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.

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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!)

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

Inequality

You know, women have it rough. We have periods and childbirth and menopause. All of which suck ass in a major way. What do men have? Male pattern baldness and prostate issues that are fixed by taking that stuff Joe Theismann hawks. And of course, men don’t understand what women are whining about. It’ s not their guts being twisted by a giant invisible fist and pummeled for hours and days upon end. They think a couple of Tylenol can fix it.

Well, a couple of Tylenol doesn’t really do shit. Except to annoy us because the damn things aren’t working.

Women aren’t ever going to get true equality in this world because men have no idea how much pain we’ve had to live with all our lives. They will never understand and therefore they will always think we’re whiners. And if we’re whiners obviously, we are weak and lacking.

I’m lucky that Rott gets my pain better than most men do. If I can’t get in the car and go to work because massive menopause cramps have me doubled over to the point I can’t get IN the car, he understands that…sort of. I’m not sure any other man does or would. And really, who understands menopause as a reason for not going to work? Women my age or older usually do, but sometimes even they don’t if they just never had it as bad as some of us do.

Personally, even though I don’t have hot flashes or any of the other issues women have during menopause, what I do have is so debilitating I just want Rott to shoot me and put me out of my misery.

Yeah. Equality for women. What a crock.

Anyway, I’ve been writing although not at a NaNo pace. That means I’ve no idea when I’ll be done with any of the stuff I’m working on. However on the 21st I’ll be doing the Next Big Thing Blog Hop and you’ll all get a taste of what I’m working on. Not that I know yet which WIP I’ll be blogging about.

I’m back to watching Jared Rackler swivel his hips on Facebook as inspiration. That boy sure can rev my muse’s engine with his dancing. I can’t remember the last time a man’s dancing got my muse’s undies in a twist. Must have been back in my David Denton days. Wish I had a video of that on Facebook!

And so for today, I’ll leave you with my latest cover art for some Monday inspiration. How pretty is that? I’m really proud of it.

You’ll have to check my Facebook author page for this week’s snippet of what I’m working on and my Facebook personal account for that Jared Rackler video.

Happy No Menopause For You Monday!

 

Get Out of Town

I’m headed out of town on Wednesday with my pal James Buchanan. We’re driving to Albuquerque for the GayRomLit reader/author retreat. I’ve got about a gazillion things to do before I go but hopefully Nikki (Motley) can help me get it all done tomorrow.

Last week was horrendous. Expense after expense racked up. The Infiniti was in the shop and the numbers kept climbing. Nothing wrong with the engine. The damn thing didn’t even need spark plugs. But the front brakes were shot. Good news, the rears were perfect. The trailing arms needed replacing. On an SUV this is a danger call. Broken trailing arms can cause an SUV to roll. The headers were leaking. Ugh. So new suspension, new exhaust system. WAY the fuck more money than we could afford. But it’s over now and we have it back. It feels solid again thank God.

Anyway, until later tonight I’m having a book trailer sale. 2 for 1. That’s $50 for two trailers. I gotta find a way to eat while I’m at GRL. I haz skillz. Will make trailers for food! 😉

I gotta run. Sorry to be short today but I need to get to work. Here’s your inspirational photo(s) of the day:

Those are the backs of the Scrambling Romance Trading Cards. Purdy ain’t they? Have a great Monday and if you’re going to GRL, see you on Thursday at the Hard Rock!