One Down More To Go

I finished the expansion and revision of Mating yesterday. I was so glad to have it done! Now, I’ve just got a partial to finish, my Father’s Day story and Fire Storm. I honestly can’t wait to get back to the Darkworld. I’ve missed it while writing all these contemporaries. But Runaways is out now (came out on Friday) and I’m sure Mating won’t be too far behind now that the hard part is done.

Writing has been going smoothly for the most part, if a little slow. Being tired a lot has slowed down the process for me. I’m still doing cover art, videos and now promo graphics for ads. And an occasional website. I’m about to start one for author Tim McGiveny. I’ve been looking at templates for his and I think I’ve got one he’ll like so it’s time for me to have him get his hosting. New websites are always so exciting!

The promo ads are a new thing for me sort of. I’ve done a few in the past but now I’ve put up some samples for GayRomLit. I quickly made some examples of ads in the different sizes yesterday at Ethan Day’s suggestion. He then pimped out the link and thus far I have one bite for creating an ad! Yay!

Nikki (aka Motley) will be coming home soon and to be honest, I’m really glad about that. I could use her help with some things and I missed her this past year while she was living with a roomie. Which reminds me that I was supposed to email her a to do list because she’s going to help me whip my website into shape since I haven’t had the time to do it. My book pages are a mess.

The day job is going really well these days. I have help now (yay!) and it frees me up to do some of the things that got backburnered when we were short staffed. For one, I need to work on cleaning up some stuff in our cemetery software database. Ugh. It’s a nasty task but it needs to be done and until recently, I haven’t had the time.

Another thing I’ve been doing at work is blogging! Yes, blogging. And coordinating the blog. Finding guest bloggers can be daunting when your topic is specific. Every now and then I actually have to write a post myself. Last Friday, I did that while in the midst of an IT emergency…our internet was down! Luckily, it was the carrier so there was nothing for me to fix other than reboot the firewall. The internet was down for only an hour or so but afterward I couldn’t reach the company blog because of a router issue with the carrier. Waiting around for them to fix stuff sucked. But I finally got the blog post up at 5 pm before I went home.

So yeah, been busy. Nothing new there. LOL And now I need to head off to the office where I have a lot of stuff to do today. I’ve got a full plate for sure! First, before I leave, here’s a Marcus!

Oh, yummeh! Have great Monday!

To the Bone

I’ve been working my fingers to the bone and some of it feels like it’s for free. A bunch of cover art, a lot of writing, some website work…Enough stuff that I can’t even get to my own author website which has non-existent and messed up book pages. (I really, really need to fix that.) But there are rewards for what I do. When I write, I have releases and those bring in royalties. When I do covers, mostly I get paid right away for them, for which I am grateful because with any cover there is an outlay of money on the artist’s part to create the cover. If I spend my grocery money for the week making three covers and I don’t get paid for two weeks on them, we don’t eat. Which is why I sometimes wonder why I agreed to do some covers and be paid based how well the book sells. This goes hand in hand with why the heck I wrote a story for the M/M Goodreads group for free and why you can download Breathe Me In at All Romance eBooks tomorrow for free.

So here’s the deal. I thought I’d give the new cover thing a try because I thought it might bring my work to the eyes of other publishers and authors who are looking to self-pub and need covers.  I thought it might be a good investment in terms of getting my work in front of more people and a different audience.

The same goes for the Goodreads story. This group has nearly 6,000 members. I’m willing to bet a lot of them don’t know me and/or haven’t read my work. Doing the prompt for their Love is Always Write event is a chance for those members to get to know my work. If they like it, they could go looking for my backlist (damn, need to fix my website!) in order to find other books they might want to read.

So you could say that both ventures are an experiment. Obviously, if the cover art one doesn’t start paying out more than I’ve paid in, it won’t be a viable venture long term. I’m keeping track of what I spend and will compare it to what I make to see if this is something I should continue with. It’s only one publisher, if I decide it’s not working out, I can stop. The other publishers pay me up front, one directly via Paypal (for which I’m grateful) and the other via Paypal echecks which means I get paid in about 4 days. Sometimes the wait sucks, but at least it’s not quarterly.

With writing, you always have to wait to get paid if your publisher is a small indie press.  Sales come in and then the pubs pay out royalties (unlike the big NYC houses that pay an advance and then you have to earn that out via sales.)  I’m used to royalties trickling in from my different publishers at different times of the month. It’s cute when Rott calls me at work to tell me I got a check from “The Cave.” Some pubs pay with a check mailed to me and others via direct Paypal or Paypal echeck.

So I’m working my fingers to the bone to get all my projects done as quickly as possible. Now, that the Goodreads story is done, I’ve got to finish my expansion of Mating which shouldn’t take long. After that, I’ve got two more manuscripts to work on. One is a novella (probably about 15-20K) for MLR Press’s Father’s Day releases. It will be the last story about my pilots Sebastian and Ryder. The other manuscript is the long await sequel to Fire Season, Fire Storm. I’m so looking forward to writing Holden and Garret again.

As for really giving my work away for free…tomorrow you can get a copy of Breathe Me In for free from All Romance eBooks as part of their Earth Day celebration. I did this once before and it was great. For those of you who like the Tales series and/or like M/M books, you’ll definitely want to download this one!

Now, it’s time for a Marcus and then off to work with me.

Oh, what a yummeh Marcus! *sigh*

Have a great Monday!

Unhinged

I was writing last night and wrote the line that my hero was so overcome by his passion for the other hero that his brain had come unhinged. I think I have a little of that today. I feel brain dead for sure. I read a novel, did about a dozen covers (some mockups and some finals), did a few website graphics, and wrote a few thousand words this weekend. Oh, and we watched The Big Year. Funny movie. Really cute. Now, it’s Monday and my brain definitely feels unhinged. So I’m just gonna give you a sample of what I did this weekend, hand you off a Marcus and toddle off to my office. Since my boss didn’t call me over the weekend I guess our office pool didn’t win the MegaMillions either.

I love it when authors are easy to work with. Makes my life a whole lot easier and means I can actually do that many covers in a weekend. So kudos to everyone I’ve been working with lately!

Now, time for a retro Marcus (ie one I’ve posted before) who will guarantee that at least something will go right for me today. 😉

Here’s a little tip for some of you who like my M/M books, on April 10 All Romance eBooks will have Breathe Me In as a FREE download in honor of Earth Day. So mark your calendars and go get it for FREE! Have a happy Monday everyone!

Advertisement

Today’s post is a plethora of advertisements for the stuff I’m doing or did. I mean, c’mon, it’s Cyber Monday, which to an old internet hound like myself who’s been out here on the net since the early 90’s, doesn’t really conjure up thoughts of sales but of ahem, sex. Still, Cyber Monday is indeed a day of sales so I have a bunch of ads for you!

First off, my 30 Days of Christmas giveaway event is in full swing. We’ve already given away ebooks and paperback books and today, I have a really special treat for readers. Today is the release day for NightShift, the newest book by Kate Douglas. Kate is a prolific and amazing author. She’s also a really great person and I’m thankful to have her as a friend. Kate’s giving away two signed copies of NightShift on my Lex Valentine blog today so go on over there and leave a comment so you’re entered to win.

Next up is the great holiday story event happening at MLR Press. Forty six books! That’s right, there are forty-six holiday stories that are out or coming out. My story Breath of Heaven is scheduled for December 15. You’ll find the video for this heart-warming holiday story right here on this blog. I’ve already read some of these and they are amazing stories. Mia Watts’s story is touching and funny and incredibly hot! Z.A. Maxfield’s story is heart-warming and sweet. DH Starr’s story is a serious tear-jerker with a belly laugh ending. And Derek Adams’s story will send you up in flames.

We all have the same cover art over at MLR Press but when it goes to the third party distributors some of us will have individual covers in order to distinguish between the stories. Cover art is the first thing a reader sees when they are browsing titles and if all the covers look the same, you might get passed over because the reader thinks they already have that book. So a handful of us did an alternate cover. I did covers for Ethan Day, Z.A. Maxfield and myself. We’re not alone though. I believe there’s other authors doing the same. Here’s the covers I created for the three of us. You can also see these over at Winterheart Design.

I’ve got one other Christmas story coming. This one is Cupid Christmas which is the last of the Christmas Cowboys stories I’ve done for the past few years at Pink Petal Books. I can’t think of another couple so it’s time to end the series of Christmas Eve hookups and HEAs at Forbes Ranch with this one last story.

This week I’m launching a new project called Lords of Aether on December 1. This is a serial story, a really special serial story. It’s by myself and authors KC Burn, Charlie Cochrane, Jason Edding, Stephani Hecht, ZA Maxfield and Jaime Samms. It’s a gay steampunk serial. None of us have any experience with steampunk so we’ve been slowly building our world and characters. I’m the only one with serial story experience and it’s been fun teaching them all about how the dynamics work. I’ve missed The Bar a lot so the Lords of Aether will help me not miss it as much. They aren’t the characters I loved so well at The Bar and they aren’t the same group of writers, but the camaraderie and sense of creating together is the same so it goes a long way to easing that little hole in my heart.  I kick off the story on December 1 with a post about my character Anthony Banning whose former lover, Imperial spy Jack Starr, has looked him up because he needs help finding his missing current lover. As you can imagine, Anthony’s a bit offended.  Here’s a trailer for Lords of Aether. I whipped this up last night so I hope you like it.

And now, since I can’t remember what else I’m supposed to be advertising (I was doing a 2 for 1 book trailer sale for this past weekend at Winterheart Design, but no one took me up on it!) I suppose it’s time to post a Marcus and head on out to work. Since I’ve been doing retro Marcus’s (ie photos I’ve posted before) I thought today I’d post my favorite Marcus photo ever.

Oh yum. I love that photo! If any of you know Nikki aka Motley aka my kid, stop on over at her Facebook page. She’s got a bit of a political protest going on on her wall.

And that’s it for my big ole advertisement post this Monday. Have yourselves a wonderful Monday and don’t forget to keep checking my Lex Valentine blog every day through Christmas Eve. Posting a comment enters you for a chance to win that day’s books. Happy Holiday Season Monday!

 

Shiny Stuff

I’ll admit to being distracted this weekend by shiny stuff. To be honest, they were photos. I was looking for one kind of photo to do a cover and found something else that would work on a different cover. And so on, and so on. Every time I’d look for something, I’d end up with something for a different project. They all had to be done, but they didn’t have to be done in the order in which I did them.

Probably one good reason I got distracted so easily is this darn cold. It’s on the way out, but the lingering cough makes me feel like I’ve gone a few rounds with the heavyweight champion of the world and taken every blow to the ribs and gut. The problem is the way women’s muscles work when they cough. What tightens and spasms are the ones over the ribs and lower abdomen, the ones on the sides of the waist and the groin muscles. Apparently, or so my doc says, men use different muscles when they cough, muscles they use a lot anyway so they don’t get the same muscle aches as women when they have a bad cough. Anyway, every time I cough, it leaves me gasping for air and with muscles spasms sort of like the heaves. I lose track of what I’ve been doing and end up off on tangents. If the work I did this weekend wasn’t so darned pretty, I’d be growling “Eff you, Cold!” for more reasons that the obvious ones of discomfort.

So here’s what I ended up with at the end of the weekend. A total count of three banners, a Twitter background page, an avatar, and four covers. None of which were for me. The stuff that hasn’t been approved yet, I won’t post, but the stuff that’s already been finalized is below.

So pretty! So sexy! Which leads me to something – or rather someone – who is also pretty and oh, so sexy! It’s time for a Marcus!

I want to pillow fight with him! Of course, I don’t look that good in my underwear…Leastways, not any more! *Winces at the thought of my upcoming birthday* That does remind me of something though. This year my birthday is on a Monday so I think I’ll give away some books. Make sure you come back on Halloween for a chance to win.

Okay, that about wraps it up for me and my sore ribs. Have yourselves a great Monday!