Sunday, February 18, 2018

Spotlight: Carly's Crush by Maddie Taylor

Carly puts her plan into motion. One night, after closing the lingerie shop where she works, she slips into the sheerest scrap of nothing she can find, climbs on a table in the middle of the sales floor, and strikes a pose.  Now, she waits for Trent, the head of mall security, to make his rounds and find her. Simple enough, right?

Except things go terribly wrong. Silent alarms are tripped, and Carly is left with one furious Alpha on her hands. Will she end up in the arms of the man of her dreams, or will her bottom, left bare by the skimpy black thong, end up paying for her unintended crime? Or, if she's lucky, will she get both?

Publisher’s note: Carly's Crush is a steamy romantic novella which contains spanking and light BDSM themes. If this doesn't do it for you, maybe you shouldn't buy this book. But just for kicks, put some spice in your life and give it a try.

KU Subscriber? You can read Carly's Crush for #FREE!


“I’m going to spank you, Carly. Right here, right now. Before I lay you out on this table and make you my girl for real.” He extended his arm, palm up. “If you agree, take my hand, and we’ll get started.”
Her gaze dropped, and she stared at his palm, large enough to cover most of one cheek with a single swat. It looked hard, and Trent was strong. Undoubtedly, it would hurt. It was the point of a spanking, right?
A mix of confusing emotions whirled inside her: exhilaration, panic, indignation—didn’t they recently establish she wasn’t a child—and desire. It was this last one which prevailed over all the others because the thought of his hands on her, touching her bare skin, soothing her with kisses and caresses—she hoped, when he finished—was what she’d dreamed of for so long. 
Nervously, her tongue slipped out to wet her dry lips, at the same time the heat of arousal tingled between her thighs. “I haven’t ever been spanked before.”
“I won’t hurt you, Carly, not ever. You can trust me on this. But for scaring me the way you did and the risk you took—I could have been delayed. Then what? If the cops had shown up before me, they could have charged you with trespassing. I can only imagine what something of this nature would have done to your reputation.” He shook his head and blew out a breath slowly. “For that alone, your sweet ass will sting like it deserves to.”
The blazing anger of earlier was gone. In its place, a steely determination to see this through by making her behind pay the price. Surprisingly, her decision wasn’t hard to make.
She raised her hand and placed it in his. “I trust you, Trent.”
His warm fingers enveloped hers, her hand so much smaller than his, a good representation of the size disparity between them. But she wasn’t afraid, not of him or his strength, and when she gazed up at him through her tears, and his image wavered, it was from regret over what she’d done. “I really am sorry.”
His face softened, and she didn’t blink, not wanting to miss how his eyes deepened to a darker even more beautiful green. He dropped her hand and curled both of his around the sides of her neck. With his thumbs, he tipped her chin up farther and angled her head just so for his kiss. Trent took her lips, not soft or tentative, but hungry, consuming, claiming, and as his tongue delved deep, Carly melted against him.
The crush she’d nurtured as he’d held her at arm’s length, blossomed with his kiss, and a fullness invaded her chest. It could be from her heart thumping wildly, and how she gasped for air around his demanding mouth, but she sensed it was so much more.
When he raised his head, she was ready to be done with the punishment and get on with the forgiveness, so they could move past her incredible blunder of this evening and explore what else he’d promised.
Winded and slightly dizzy, her mind was busy working on a solution to their next problem. “So where do you want me? There are only tables out here. I could bend over one, but if you want me over your lap, the bench in the back room might be better, or the computer chair.”
His slow, tender smile was as intimate as his kisses. “You’re going to be good for me, aren’t you, Carly?”
“I want to be, Trent. So very much.”

About Maddie
A USA Today and #1 international bestselling author, Maddie is a lifelong reader who became a romance junkie as a teen with her first romance novel, The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss. From then on, she was hooked, and gobbled up everything she could get her hands on, whether contemporary, historical, paranormal or sci-fi. If there was romance to be found between a strong alpha male, and a sassy, adventurous and ofttimes defiant yet loving woman, Maddie was all over it. As an author, she stays true to those themes writing steamy erotic romance, with a side of kink, and adding elements of intrigue, danger and suspense to her plots.

Maddie started writing as a hobby. Her stories stayed private while she raised a family and worked full time as a registered nurse. It wasn't until 2012 that she decided to take the plunge and submit her first book for publication: Captain My Captain. She went on to publish eleven novels the first year.

Follow Maddie Online!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Potpourri of thoughts for the month-upcoming release info

My birthday is coming up and I will be the big 40 and I'm hoping the stress of it doesn't cause a heart attack cuz that's something I have to worry about now that I'm in my fucking 40s. Ugh, I know, I know. Aging gracefully is something I actually like on everyone else. Me? Not so much. It's just, this is so not where I thought I would be when I got to this age, like seriously where did the last fucking decade go?

I'm going to release my latest, fifteenth romance, my sixteenth book next month and I still don't have a million dollars and I'm still hustling like it was my first. When I finished this last one I shit you not I looked around for the balloons and champagne bottles popping I felt the moment deserved and nothing. Crickets chirped, fuck. 

I am so fucking happy with this latest one, I'm seriously thinking it's in my top 3 favorites of all my books I've written. Right now, I can only hope others feel the same. Because I love it so much I'm really bummed I'm not going to be able to get it the attention it deserves. As much as I would love to work with Give Me Books for the promotion, ARC and all that fun stuff, I just don't have the money for it. 

There's also some concern about removing all my books from KDP in preparation for the release. I just can't forget how well I did on iBooks for a solid four months, making in those months what I made on Amazon for a whole year. As much as I have liked the steady income I also still flinch every time I think of the how much money I'm losing by not being full price, seriously people less than a dollar for a book is what I'm earning for everything I put into each book it's complete and utter bullshit. I'm trying to focus on putting out a book every month and hoping that translates into the larger four months lasting for an entire year. So much so I'm already working on my next one. 

I have the excerpt ready and the blurb ready but only people in my Facebook group will see it until March. They'll also have a say on the cover when that time comes, in another two weeks. They will also have ARC access, so there's that too. Join me for all the exclusive fun:

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The other costs of writing no one talks about

I'm not done with my latest book, however the end is finally in sight. Another edit that I'm working on now, send it to my editor and then I'll finish those edits. It will be another two weeks or so then it will be ready. All books are different, as much as I would like to say there's a pattern and route I take with each one, there just isn't. Considering I wasn't working with this one I had hoped it would be easier, yeah no that didn't happen. There was still much anxiety, sleepless nights and missed deadlines. 

Recently, I saw an author post on the bullshit readers are pulling when they bitch about the cost of a book or even worse when they pull the punkass move of buying and then returning because they want to read but don't want to pay for it. Readers don't get there is so much more than the cost of editing, $300-600 for most authors, covers $100-$300 that price, they claim, is too high and there are authors who don't spend that much. Okay, yeah not everyone does. There are other costs though, His Under Contract cost me a family dinner out at a nice restaurant, a free dinner and a few hours with my brothers and my parents. Hmm, okay, you say, but that's your choice. Yes, it is just like this time around my latest cost me going to a second cousin's birthday party she's only one she won't miss me but I felt awful when other cousins did. Then it cost me dinner out with my family, again. This morning it cost me going on only  three and half hours of sleep. Those costs, they add up. My choice yeah, your choice to pay for it or move on. 

Over the course of four years in my attempts to make writing career, it has cost me three friendships. All I had was my weekends to write and I was saving money to spend on editing and covers and people get tired of being turned down.  I understand and don't harbor any ill feeling but it doesn't mean that I don't miss them. In the case of another yeah that relationship was going no where fast but it was sped up by a lack of support when I needed it to keep going because this isn't easy and if I can't depend on 'friends' for a kind word then they aren't a friend. 

Yes, in the last few years I've managed to become friendly, not friends, friendly with authors and bloggers and that's great having the ability to meet people you wouldn't normally. As great as they are, it doesn't make up for the friends I have lost. What's the price tag be for one friend? One dinner with my family. A birthday party. A brunch out with my friends. Is it a quarter for each lost hour of sleep? 

Look, I'm not beating some poor me drum. I chose to do this. No one is holding a gun to my head and making me sit at a desk instead of being with family and friends. However, readers need to be aware there is a cost to what writers do that can't be qualified by a price tag. Don't we deserve something for the swoon we give you when the characters finally kiss? Is it a quarter for every laugh you can't hold in? Is it dollar for every tear you shed when we move you to feel and you mutter how much you hate us and the character even as you can't take your eyes off the page? How about that moment when the rest of the world falls away and it's just you and the characters, what do we deserve for that?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Results from paid newsletter marketing

I'm just going to jump right into it. 

Shameless Books is a blog. They have a few different opportunities for the newsletter, the banner or top of the list is $18.00 or they have a middle of the newsletter space for $12.00 which is easy to book, there are usually several spots available for the middle of the newsletter. 
Shameless-Ran it on His Under Contract no sale on 1/4 and 1/5. There was an actual 50% increase in KDP page reads lasted until Wednesday of the next week. 

Excite Spice is devoted website for romance and erotic book deals. They also have several different opportunities for .99 cents, new releases, and boxed cents are $10.00 then there is free which is $20.00 to be featured add $5.00 to the price. 
Excite Spice-Ran it on my freebie Abby has Gone Wild on 1/12. There were 499 'buys' for the day and a 43% increase in KDP page reads-based off page reads before any marketing

Brazen Bookshelf- A waste of money all I'm going to say is I do not recommend using them at all. 

Hidden Gems is a website devoted to ARC's and newsletters for all genres. For $20.00 I did it on my free Abby has Gone Wild. 
Hidden Gems-273 'buys' and the page reads only increased by 18%

Overall it was worth it even though there is no guarantee of where I will end the month spending $73.85 in all likelihood I will see an overall 60% increase. For me, I'll be spending on Excite and Shameless in the future, while there was an increase using Hidden Gems not enough to make them a go to and there are other newsletters I would like to try. I'm doing another Shameless ad when I run a sale on His Healing Touch this week then I'll be trying Fussy Librarian in the middle of the month for my free. I'm still trying to gauge what to use for new release in March but I'll be happy to share my results when I do try something new.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Marketing: Thinking outside the box or in this case, outside of ads

For a lot of people, me included, when you think of advertising, you think of commercials, ads on the radio, or now the ads on websites, you know the annoying ones people skip over to finish reading the article, then there are the ads that everyone is screaming to do on Amazon. Well, I can't afford the majority of that and because I'm a dirty girl writing erotic romance I'm excluded from Amazon and a lot of those ads online. So what's a girl to do? 

Ask for help. And the shocking thing is I got it. The response straight up blew my tiny little mind, advertise on newsletters. Uh, excuse me what? You mean those annoying ones that go into my spam folder? The ones that annoy me so much I don't even send out newsletters myself? I got schooled, no, not those ones. Newsletters readers actually want that let them know about sales and freebies, they sign up for them through blogger websites and even nonblog websites that round up the freebies and sales and send them out daily, weekly and  so on. 

I got the name of a few newsletters and off I went with my twenty bucks, yep most of the newsletters were only twenty bucks to be include. There are others that are much much more but I don't have a job right now. So I spent twenty dollars on four different newsletters for a grand total spent of $80. The results have been awesome so far. At the end of the month I'll compile the results and share them. The ones I have spent money on are: Shameless Books, Excite Spice, Hidden Gems, and Brazen Bookshelf-I do want to say about Brazen (fair warning I'm straight up not fucking happy with Brazen) 

I'm sure there are more newsletters out there, these are the ones that were suggested to me with the whole erotic romance tag limiting me. 
I hope these help you as much as they have helped me. Like I said I've kept careful count and will post everything at the end of the month. 
For now, here are the suggestions that were given to me. 

HotstuffRomance-interesting cheaper but still on the fence
Ebookhounds-more than $20 but still reasonable EReader News Today-price varies, too rich for my blood
Freebooksy-costs much more than $20 beyond my budget
Shifted Sheets- haven't checked them out looking at them for March maybe
The Fussy Librarian- price varies mine was only $15 for a spot for my freebie booked for next month
Romance Devoured- $30.00 more than my budget right now but will look into. 
FYI-the Shameless spot was actually only about $13 for being in the middle of the newsletter at the top was more but I can't remember how much. 
Bookboast-price varied because they have a variety of lists from different authors. It seems interesting but overwhelming while I'm in the middle of trying to finish what I'm writing now. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

My Plan for 2018

Last year the pretty bad depression I had been going through finally ended. I wish I could say I had something to do with it, that I changed my habits, that I took the initiative and pulled myself out of the freefall I was in but I didn't. It stopped like it started, a hint of something different and then a 360. That's the thing about depression people don't get, so much of it is actually chemical. There is no decision making of choosing to be depressed. Yes, there are some things that can be done to help with symptoms but the underlying depression is still there.  

I'd been in fog, moving slowly trying to feel my way through every day, just getting through it. I had bouts of clear thinking but never long enough to act and engage. By the time I was good, standing on two feet ready to rumble it felt like the year was almost over. Oh, and then I lost my job. It was a good thing I wasn't depressed anymore. 

I got another and even as I took the job I was panicking. I knew I was going to be so fucked, that this was not the place to go but they were the only place that would take me. I did not have the money or the choice. Like I knew it would be it went to hell so fast it made my head spin. I've never worked in a place so completely and utterly shitty in years, since I was a teenager and desperate for a job. I had a choice, stay and most likely get fired anyway or go to an interview and thereby missing work and get fired immediately. I went on the interview and got fired. And then I didn't get the job I interviewed for. I'm laughing, it's fucking funny. It's fucked up but it's funny. 

I'm lucky, I know I am. Right now, I have support and I don't have to worry about rent, just my cell phone and car insurance. So I'm saying fuck it and going for broke-very literally. The plan is for six this year, I have one half-written and one waiting impatiently in the wings. Release for one will be March, the next one in April and then every month after that. I hope. By the time I hit May I'll know where I stand. I hopefully will be able to start covering rent because I'll need to come July. 

If I haven't been able to get the sales I need to support myself off writing full time by June then I'm going to put the writing down. I really feel like I have to put it down, shut it all down. I'll leave my books up still but no more Facebook, Twitter, marketing, promotion of any kind so I can focus on the thing that will actually pay. 

I'm going to clean up and go job hunting for a very good job or maybe I'll go back to school but it will be time to go back to the 'real' world. I don't want to and nothing feels more real than when I am writing but I can't keep going back and forth. In taking shitty jobs for a pay check with barely any focus because I'm more concerned with writing. I'll take the job and commit one hundred percent like I used to, to be present and to the best job I can, like I can admit I haven't been doing really because I was always thinking about writing and counting down the minutes until the day was over so I could go home and write. 

At some point in the future I'll come back to writing but it will be a few years for sure, especially if I go back to school. 

If I have to take the job then I'll stay in the states, I'll have to put the plan to move to France on hold as well. 

I want my sales to be awesome, but I'm over being disappointed by not hitting awesome so I'll just be happy with steady, able to support myself sales. I don't want to give up writing but I don't want to keep doing what I've been doing for the last few years either. I can't keep doing it, it's fucking exhausting. To be putting in so much of myself and not getting anything back.

If the sales keep staying steady I will begin planning my move to France by September, getting the savings built up, the passport I don't even have, working with a tutor for my French which I know will still be horrible. 

So that's the plan, that's what 2018 will be about. Working hard to make enough to live as a writer or if that's not possible putting it down and going back to day job world. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Marketing: More than just buy my book

I'm lucky, I know I am. I haven't spent a whole lot of money on marketing. I don't think more than a hundred dollars a year since I started. Although when you think of it the money I spent on covers and editing was a part of that because those are huge factors in a reader deciding to read your book. But as far as giving someone stone cash to get my books in front of prospective readers it hasn't been much, a few Facebook ads, gift cards in giveaways and that kind of thing. Yet, I've had solid sales without paying for ads. In looking at my sales and reviews my thought has been if I'm doing this good without ads, what would my sales be like if I did pay for it? I decided to look at going ahead and paying for marketing but I wasn't sure where and how exactly to go about it. So I asked fellow writers. 

The response I had was great, several ideas I'm taking a look at and I've already bought ads but one answer came up again. It's something I heard when I first started getting into this and have heard often over the years. Interact with readers, establish relationships and you'll get readers for life. 

It sounds easy, it sounds like the easiest thing to do compared to all the other things, and it's free. Unless you are like me. I've mentioned, I think, before but I don't write about it often. I am first an introvert, I prefer to live in my own world without people invading and trying to take me out. Introvert writers are pretty common, most extroverts would shrivel up and die if they were forced to sit for hours on end and write. But then you add in I also have depression and anxiety and man am I just a bundle of fun. Actually, in real life I am pretty fun, most people don't know I have depression and anxiety. To most people, I'm funny, charming, quick witted, a natural leader, and of course, a smart ass. When I'm not depressed, when I'm happy and without stress that's who I am. It's also easier to be that way when I have someone in front of me to gauge their responses. 

It isn't easy for me to interact with people on line, especially readers. I'm just confused as fuck when it comes to readers. You know how writers beg for reviews, yeah it's to help  with  sales but it's also to know what the fuck is going on with  readers. I feel so lost with readers these days. How can you read all fifteen of my books and not leave me  a single review? Do you  really like me? Would you have read any other writer the same way? I feel like a girlfriend trying to figure out a closed off man. What do you like? What do you not like? What did I do wrong? Why won't you talk to me? Can I make it right or is this the end? 

Yeah, anxiety and depression make for fun times. I, for the life of me, cannot imagine someone being interested in me. Not if they've never met me and been won over by my dimples and fly as fuck personality. So in trying to interact with readers I'm left gasping for air as I search desperately for something witty to say on Facebook in  the three seconds before another post catches  their ADD attention span. What? What do readers want from me besides to write new books? Do they actually care my favorite kind of wine is pinot noir and I can't stand beer? Does it matter that I have asthma and am allergic to cats so my fond wish of being a crazy cat lady will never be realized? (my dream is for a starter pack of six) 

I would actually love to connect with readers. With the lack of reviews and the lack of interaction it kind of feels like no one is reading or cares about what I'm writing. Deep down though I worry I'm annoying people and sound needy-that's depression and anxiety all in one. 

It's something I need to work on but it's also something I want to be and feel authentic. To me, I don't think you should be reaching out and making connections with only the question of, what can this person do for me? That's just not a way to live your life, ever. 

Any suggestions out there? I'd love to hear them. 

Happy New Year to you all. I hope this year brings you not just what you want but what you need.