Wednesday, 15 July 2015

More than just a book cover

Becoming an author has been one of the most exciting adventures I've ever embarked upon. In nearly three years of publishing my books, I've had some amazing surprises come my way, Taking a few risks has rewarded me with some unexpected windfalls. One of my most recent ones was in the preparation for the cover of my book

After the volume of work I have put into writing this story, I wanted the perfect cover. For months I've been scrolling through thousands of pictures of tattooed muscled men ( pure research of course) trying to find the perfect face of my character and never quite getting there, until one night... he was there. The face, body and sexy look that I needed. It was just a pic on someone's website and with a little detective work, I tracked this man down... only to find out that I was far from the only person who appreciated this man. Surprise, surprise.

Of course, he had already donned the front pages of magazines and had a gazillion fans. Any hope I had of having him on my front cover was looking a bit like a pipe dream, but I had nothing to lose... so I emailed him. I put a rough picture together of what I expected my cover to look like with him on it, gave him a link to my website and explained I write erotica.  Not in a million years was I expecting to even hear back from him. And that's what I love about taking risks. Sometimes you win. A few hours later, I was absolutely stunned to see a very positive reply in my inbox.

Alex Minsky would be very happy to be on my book and gave me the email of his amazing photographer to negotiate a contract. Many emails later with a very kind and helpful man, I had my image and I was on top of the world.

It was then a simple matter of sitting down with my own much loved photographer, Leah, who has been my co-artist for the covers of  The Line Trilogy, and I couldn't be happier with the result.

One of the best things about being a self-published author, is being able to be in charge of your whole book, not just the story, but how it will be presented to the world. It becomes more than a book. It's my creation, my passion and my art, I may never get to a New York Times bestselling list, or make a million dollars, but the adventures, rewards and surprises I've had on this journey, and the wonderful people who have come along for the ride, are already priceless to me.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Monster in my Head.

When I released my last novel MASTER, I sat back and waited nervously for the response from the readers. Not because I had any doubt that I had written a story I was proud of, but I knew that it was very different from my Line Trilogy, and from most other books in the erotic genre.

For a start, it was plot heavy and delved into some dark areas. It was violent and raw, light on the sexual elements of erotica, multiple POV and set in 1995 Ukraine. One reader described it as something more suited to what her husband reads, and yes it has been appreciated by a male audience. I was prepared to receive negative reviews, and I got them and completely understood where they were coming from. We foster certain expectations from the authors we follow, and can become wary when their style seems to change. We also expect certain elements in the genres we read, I knew I would never look back. I had taken a bold step in my writing and I'm still eager to see where it will take me.

So, as I wade through and edit the 249,000 words in the first draft of my latest novel, the nerves are back again and I've had eighteen months to let all those doubts and fears become a monster in my head. As an intense sufferer of Anxiety Disorder  for twenty-five years, that comes easily for me, I've also had some personal and health issues in my life added to the equation of obstacles. There have been a few times when I've been ready to give up, but I happen to be blessed with the extraordinary love of my husband of thirty years and the most supportive family in the world. Added to that is a contingent of readers who have been patient beyond understanding, supportive and still hanging in there. Also, I have a writer's group I attend, and their input, support and encouragement has been priceless for me.

So what exactly am I afraid of? I laughed when I wrote that. Well, I can't even tell you what genre this belongs in. Let's see: an erotic who dun it, espionage romantic techno-thriller..  It's multiple POV, even from the bad guys perspective; it has a huge cast, bringing back characters from both Master and The Line Trilogy, It's a culmination of many previous events from those stories and has a very complicated plot. It is definitely not light reading. Months of research has gone into things like, cyber-crime, police procedural, Parliamentary procedures and computer technology.

It explores some very dark elements, such as suicide, alcoholism, human trafficking and sexual assault. As with all my books, it includes explicit sex scenes with a variety of kink, And somewhere, tucked away in all that, is a very deep and poignant romance. I bet you're exhausted just reading all that, so you can imagine how I've been feeling writing this story.

Will it work? I don't know. It works for me and it's been one incredible journey as a writer. I've explored breaking it up into parts and then dismissed that idea. Love it or hate it, you'll get the full story with a conclusive ending. Yes, I've been told how profitable it would be to release it in parts, that it's a too big and complicated book to hold the attention of the reader. If that last part is true, then I' haven't done my job. What I like is that the reader will be able to read a sizable portion on Amazon's "Look inside" before they purchase. By then, they'll know if this is something they want to read or not before they part with their hard earned money.

For anyone who has ever suffered from Anxiety Disorder, you'll know that we tend to get unreasonably anxious about the strangest of things. One of them, for me, has been releasing the title of my book, for fear it will be snapped up by another author before I get the chance to get my book out there. Today, I'm going to get that worry out of my mind and just do it. If someone else thinks it would be perfect for their book, good on them. Enjoy it. It's a great title.

So where am I at in this epic journey? About two thirds through my manuscript on the second to last draft. The last one will be pure polish. There's been several full rewrites so far. Still not going to give a date for release, but this year is looking pretty good.

Anyway, enough of my ravings. Let's get on with this title and cover reveal which you'll have to see on my Facebook page.. That's the very least I owe my readers, but you can find my page here: Facebook and I always love to see new followers. Just be warned. I'm the worst social interacting author there is, as my readers know.