“They say if I care about myself
I’ll pay for this product, that gym membership
work hard and burn my candle at both ends to get ahead
oh, and don’t forget my beauty sleep because YOLO!
You. Only. Live. Once.
Is that living?
Same pattern, day after day –
Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids – here’s a box
fit yourself into it and don’t forget to be yourself.
Who am I?
Mother, Wife, Lover, Friend, Performer, personality without end…
Move, Breathe, Heave something so I can feel deeper…
They ask: What do you do?’
How do you put a price on priceless work.
So I devalue myself because I don’t know what I’m worth.”
Full version of the new spoken word piece on YouTube.
It’s important as an author to have fresh pairs of eyes look over your work once it’s completed. Other people see things you might miss, even though as authors we can be the most critical of our work. When I’m re-writing a book for instance, I have someone beta-read for me to make sure I’m not missing plot points, or to make sure I don’t have parts of the story that should have been deleted still in there!
Beta-readers are important because these are people you trust that are fans of the genre you write. They will be able to tell you what they liked, what they felt fell flat in your book, and give you good suggestions because they read so many books in the genre. If you don’t know any readers of your genre, I’m sure you know someone who loves books. An avid reader will be able to do the same because they know what makes a good story flow for them while they’re reading.
A critique partner differs from a beta-reader in that your critique partner is usually another author you trust to read your work – someone you know will give you good advice on plot points, editing, character development etc.
When I joined a writer’s organization, I met a lot of great authors at a conference and some of them became my critique partners for a time. Now that I’ve been published for a few years, I use beta-readers more often than critique partners, mostly due to the fact that I’m not a new author anymore, my confidence at being able to write a good story has increased, and I have great editors I work with on a regular basis with my publishing house. Nowadays, I want to know if a reader feels anything is missing for them, and I take their feedback and feel out how or if I want to change anything.
I get asked a lot to critique people’s work, and unfortunately these days my answer is ‘no’ for the simple fact that my writing schedule is busy. I do critique samples when I host workshops. My advice to authors is to join groups in-person or online. Be open to constructive feedback. It’s difficult to have someone be critical of your work, but if you’re serious about being good at what you do, you need to be able to hear what others have to say about what you’ve written. Be wary of people who tear down your work. There is a difference in constructive feedback and picking apart everything you’ve done.
I recall the first time I hired an editor to edit one of the first books I’d ever written. It came back with so many red track-changes that at first I cried! Then I saw what she’d done, and I knew I could learn. I encourage everyone to love what you do, but step back and let others help you make your manuscript shine. Be open to how others view your work because there is so much to learn, and another perspective gives you a fresh view of what you’ve done. You do not have to always agree with a beta-reader or critique partner, but more often than not, if these people care about you, they will want you to become better.
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Summer is the perfect season to play.
Samantha Merry is excited her best friend, Jules Foley, will be joining her for a few days out at the country home her Dom, Davis, purchased for her. They’ve turned their country paradise into a playtime heaven for them and their friends, and Samantha has missed Jules something fierce. A little play time is first on the agenda, and she hopes to figure out a way to make Jules a permanent part of her relationship with Davis.
Davis Cathal never imagined himself in love with two women. When he arrives at the country home to find Samantha indulging in playtime with Jules, he quickly plans a scene for the three of them. Jules has chemistry with both him and Samantha. And as an added bonus—she’s a great sub. Unable to avoid the conversation with Samantha, he attempts to find the perfect way to talk to the love of his life about adding Jules as their third.
Will Samantha and Davis be able to communicate their desires, or will they be left begging for more?
Jules planted another kiss on Samantha’s lips. “I’m here for a few more days. I’d love to see what you’ve done with the place, especially the dungeon.”
They broke apart to swim up to the dock. A deep voice made Samantha’s heart skip a beat.
“Well, well, well. What do we have here?”
She looked up to see Davis kneeling at the dock’s edge, the sun glinting off his blond brush cut, making it look as though he had sparkles in his hair. A length of rope dangled from one hand. “Sir!” she exclaimed, excited to see him. “I didn’t hear you.”
His green eyes twinkled at her, and he nodded at Jules. “I’m not surprised you didn’t hear me, with all the fun you’re having.”
He extended a hand, and she took it. He hauled her out of the water, then assisted Jules in the same manner. Once both women were out of the water, Davis held up her collar.
Samantha bowed her head. “I only took it off so I wouldn’t get it wet.”
He lifted her chin with thumb and forefinger. “I know. You love this and never take it off if you don’t have to.”
Samantha beamed up at him and waited while he dried her off with a towel he’d brought, then secured the collar around her neck again.
Beside her, Jules sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t comment on your collar earlier. It’s beautiful and suits you perfectly.” Another sigh escaped. “I want what you two have.”
Samantha blinked in surprise at her best friend. How could she think she didn’t share in their love? “Do you mean that you want a Dom of your own?” She took the towel from Davis and dried off Jules.
Jules’ cheeks colored, and she looked away. “Yeah… I suppose.” She made a wide sweeping gesture with her arms. “I mean, the parties you have, the play time you freely share with those you care about is…magical. I haven’t found this type of loving openness with anyone else.”
Samantha slung an arm over her shoulders, opened her mouth to speak, but didn’t know what to say, or rather how to best say it. She loved her friend. They enjoyed sex on occasion. She needed to discuss her feelings with Davis first.
Davis cleared his throat to get their attention. She turned her attention to him and saw that he was twirling the rope in his hand. Whatever idea he might have in mind, it made her cunt pulse. “Yes, Sir? How may we be of service to you?”
She heard Jules sigh in acquiescence beside her and knew in her heart that after whatever Davis had planned, she needed to talk to him.
On my Youtube channel, I created a short video with some ideas on how to break creative blocks that authors often face. Even though we are often told to sit our butt in the chair and write, we also have to get out of the chair once in a while to get our bodies moving! Making sure we exercise and eat, help fuel our bodies and keep our creative process flowing. Sometimes we may have other health issues for ourselves or our loved once, or perhaps day job stress is causing us to lose focus with our writing. When we take the time to deal with those things, often our creative flow comes back. It’s important not to lose faith in our writing abilities or creative talents during those times.
People often come to my workshops and ask where I get my ideas from. Most of my ideas come from a “what if?” situation. A situation in my every day life will inspire me to embellish upon it, creating my idea for a book. I have no end to creative ideas at times. This isn’t the case for everyone, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a creative person. We all need a creative boost now and then.
Here is an exercise I give to my workshop participants:
Set a timer for two or three minutes. In that time, writing down as many ideas as you can. It could be anything from what you ate for breakfast, what you saw on your walk to work, or what if I had chocolate cake for lunch? (I use chocolate cake here since I mentioned it twice inadvertently in the video. I guess I really want chocolate cake – Ha!) For example, one book I wrote was inspired by taking my cats to the vet. Not the most exciting thing in real life, but I wrote a humorous romance from the experience. You never know where your ideas will come from.
If you have other ideas to share with authors who are reading the blog, please share them here. We’d love to hear from you.
When Kat gets a new kitty, she asks the vet to play.
Dubbed the Kat Lady by her roommate, Kat Munroe admits to an ulterior motive for rescuing strays—a chance to visit the cute Dr. Evan Cole at the vet clinic. He makes her heart purr as much as her kittens do. Determined to ask him out before he thinks she’s some crazy cat woman, Kat works up her courage for the next visit.
Evan Cole doesn’t see many females other than the animal variety at his veterinary clinic. Always a believer that the right woman will walk into his life someday, he made everything else—vet school, his career—a priority over searching for love. But from the day Kat Munroe walks through the door with a stray feline rescue, his heart beats to see her again. His dilemma—how to create the perfect romantic date when you’re clueless about dating?
When they finally go on a date, disaster strikes at every turn. Will they be able to handle the menagerie? Or will they decide that more isn’t merrier?
The heat from his gaze erupted a solar flare in her gut. Every part of her body tingled. Unsure how she should be feeling, skepticism laced her words when she spoke. “You’ve seriously thought about me?”
“All the damn time.” He sighed. “Kat—I’m not good with women. I make work my life and hope someone will come into it. When you kept bringing animals in to see me, I hoped maybe you were making an excuse to see me.”
She sniffed. “I was. Pathetic, I know.”
He shrugged. “No more pathetic than I was, checking my schedule daily to see if you’d be showing up.”
The corner of her mouth curled up in a half grin. “What a pair we are.”
He nodded. “Indeed. I still want to take you for dinner if you’ll go with me. I know it wasn’t nice to ask such blunt questions, but I wanted a chance to get to know you. If you were already in a relationship of some sort, then I needed to know.”
A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Well, that makes sense and you deserve to know what you’re getting into.” She played with the lapels on his sport coat. “This entire thing is not off to a conventional start. I suppose now that we have a ton of awkwardness out of the way, and you just heard most of my sexual history, and I know how wonderful you are with women—which actually isn’t much now that I think about it considering the way you started the conversation—we could get a bite to eat and see how much more awkward things become. If neither of us die from mortification, we might be able to make a go of this.”
“Sounds delightful.” He tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. “I cordially invite you to the most awkward date in the history of dates. And may I say—I like how flustered you get and when it happens you let every thought flow out. In the spirit of awkwardness, it’s refreshing to talk to a woman who doesn’t hold back or want me to guess. One of the reasons I don’t bother a lot with women is the stress of a woman who refuses to communicate honestly.”
“Well, then,” she said and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “I shall endeavor not to disappoint. Ask highly inappropriate questions, and I’ll do my best to answer with as much bluntness as you deserve.”
Live narrated excerpt from release day:
Available now at:
Amazon (for Kindle and paperback)
As part of the pro series, A Novel Creation, I welcome author Lorette Moore to my blog today to discuss what she’s learned in the publishing industry.
A new series here on my blog and on my Youtube channel will be for authors who are new to writing or want to learn more about certain aspects of the publishing world. Topics will range from dealing with “writers block” to spamming, finding critique partners/beta readers and more! In the near future, I’ll have my writing workshop A Novel Creation up as well. Subscribe to my blog and Youtube channel so you won’t miss out!
When you’re a ho-ho-ho for Jolly Old Saint Nick, not reading the fine print of your contract is a no-no-no.
The Naughty Toy Workshop is the kinky toy factory for people who hit Santa’s naughty list, and Kandy Kane loves her job as Supervisor. The coveted position includes personally testing sex toys, observing those under her command as they research and test new items for this season’s fetish crowd, and the best perk—being The Big Guy’s submissive for the year.
Jolly Old St. Nick has never had a better sub than Kandy to supervise his naughty workshop or fulfill his most kinky desires. With glee, he can’t wait for the night of her performance review, where he has some special plans to reward his sub once the busiest night of the year is complete.
As the big night draws near, Kandy looks forward to her performance review with a mix of exhilaration and sadness. According to the sub clause in her contract, she has to choose her successor from one of the sub-elves in training in the workshop. Little does she know she’s misread the clause, and Santa is about to school her on the finer points of her contract.
“Thanks.” Kandy rushed from the room and sprinted down the hall to Fungeon Eleven, the testing room for new Sybians. She burst into the observation room and stared at the sight through the glass. A runaway Sybian that resembled a child’s rocking horse was vibrating around the room like an out-of-control mechanical bull, its test rider hanging on for dear life. Two other elves were chasing it around the room in an attempt to tame it. With its erratic action, neither elf could reach the power cord to unplug it.
Good thing she’s tied to it so she can’t fall off! Kandy’s brain went into overdrive. She whirled around and spied the emergency breaker panel at the back of the room. It would shut off power to this section of the workshop only. She bolted toward it and ripped off the front cover, then flipped the switch. The room descended into darkness, the alarm shut off, and the vibrating noise from the other room ceased.
Kandy breathed a sigh of relief, then glanced around when the emergency lights flickered on. The green glow of the lights cast eerie shadows all around. Kandy hurried into the testing room and helped the elves untie the sub from the horse. Then she unplugged the machine from the wall so they could restore power without the Sybian starting up again.
By the time she’d finished, the two elves—Lexie Latex and Sadie Sadist—had the other sub, Vivian Vibrato, untied from the machine and wrapped in a blanket. They held her close, murmuring words of comfort.
Kandy walked over to the trio and rubbed Vivian’s back. “Are you okay?”
Vivian nodded. “Yeah, just a little shaken up.”
All four women stared at each other, then burst into laughter.
Kandy patted her back and gave her a kiss on the top of the head. “I told Santa this idea needed more work. I’m glad you’re all right.” She straightened up and gestured to the control room. “Let’s get out of the testing area and back into the other room where we can look at the findings and see what went wrong.”
All three subs nodded in unison. Lexie and Sadie helped Vivian to her feet, then they followed Kandy into the control room. Kandy startled when the lights came on.
A deep voice spoke from the back of the room. “Ho, ho, ho… Who’s been a naughty elf?”
AVAILABLE JULY 16TH!
When it comes to being a Dom, he is the Master of surprises.
After the Christmas retreat in their custom-made dungeon at their home, Dom Davis Cathal and his sub, Samantha Merry, decide to take a summer vacation away for a change of scenery. Finding a place that suits their needs and packing the necessary play items for two weeks is a challenge–one they relish in. When a work emergency causes Davis to stay behind an extra day, he instructs Samantha to go alone to set up the place for their play time.
Samantha arrives to find the cottage destination less than ideal. Determined to make the best of it, she goes about the task of preparing for playtime with her Dom. When one too many things go wrong, she is unable to hide her disappointment. Count on Davis to take control and show his sub that with a little discipline, any place is perfect for play and that sometimes disappointments bring about the best surprises.
He frowned. When she didn’t answer using the word ‘Sir’, he knew she wasn’t in the mood for playtime. As part of their agreement, they didn’t play the part of Dom/sub twenty-four seven, although as the years went on, she referred to him as ‘Sir’ on a regular basis.
“You don’t seem okay,” he remarked. “Didn’t you enjoy the session out by the lake?”
A frustrated sigh escaped her this time. She rolled over to face him and then sat up. “Yes, I did. Very much.” Anger sparked in her eyes, and he remained quiet to let her get it out. “What I haven’t enjoyed is coming here to see the place in ruins and nothing like it showed when we booked it. I didn’t enjoy having the hot water tap falling off, threatening to flood the house when all I wanted to do was sit in the bath and process. I wanted this vacation to be special. I wanted everything to be the way I thought it would be.”
Davis opened his mouth to speak, but she held up a hand to stop him. “No,” she continued. “I want to be mad. I have a right to be mad. I have a right to my feelings. This place isn’t what I thought it would be. And I want to go home.”
He shrugged, swallowing hard to hide the giddy feeling welling up inside. He couldn’t keep the surprise from her any longer.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “What? This isn’t funny.”
“I didn’t say it was funny.” He shook his head. “I’m supporting you being mad.”
“By laughing at me?”
“Samantha.” His voice took on a stern tone. “I’m not laughing at you either.”
She rolled her eyes and heaved a sigh. “I don’t mean to pout. It’s just this,” she gestured around, “isn’t what I signed up for.”
“You mean having the man you love most at your side, helping you through the mishaps of life?”
She glared at him and spoke through clenched teeth. “You know what I mean.”
“I do. I also know how attached we can become to an idea, and it bites when reality is different.” He tapped her nose with a fingertip. “Sometimes life is just that way.”
“I know,” she grumbled. “I just want to be grumpy about it for a bit, okay?”
Davis leaned over to check the time on his watch that sat on the bedside table. “How long do you think that will take?”
She cracked a smile for the first time since the bathroom incident. “I don’t know. Stop trying to make me laugh.”
He placed his hand over his heart. “I’m not trying to do anything.” He pushed her onto her back and loomed over top of her. “I just want to know how long I should wait before I eat your pussy.”
Surprise registered on her face. “Oh. Well.” She pretended to consider. “I suppose I’m done.”
“Are you sure?” He scrunched his eyebrows in concern. “I don’t want to interrupt your grump-fest.