Is it a talent?

#Tuesdaystalent 

It’s turned really cold here and not that I have a great many talents but this one also happens to coincide with today being National Hot Toddy Day so I thought I’d share two of my favourite hot toddies.

The first is s simple after-dinner drink. When I was a kid there were only Irish Coffees, which if you’re not a fan of whiskey sucks, now there’s all sort of variations and my favourite has Tia Maria, a little more coffee with my coffee.

Yummy Calypso Coffee at Sales E Pepe, Knightsbridge #londonnightout

The second is to help when I’m feeling all poorly and sorry for myself. It’s a medicinal hot blackcurrant drink with cassis and a sachet of the cold remedy packets you get at the pharmacy and yes, I know I probably shouldn’t combine the two, but I’m not drinking a whole bottle of cassis, its a single shot and if it makes me feel better and helps with a good night sleep…then mind yo business lol.

cup of tea in close up photography
Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

If you have a favourite, let me know. I’ll give it a try !

Some New Releases that caught my attention.

New feature for this blog, twice monthly I’m going to share some new releases from some fabulous authors that I love to read, and I think you’ll enjoy.

Click on the link below the book cover images to check them out, you won’t be buying them, it will just take you to the Amazon page.

So you can have a look inside, see if it tickles your pickle

https://amzn.to/32XCVJ2
https://amzn.to/33mJkwQ
https://amzn.to/3GcVPKb
https://amzn.to/3F7UgM5
https://amzn.to/3ffqjz7

What is one resolution for 2022?

Even this question has me in a spin. Maybe my one resolution should be…try to be more decisive?

Okay then my one resolution is to try and give myself 15 minutes of quiet time a day, maybe try a little meditation. Even with zero productivity in the writing department, I seem to constantly have a head full of to-do’s and lists, not to mention the exhausting overthinking…see that’s another resolution right there, stop over-thinking. I’ll try that alongside the meditation, not at the same time obviously, falling at the first hurdle with those two.

I can’t remember if I made a resolution last year, if I did, it was most likely just hoping it would be an all-round better year, which I thought at the time was an improvement on loose weight, get fit, etc, but still, it didn’t really pan out.

Anyway, that’s mine, what’s yours?

I’m hoping to structure my time a little better, engage a little more, be more present and perhaps get this darn book finished…yes, I’m definitely going to do that. But first, the New Year, whatever you are planning, I hope you have the best time, with people you love and laugh with, resolutions or not enjoy yourself, and here’s to a fabulous 2022!

Cheers!!!

xdee

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Photo by olia danilevich on Pexels.com

Bully me this…

Bully Romance is a popular genre in romance although I haven’t written one myself, well I don’t think I have?

Why is it popular though if we all are, and rightly too, against bullying?

I’m okay reading all sorts of dubious scenarios because, for me, it’s fiction, escapism and I can distinguish between reality and fantasy.

For example, some of my dominant alphas are not only super hot but unreasonably demanding too, ‘hell yes’ they are I hear you say. Even so and equally from an alternate perspective, they could be considered stalker-ish and damn right arse-holes. And you know what? That’s fine too because it’s fiction.

I’m not going into the well-argued topic of ‘does *insert current media vehicle* lead to violence in society, because I don’t believe it does, we don’t live in a vacuum and as such context and environment equally impact a persons behaviour, just my opinion.

But I digress, this wasn’t supposed to be a lecture, just some ramblings because I got to thinking, when is behaviour considered bullying? When everything is subject to misinterpretation and especially not the internet it seems you can not have a rational discussion without being labelled as anti-this or an -ist.

There have been many mutterings about authors bullying other authors. I’ve seen the screenshots and I don’t doubt it happens. I don’t doubt the devastating effects on the victim and I personally think it’s disgusting. I wouldn’t knowingly support a Bully. But what if I didn’t know, what if I kept my head down, didn’t trawl the internet for gossip and fact check to make sure there was truth in the allegations. What if, blissfully unaware I saw a post from a fellow author I may have met, or just knew in passing for that matter, and I shared their new release post on my page, thinking I was supporting a fellow author and by doing that I was labelled a pro-bully bitch?

The fringe of this and not entirely unrelated is the accusation of some authors not supporting new authors, being perceived as elitist or ‘all-that’ because they might not follow-back, or share a post, or let someone post in their reader group. I honestly don’t think, this is the case with me, but it’s how my brain works. Always worrying what someone else is thinking.

The thing is, it’s hard to get visibility I get that. I’m by no means killing it, but I make a living. If someone reaches out and wants to post in my group, I’d let them. I really don’t have a problem. I won’t lie though, I only recommend books I’ve actually read, just because I owe it to my readers, to be honest. I don’t think that’s being elitist, I also don’t think that’s bullying a new author.

The same goes for newsletters. I sometimes feature sales form other authors, mostly ones I’v read or know but usually because I like to offer a bargain to my readers. I also think it’s a huge leap to assume my readers will love someone else work, which is why I don’t do newsletter swaps as a rule. Why on earth would someone that signed up to Author X’s newsletter want to read about me and my books? I learned this from a recent takeover on a well known authors Instagram. It’s a great experience but essentially, the followers on that page are there to see her posts…simple.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t share and I don’t post about other books, I do, it’s just, if I don’t it’s not for some ulterior mu-ha-ha evil plan to take over the romance world all on my own.

And the assumption that I know everything that’s going on, is a big one. I don’t, I barely know what day it is.

If you see me supporting a bully or a plagerist, let me know. It will be a mistake.

#notobullying #notoplagerism

The missing piece?

I’ve been pondering all things social media, the good, the bad, and the ‘what-the-ever-loving-hell-scary’.

Why now, I hear you ask?

Well, a very good question and the answer is Til-Tok.

When I started writing back in the day, 2014, I wasn’t on Facebook, didn’t want to be either but that really isn’t an option for an Indie author. I mean how the heck are people going to find you unless you are touting your wears on all social media platforms? Well, they will find you on Amazon once you’ve mastered ‘how to advertise’ that is…but that’s a tale for another day.

So off to Facebook I trundled adding an author page, reader group, and a personal page, alongside Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, although this one I’ve really only recently started to use. And a website, obviously. Fair to say, I am well and truly Social Media’d up the kazoo.

Here’s the thing, all of the platforms are different and demand different content. As will, Til Tok and when would I find the time to write again? The time it takes to do my newsletter, FB posts, Instagram, etc, is enough. The only way I could handle adding more to my social media to-do list would be to hire a ghostwriter and that is NEVER going to happen. Something has to give, no?

Besides, I have to ask, what’s the point? There is only so much content, only so much of me, I can give, and even that isn’t particularly interesting. I sincerely doubt me dancing around with a book in my hand making a tit of myself will entice someone to hop on over to Amazon and buy a book. Maybe it will, but I happen to think it’s more likely it will lead to a screenshot and some embarrassment later down the line when the truth is exposed and people realise I’m not remotely vivacious, vibrant and an oh-so-interesting individual and I am in fact a bit of a recluse with a filthy mind and an inappropriate sense of humour.

I’m not going to be venturing on to Til -Tok, in case you were wondering. I am grateful for Facebook, I am grateful that I met readers that are now friends. I am actually very grateful for that, Shannon, Susan and Patty, you probably have no idea.

To wrap up, if you are here, reading this, or are stalking in any capacity, rest assured you aren’t missing anything from me. It’s all here.

If you want to see me make a tit of myself, you’ll have to come to a signing and get me drunk 😉

It’s NEVER okay…

Stealing.

I didn’t think that actually needed to be said but apparently it does. Whether it’s ‘Oh yeah I found this site and all the books are FREE’, or ‘Yeah, YouTube has that on audio’ or most recently ‘I outsourced the first draft of my manuscript’. Stealing is stealing and it’s NOT OKAY.

Let me clarify, some books are FREE. I even have a small library of them on my website. They are all free on Amazon (at time of uploading) so I know they are legit. There are pirate site popping up every damn day, stealing books, films, you name it. Most pirate sites are crammed with viruses and are there to scrape the data of those wanting an illegal free download- good, I hope it crashes their computers, f**ks up their phones…you know why?

Because it’s stealing.

Same goes for audio books on YouTube. Most authors have an exclusive contract with whatever platform is selling their audio books. Audio books cost a a lot to produce, £3K or there about for a standard novel, so the likelihood of an author paying that out and then giving it away…zero….zero likelihood. You listen to it on YouTube, you’re most likely stealing.

That’s all pretty basic as far as I’m concerned and since it’s taking my hard earned income, it kind of ticks me off.

This next one isn’t so much stealing off my plate but is more insidious if I’m honest. It erodes a line of trust between author and reader, and author and other authors.

Plagiarising is disgusting. Simple. However it comes about, it’s never a misunderstanding, it’s theft. The worst kind.

Recently S M Soto stole chunks of Kim Jones book That Guy and passed it off as her own and she was caught…red frickin’ handed. She’s made a non apology and after a short time admitted to outsourcing the first draft to a ghost-writer.

This to me is the insidious part. It’s a really tough market, romance is intensively competitive. There is pressure to produce produce produce. ‘Your only as good as you last book’…Whatever, the pressure’s there but you know what, there’s pressure in everyday life, does that mean you resort to stealing someone else hard work?

I honestly couldn’t sleep at night. I don’t suppose it was a deliberate intention to steal. I mean you’d have to be insane to risk that in the tight book community but employing someone that is, I’m assuming working on a fixed price, well that person might just try and cut a few corners to make that hourly rate worth it. And let’s face it, you’d have to be a computer to read all the romance books out there and know if something was stolen.

I think the answer is fairly simple…If you’re and author…write your own damn book!

One thing I will say is, in light of how quickly and easy it is to whip up righteous outrage, is please stick to the facts, they are damning enough. There is no need for name calling. All that does is help the thief play the victim card. She’s not a victim, she’s a thief.

I do not condone the witch hunt mentality and I thoroughly endorse fact checking; innocent until proved guilty. The electronic evidence in this instance speaks volumes, as does the live video Kim did. Also the fact that SM has thrown everything but the kitchen sink under the bus with this one, in an attempt to blur the lines of truth.

And let me be clear, this is not the same as having the same title as another author, even if it is in the same genre. That’s is quite likely, if not common. As is using stock images for covers. This happens and is accepted. It’s not theft. It’s not passing off someone else hard work and words as your own.

Anyway, enough of the preaching. I just feel very strongly about this, as you might’ve guessed.

So just to be clear….

Here’s the link to the original book. I’m not going to give any more publicity to the plagiarised one.

A community with a big heart.

When I started out, I knew nothing and I really mean that. I wrote my book and read a ‘how-to-self-publish’ guide and bam! My first book was out there. There were several stages in between, I’m sure and I may jot them down at some point. This post isn’t about that though.

So, here I was with my shiny new book and of course I was the first person to do this amazing thing and damn, wasn’t every other author, blogger and reviewer eager to get their mitts on it?

Well no, of course they weren’t.

What I didn’t know when I stumbled into this book world, was that it was a community. They were tight, they knew each other and had been together a lot longer than my five minutes. I’d like to think my assumptions about where I fit were based on naiveté, rather than arrogance. I hope so anyway. You earn your stripes, nothing is a ‘given’. And five years down the line, I’m still learning. I think I always will be.

I have signed at several Book events, in the UK and the States. And hand on heart I can say, the authors I’ve met, the readers, organisers, everyone has always been just bloody lovely.

What I know to be true now though is, this community, of romance writers, indie and traditional, bloggers, reviewers and other trades associated with getting the words out there, which are mostly women are fucking amazing!

And if you take a look through your timeline right now, you will see it, in all its awesome action.

I don’t doubt for a moment there are rivalries and jealousies, this is a business after all but I have found nothing but support and made some great friends amongst the book loving world. This post is about one of those.

This week we lost someone special from this community.

Karen & Me at The White Rose Signing in Newcastle

Karen Frances, leaves behind, a husband, five children and a catalogue of wonderful sexy books. I met her several times and considered her someone I could always drop a line to, ask for help or share a drink with, she was funny, friendly and kind. She will be missed.

Her new book was released last week but she was too poorly to promote.

I’m also sharing this fundraiser. I have donated a signed book and all my ebox collections, but I know times are hard. If you can do nothing more than share this, it is very much appreciated.

Karen Frances Memorial Event

And a Happy New Year!

Hope you all have a great time over the holiday period. It is a time for reflection I guess and as fast as these years seem to be going at my ripe old age I have to say this year has been amazing. I got to meet many wonderful people, stay with readers and friends on my adventure over the Summer and I finished writing another two books! Phew!

Amazing people, wonderful time…memories to last a lifetime <3

Next year…well I’ll keep you posted…

All my love, always.

xdee

Just in case you thought I’d quit…

Hi guys,

I know it’s been an age since I released a book, but please bare in mind I did release 2 full length novels this year. It was just way back in Jan and March…Hmm now why does that look familiar?

Oh yes, because I have my next 2 books set to be released this Jan and March 2018…I know, feast or famine with me!!…but honestly you’ll thank me I held back book 1 until book 2 was also ready to be released…without a long wait that is..trust me 🙂

So mark you TBR’s, add me to Goodreads and keep your peepers pealed…