My original Facebook page will be fading away soon.... and I have a brand new Facebook page to share.  But first, of course, I have a story. (Otherwise, this would be a really short blog post!) My story begins a couple of months ago, when I decided to do a "boost" or Facebook ad campaign to promote one of my Olivia Outlaw Books.  I did the post, clicked to boost it, it started boosting and then - the boost was rejected.

A few days ago, I decided to try again, because I've run FB ads before and found them a great way to promote books for a reasonable cost.  Again, it got rejected and this time I got messages about "explicit content" and violating FB ad policies.

Seriously?

Well, okay, perhaps Facebook has hangups about Male/Male Romance and I was trying to publicize one of my Olivia Outlaw books.  So, I tried again, with three - count 'em THREE- of the books from my Mary Anne Graham "Forever" series.  Nada. The same result.  I beat my head against the brick wall, and grabbed my computer guy hubby and slammed his face against it for a while.  More nada and managed to royally perturb computer guy hubby who recalled anew his wife's technical stupidity.

While hubby cooked breakfast - yum- I had a "light bulb" moment.  Maybe I needed to do a full reboot.  After all, my original Facebook was created before FB had some of the tools to help authors create pages.  So, I slogged off to create an AUTHOR page.  Added each book series to PHOTOS and plan to give each book/series its own FB page.  (It'll take a while, people, I'm on the last book in my Seducing the Guardian Series and hope to publish soon).

For now, though, I have a brand new author page and am running a promo of my "shop now" button which connects to my list of books on this blog.  If you've wandered over here from that shop now button/promo - HI!  *waves*

Be sure to check out the new FB page and give it a like while you're there!!

 

 

I write contemporary and historical romance as myself, "Mary Anne Graham" and I write erotic romance as "Olivia Outlaw." I don't write erotica, although some people make a bundle of cash writing that genre. Why don't I write it? Isn't it essentially the same as erotic romance? I don't write erotica because it is not romance and if it's not romance, then I don't write it.

Both erotic romance and erotica include explicit sex. Neither genre will attract the shy and retiring. The difference lies in what role sex plays in the story. In erotic romance, sex moves the story. Sex between the lead characters changes them and changes the course of their lives in some fundamental fashion. Erotica, however, is all about the sex. Erotica requires no relationship and no happy ending. It requires only hot sex.

Don't get me wrong, writing hot sex is fun, and I write it in romance and erotic romance, but I write it to tell the character's stories. I can only read and write romance where character is king. Whenever my bank account motivates me to consider writing sex for the sake of sex (erotica), something - thankfully - stops me. This time it was a story about making money writing erotica for Kindle.

Perhaps the Broadly story was intended to have the opposite result, and for some folks, it might.  Read it for yourself and decide.  This is the paragraph that stopped me cold:

So much volume requires variety. Johnson is a gay man, but like Sethline, he writes stories with all kinds of gender configurations. "It's not really that different," he said. "The niche matters more than the gender. I find it hard to write ABDL [adult baby diaper love] erotica, whether gay or straight, because it seems so silly and pointless—I can't even pretend to think diapers are sexy. But most other hetero erotica is easy as pie, even if I have to pretend I have a vagina."

The stop sign for me: "Adult baby diaper love?"  That is a thing?  For a crazy duck lady who pens erotic love scenes in all of her writing, I am, perhaps, a bit TOO sheltered.  I blame that on my writing.  It's kept me from all of the meandering around the internet that would inform me of such fetishes.  I consider that a good thing. There are fetishes I'm happy to never discover.  "Adult baby diaper love" would have been one of them, but sadly, I've now seen those words.  Writing in a genre that people will read because of "diaper love" is not ever going to be something I can do.

I find it sad that men and women feel financially obligated to write under a pen name that disguises their genre.  Unfortunately, I know that sometimes occurs in romance, where men say they can't sell unless they write under female pen names. To all quacking readers, I say - buy a book because of the story, not because of the author's gender.  In time, I hope, that readers won't spend a second considering whether they want to read a romance or erotic romance written by a man instead of a woman.  It should be a non-issue.

So, we've established that my writing road map will not include a stop at erotica.  Where does my map take me next?  I'm presently writing the last in my Olivia Outlaw  "duty" series.  I hope to have it finished and published within the next couple of months, and hopefully sooner.  Once it's done, I'm definitely going back to do a "Mary Anne Graham" romance.  It'll either be Vlad's story from my Forever Series, or a "the rest of the story" contemporary romance.  I started Vlad's tale and am debating my direction.

As many of you know, "A Fairy Fated Forever"- the first in that series, is a "the rest of the story" book which tells my version of what happens after the events in the famous Fairy Flag of the Clan MacLeod legend.  I have another one of those things doing a duck dance around my brain.  Duck Dancing is damned tough to ignore.

Still, Vlad may be able to overcome the dancing duck.  We'll see where that goes after I finish the last Olivia Outlaw "duty" book.  I'd welcome any of your thoughts, of course.  The one thing I can say with absolute confidence is that I will NOT be writing in any genre where diapered adults inspire readers to say anything other than_ "ICK!!"

 

Howdy sweeties, it's the angry old husband here, been awhile, nice to talk to you again, yadda yadda yadda.

Thanks to Facebook, I found the video that is the pinnacle of ecstasy for my dear wife, the Crazy Duck Lady.

What few of you know is that not only does she revere ducks (especially baby ducks), she likes to talk randomly about fish as well.

Well, the video below was practically tailor-made for her. Check it out - a baby duck feeding fish.

Writers tend to adore their characters, and I am no different. While Vlad's story incubates in my head, he and the other characters from my "Mary Anne Graham" Forever Series (A Faerie Fated Forever, A Golden Forever, A Sixth Sense of Forever and a Magical Forever) have not languished. They appear regularly in my Olivia Outlaw Isle of Bliss Books (Sultans Toy - Captured, Claimed, Coupled & Consumed; Carnal Collateral - The Devil's Deal, Devil's Demand, Devil's Delight; and Seducing The Guardian - Tempting Duty and Scandalizing Duty - so far).

I'm working on "Enticing Duty" for the Seducing The Guardian series. It occurred to me that fans of my forever characters might not be aware that they can catch up with them in my Olivia Outlaw books. The socially elite of London's Ton are a lot like locals in Myrtle Beach - a small town hidden within a bigger city. So, it's only natural that the Forever folks would interact with the Blissful Beaus, right? Of course it is!!

So, if you're a fan of the "Mary Anne Graham" Forever historicals, consider picking up the Olivia Outlaw erotic romances. They're all available at Amazon.

I just started Book 3 of the story of Adam & Evan (My "Seducing The Guardian" Olivia Outlaw Series). This one - at least so far - is titled: "Enticing Duty." I finished Book Two and published it almost 10 days ago, but Book Three lurked in the barely begun stage for days. Why? Because starting a book is hard. It wouldn't be nearly as hard if I were a planner.

See, writers of fiction are commonly divided into two species: planners and pantsers. Planners will have a full outline of a book completed before they write the first word. I admire them greatly and can only imagine how organized their lives must be. I bet they have neat underwear drawers and matched socks - if such thinks actually exist. (They seem more like unicorns to me!) Other writers are "pantsers" and they just set down and start typing. These folks are reckless daredevils who will make a dish out of tofu and turnips because it's what they have - and then serve it to their husbands for dinner. There's another category of writers that people don't talk about. These are the insane folks keep a stuffed duck named Woodrow beside their laptop. Yes, you guessed it - I'm in that group. We won't start a book until our characters start telling us their story.

What should we call the writers like me? (Okay, okay - hush out their in the peanut gallery. I will NOT put those words in my blog.) I think the best category would be: Writers directed by the voices in their heads. Because these folks - me, myself and I included - can not write until our characters are good and darned ready to reveal their tales. Sometimes, they do it in drips and drops. Other times, they talk so fast that my fingers can't keep up. But either way, if I get ahead of them or ignore them, the story won't flow. If I misunderstand and take a slightly wrong turn, sometimes the characters sulk and won't talk to me for a while. (Vlad, from my "Forever" - Mary Anne Graham - series has been sulking lately. I think I understand the overall arc of his story, but I got the angle wrong in the beginning. Soon, he'll forgive me and talk to me again, and I can make some progress on that one).

Adam of Seducing the Guardian hasn't been sulking. He and I both knew where part 3 of his story would start because he mentioned it at the end of part 2. Well, we knew the emotional direction and general tone of part 3, but only Adam knew what happened to make Evan re-appear in such a dramatic fashion. Today, Adam finally decided to share --- and we're off, finally beginning. It'll be a while yet before we get to the other hard part - the ending. Just yet, I don't even know if Book 3 will end Adam and Evan's story or if they may have another book to go.

Endings are hard for a lot of reasons. It's like the day before the last day of a vacation you've really enjoyed. Just the thought that it ends the next day can send you off to book another day or two - that you probably don't need and can't afford. But those extra days are easier than facing the end, aren't they? But when you get to the end, you start on the beginning of your journey home. You know what happens then, right? You're anxious to get home. You remember that you love your home and your life and you can't wait to get back to it. That's the moment, the emotional space, that the whole trip has been about.

For a writer, the moments after the end are about the next beginning. And I'll love it. I will love my new characters or revisiting someone from a past story who needs his or her tale told. But to get there, I have to end this story - and endings are emotionally draining and just hard. Just as a character has to tell you where to put him to start, he must tell you where to put him at the end. Since my books tending to have big, over the top, emotional rock-'em, sock-'em endings, it means I'm going to have to let my hero go to the end of his rope and past it, to the point where the knot he's tied is starting to unravel. Of course, then comes the good part, the happier ever after part. It's why I write, just like that "I can't wait to get back home" feeling is why I take a vacation. None of that makes endings easier.

Right now Adam and Evan's new tale is past the starting line and the end is nowhere in sight. It's the sweet spot of writing and - if I do it right and don't let the story I want to tell get in the way of the story my characters want told - then it'll be the sweet spot for my readers too.

If y'all love the Isle of Bliss as much as I do, then you'll be quite quackers to hear that part 2 of Adam and Evan's story is now for sale at Amazon.  If you read part 1, then you know that Adam and Evan have much more going on that any Guardian and Ward should.  Since this ward is also the Prince Regent's Godson, Adam's breach of duty risks much more than his honor.  It might even cost him his life.

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, do pick it up first.  And check out all my Olivia Outlaw titles.  I'm trying them at a new, lower price, but like all good things, it won't last long.  If you're a bargain hunter then you might want to pick up all the Olivia Outlaw titles now before I regain my sanity and raise the prices again.

I see you smirking out there.  Yes, I do have occasional periods of sanity.  Not often, mind you, but it does happen!!  It's not predictable, and I usually manage to cast off the chains of reality sooner rather than later, but while I'm sane, I'm apt to do terrifyingly normal things.  I'm thinking that raising the Olivia Outlaw prices might be amongst them.  So, grab them before the Demons of Sanity snatch me back!

The weather is getting warmer, and it's a great time to journey back to the Isle of Bliss.

I was never published by Samhain Publishing, but was saddened by news of its decision to close.   Samhain published romance and one of the things I love about romance is it usually sells even when nothing else does.  My recent experience has already made me question that, so I searched the news stories to learn what the publisher said about the brand's decision to cease operations.  Their reason confirmed my experience with the current state of e-publishing, which is this:  Amazon is the only game in town.

Yes, I realize other vendors do business nominally, including Apple.  That fact led me to leave the Kindle Select program when my books aged out - around February 9th.  I left them for sale on Amazon, of course, but also distributed through Draft2Digital.  Sales have been abysmal within the exact definition of that word - "extremely or hopelessly bad."  That's bad for my finances, especially at a time when hubby and I are "all in" and trying to save up to purchase an RV type camping trailer for hubby's home away from home.  It will save him 5 hours of driving a day, which is an insane commute to work.  My leaving Select to increase sales has hurt our effort, and we can't take the hit for much longer.

I was already wavering on whether to stay with wide distribution or go back to Select, when I read about the death of Samhain.  The owner of the brand, Christina Brashear, wrote a letter explaining the decision.  It blames steadily declining sales and specifically notes the following:

We’ve tried to renegotiate terms with Amazon in order to buy better placement within their site and perhaps regain some of the lost traction from the early days but have been met with silence. Other retail sites are trying, but the sales have never risen to the level of Amazon and are declining as well.

Amazon has been busy building its Kindle Unlimited service, and, I expect, would lack the financial stake to motivate it to highlight the Samhain books.  But, basically what we have here is a publisher  saying that so much of its sales base was through Amazon that even a boost from other retailers couldn't sustain its business.  Why? Because the other retailers are struggling with sales too.

Authors need to stay wide to keep the market healthy, but the market can't stay healthy if customers only shop from one site.  If every single citizen of Town America buys groceries at Shop All,  soon, the grocery stores who are not Shop All will go out of business.  Then Shop All becomes the only game in town.  If Amazon is not at that point already, it's very, very close.

I'll likely leave my books wide for a few more days, and if sales do not improve, I'll take them out of wide distribution and enroll them in Select and go back to being exclusive to Amazon.  If customers don't vote otherwise with their dollars, then Amazon will own the entire market.  And Amazon is a great site.  I shop there a lot.  Heck, I'm a Prime member.  But the market does best when it stays varied, because that allows customers to control the market.  When there is only a single vendor, then that vendor controls the customers.

In the recent publishing war, it appears that Amazon is the one tin soldier who survives the battle and rides away.

 

I have been re-reading a great romance series, Elizabeth Lowell's "Only" books. I just finished Reno's story and am about to start my favorite book in that series, Whip's story -- "Only Love." (Who doesn't enjoy reading about a yondering man finding that home is a person rather than a place?) If you haven't read the series, you really, really should. I'm not in any way being critical of Ms. Lowell when I say -- the end of the book I just read annoyed the heck out of me.  Why?  Because "the end" of the book wasn't the end, not at all.

Three chapters of a completely unrelated and much newer book were crammed in after "the end."  That doesn't bother me in a paper book, but it bothers the quackers out of me in an e-book.  I can close a paper book, but I like to flip to the end of an e-book.  I could go to the digital controls and do it, but I like to flip until I get to 100%.  Is that insane of me?  Okay, we won't debate the generally tenuous state of my mental health.  Even if it IS insane of me, I still find it annoying.

It reminds me of the end caps at the supermarket where they place all the stuff they're trying to force you to buy.  Even if a product I like is there, I won't buy it.  If I'm shopping for cereal and a brand I like is on the end cap, I'll stroll down there and buy another one.  Pushing products on people sometimes has the opposite result.  It can drive buyers away.

If you're going to put a promo at the end of an e-book, it should be for a related book. Wal-mart doesn't put clothes or shoes at the end of the canned vegetable aisle, but publishers think they know better.  They don't.  They really don't.  I love Ms. Lowell's "Only" series, but I'm not a fan of the one being pushed at the end of the e-book I just read.  Now, I'll make a point not to read it.

If publishers want to promote an entirely different book at the end of an e-book, then have the author write a note to her readers explaining why she thinks readers of this book would enjoy the other series.  At the end of the note, the author should put a link to her webpage where readers can find out more about the other series and click buy links.  That promotes the other work without annoying readers.

When a reader reaches "the end," she believes that she has experienced the "happily ever after" and her journey is over. At the end of a trip, no one wants to take a long detour.  A brief note from the author thanking the reader her for her time and suggesting another book could be forgiven. Cramming a three chapter end cap after "the end" is an imposition that goes a step too far.  After "the end" e-books should allow readers the time and space to reflect on the journey just taken. If they've enjoyed the trip the readers are likely to seek out the author's other work.

"The end" of an e-book should be the end of an e-book.

Hi to all demented duck-loving QA, MAG & OO fans!  I have emerged from the corner of oblivion where I've been lurking lately.  I'd taken everything off of everywhere to join Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program.  Participation requires that books be exclusive to Amazon.  Why would I do that, you ask?

It's all about the Benjamins.  Sales had slowed everywhere, so I stowed my principals and hid under the wings of Mother Amazon.  It was quiet and comfy... too quiet.  There were no highs or lows, just getting paid about 1/4 of a penny for every page read.  A pittance, you say?  Yes, it was.

I've now come out of hiding, and all of my titles as Mary Anne Graham or Olivia Outlaw are or are about to be available everywhere, save for a bundle or two.  I'll get all of those up, eventually, but for now, all the single titles are out there, boldly going where no KU Select book can go.... For how long, you ask?

For as long as you buy them.  So, faithful Quackers... please, go to Apple, B&N, KOBO, or your favorite e-tailer, and pick up my books.  I'll ride the wave of freedom for as long as the budget allows. If you want me and other writers to keep our work widely available, you need to support our work.  Amazon won't conquer the literary universe if you help writers earn enough to keep their writing as free as their thoughts!!

Let me tell you about this so-called War on Women.

The people who yell most about it will tell you that they just want women to be equal to men. What they really want is equality of behavior, not equality of worth. They want to eliminate the natural, God-given differences between man and woman, the male and the female. The differences are there for a reason, and they are not just physical.

And these differences are what I find to be the most beautiful things about women.

Just to show how old and wise the recognition of this difference is, look at the Tao symbol, which existed 1,000 years before Christ was born.

tao_symbol

Opposites intertwine to make a perfect whole, each dependent on the other and each one taking shape inside the other. They have true equality - EQUALITY OF WORTH - but are still opposites that touch and fold inside each other.

I came to this epiphany while watching videos of soldiers coming home and reuniting with their families. While every family member had emotional reactions, it was the mothers and daughters who drew my attention.

They would break out in tears and cover their mouths as they ran to their loved one, and I realized they were trying to contain their literally overwhelming joy.

The capacity for that much joy and happiness, and the other feelings of life's experiences, were so beautiful to me. And it will be a horrible, hellish day should that ever be eliminated.