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Book of the Month! @The_TBR_Pile @stormowl7 @evernightpub

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My book has been nominated for Book of the Month at The TBR Pile! I’m really super excited, and although it’s a tight 1st/2nd position my book keeps moving into, just being nominated is pretty exciting!

If you haven’t voted already, and you’d like to give a boost to my book, MY SOUL TO GIVE, I’d really appreciate it! This is my first published novel, and although so far all the reviews have been 5 stars, I’m trying to get it “out there” a bit more, and hopefully, if it did win Book of the Month, it may help 🙂

You don’t need to register nor provide your email address, so it’s nothing complicated – just click on MY SOUL TO GIVE, then click on ‘vote’ – that’s it!

Thank you so much! I’ll be crossing my fingers tight until tomorrow!

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Release Blitz – ABEL’S OBSESSION by @AuthorLynnBurke

Title: Abel’s Obsession
Author: Lynn Burke
Genre: BDSM Novella
Release Date: August 31, 2017
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
25% off through Evernight Publishing
A young man of religious fervor and self-control, Abel Beiler has every intention of honoring his parents and being baptized into the Amish church. The woman with red curls and flashing green eyes in the back of a convertible, however, makes Abel wonder what life with the English might be like.

He strives to withstand temptation, but the memory of the woman he yearns to dominate, coupled with the explicit images in his cousin’s filthy magazine, threatens his restraint.
Red, his sinful obsession, haunts his shameful dreams and becomes a secret part of his life. When faced with truth beyond faith, Abel must decide where he belongs—with the Amish community, or the woman who owns his heart.

 
Much later and hoarse from singing for two hours, my curiosity overrode my better sense, and I followed Eli into the hayloft of their barn. While I held the kerosene lamp, he climbed high into the rafters and returned with a magazine clutched in his hand.
“Got this from my new English friend, Toby.” He sat on a bale, opened the magazine, and turned it toward me.

Lust kicked me in the gut, and I couldn’t speak.

A naked woman lay spread eagle and bound by ropes to a bed, a blindfold and some sort of ball gag in her mouth. A man loomed over her, whip in hand. Tear streaks lined the woman’s face. Red slashes marked her thighs. Wetness coated the pink folds of her sex, glistening, and set my mouth to watering.

The image burned into my brain—submission in an entirely different way than the Old Order’s definition of the word. Spirituality is submission, is what had been reiterated in my ears since childhood. Self-surrender. The willingness to give up oneself to the community and Gott’s chosen leaders.

I soaked in the sinful picture, and for the first time in my life wanted power. Wanted control. I wanted a woman’s submission like the man in leather beside her owned. Unable to tear my gaze off the image, I struggled to swallow.

“Didn’t know people actually did this shit.”

Eli’s curse, the first I had heard from him, barely registered past the blood rushing in my ears. My body tensed as longing to be the man standing over that woman, whip in hand raced through me faster than any thoroughbred—or car.
The image of Red flashed in my mind, and suddenly it was her bound to the bed in the picture, breathing heavily, trembling, and begging for me…
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.

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#pitprom Participating Literary Agencies & Publishers checklist

As I do for many contests, I’ve listed the agencies and publishers that are going to participate in #PitProm and I’ve linked them to their Absolute Write forum discussion posts. If you are picked and get any requests, this will make it easy for you to check out more information about that specific agency/publisher, and make sure you’re a good match before you submit 🙂

This is quite a fantastic lineup – I wish everyone good luck!

Red Sofa Literary Agency
Curiosity Quills Press
Angry Robot Books
Orbit (imprint of Hachette Book Group)
Writers House
Desert Breeze Publishing
Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press)
TriadaUS Literary Agency
Emerald City Literary Agency

Never got Picked #PitchWars

As yet another writing contest comes to a near close, I thought I’d post about my experiences with contests – I had initially started this as a thread on Twitter, but with the way it was going, I thought it best to blog instead.

 

First of all, I’ll make this clear: I’ve been picked for one contest, and it was as an alternative pick. By logic, it means my title is wrong, but when I say I’ve never been picked, I mean my manuscript has never been chosen when it comes to super popular writing contests – the ones with all the popular kids, and the well-known hosts, the awesome agents who are basically guaranteed to show up. You know which I’m talking about: #PitchWars #QueryKombat #NoQS #SunvsSnow #pg70pit #PitchMadness #PitchMAS #PitchSlam. Those, I’ve never been picked for (which, ironically enough, is the story of my school life – never was picked by the cool crowd lol).

 

And you know what? The first time, it hurt like hell. I’ll admit it – I cried like a baby. No shame. It was the Nightmare on Query Street, and I entered one of the first manuscripts I’d ever written. I remember I was lying in bed, and the host decided to surprise everyone with announcing the picks earlier. It was around…one in the morning, I think. I scanned through the picks about a dozen times (not kidding), and I just burst into tears when my entry wasn’t there. I even did a ‘find in page’, and went through all the titles one by one in case there had been a spelling mistake. But, it wasn’t there, and I cried all night. The next morning, I was so depressed, I skipped my university classes. And you know what? I’m so glad it wasn’t picked. Know why? I rewrote that story, three years later, and now, I actually love it. It may change again, who knows, but I love it a lot better now than I did when I’d entered it. If it had gotten picked, and even published…I honestly know I’d regret it because it’s so much better now. This was back in 2012, by the way, and this new version is the one I entered in #PitchWars this year. Will it be picked? Well, this brings me to my next point.

 

SUBJECTIVE. Oh, how we hate this word. And not only writers but publishers, agents, editors, etc. – we all hate the word. But, you know what? It’s really what that final decision usually comes down to. For example, some people don’t like the Harry Potter series. “But…how is that possible?” you may ask. Simple: not everyone likes the same things. I love some books that aren’t popular and I scream at the heavens, not understanding how it’s possible. Meanwhile, other books are extremely popular (even get their own movies/TV shows), and I’m sitting here bashing my head against the desk. How does this happen? Subjectivity. Now, that’s not to say that the manuscripts that weren’t chosen are just because of subjectivity! Here are some other reasons:

  • Market (this is the other nasty word writers/publishers/agents/editors/etc. hate): sometimes, the market isn’t in demand for your category and/or genre. Now, this brings me to what I’d written beforehand: will my entry be picked this time, after I’ve done countless revisions on it for the past 5 years now? I’ll be honest – probably not. It’s an Adult Dark Fantasy Romance, and I’ve been hanging around the publishing industry long enough to know this isn’t always the right genre (better than paranormal, which is the other genre I write), but still, not popular like some other genres. Also, I have to mention my word count of 107K (ouch). This may very well be a major turn off to mentors who just don’t have time to put in that many hours in for that many words!
  • Could be better: oh lord, no writer wants to hear this, but it’s the truth. Just take my dark fantasy romance I mentioned – it could have been better, and I took the time. How many times is too much when it comes to rewriting, revising, editing? That’s really up to you. I finished my paranormal mystery romance back in 2014, and edited it 72 times, rewrote it three times, and revised once. And guess what? June 29th, 2017 it was published! And what else? I love it more than all the other times I’d ‘finished’ it. Now, when you hear this, our first reaction is to think “It’s subjective – they don’t know what they’re talking about!” Well, yes, it is subjective, but if you don’t want a mentor’s opinion, then why enter a contest in the first place? Are they all-knowing publishing gods? No, but if they were chosen as mentors, then they know their way around the block a bit more than the writers entering (not necessarily, but odds are, yes). So, while your ego needs to take this with a grain of salt, you – as the writer – need to think about that criticism, mull over it a few days, then decide what you want to do with it if anything.
  • Voice (pretty sure I hate this word even more than the market, actually): What is voice? Ah yes, the one question we never can really get the answer to because, in some way, this too is subjective (that CURSED word!). It’s true, though – it’s one of those things you can’t really explain, but the only thing I can really describe it as is by giving an example. You know how, when you write character dialogues, each character has their own unique way of speaking? Like, if you took out the tags, 99% of the time, you could guess who was speaking? Voice is a bit like that, except, it’s YOUR voice. It’s the words you chose, the way you place them…think of it as art – it’s your brush technique, the way you play with shadows and light. It’s your voice.
  • 1 pick: let’s not forget this part, which is pretty crucial. There were what? I think I saw something like 3,500 entries for the contest? And there are 178 mentors (though many are in teams of two, so for the sake of numbers here, let’s say a total of 100 mentors) – that’s a 35% chance of getting in. Now, this would be if all mentors represented your category, which isn’t the case, and as of right now, I don’t have a clue how many entries there were per category. What am I getting at? Your entry might have been gold, but in a sea where there’s lots of gold, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Imagine for a second, you’re in front of a table with, let’s say, 200 pieces of gold – each of them unique in their way – but you can only pick one…maybe two, but that’s it! Now, this is where subjectivity kicks in (damn that word!), and you grab two and leave with those. Was the rest of the 198 pieces you left behind bad? It’s gold! Of course not! But, you still could only pick one or two! So, if you don’t get picked, don’t let it get you down because your manuscript may have been gold, but the mentors just couldn’t pick all of them

 

Now…what else did I want to talk about…? Ah yes! The mentors! Picture this, for a second, and live through the agony with me. Okay, here we go! You have a list of books you love, right? (if you’re a writer, you must have a list). You stand in front of that same table, and all of your favorite books are lined up, but guess what? You can pick one. Now, your heart has started to race, your palms are sweaty (knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on his sweater already: Mom’s spaghetti. #SorryNotSorry), and you’re thinking “Wait…just one?! Impossible! They’re all so good, and different, I can’t pick!” Well, that’s what the mentors have to do. They read a bunch of entries, and then have a list of their favorites (and yours could be in there!), but they can pick just one. Can you imagine the pain of doing that? Seriously, joking aside: could you be a mentor and pick just one? I know I’d have one hell of a time because from those games we play on the #PitchWars thread, posting pages and lines from our entries, there are a dozen right now I’d love to read. If I had to pick just one? Shit. No. Even when there are twitter pitching parties – do you know how many I would love to ‘like’ and represent if I was an agent? Yet, if you were picked by an agent, you’d want them to have time to dedicate time to represent your book, so if they represent all the books they love, the books would suffer. It’s a bit like quality over quantity. An agent, as well as a mentor, can only take on so much, but in the words of Charles Emerson Winchester III: “I do one thing at a time. I do it very well. And then I move on.“. THIS. I would rather a mentor pick one or two entries so they can actually dedicate time instead of taking a bunch on, and not being able to do much because let’s face it: mentors aren’t paid for this. They have day jobs, they have their own writing; they are busy. So, as angry as you might feel if you’re not picked, try that old saying of putting yourself in a mentor’s shoes, and ask yourself the following questions before you bitch on social media:

  • Could I have dedicated 2 weeks worth of reading a bunch of entries?
  • Could I have narrowed my choices down?
  • Could I have sent for fulls, and read them all on time?
  • Could I have read all of these, knowing I could only pick one?
  • Could I have spent this time doing all this reading, postponing my own writing/projects?
  • Could I then take the time to mentor/criticize/work with knowing the writer might not be as open to making changes?
  • And could I have done all of this for free?

 

Maybe you can say yes to all of these (and I’m sure there’s way more), and if so, then congrats. Whether you say yes or no to any of these, just remember this when the picks are announced.

So what to do if you’re not picked? Different things work for different people, but may I suggest the following:

  • eating a pint of ice cream (not recommended if you’re lactose intolerant – may I recommend Chapman’s Sorbet, if that’s the case – rainbow is yummy!)
  • screaming into your pillow
  • crying (and I mean, ugly crying here)
  • writing how angry you are in a word document, then delete it
  • DM private chats with friends
  • writing a new story (and no, I don’t mean shelf your manuscript because it didn’t get picked – gods I hated when people suggested that to me constantly – I just mean write something else to get your mind off the contest, type of thing)
  • Query (oh, how we hate when people suggest this as well, but it’s true. I mean, like I said before, my published manuscript was never picked for any contest (big or small), yet I queried and ta-da! After 3 years, it was finally picked up by a wonderful publishing press! Shoutout to Evernight Publishing!)

 

What not to do:

  • Don’t post on social media angry tweets – we get you’re pissed off, no worries – please reach out and DM! You don’t have anyone? That’s fine – my twitter is @stormowl7 – add me as a friend, and DM the longest rant you want, it’s all good! I’ll listen, I’ll respond, I’ll encourage, and bitch along with you, and at the end, we’ll go through some ideas together for whatever you’d like to do next (FYI: This isn’t an invitation to ask me to read the manuscript you entered. As much as I’d love to beta read as well, I just can’t – I’mbookeds solid for the next 6 months with work, writing. beta readings, book covers, etc.)
  • Quit writing. Funny thing, but I had actually quit writing after I didn’t get picked for a contest a while back (like, maybe 2 years ago? maybe longer…). You know what, though? It was the best thing I could’ve done. It put writing back in perspective for me, and pushed me harder to never give up again. So, while I don’t recommend quiting, if taking a break is what you need, then do it. For a while, I took a break from writing contests – that was also good for me – gave me another way to view contests from the sidelines

 

What’s the goal of a writing contest? To get picked, yes. I hate when people are trying to encourage writers who weren’t picked by saying things like “You didn’t lose!“. Well, technically, you did. I grew up in the generation bordering right before the ‘participation medals’ so my mentality is rigged with ‘You win or you die.‘ I mean…lose…sorry, Game of Thrones there. So, let’s look at this for a minute, shall we? You didn’t get picked. You lost. Breathe it in. Relax, and now think. Of what? Well, while you were waiting for the results, did you network? Did you make writer friends you’ll be able to DM and rant over not getting picked? Did you perhaps make writer friends who will someday beta read your stories and vice versa? Did you even make a critique partner? Did you find a writer who already has books and now you’ve found a new favorite author? There you go! You lost the writing conest, sure, but if you did any of the above, you come out with more experience, more friends, networking, etc. than when you started. So basically, think of it as a birthday party: you don’t get the presents that the birthday kid/mentee gets, but you get to have cake, and leave with a goodie bag!

 

 

Art & Intention

This is an important read.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

– Edgar Degas

TW: sexual assault, incest, and abuse.

I believe in the power of art. Just as art holds the power to heal us, connect us to one another, and restore our beliefs I also believe in its ability to harm. 

Recently the book world has been in a state of chaos over a controversial book that Amazon, as well as other popular publishing platforms, has decided to not sell. According to other authors who have spoken out, Amazon removed the right to this author to publish and sell this work, because Amazon’s publishing terms and conditions, rules that have been in place for years, were not followed by this author. 

I will not call out the book title or author by name. My intent is to express how this book made me feel, as an individual…

View original post 1,676 more words

BRANDED by @JenikaSnow

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5

WOW!

I loved this story so much. It took a unique spin, not only in the story but the characters. I loved that Tolcan, despite changing the way he thinks about humans doesn’t change who he is as a person (…alien? male? well, you know what I mean!) – he’s raw, dangerous, and dominant, and he doesn’t apologize for it, yet he’s not forceful, and he’s patient. More than lust, he desires Greta’s happiness, and that’s something that I found unique to this story. It wasn’t the typical “he desires her consent” (which, he also does, and that’s good!), but he actually wants her to be happy. I loved that.

Greta isn’t stupid, and I adore her for it. Too many times, the whole “talking back” and “trying to escape” is done over and over, but she’s smart, and it’s not that she gave up, but there’s just no point in running out there only to get caught again. I love smart in a heroine. I also really liked that while she did fight her feelings for Tolcan, she wasn’t debating the same fight within her self over and over – not that she bent over quickly (ha – pun intended!) because she does go back and forth about it, but it’s not annoying, and I really love her for it.

The world building and culture were also fantastic, and I’m hoping to learn more about it!

The only thing I’m stressing out about is that the story won’t continue – I see that it’s apparently a series, so I’ll be crossing my fingers that we get the next great sequel soon since the end left an open story with a lot of questions I need to be answered, plus I really need to know what happens with Tolcan and Greta next!

Loved, loved, loved this book!

BUY LINKS

EvernightAmazon.caAmazon.comSmashwords

Jenika Snow

HER KNIGHT IN SHINING STONE by Tamsin Baker

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Her Knight in Shining Stone

By Tamsin Baker

M/F Gargoyle shifter ROtG

 

The Gargoyles of New York, 1

 

As a Gargoyle shifter of New York City, Roman and his four brothers sit on top of the city library all day in their stone form, watching and waiting. On sun down they come alive and that is when Roman feels the tug towards his Beloved—the woman who he will be united to.

 

Christiana is a waitress in a dead end life. One night a man with silver eyes and the most incredible aura, walks into her restaurant and changes her life. She is thrown into a world with paranormal creatures she doesn’t understand, and a bond that is impossible to break.

 

When the rogues come to destroy Roman and his brothers while defenseless and sleeping, will Christiana reach inside herself to protect the man she’s come to love?

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Buy Links

Evernight Publishing

Tasmin Baker