Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of a Lonely Writer

I come from a huge family. My family is so huge you'd expect a member like me (with what I would call a decent amount of talent in the literary, visual and performing arts) to get a little recognition from them every now and then. Admittedly, good news doesn't travel much around the huge family circle. Unfortunate, I know. I'd liken the experience to a bad reality TV show where there's constant drama and unbelievably high ratings.

Friends? Only back in elementary and high school. At sixteen my social life drastically changed when I had my first daughter. Suddenly, my friends and I didn't have much in common anymore.

Soon after was the death of my social life.

And now, as a writer ( a lonely job) I long for that pat on the back once in a while. That "Good job" or "Congrats!" (Hell, I even crave a decent adult conversation with someone other than my husband from time to time.) "I'm proud of you" and "Keep up the good work" are rarely passed around in my huge family. Growing up I barely heard those words unless it was from my Language Arts teacher. Eventually, I learned to accept it.

I read about the sister and wife of my favorite Sci-Fi author, Hugh Howey, and how they are his support system. They help him with book readings and events, critiquing his works in progress and who knows what else. I long for such a system. If only I had that kind of support with my first published book.

Indeed, my writing journey has been a lonely one. I had to teach myself about publishing the hard way, through trial and error. Oh, I have my share of regrets.

My earliest dream? To see my name on the cover of a book. I started writing short horror stories in elementary school, but my first novel was completed in 2005. Three's a Crowd: The Beginning, an MMF erotic romance. The results? An embarrassment. The whole experience was a nightmare that I only realize NOW.

I'd been HAD by a vanity press. They charged me hundreds of dollars that I borrowed from one of my sisters and enthusiastically paid them to publish what I now dub "an utter piece of crap." I was completely oblivious  to my own writing errors and desperate to have my book in print that I never questioned why a "publisher" would publish something so severely unedited. (Literally my first draft!) Until later when I figured out it wasn't my best work.

I put out a revised and extended version in 2008, (and continued the story after the book as an online serial for free here: www.threesacrowd3.com) after writing two other novels and publishing them all through the same vanity press. Thousands of dollars lost! Finally, in 2011, I was humiliated enough to have Three's a Crowd: The Beginning discontinued. I mean, I'm trying to make a name for myself and build a decent platform. And although my dream was to have my name on a book cover, I no longer wanted my name on THAT book cover.

Where was my support system and why weren't they looking out for me? I realized I was alone in that endeavor. Still am.

Now, I highly despise vanity presses learned so much. It took years of making mistakes and learning from them, but now I understand the publishing business and how it works.

Some of what I've had to learn the hard way:

·         Research publishers before submitting

·         Research everything before making a commitment including topics and the facts for my stories

·         Respect feedback from editors and readers

·         Take criticism like an adult

·         Keep improving  my writing skills with every book I write

·         Continue to read, write and learn about story writing and book publishing

·         Do not expect perfection but work towards it anyway

·         Keep reading, writing and learning

·         Do not expect to have a team of family and friends behind me, pushing me and urging me on. To only depend on myself, and the people who choose to stand behind me, to get ahead and succeed.

Overtime, my up-and-down experience with writing and publishing has showed me that even without a support system I can make my dreams come true. I currently have 14 books for sale with my name on them. I may be a lonely writer but I appreciate the rewards even more knowing I've made it so far by myself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Writing Well Consistently is Crucial for an Author

Part of an author's job is to market themselves and their work. We keep up with our online social networks, updating Facebook and Twitter and engaging with other authors, editors, agents and readers. We blog, we're interviewed and participate in discussions on online forums and blogs. Whether we're writing books or writing Facebook updates, our number one job as a writer is to write and write well.

What makes good writing?

  • Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, etc.
  • Ability to convey your message effectively

Why is it important to write well all the time?

Your writing is an asset. It's what you are selling. It's part of your brand. You're a writer. You need to prove your skill. You're expected to know how to write and write well.

Imagine a potential reader coming across an article you wrote online … and it's littered with typos, emoticons and abbreviations one would use when text messaging. It may be difficult to see what type of writing you're selling in your books.

It's important to remember, while online everyone's watching from potential readers to editors, agents and publishers. Show the world that you understand grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. Flaunt your writing skills everywhere you leave your writing, and be consistent.

When to stick with proper writing:

  • Writing and/or responding to emails
  • Writing, responding and/or commenting on blog posts
  • Article writing
  • Writing contests
  • Manuscript queries, partials and submissions
  • Book reviews or public reviews of any kind
  • Updating social network sites
  • Online interviews

When you can let it slide:

  • Twitter updates (due to the 140 character limit)
  • Text or instant messaging

Tips to make sure your writing is superb:

  • Always use spell check
  • Read it back to yourself out loud
  • Have someone else look over it
  • Put it away for a couple days, look over it again, and then post publically
  • After publishing it (blog or online article) and you find a typo or mistake, correct it immediately

It helps to get into the habit of writing well if you do it regularly. Writing is your talent, your brand and your value. Don't abuse it by not demonstrating your skill. Do you have any tips you'd like to add?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Featured Author: Cassidy Kingston with Taste of Love

Taste of Love by Cassidy Kingston
Publisher: Whisky Creek Press/Torrid
Available: April 15th 2012!

Laken is a strong willed woman who is tortured by the fact that being a vampire is not all the books and movies make it out to be. Her maker, Richard, is a controlling one hundred and fifty year old vampire that makes fledglings to do all of his daily shores for him. The only human contact Laken has is with her nightly donors, hers is a gay man named Eric. After Eric has to leave town she end up with a new donor, Hayden. She is so drawn to Hayden she fears her maker will find out. Soon she discovers she is forming a blood bond with Hayden she is scared once the blood bond forms and Richard feels it that he will be angry with her.

This is the first in a series of short stories based on the five senses.


Laken finished showering and got dressed in a light pink silk gown. She pulled her hair back into a loose braid and sat on the bed waiting on her donor to arrive. There was a light knock on the door. Laken opened the door and gasped at the man standing on the other side. He was easily six foot-five two hundred-fifty pounds of pure tanned muscle. He had light hair cut short and emerald green eyes.

“Can I come in?” He asked

“Um, oh yeah come on in. I’m Laken, what’s your name?”

“Hayden, I’m Hayden. Where would you like me? This is my first time so I’m kinds scared.”

“You can sit right here,” She said pulling the chair out from her makeup table “Don’t be scared, I only bite,” She said with a giggle.

This seemed to make him relax a little. She watched him as he sat down and looked around the room. He didn’t strike her as a druggie so this made her feel better. She was glad to at least have such a sexy donor to drink from.

She walked and stood in front of him. “I’ll have to sit in your lap to feed, because you’re so tall, okay?

He nodded.

She straddled his lap and leaned down to his neck, she felt him tense up.

“Okay you have to relax. I’ll talk you thru this. First I’ll lick your neck. This will numb the area so it won’t hurt.” She leaned back down to his neck and closed her eyes, he smelled so good. She slowly took her tongue and ran it up and down his neck, feeling the rush of blood under his skin.

“Okay now I will gently insert my fangs into where I just licked, when I get thru to the blood I will retract my fangs and suck the blood out until I’m full, normal about ten minuets.”

She gently placed her fangs on his neck, she could feel his pulse, and she slowly inserted her fangs into his skin, feeling a slight pop when she punctured the blood vein. She retracted her fangs and closed her mouth over the two small holes and started sucking. Her mouth filled with his hot velvety blood, it was the best tasting blood she’d ever had. She had to make herself slow down. She really wanted to enjoy this. She shifted her body to get a better suction on his neck, when she did this she felt something hard beneath her bottom. She froze.

Hayden wrapped his hands around her waist and pulled her body closer to him. She sucked even harder, drawing his blood into her mouth with a greedy pace, he moaned and his blood shifted flavor. It filled her mouth with a succulent and raw taste, she’d never tasted this before, but she needed more of it, she realized she was rocking back and forth rubbing herself on the rock hard object beneath her. She felt herself getting wet, she knew this was wrong but she couldn’t stop herself

With her vampire speed, she flung herself out of his lap and stood on the other side of the room staring at him. She noticed he looked confused for a moment.


Cassidy Kingston lives in Alabama and is a southern belle who happens to love writing about things that make other southern belle’s blush. She has multiple degrees in subjects that have nothing to do with writing. When she is not reading or writing she is chasing kids and animals.

Blog: www.CassidyKingston.wordpress.com

Twitter: @CassidyKingston

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm a Nominee for The Independent Book Blogger Awards! VOTE!

Voting is now open and I would love your support! Please, click below to go to my Goodreads' Independent Book Blogger Award page and cast your vote! I appreciate your support!

Nomination Category: Publishing Industry  Blog: Leslie Lee Sanders

Independent Book Blogger Awards
Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!


-The polls allow one vote per person in each of the four categories, and voters must be Goodreads members so that we can accurately tally the results. When polls close, the top 15 blogs in each category will become finalists.

-Winners will be selected from among the finalists by a panel of industry judges. Each of the four category winners will receive a pass to BookExpo America (June 5-7, 2012) with airfare and hotel accommodation in New York City.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Do Male GLBT Romance Authors Have it Easier?

So what do I mean by easier? Do male authors who write in the GBLT romance category have a bigger, loyal fanbase, make more sales, and have an advantage over the female authors of the same category?

Me thinks YES!

Here's why

  1. In many of cases, male authors of gay fiction are gay themselves. Therefore, when reading male-written gay romance the reader believes (even if they don't admit it or even know it) that they're getting an inside look into real M/M relationships, getting a truer male point of view.
  2. Also, knowing that most readers of gay romance and romance in general are women (according to RWA's statistics, women make up 91 percent of the romance book buyers), I think some women tend to associate the male authors with their male protagonists.     
  3. Some women love a romantic man. And if you happened to be a male writer of romance, how more romantic could you be? You're writing about love and emotions between men, (and in erotic romance) sex, good sex. We love that, right?

For those reasons, I also think those authors with ambiguous names like; Kaje or True, or initials instead of names like; G.A or J.S, or unisex names like; Chris, Terry or Jamie, can sell more books in the gay category as well.

I'm not saying these authors don't have to write a good book, promote that book and social network to gather sales, readers and make a name for themselves like we all do. I'm suggesting that, due to the reasons above, some male authors of gay romance might have it a tad bit easier and get success (whatever that means. I know it's subjective) faster than the rest of us.

How about you? What do you think? I'd love to hear your opinion.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Is Your Book Publisher Playing Favorites?

Do you suspect your publisher favors one or a select few of their authors over other authors within their publishing house? Maybe your publisher and the staff frequently spotlights a certain author, his or her books and successes over the rest? Maybe you feel your efforts aren't getting noticed over those other "special" in-house author's.

Authors pursue publishers to help us package our books in its finest attire, help market and sale it to the masses. We like believing that having a reputable publisher behind our book tells readers that our book is good enough without us authors having to convince them ourselves.

With Amazon and other book sellers making it easier to self-publish, it's only a matter of time before mistreated authors fight back against unfair or preferential treatment from publishers and go into business for themselves. Heck, we do most of the tedious "marketing and convincing" ourselves anyway.

Is it wrong for a publisher to play favorites?

I think a reputable, successful and professional book publisher gives equal attention to all of their authors. In other words, non-preferential treatment is never displayed. It is never beneficial to only highlight one particular author's successes (i.e. positive book reviews, book sales, platform, book covers, writing skills and abilities, etc.) over other authors. The best way to run a publishing business is to not focus on just the bestselling authors but all of your authors; the just signed, the established, the novelists and the anthology writers, all of them.

Publishers and staff should be cautious about expressing their opinion of an author and that author's work, especially if they work alongside that author and their views are easily seen by authors from that publishing house. If it's positive comments, then it looks bias and not trustworthy to an outsider. Not to mention, it will stir up questions from fellow in-house authors like, why couldn't she say something that great about my book? On the other hand, if it's negative comments, it seems shallow and bitter. Neither is good.

Why would a publisher play favorites?

  • Certain authors have a bigger platform/readership and make more sales, bringing in more money.
  • Certain authors are also staff members acting as editors, marketing consultants, book cover artists, proof readers, etc.
  • They somehow developed an online relationship with the author, possibly through emails, social networking, writers groups, etc.

Reasons why favoritism should be eradicated within publishing houses?

  • It invokes feelings of jealousy, mistrust and unfairness.
  • It prevents other authors from feeling part of the group or community.

To continually spotlight an author is plain bad practice. You put too much focus on one author or select authors, then there's not enough focus on the rest. Before you know it, you're depending too much on those select authors to keep your business afloat.

Long-standing, flourishing book publishers are successful because they understand: without their authors there is no publisher.