On Writing, Reviews and Changing Worlds

This is an older post of mine. I updated it to say Origin is now out, but I do occasionally hear from readers disappointed in Kithra, so I pinned this to the top. Hopefully, it answers questions.

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I don’t respond to reviews for the most part. I will like or share one I particularly enjoyed. I will thank a reviewer or let her/him know I’m glad they had fun with my work. But I don’t address actual things in the reviews. I will answer questions in email when I occasionally get them. I truly feel reviews are for readers not authors. However, I’m also smart enough to realize that in digital publishing especially, reviews are pretty important. They are how I find new books to read myself. I am first and foremost, a reader. So as an author, I do hope to interest enough reviewers into giving my books a try. (I’m ridiculously shy about approaching them, though.)

The thing is, sometimes I want to respond to reviews. Maybe answer questions, show how I found a particular researched item, that sort of thing. And sometimes, though it sounds crazy, I actually want to agree with some of the harder reviews of my work. Not all of them–some I kind of wish I’d never seen. LOL. But again, I don’t respond. You never know when something can be misunderstood and backfire and there seems to be a lot of dissension in the reviewer/author world that I have trouble understanding. We all love books. Authors write books. Reviewers read books… you’d think everyone would all get along more.  (BTW, I won’t answer here which reviews I had trouble with–that’s just for me. I get over my hurt and move on just like every other author I know. And it doesn’t matter if we’re told we shouldn’t take it personally. That’s a lot harder to do than say. :) )

Kithra72lgI’m sure I’m not the only author who feels this way, but yes, I do sometimes wish I could go back and change a few things in some of my earlier books and novellas.

For instance, Kithra.

I wrote Kithra for fun along with a few personal reasons. The fun–I wanted the challenge of writing an erotic novella with a little more emotion and plot. I went through an erotic novella phase and kept getting disappointed that there didn’t seem to be a story or emotional connection in a lot of them. So, I wrote Kithra and gave it to a few friends and my agent. I got such positive feedback, I decided to publish it along with two more–Replicant and After the Crux. At the time, I’d planned to just do a bunch of novellas, but the Kithran story kept growing for me. So did the world of Crux Survivors. I quickly realized I wanted these to be longer, more plot-rich books.

So came Catalyst and Sole Survivors. These are category length romances, but I still wanted to dig in more.

So, Origin is a full-length book. Yes, it’s still erotic, but it has a lot more story. I feel I hit my stride with Origin, so I hope that readers who “kind of”  liked Kithra but wished it was longer, will keepOrigin72lg going and give Origin a chance. I think they might enjoy these stories more now that I’m really diving into the worlds. If not, that’s okay, too. These are niche-heavy stories. Menage, space opera, post-apocalyptic, erotic… (LOL, I do plan to do a few more more traditional erotic series.) But, I also love these niche-heavy little worlds I’ve created and I want to stick around in them a bit longer.

I also love the characters from my shorter pieces and that’s one reason they continue to show up in the books and sometimes in the occasional free short story when I’m missing them.

Like Mutiny with Lux, KolAbandoned Alien City with Dying Sun and Egan from Kithra.

Surprise- Snippet in the Rough

Crux Survivors #3 has no title yet. I’ve always come up with titles fast in my books and this one is being elusive. The story, however, is not. I have a feeling this is going to be the sexiest, most emotional Crux story yet. And today, I’m sharing a tiny rough draft snippet. Because I’m a tease. ;)

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Cad’s hair slid forward. He’d let the blond strands grow out even more—they touched his shoulders now—and the sun had put light streaks throughout. Tripp couldn’t see his expression, could only see those pouting lips and something took him over, something he never would have expected. He ducked his head, looked up into the shadow of Cad’s face, darkened by that fall of hair on either side. “What’s going on with you, huh?”

Cad shut his eyes, clenched his lips even more.

Even if he’d wanted to, Tripp couldn’t have stopped his next slight movement closer. Those lips called to him. Tightened his chest, sent blood south. He stared at Cad’s mouth and tried hard to back away. The guy had been through hell, had been forced to do things against his will. It had been some time ago, but Cad still sometimes made noises in his sleep–ones that awakened Tripp all the way across the room. Sounds that reminded him that Cad needed anything but Tripp’s messed up libido problems right now.

It took everything Tripp had to take two steps back. He put his palm on the log wall of the cabin, closed his eyes tight and tried to reign in the harsh breaths that had taken over his lungs. He’d grabbed Mac and kissed her, knowing what she’d gone through, and had felt the fires of guilt ever since. He still wondered if that kiss had made her take off that last day at Cad’s farm. And now, he wanted to kiss Cad. Wanted to run his tongue over that full bottom lip, wanted to put his fingers on the new muscles revealed by the ridiculously ripped T-shirt.

Since when did he want to make out with his best friend?

“Tripp?” Cad’s voice, hesitant, deep and velvety, brushed over him.

“Just wait, okay?” Tripp didn’t mean to sound harsh as he turned away from Cad and leaned on the warm wood. The sun beat down on the top of his head, not helping to lessen the heat tearing up his insides all of the sudden. He needed an outlet for this surge of sexual need he’d felt lately. Needed it badly. The only other single woman here at their home was Georgia and he just didn’t feel that way toward her.

Georgia, like Cad and yeah, Mac, had all been used against their will. But even if Georgia had given him the green light, had wanted to try something with him, it really wasn’t there for them. He’d seen the way she watched the other married couple, Lynn and Jake—seen them returning the looks. He’d walked in on them just last week, curled up together on the big couch in the family room, watching a movie, Lynn’s hand on Georgia’s thigh.

“I’m okay, Tripp. Sorry I worried you.” Cad’s fingers, hot and calloused from all the work lately, wrapped around his wrist.

Tripp sucked in a breath, closed his eyes tight. Maybe sharing this new cabin with Cad was a bad, bad idea.

 

Word of Mouth

The best way to help promote an author you enjoy is spreading the word. Reviews, ratings, tweets–every single small nudge can help get a book sales. I appreciate all of you who love The Kithran Regenesis and Crux Survivors series enough to do these things. You rock!

My Goodreads page

My Amazon page

My Barnes and Noble page

My Bookstrand page-- which unfortunately doesn’t have the two latest full length releases. :(

My Samhain Publishing page

Origin72lgOrigin excerpt:

I lifted my gaze, caught by the most beautiful light blue eyes I’d ever seen. His sharp-featured face held a soft layer of black stubble along a masculine jaw, and true concern narrowed his eyes as he looked me over. Shock nearly sent me to my feet as something inside me warmed. Instead, I tilted my head to bring some of my hair over my face. This way, when my owner came back, he wouldn’t catch me staring.

“Hey,” the man breathed, reaching out to gently push my hair out of my eyes.

I flinched. No one touched me without my owner’s permission.

The human pulled his hand back, black eyebrows meeting in a frown. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I won’t hurt you.”

The sound of a door slamming outside the room made me flinch again. “You shouldn’t be in here,” I whispered.

“Gorgeous, nobody tells me where I can and can’t be, so don’t worry. I’m sure I’m right where I’m supposed to be. What’s your name?”

Another crash sounded and fear stiffened my spine. “If my owner finds you in here, he’ll kill you.”

“It would be a real shame to erase this beauty from the worlds, wouldn’t you say?” He gestured at his lean, compact body, which was covered in strange dark blue pants and a long-sleeved black shirt. His grin faltered. “Owner? So you aren’t here of your own volition?” Blue eyes dipped as he took in my thighs. “No, I can see you aren’t.” His lips tightened.

It was then I noticed the odd gun in his hand, the way he kept partially facing the door—ready—like he waited for someone else to come through it. “I’m not supposed to see anyone other than my owner. Please. Go.”

“What if this is a rescue?” He reached for my face again with his free hand, his fingers hesitating inches from my cheek. “Sorry. It’s actually hard not to touch you. You have the most stunning skin and eyes.”

“Rescue?” I’d been here longer than I could remember. Shut out from the real world, not allowed to watch news vids, talk to hardly anyone other than my owner—if he let me talk at all. I still didn’t understand why he’d bought me. He couldn’t get it up for women and more often than not, took his frustration over this out on my body. Especially since he’d murdered his last toy—a young Gwinarian male my owner had let me visit when I was good, when I didn’t cower before the weapons. There were six healing strips on my inner thighs that proved cowering or not no longer mattered. He’d even made me sharpen the knife before he’d used it on me.

He said he bought me because I’m unique among Gwinarians. Made sense. His obsession for my race bordered on psychotic. Deep pain still throbbed in my heart over the loss of that sweet teenager.

“Do you want to go home?” He turned to face the door, but watched me out of the corner of his eye.

Grief slashed through me before I schooled my expression. “My home was destroyed years ago.”

He frowned again. “Just how long have you been locked up like this? Don’t you know about Kithra’s rebuild?”

I rose on my knees, pushing my hair off my face this time as I boldly met his eyes. I opened my mouth to ask questions, then slammed it shut as a masculine roar sounded from down the passageway. I knew that yell and every hair on my body stood. Jumping up, I ran to the closet and palmed it open before returning to the human to wrap my fingers around his arm. His very solid, strong and warm arm. Surprised again by my body’s response to him, I shoved the feeling aside as real terror quickly took over. “He has guards and handlers and they’re just as sadistic as he is. You have to hide. I’ll find a way to get you out later.” I tried to pull him toward the closet.

He wasn’t a tall man, maybe five feet eight, and he was built tight, but coiled strength kept him firmly in place. “I don’t think you understand what’s going on here.”

“How did you even get down here?” Para Lashin’s security was top notch. He kept this entire sub floor of the entertainment ship as his home. Guards stood at every entrance and cameras filled every available space above. He kept me so carefully guarded, I hadn’t seen another person outside of him or his guards since the last government official had come for dinner…and a night with me.

I didn’t know this human, but something told me he deserved saving. I tried to pull his arm again before stopping to look into those sharp eyes. We were the same height. “Listen to me. You have to hide. I’ve seen him kill others for just looking at me. And he didn’t do it quickly.”

He looked down at my hand on his arm before blinking long, dark lashes back up at me. They should have made him look feminine, but his face was too sharp, too masculine. Those lashes softened the icy-blue eyes and his curved grin sent foreign warmth sliding through my limbs again. Briefly, briefly, I wondered what it would be like if I begged him to take me away.

“You are simply stunning with your big eyes and lips and those acres of golden skin. And all the freckles… The Gwinarians I saw recently were beautiful too, but you take my breath away.”

My hand tightened on him. “You recently saw Gwinarians?”

He touched my face, sliding his thumb over my chin. Surprised, I didn’t flinch; I bit my lip and stepped back instead. It would be better if my owner didn’t find him touching me. “He’ll kill you. I promise.” I tried to smile and failed. It had been so long, I’d forgotten how. “I agree. It would be a shame to erase the world of your beauty, so please hide.”

“Aw.” He winked. “Flattery will get you everywhere.”

The sounds of fighting made me spin to run toward the door.

The human behind me hefted out a huge sigh. “As much fun as this conversation is, you need to move away from the door. I have a feeling it’s about to bust—”

The ship had old-fashioned doors that swung rather than slid into walls. This one slammed open and a broad-shouldered, tall man with wild blond hair stormed into the room. He turned and fired at someone behind him before banging the door closed and leaning against it. His wide chest rose and fell fast as he breathed hard, his green eyes going over the human’s body. “So, you’re fine. Good.” Tension left those shoulders as if he was relieved. “We seem to be cornered. Really think we should have followed your plan.”

“Now you say that. Gods, Anders. I told you to stay back. I’m much better at sneaking into places than you are.”

“That’s because you’re small.”

“I’m not small, asshole.”

The big blond’s gaze landed on me. He tensed up again, standing straight away from the door. “Oh.”

Silence filled the room as he stared, while outside the sounds of fighting grew louder. I couldn’t believe they weren’t doing something. Hiding, holding their guns on the door—anything. Fear made my stomach clench and it wasn’t for me. I had no idea who they were or why there were here, but something told me they didn’t deserve what my owner would do. I swallowed the heavy lump in my throat, opened my mouth to beg them to leave, and stiffened when the blond’s eyes snapped to my lips, his nostrils flaring, his eyes narrowing. Pure shock zapped my system. What was it about these two?

The human behind me chuckled. “First time I’ve seen you stunned into silence. Pretty, isn’t she?”

“Pretty doesn’t come close to the right description for this one.” His green gaze roamed my body with warm appreciation, until he got to the long wounds on my thighs. His free hand closed into a fist as he took a step toward me, eyes narrowing. “You with Para Lashin, sweetheart?”

He talked funny, his deep, sexy voice drawing out the vowels like they came out of his mouth on curves. My belly fluttered.

“You ask for those lines on that pretty skin?”

The dark-haired man growled. “Of course she didn’t, Anders.”

“Really? Did you forget we’re on an entertainment ship? Some people like pain. She could be a customer.” He looked at my legs again. “Though, those don’t look none too pleasurable. Too thick. Too deep. One looks bad.”

I didn’t have to look down to know which one. It burned deeper than the other five, had bled a lot more. Without medical supplies or even a needle for stitches, I’d had to tie scarves tight around my thighs to hold the wound closed.

He clenched his jaw. “Lashin do that to you?”

Something crashed into the door behind the blond man and I gasped, expecting my owner and his guards to barrel through the door and kill these humans. I didn’t want to see anyone else killed, especially not these men. They were so full of life. Knowing I’d probably be executed for this, I ran to the corner of the room and swiped all electronics off a shoulder-high shelf, revealing a keypad built into the wall. I typed in a series of numbers and letters. A paneled wall slid open and I pointed inside. “There are weapons in here and another way out. Please hurry.” I’d been here so long, my owner didn’t bother hiding combinations—though the first time he’d used the code in front of me, I’d expected to die every time I was in his presence for the next month.

“Aw, her rescue is becoming ours.” The dark-haired man walked toward me with purpose and intent in every taut step. Face down, eyes cast up toward me, he didn’t stop until he stood close enough for me to feel his breath brush over my lips. “Anders, I don’t think this woman is with Para Lashin on purpose. I believe she’s a slave.” His eyes dropped to my lips before that dark frown returned. “We came to watch Lashin being carted off to prison.”

“We were just supposed to locate him and turn him over to the enforcers, but the captain here decided we should sneak aboard and help.”

One black eyebrow lifted. “And you didn’t want to come? What was that about finding files off the grid?”

“Yeah, well, I don’t see anything worth stealing in this room. Other than the obvious, of course.” He looked at me.

The captain nodded. “We won’t be stealing her.” He looked at me. “Will you come with us? We’ll take you home.”

“You’re asking her?” Anders released a loud, long-suffering sigh. I got the feeling he did this a lot around the other human. “Claybourne, just grab her and go. I’m sure Juniper and the others can hold Lashin and what guards he has left back, but I’ve changed my mind about letting the government take him.” He turned, knuckles white around his laser gun. “I’m gonna kill him.”

“Anders!”

The blond ignored him, striding toward the door. My heart beat so hard in my chest, I was terrified it would push through my ribs.

The man—Claybourne, Anders had called him—hurried to Anders and grabbed his arm. “Anders, listen to me. There are too many out there. The guys are in a good spot at the end of this passageway. They’ll get away before the enforcers get here, but you know Juniper has strict orders to wait up until that moment. I want Lashin on Bastilleen. Think about the absolute hell he’ll go through. There are probably former victims of his there, and now that the worlds will soon know about what he did to Kithra, how much worse will it be?”

Kithra? I burned with questions but had spent too many years conditioned to keep silent.

Anders stared down at Claybourne, glanced at me, then returned to the shorter man, his expression softening. True affection blazed through the anger. “Grab the pretty girl, Captain.”

A New Origin Review!

Woke up to a very nice review of ORIGIN at Long and Short Reviews!

“This is the kind of MMF book I love to come across. There’s tension building between the guys. Small touches. Significant looks. Angst. It’s all building up to the moment they let go. I knew it would be hot and loved every minute of it. These guys are so so sweet when it comes to Siri, also. She needed that after what she’d been through.” Click on the image to see the whole review.

NEW Reviewed by LASR copy

ORIGIN is OUT

Today is the release of ORIGIN, volume 4 in The Kithran Regenesis series. KITHRA and REPLICANT, the first two volumes, were novellas. CATALYST was a category length romance and this one is full length. I’m overly excited about this book because I fell hard for Captain Claybourne and Anders in Catalyst and wanted to give them someone who would be perfect for them. Siri was it. She’s had a terrible life, but she’s a fighter. They see this in her and fall for her pretty hard. This romance is M/M/F, which means Clay and Anders fall pretty hard for each other, too. But we could already see their sparks in CATALYST. ;) This can be read as a standalone, though it does have most of the characters from previous books in it. I love them all and like to see what they’re up to.

You can purchase ORIGIN these places:

Samhain Publishing. VERY nice discount there this week. $3.85 (They take Paypal.)

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

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Origin Excerpts and Giveaways!

ORIGIN IS OUT NEXT TUESDAY!!!

I’m excited about this one. Today, there is an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway for TWO copies at  The Bookpushers !

Origin72lgOrigin

In the race for freedom—and love—there’s no holding back.

The Kithran Regenesis, Book 4

After fourteen torturous years as a slave on a galaxy roving entertainment ship, Siri carries only vague memories of parents who loved her, Gwinarian food, and her beautiful home planet of Kithra.

When two space pirates burst into her owner’s room, the choice they offer her is all too easy: stay and face government questioning about the two intruders, or take a chance and go with them.

Claybourne and Anders had planned to help expose the pleasure ship owner’s involvement in Kithra’s destruction. But when they happen upon Siri, saving one of the last—and most beautiful—of the Gwinarian race takes precedence.

Siri tastes freedom long denied…and temptation to succumb to the deep sexual tension vibrating between her and her two liberators. Clay and Anders take pleasure in letting her take the lead in rediscovering the power of intimacy.

But there are more secrets to uncover, and Siri senses that the closer they come to the truth, the closer she comes to the most painful choice of all—to let her pirate lovers go.

Product Warnings

Sexy human space pirates. An acerbic-tongued crew. A beautiful wounded alien woman. M/M/F sparks galore, and interplanetary intrigue.

 

So today, you can read an exclusive and get two chances to win an electronic copy at The Bookpushers !