only good if it benefits both people. If you’re going to trade reviews, make sure you’re willing to give the book and the author a fair shake. Only do reviews of books you would normally read. Check the book sample out first so you aren’t stuck reviewing something substandard or something you can’t say anything positive about. Check out the other author first and make sure your book is something they would probably enjoy reading.

Don’t set yourself up for failure! Asking someone who is straight and doesn’t read romance to review a gay rom is asking for trouble. It’s like subbing a sexually explicit BDSM book to a Christian inspirational publisher. You’re doomed to be disappointed.

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Thus far, I haven’t engaged in any trading of reviews. The stuff I’ve been interested in is either written by someone who doesn’t read my genre or, like the book I mentioned above, has been so poorly written I know I couldn’t give it a positive review. And I won’t review something I can’t say something positive about.

So I guess my little rant about trading opinions is that you need to use caution doing this because the old saying really is true. Opinions (aka reviews) are like assholes. Everyone has one and occasionally it stinks…to someone.

Happy Saturday everyone!

winter-lex

 

PS: Yes, the graphics used in this post were all earned by my books. If you’re interested in seeing how my latest releases are doing at review sites, here’s some info:

For Bitter Bonds, 5 paddles from BDSM Book Reviews and 4.5 stars from Joyfully Jay!

4 Sweet Peas from Mrs. Condit Reads Books for Mixed Tape Vol 2 which has Save Your Love in it.

4 stars from Smile Somebody Loves You for Save Your Love and 2.5 stars from MM Good Book Reviews. (It was a positive review but the book was too sweet for the reviewer!)

What Would the Neighbors Do?

I’m back from resting after my month long blogging and annual giveaway. I figured I’d start right out with a funny tale about where I live. I live in a canyon, literally on the edge of a hill. I look out my door and all I see is hills and cows. It’s a mobile home and yes, I live in a trailer park.

Since I’m at the end of the road, I only have one next door neighbor and I rarely see her. Her driveway is next to the backside of my house. Our mailboxes sit at the end of her driveway and the narrow walkway that runs along the back of my house. Most mobile homes have a back door on the carport side of the house. That’s true of her house, but not my house. My carport is wide, not long like most. You have to cross my carport to get to my porch and my front door.

Since my house doesn’t conform to the normal patterns it throws the mailman, the UPS guy and the Fedex guy for a loop. They end up knocking on our back door when there’s a package. Or if they are particularly stupid, they just leave it on the back door step and don’t bother to knock at all.

Now, my washer and dryer are pretty new. Not even two years old. Nice front loaders that we bought when we moved in. They’re just an eensy bit too deep for the washer and dryer space in our laundry room so, of course, that back door won’t open.

Rott tends to watch out for any packages we have coming. For awhile we had a decent Fedex guy who always figured out where the front door was. But most of the stuff we get comes UPS or US mail. The mailmen we’ve had out here? Seriously? They have the IQ of a dirt clod.  They never knock if there’s a package. The package is always left at the back door and it always looks like the moron tried to shove it in the mailbox first. Yep. Crushed box.

So Rott and I shop at a few places online. New Egg, Bath and Body Works, Amazon, Crutchfield, Wen…and Adam and Eve. Rott likes the anonymous looking packages from there. They crack him up mostly because we could give a doody if anyone knows we bought something from there.

The last thing we got from Adam & Eve (NSFW!) wasn’t a very big package. The names of the items were pretty amusing so we couldn’t resist. Anyway, Rott was watching out for the package. He figured it would come in a padded envelope and get shoved into the mailbox.

NUH UH. It got left on the back door step. The only reason Rott knew it was there was because the next door neighbor was standing on our sidewalk holding it in her hand. He heard a sound and peeked out the back door window and there she was. He bolted for the front door, around the front of the house and found her stand there turning the package over in her hands. Slowly, she handed it to him.

“Um, I was going to bring it around to your door,” she said. “I didn’t know if you’d already checked your mail today. Didn’t want the package to get left out. Looks like rain.”

And with that she back to her house. Rott went back into our house.  He thought about it for awhile and when I came home he told me the story. Then he tells me, “I think she was gonna steal it.”

I blinked. “Why would she steal it? She doesn’t have a boyfriend or a spouse that I’ve seen.”

“I dunno, but I think she was gonna steal it. She knew what Adam & Eve was and she was gonna take the toy.” He was adamant.

We looked at each other in silence for a long moment. Then we both went, “EWWWWW!”

Then Rott laughed. “Can you imagine what would happen if the old geezer across the street got it? That mailman’s dumb enough to get the boxes wrong. It could happen.”

For once, I really, really did not want to know what the neighbors would do.

And now some Lex Valentine news…Broken Bonds has been selling well and made it up to #5 or so on the Amazon gay romance list. But yesterday I got an email from ZAM because she saw that Broken Bonds had made it to #1 on All Romance eBook’s Top Ten List. WOOT! I was so excited! It’s an all around bestseller this little Christmas novella. It makes me really happy.

Before I go, I have to show off the cover I did for my friend author AC Katt. I can’t wait to read this book and I was so excited to do the cover for Jim’s story.

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It’s sort of the sequel to A Matter of Trust so go read that one first!

One last thing, does anyone know WTF is up with the Twitter feed widgets? I cannot find one that works! Anyway, that’s it for me. I’ll be back next Monday with some other tidbits about my life and writing! Happy Monday!

winter-lex

 

Dear Santa

Today, I have pleasant things to talk about and unpleasant things. I’m going to deal with the pleasant things first because most of you won’t want to stick around for the unpleasant. After all, it’s New Year’s Day and you’ve probably got stuff to do.

The pleasant stuff is simple. Winners. Lots of prizes, four winners. I decided since there was soooo much to give away that I could break it up just a tiny little bit. There is one big winner of all the books posted. Then there’s a winner of Dev Bentham’s choice of backlist, a winner for Lynn Lorenz’s choice of her Amber Allure books, and a winner for a choice of my backlist. And here they are:

Books – Avalie

Dev Bentham backlist – Joder

Lynn Lorenz Amber Allure book choice – Renee (PaParanormalFan)

Lex Valentine backlist – AnnMarie Lester

I will post a list of all the authors who donated books all month long over on Facebook. I’ll try to make the list by genre to help those of you who only read specific genres. Check my personal Facebook (cemeterywinter) or my author page (lexvalentineauthor) later today.

Now, on to the unpleasant. It’s just a letter to Santa, but it’s personal so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. I just need to talk about my life and ask Santa for a favor. So all of you can stop right here if you don’t want to read the gory details of my life.

Continue reading

Day 25: 30 Days of Christmas 2012

Wow! What a lot of books were given away on Christmas Eve! The winner of the dozen books was Judi P! Merry Christmas!

Today, I have many more books to give away. I’ve got two MM Christmas books from me, one of which was just released last night. I’ve also got books from my very good friends ZA Maxfield, Lynn Lorenz, JP Bowie, NJ Nielsen and Sloan Parker. There’s a lot here because yanno, who am I to say no when ZAM tells me, “Oh, how about the whole set of my Christmas books?” or when Sloan Parker says, “Can I give away another one?”or Lynn Lorenz tells me, “I have a new release! Can I add that too?”

As you check out the books in this giveaway, you’ll notice some trailer links. Those are trailers I made and some of the covers for these are my work as well (A Picture Perfect Holiday, Broken Bonds, Cupid Christmas.) It’s a plethora of awesome MM and MM holiday goodness to heat up your Christmas Day courtesy of some of the bestest friends an author can have.

Z.A. Maxfield – Secret Light, I Heard Him Exclaim, What Child Is This?, A Picture Perfect Holiday

BUY LINK, TRAILER

Rafe Colman’s likes his life. He has a nice home, a good job, and a wonderful dog. But he’s exhausted by living a lie. When his home is vandalized because of his perceived German ancestry, he can’t even share the irony with friends.

Officer Ben Morgan falls for Rafe’s dog first, but it isn’t long before he’s giving her owner the eye. He thinks they have more in common than the search for Rafe’s vandals, and he’s willing to take a chance and find out.

If life in 1955 is tough on a cop in the closet, it’s even tougher on a refugee who’s desperate to hide his roots and fit in. Rafe knows from tragic experience how vicious prejudice can be. Every second with Ben is stolen, every kiss fraught with danger.

When Ben’s partner threatens to ruin everything, Rafe and Ben have to fight to protect what they have, in Secret Light

BUY LINK

Who Likes a Skinny Santa?

Steve Adams’s heart hasn’t been in the Christmas spirit ever since doctors put a stent in it and ordered him to clean up his act. No longer filling out his Santa suit or allowed to make merry, he’s forgoing the holidays this year and heading to Vegas to indulge in the few vices left to him: gambling and anonymous sex.

His road trip takes a detour when he encounters Chandler Tracey, who’s just inherited guardianship of his five-year-old niece. Overwhelmed, Chandler’s on his way to deliver Poppy to his parents. But fate has other plans and, after car trouble, Chandler and Poppy accept a ride home with Steve. Though the heat between the two men is obvious, they put it on simmer while they band together to make Poppy’s Christmas as perfect as possible.

Steve soon comes to believe that while Chandler is the right person to look after Poppy, someone needs to look after Chandler. Fortunately, Steve knows just the man for the job.

BUY LINK

Michael and Tristan are finally taking that much needed weekend away for Christmas. They’ve been working so hard at their respective careers there hasn’t been time for a breather, much less a chance to reconnect and see if they’ve been working toward what they both want.

Like always, Michael’s well-laid plan is derailed by a phone call from Apple House. Three of their charges have gone missing and while Michael is worried, it’s not unusual for the young adults who stay at the shelter for homeless LGBT teens to come and go.

But when one of them calls Michael and asks if – hypothetically speaking – it’s considered kidnapping to keep a baby who’s been abandoned, Michael and Tristan head home with all speed to sort things out.

Two couples need answers in a heartwarming holiday tale of taking stock, reaffirming commitments, and catching the perfect wave in What Child Is This? A Crossing Borders Christmas

BUY LINK, TRAILER

Photography club president Caleb loves football standout Christian Muñez. He knows it’s an old high school chestnut, but if being a cliché is wrong, he doesn’t want to be right. They’ve been in school together since the fifth grade but having brothers on the same soccer team provides Caleb with a great opportunity to get to know Christian better. What he finds out – about Christian’s home life and his future plans – could end his hopes forever. Or they might be the beginning of something wonderful.

Caleb throws caution to the wind in A Picture Perfect Holiday.

Sloan Parker – Take Me Home

BUY LINK

Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner.

Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he’s staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he’s a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan’s ass—to get much done.

The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan’s new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle’s grandfather.

When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train’s windows and must finally face their true desires.

 

Lynn Lorenz – His Duke’s Gift, Bayou Loup

BUY LINK

On each night of the holiday Duke Logan bestows gifts on his most loyal and beloved vassals. Drake and Logan couldn’t be happier. So why has Logan locked Drake out of his bedroom and who is the mysterious stranger?

 

BUY LINK

After spending a hot, no-holds-barred sex-filled weekend at a hotel with a man he only knows as Mark, werewolf Bobby Cotteau isn’t sure but he thinks he’s found a new mate. Problem is he never got his lover’s real name. Or his phone number, or even where he lives. But that’s not Bobby’s only problem.
At the Rougaroux Social Club’s yearly Rugarou Festival, which Bobby is in charge of, everything is falling apart. The forecast is for storms, the Virgin Mary has appeared a tree on the festival grounds at the church, pilgrims are swarming, and beer is being sold… and his new mate is about to expose Bobby’s pack to the world.

JP Bowie – Christmas Wishes

BUY LINK

Christmas 1922

Christopher Fielding has no choice but to spend Christmas with his family in York, away from William MacPherson, the biology professor with whom he has fallen in love. Finding his sister Nan in some distress over her pregnancy, Christopher makes a wish that all will be well with her and the baby, and another that William, traveling by train to his family in Scotland will be safe from the blizzard raging over the countryside.

As Christmas Eve approaches, William’s train is stranded in snow drifts and Nan’s baby is about to arrive prematurely. Cut off by the weather from a doctor’s help, the family is in despair, and Christopher feels that his wishes may not be enough. Perhaps what they now need is nothing short of a miracle.

NJ Nielsen – A Moon-Runner Christmas, Christmastime at Papa Lee’s

BUY LINK

Two lives – One destiny.

When fate decides two people belong together, nothing can stand in its way. Liam Kantry and Carlo Bruenelli find themselves caught up in the madness of Christmas as they discover the meaning of being true heart-mates.

Liam Kantry wants to be with the man he has loved his whole life, yet incessant rumours and innuendos have labelled him the pack whore – a point he has never disputed.

Carlo Bruenelli is waiting for his heart-mate; he is one of those who believe that such a thing really does exist. In his heart he wants it to be his best friend, only Liam doesn’t believe in heart-mates. What will it take to change Liam’s mind?

Christmas is drawing near, and between snowball fights and the contract ceremony, Liam and Carlo find themselves caught up in the excitement and obsessing over what their future holds.

Are they true heart-mates? Will they forge a successful future or destroy two families?

BUY LINK

RSVP by Dec 20: You are cordially invited to attend a Christmas celebration at Papa Lee’s.

Casey Chambers isn’t used to kindness; being tossed out onto the street does that to a person. His life takes a turn for the better when he lands a job at Papa Lee’s. Not only does the Lee family give Casey a place to work, they give him a place to call home… And the opportunity to find love with one of their own.  But Casey’s burgeoning relationship with Marty Lee is threatened when Marty withdraws after a vicious attack.  It’ll take a miracle for Casey to convince Marty they’re meant to be.

Good thing it’s the season for miracles.

Lex Valentine – Cupid Christmas, Broken Bonds

BUY LINK, TRAILER

It’s another Christmas at Forbes Ranch and this year the family is playing Cupid with Grayson and Jared’s best friend Steve Yarrow. Years before, Steve’s heart was broken by the love of his life Dalton Emory who left him to further his career by marrying a woman with a rich daddy. Now, divorced, outed and publicly humiliated, Dalton is trying to build a business and keep a low profile. He doesn’t believe he deserves a second chance with Steve after the way he hurt him. However, Dalton didn’t reckon with his former lover’s interfering friends, the depth of Steve’s love nor the forgiveness the spirit of Christmas can offer. Can one lonely, broken cowboy forgive himself and accept the love that has always belonged to him? And will the Forbes tradition of Christmas Eve Happily Ever Afters give Steve and Dalton the future they never thought they’d have?

BUY LINK

The one thing Haven Noel wants for his Christmas birthday is for his master, Kellen, to love him. But the wonderful Christmas Eve Haven plans for his master goes awry and instead of receiving his master’s love, Haven ends up on the street without his collar. Heartbroken, Haven heads to the club where he and Kellen originally met, only to find it closed.

With a blizzard descending and nowhere to go, Haven curls up on the club doorstep, courting death. Hopeless and shattered, on the verge of losing consciousness, he makes a wish for Kellen to find happiness some day. Two angels with a vested interest in Haven and Kellen’s happiness hear his wish and conspire with Kellen’s family to save Haven’s life, bring love back to Kellen’s heart and give them both the best kinky Christmas ever.

And there you have it, another dozen books to give away this Christmas Day. For a chance to win all of them, leave a comment on this post by midnight Pacific time.

Merry Christmas to you all!