Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Australia Day with Jan Graham

Wow! Happy Australia Day!!

What better way to celebrate than to introduce another Australian author , and as we are getting to know some of the authors from Secret Cravings, well it just made sense. There are a few of us now :)

So without any further interruptions...please welcome...
Jan Graham

Welcome Jan!

Could you give me a brief rundown of your currently available items with Secret Cravings?

Hi Imogene, like you I have a release coming out on 3rd February 2012 from Secret Cravings. It’s not my first book, but is my first one with Secret Cravings. The Cougar Club is a novella from the Hot Flash range of books. It’s the first in a series of novellas called the Sydney Cougar Series. All of the stories in this series are based in Sydney, Australia, which is where I’m from.

1. What is your main genre, and how did you get started in it?

I mostly write contemporary erotic romance, my Wylde Shore Series (which unfortunately isn’t with Secret Cravings) has both suspense ménage, and BDSM themes to it, still in a contemporary setting and The Sydney Cougar series (releasing through Secret Cravings) is straight out contemporary. All of the books are quite erotic, so the heat level for them is pretty high.

2. Okay, what is the most exotic location you have written in? And how did that come about?

The most erotic location? Lol…well I would have to say, my bed, at home in Sydney. Although when you’re alone in a bed covered with a laptop and notes scribbled on bits of paper, it’s not really erotic. I must add I don’t usually write in bed. J

3. Have you got a current WIP and can you give us any hints as to what we will find within the book?

I have two current works. The first is the third story in the Sydney Cougar Series, as yet untitled. It’s about Mark Dean, who readers will have a bit of a idea about from the other two stories in the series, and the older woman he falls in love with. The other work in progress is the third book in the Wylde Shore Series, it focuses on Mercedes, she’s been a minor character in the previous two books, and her struggle to accept the changes she needs to make in order to make it work with the man of her dreams. As always there will be a bit of a crime twist and lots of BDMS action.

4. Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate or something stronger? And why?

Usually coffee first thing of a morning, to wake me up and give me a kick start for the day. Then I change to tea which can be green, herbal or regular black tea, depending on my mood and what I feel like at the time. I think I prefer tea because it’s more refreshing and give me less of a buzz than coffee.

5. What was the hardest scene you have ever written, and why do you think it was difficult? (emotionally for you and/or your character)

The most difficult scene I’ve ever written was in my first novel Finding Angel, the main character, Angel, had been through a severe trauma, and the scene where she first let’s her two Doms know how she got certain scars on her body was very emotional for me. I’d done a lot of research into the effect of PTSD on female victims of crime, as well as drawing on my previous life, where I used to work in welfare, so I’d met women that had suffered trauma like Angel. By the time I wrote the scene Angel basically came to life, embodying many of the women I’d worked with, so I cried. In fact I howled. I don’t know how I even saw the screen sometimes. I think the emotion came out so strongly because as a professional working with survivors of crime, you tend to channel your empathy, but don’t show much other emotion in order to help your client. So I had years of unshed tears built up in relation to the people I’d worked with, and it all flowed out as I wrote the scene.

6. If you had the opportunity to try something in your books, what would it be?

I’m going to answer this question from two perspectives. Something I’d like to try writing about and put in one of my books would be M/M or F/F romance story line. I’m not sure that I’d have the knowledge to do a same sex storyline because it’s not something I’m familiar with. Even though I have GLT friends I’m not in the mindset of how the relationship structure works, whether there are intrinsic differences to straight relationships, particularly in relation to a M/M setting.

If you’re meaning is there something I’ve written or read in a book that I’d like to try doing then the answer is yes. I love to read paranormal romance so I’d like to have a relationship with a sexy vampire or werewolf, or maybe both at the same time, we could do a whole ménage thing…lol. J

7. If you could invite 3 of your characters to a dinner party, who would you choose and what do you want to learn from them?

Well I’d prefer to have a party and invite them all, but if I had to stick to three they would be…this is nearly too hard to decide. I think Trudy from The Cougar Club because she’s outspoken and tells you exactly how she feels, despite of the consequences. I’d like to learn that skill from her. Steve from Finding Angel, for no other reason than I adore him and would enjoy his company and his sense of humor. And finally, I think I’d invite Zeke from The Cougar Club because he could tell some great stories about what he’s witnessed at Rubens (the club featured in the story) and I might even get some pointers on how to attract a younger man into my life. J

8. What would you do differently on your road to becoming published?

I think I’d have a larger completed body of work. When I got the contracts for both Finding Angel and The Cougar Club I had lots of work in progress, but no more manuscripts that were completed. So I’m faced with having a longer delay between releases now than I would have like. I’m hoping it won’t frustrate readers who like my writing too much, but I would have preferred to have books in each series released closer together.

9. You are going on a holiday and can only take 5 things with you. What would you pick and why?

I’d take my eBook reader, loaded with lots of great books, because I love to read. My camera, so I’d have lots of visual evidence of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, unless it’s something incriminating, then I wouldn’t take a picture of it. J A sexy lead man from my favorite book or movie, I think people could guess why I’d take him along. Of course there’d be no pictures of those activities…lol. The fourth thing would be a change of sexy underwear, because it’s essential and I’d hate sexy man to see the same thing everyday. Finally, I’d take a toothbrush, again because it’s essential, and I wouldn’t want to kiss sexy man without having nice fresh breath.

10. If you could give a piece of advice to a reader who wants to write a book, what would it be?

I‘d say, writing the book is the easy part. As well as the writing, you need to ensure you understand the publishing and promotion side of what authors do, and be prepared to be disciplined with your time because the non-writing stuff can distract you from actually doing the thing you set out to do…write.

You can catch Jan Graham at Website: , Blog , Facebook and Twitter!/jan_graham .

Their current releases include…Finding Angel from Siren Publishing, and the soon to be released novella The Cougar Club From Secret Cravings Publishing.


Jan has kindly offered a copy of The Cougar Club as a prize to one lucky reader when it’s released on 3rd February. So, in order to win, name their most recent release with Secret Cravings. Prizes will be drawn randomly on the 31st January 2012.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Release journey through editing.

With less than 4 hours to release, I'm am sitting hunched over my computer, working on book 2, Starfire. In its own way, it is a much bigger story. I know, because I have learnt so much since writing Starline.

Anyway, I thought though it might be nice to get an insight in what happens once a book is finished being written (as in that really rough first draft on your computer.) Yeah, it may be written, but that is just the beginning of the tale.

So you have written a story. Fabulous. There is such a sense of accomplishment with that. So what do you do next?

For me, the next step is print it and walk away. Take at least a week, or if you can manage it, longer. Why? For me, it was purely a sense of being way too close to the story. I knew the story, deep in my bones. I could read and reread sentences without realising my spelling or grammar were wrong. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and blurs the edges of things you know. In writing it is the same. While the story is still sharp in your mind, every word, paragraph and scene stand out in sharp detail.

Go back to your manuscript and be hard. Given a week or longer, take one or more highlighters and go through. Highlight mistakes, grammar that doesn't read right. And read it out loud. Take your time, this baby of yours is precious. But it's still probably a pig in a poke if your write like me.

Once you have made changes, let someone else read it. And this is a really hard part. Don't pick family or friends who will tell you how nice it is. Sure that is great for the ego, but you need someone who is going to pick the thing to bits. Lots and Lots of bits. Trust me, this is the hard part of editing before you submit. Find someone who has good english skills and will be brutally honest with you.

Now what? You're going to feel either blue or bouyant. Be kind to yourself. Make the corrections if they feel right. If they don't, work out why you don't think they should happen. Be critical and honest about your work. If you are lucky and you can find a group of people who can critique for you, let them. A good Crit Partner will be honest but also supportive. :) (I know my main crit partner is!)

Let them read the corrected version. Talk to them about why you are making changes or not. Now here's the rub, though. Not every written work is fabulous. An excellent critique partner will tell you to your face if it's rot - nicely and kindly, but will let you know. We all need one of them. Oh, and this step may get repeated several times before you are happy. It's the old rinse and repeat cycle :)

Finally happy? Phew! Then you get to look around for publishing houses that are a good fit for your writing. You might like to consider entering a couple of competitions before taking this step though. The feedback is invaluable, I have found. It put me on the road to where I am now.

If you do, be prepared for honest reviews. Not everything is nice and palatable, but most judges are writers who have been in your position. They offer feedback, not to be negatively critical, but to help you become the writer you could be. Honestly, I can't stress this enough.

So you entered competitions, found a publisher and think they are a good fit. You send in your submission, checking that you have your synopsis, letter and manuscript attached, having followed their requirements to the absolute letter, down to the name of the manuscript file. You wait, and wait some more. You check your emails, and find...a rejection. Okay. This is part of the life of an author. Not every book will fit every publishing house. And you know what? That's okay. Some will give you excellent personalised feedback and others will say that they don't do that. Each house handles it in their own way.

Important tip. Accept their decisions. Your book may be a King Blockbuster in the waiting. You may know that in your bones, but if they don't accept it, arguing won't make them think of it any more kindly.

Once you find the right place for your book, then you get to edit it again. This is hard, because your editor will be looking at it critically. Not because they are awful. They want you to have the book as strong as possible before sending it off into the world. Some houses do more editing than others. You may have 2 rounds, you may have 5 or 6. (And this is really hard, because you will have a deadline to complete the edits by.)

Finally, the final edit is in, you get your final copies to check and send back. Take your time! Check thoroughly and when you are happy return it. Now sit back and wait. Slowly.

Really. Hard.

This is me. I'm waiting. But you know what? In less than 4 hours my baby will be out in the world.

Writing is hard. It's exhausting and at times even lonely. But you know what? I can't think of too much else I would rather be doing.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

10 Questions to Delight and Despair with Natalie Nicole Bates

Continuing our 10 questions series, today we are visited by Natalie Nicole Bates, author of Antique Charming, Change of Address and many more titles.

Welcome Natalie Nicole Bates!

Could you give me a brief rundown of your currently available items with Secret Cravings?

Change of Address
Josselyn Adler’s dreams of home ownership are dashed when Dr Ben Parnell claims to be the rightful owner of the house—and Ben has a will to prove it! Although he is attracted to the dark haired beauty, he is still suspicious of her true motives and her past involvement with his father.Bio
Natalie-NicoleBates is a book reviewer and author.
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Wow, post mortem photos can be really interesting! They give you an excellent insight into the way people used to view death! Onto the 10 questions...

1. What is your main genre, and how did you get started in it?
My main genre is contemporary romance, but I do write paranormal romance as well. I originally started as an avid reader, then a reviewer. I only started to write seriously about a year ago.

2. Okay, what is the most exotic location you have written in?
And how did that come about? I would say the most exotic location I've written in would probably be the few weeks I spent in Spain. I rented a villa near the beach.

3. Have you got a current WIP and can you give us any hints as to what we will find within the book?
I have a few things in the works right now. I am continuing with the idyllic setting of Unity that I used in Change of Address, In COA we briefly meet Ryan Maine and Amii Sloane. They are the duo featured in my current WIP. I'm also working on a paranormal novella that I'm hoping to sell as a series.

4. Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate or something stronger? And why?
I favour the flavoured teas. I'm currently drinking a lot of blackberry. I enjoy the occasional coffee as well. I have one of those Krups Dolce Gusto machines that make the fancy coffees. Ohh man, envious look happening here.

5. What was the hardest scene you have ever written, and why do you think it was difficult? (emotionally for you and/or your character)
I think the most difficult scene to write was in Change of Address when Josselyn finally tells Ben about her traumatic past. It was a deeply emotional experience that I drew from my own past to write. Very difficult, but liberating as well.

6. If you had the opportunity to try something in your books, what would it be?
Being a contemporary writer, I was always interested in paranormal as well. I knew I would only do it if I could come up with something new and fresh. I wrote Antique Charming this past summer and was fortunate enough to sell it as a stand alone short story. I had never written a short story, so I accomplished a paranormal and a short story in one go--and sold it as well.

7. If you could invite 3 of your characters to a dinner party, who would you choose and what do you want to learn from them?
Adam Nichols from Antique Charming. I would love to learn his secrets of where he has been for the last 100 years. Josselyn Adler from Change of Address. I would like to know her secrets for perseverance and character strength. Lynsey Lincoln from my upcoming contemporary Back To You. I'd love to hear all about her world travels, her romance with a rock superstar, and her fabulous career as a true-crime novelist.

8. What would you do differently on your road to becoming published? I would have been more trusting in myself and my gut feelings. Early on, I took too much critique that messed with my mind. When I stopped taking critique, I sold Change of Address, Antique Charming, and Back To You all in a span of four months.

9. You are going on a holiday and can only take 5 things with you. What would you pick and why?
My husband, because he is my best friend and my rock. Teeble and Ryan, my stuffed bear and rhino, because they've always been in my life and got me through the rough times. My Blackberry, because I have the world at my fingertips. Blackberry tea, because I can't face the morning without it. Sunscreen, because I am literally the most pale girl you'll ever see.

10. If you could give a piece of advice to a reader who wants to write a book, what would it be?
Take a very good course in how to construct a novel. Too many writers with wonderful potential fall down because of poor story structure.

You can catch me at:, BatesNatalie at Twitter and at Facebook.

To check out current releases, try any of the following:
Change of Address at Secret Cravings Publishing available December 16 2011

Antique Charming at Books To Go Now Publishing available now

Back To You at Bradley Publishing available January 30 2012

Competition Time:
Natalie-Nicole Bates has kindly offered a PDF copy of Change of Address + a limited-edition Change of Address solid perfume, so, in order to win, name their most recent release with Secret Cravings.
Prizes will be drawn randomly on the 20th January, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Excerpt Number 2

Soo... I thought a second excerpt might whet your appetite, so here below is the next...

The pounding on the door pulled her from her thoughts as it echoed through the building. It interrupted her thinking, but given it had continued for a while, she just couldn’t ignore it any longer. She rose from her chair, and making her way toward the front of the store, she muttered under her breath, “It’s Saturday, people.” Couldn’t they see the shop was closed? Opening the blind on the door, she peered out to see a man on the step. “We’re closed!” she called. He looked at her and made a move to open the door.

“We are closed.”

She repeated herself, and then heard a mutter of “You have something…”

She lost the gist of what he said as she got a good look at the muscular man with black hair and piercing green eyes standing on the stoop. God, he looked so sexy!

“Can you let me in?” she finally heard.

“What? Oh sorry,” she said, quickly unlocking the door and opening it a crack. “Now what did you say?”

“You have something that belongs to me,” said the impossibly sexy man, and she wondered if he would think her nuts asking for a photo. He looked just like what she thought George would. She grinned to herself. Sure girl. Jem would ask something like that. She blinked away the thought and focused on the man in front of her.

“Ummm, I don’t think so,” said Mellissa, making to close the door.

“A pad…” And the memory twigged.

“Oh, right,” she said, sliding away from the door, just enough to let him in, and then re-securing the locks. “We are closed on Saturdays, so you are lucky I was here.” Motioning for him to follow her, she made her way to the back of the store. She stopped at the doorway and watched him look around the store.

“Please take a seat,” Mellissa offered, motioning to a seat. Casting around, she looked for the package. “I’m sorry, what did you say your name was? Mr…?”

“McCord, Duvall McCord,” the gorgeous stranger intoned. His eyes roamed over her, and uncomfortably she got the feeling he liked what he saw, but that seemed silly because she looked so very ordinary. Certainly not the sort of girl who would appeal to a buff and sexy male like this. All Alpha, she thought, and she embarrassed herself by blushing at her thoughts. She could feel the heat of the red tide rising on her cheeks.

Spying the package on a small table just behind her desk, she stretched for it, when suddenly a loud crash and whine came from the back of the building, and before she could blink, McCord reached for his pocket and some sort of device.

“Get down!” he shouted, leaning over her, covering her body with his. He grabbed her hand and the package together. “Two for transport NOW!” he shouted, and the world turned black.

Now, this time I have something very special...

Giveaway Time!

A copy of Starline as a thank you to you lovely lovely people following my blog. So to win, here is all you need to do...

Tell me, if you had a chance to visit anywhere in the future, Where and What you would like to see.

I am going to give this away on Thursday 19th January, so you have plenty of time to think up some fantastic answers. The competition closes at 9am strictly Queensland Time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm bouncing, I'm jumpng...OMG I'm so excited.

With less than two weeks to release, things are getting really exciting here.

Earlier this week, my business cards with Imogene Nix turned up, and they looked fabulous. Of course so did my first batch of bookmarks...yes here is an image. They look seriously sweet - I was so pleased with them, as I designed them myself. Took many hours, but worth the pain, sweat and yes, even tears!

I was also thinking I was beginning to feel like I stalked the Secret Cravings website, looking for the book to be listed, visiting 2 and 3 times a day, not to mention Amazon, the Kobo store and even Barnes and Noble. Sad huh? Yep, I will be the first to admit to that!

No one ever told me that it went with the territory. Lol!

I am keeping busy, working on other projects, hoping they will help me to get to the 23rd, but really I'm kidding myself. I'm a bundle of nerves! And excitement. And anything else you care to mention, at that rate!

Then something comes along and heightens my excitement. My darling husband (dh) bought me a Kobo for Christmas and I have been soooo good. I started uploading my 150+ ebooks to it.

Then today in the mail, comes the most exciting gift from my friends. They do skins for computers, ereaders and phones. But they created a skin, just for me...with my cover art. Now I don't know about you, but I am soooo over the moon, I have this silly little lopsided grin thing happening. So I thought I would share it!

Life doesn't get too much better than this!

Well, another visitor will be along next Wednesday, and of course don't forget the drawing of the grand prize of the Kindle from Secret Cravings for the birthday blog hop. You have until the 17th to visit EVERY blogger who participated to be in the draw.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Excerpt of Starline

Okay Okay Okay!

Ready for a tasty tempter? I thought I would pop up the first excerpt today, another next weeks and then a last just before release...

Starline by Imogene Nix

“Sir, you have an encoded message incoming from Admiralty,” Engineer Corbin Jard stated. A young officer, new to Duvall’s team, he looked up expectantly at his Captain. His pretty-boy face showed eagerness, and he looked ready to jump up and grab something, anything his Captain commanded. Jard had joined the crew just as the ship prepared to make its maiden journey. A big promotion for one who had, until recently, served on the Star of Ishtar.

“I’ll take it in my office, Jard,” Duvall said, striding through the automatic doors and heading to his office. The crew of the Elector carefully trained for multi-tasking, and given the size of the crew and the status of a Stealth Ship, if one officer sustained injury, someone else could continue their role, and the crew while new, had started integrating nicely.

Hopefully this lead would take them to the handbook they sought, he thought, something to give them a break in the ongoing hunt for Crick Sur Banden. His neck itched, and while he didn’t consider himself superstitious, he never neglected to listen to what his senses told him, and right now they screamed that he needed a lead and quickly.

Once in his office, he secured the door and opened the secure link. “McCord here.”

“Duvall, I have a lead, or something, for you.” The earnest voice of WO Meredith Gentry came quickly. Much as he looked forward to hearing from her, he did not expect to. Meredith continued her work safely tucked away on Aenna. Didn’t she? “I don’t have a lot of time,” she hurried on. “I think they know I suspect something. I rigged the handbook with a tracking device. The secure code is—” He could hear the sound of voices behind her. “Quickly, it’s V422J53. That will allow you to access the secure feed,” she said as he jotted down the tracking device’s code. He could hear her taking quick breaths. “It moved through the gate outside Eris on code LX543GH4.” He knew that code. He had just generated one giving a similar time path.

“Meredith, are you in a secure location?” he demanded forcefully. Another hitched breath floated through the secure line. He gripped his table and leaned forward, not that he could do anything. The sounds faltered from thousands of miles away. “Meredith?” His sister was in danger, and here he listened on a ship so far away. Barsha! He should have protected her.

“Duvall, you need to access frequency…” Quickly she rattled off the information he would need to follow the device as he tapped into his unit. “Oh God! They’re here—” Abruptly the line went dead.

“Meredith? Meredith?” Now he leaned over the device. Quickly accessing the Admiralty, he demanded a connection to Gentry. A voice informed that Gentry could not be raised, and the voice asked if someone else could help with his query. His demands to talk to the Admiral met with a similar fate. Frustration welled upward, nearly choking him as he disconnected. He knew he couldn’t go back and didn’t know who else to contact. He had to maintain a chain of silence while investigating, especially when the Admiralty could be breached. Never had those words choked him so much.

His heart thudded as he sat back down. Could more than a single infiltrator exist? He hoped not, but the itching at his neck grew in intensity, and he feared the worst. Tapping the information Meredith had given him into his desk screen, he started toward tracking the handbook, thankful for the foresight of officers such as his sister.

The blip of the machine echoed through the room; an answer bounced back to him. A heading he would never have guessed. Toward the Time Port. Well, thank Eshra, if he couldn’t go back to help Meredith, he could at least work toward retrieving the item she had risked so much to track. Quickly he hailed the bridge. “Full speed toward the Time Port,” he instructed, just in time to see the blip disappear.

Okay...excerpt two pops up next remember to come back then :)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy First Birthday Secret Cravings Publishing

Firstly, I want to say, Happy First Birthday to Secret Cravings Publishing!

I struggled with my blog today. I mean what do I say? In the end, I thought I would share my story…so read on if you dare!

I’m a bookstore owner, specializing in Romance Books. Makes sense, right? I read romance. Lots and lots of romance. I know about the genres and what appeals to me, but for years I went through life with the attitude, I couldn’t do it. I mean, getting published is such a fierce thing. Rather like competition where only the very top echelon can achieve that brass ring. I still think it is extremely competitive…I doubt I will ever change my mind about that.

I attended a conference in Bondi, New South Wales in March 2011 and one of the sessions I sat in on, was with the super talented Lexxie Couper. Such a great lady – tons of fun!! Trust me, I sat with Lexxie and her fabulous friends at the dinner and had a ball! Even my husband, one of only 2 men to attend had a great night. (We had both the men at our table so it was a slightly more balanced table than it could be!) Anyway, I am digressing though…

So there I sat in the room, listening to these ladies talking about their journey. At that moment, the light bulb went on in my head. These ladies wrote what they saw and heard in their minds. Now given my over active imagination, surely there was a story in mine? Right? Absolutely. I mean, this is the person that has had dreams of flight and fancy for more years than I could poke a stick at.

So, we arrived home. Very tired after the flight and then a 4 and a half hour drive home. Pooped. But in the back of my mind, there was the seed of a story growing. That seed would eventually become Starline.

For the next 8 weeks, I barely moved away from the computer. I wrote, then wrote more, and then wrote even more again. At the end of 8 weeks I had about 55 000 words written and the basis for the story.

At this time, I did the best thing ever. I joined a writing group. Thank God for Romance Writers of Australia. I joined the paranormal group (super enthusiastic and helpful). They offered advice and friendship. I got a critique partner, (yes and I think I drove her mad with my requests) and I listened. I participated in the Clayton’s Conference (you know, the conference you attend when you can’t attend the conference in real life.) I was on a bender! I soaked up information like a sponge.

I edited, polished, rejigged. You name it. I did it with Starline. A bit like a dog with a bone, I kept worrying it.

By August, it was ready to do something with. I entered it in my first ever competition. (And did quite well, garnering a third place in the end.) I knew it had merit, I knew it wasn’t awful. I knew I could get it published.

I visited Preditors and Editors and started hunting. Who handled romance? Especially a first timer, who really didn’t know what they were doing? I made a list. I selectively submitted. I got requests, for the full manuscript. A couple of rejections – you expect that, don’t you? In October, I woke up to an email. Secret Cravings offered me a contract. Well, I think I screeched yahooed and generally bounced around in my seat. Then I sent a request out to the paranormal loop for advice.

Once more, these fabulous ladies came through. Keri and Tracey have my undying gratitude. Especially Tracey who talked to me about tin tacks and basics, listened to me warbling on about the contract and offered valuable and constructive advice. Thanks so much!

So now, here I sit, waiting for my book to release in the next few weeks. This part of the journey is just beginning, but I do have some suggestions to share with others on the same point of the journey. Please bear with me, though…

My thoughts on writing romance:

1. Write what you love.
Seriously, you need to love the genre you are writing in. If you do, the writing will flow. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole never worked before, and it certainly won’t work if you are writing in a genre you don’t love.
2. Surround yourself with great, honest and knowledgeable people.
I can’t say this enough. Writing is a lonely journey. Sure you may have friends, co-workers and even husbands, wives, parents and children. But you need information to make it a success. Find people who are writing in your area. Learn from them, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Then pay it forward. Help someone else on the journey. Find a critique partner with experience and then one with less. Give something back to the writing world.
3. Research is key.
Not every genre is easy to research. In my case I had to find names of asteroids, planets and try to think how space travel could take place. Thankfully I am a trekkie with great internet access. But there is nothing worse than reading a historical and seeing something glaringly and obviously wrong in the historical context. Check and double check your facts. And if you are making up worlds? Write down what you know, because if you ever go back to the world you invented, you need to keep it straight.

Phew. This started as a quick blog… Ahh well. What does this have to do with Secret Cravings having their first birthday? Well, I am lucky. As a young publisher, so many people give you the advice to be careful. And yes, you do need to do your homework. I did and honestly, can I say that I am pleased I did? I don’t regret signing with SCP.

So, in honor of their first birthday, I am offering a $10.00 USD gift certificate with SCP as a prize!

The catch? You need to tell me about your journey – either as a reader or a writer. It can be as quick as you like. But you must leave me an email address so I can contact you, if you win.

I will be drawing this on 7th January 2012 (Queensland time) and letting you all know here on the blog.

However, there is a double dip here as well. As part of the birthday blog, you will also go into the draw to win the SCP grand prize draw to win…

From Secret Cravings
First prize - Kindle Fire
Second prize - Amazon GC $50
Third prize - SCP GC $25
Visit this page to find out more details

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

10 Questions to Delight and Despair over…with Shannon West

For the month of January, 2012, I decided to do something a little different with my blog. As many of you know, Starline (the first in the Warriors of the Elector Trilogy) is due to be released in February (Well actually it looks like January 23 now!) with Secret Cravings Publishing (how exciting is that??). So I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to get to know a few of the authors from Secret Cravings….so below meet our Author du jour…

Shannon West

This is me in my dreams, LOL....Actually, I have a day job that I have to work to support my writing habit, so I must conceal my real identity. This company which shall be nameless would frown upon my writing predilections, so....Shannon is my pen name.

Could you give me a brief rundown of your currently available items with Secret Cravings?

Winning Bette, a m/f Hot Flash novella about an older woman with secrets and a younger man who discovers them

Lube Job, a m/m short story just for fun and hot sex

Come Hell or High Water, an erotic m/m romance about (believe it or not) Christmas wishes that come true

Georgia Heat, a m/m romatic erotic novel about two hot young men who can’t seem to get it together and stop fighting long enough to live happily ever after.

Street Angel, a new novel, and one of SCP’s free reads in installments on their website every week. About a young, beautiful prostitute who teams up with a hot cop on the trail of a young boy who has been kidnapped, drugged and forced to walk the streets of Atlanta.

Fire and Ice, an upcoming paranormal, historical, m/m/m menage erotic romance! Whew! Could I make it any more complicated? About a gorgeous, supernatural Light Elf from Scandinavia circa 600 A.D. (think Vikings) and a beautiful slave boy and the sexy barbarian they meet on a quest to kill a monster ravaging the country side. One of my crazier and most fun efforts. Coming soon from SCP.

Training Tristan, an upcoming m/m romantic erotic story about a young cop in the closet who meets a swishy boy who will out him if they’re seen together. Trouble is, he can’t stay away.
Wow! You've been busy, haven't you? They all sound so intriguing... :)

Onto the 10 questions...

1. What is your main genre, and how did you get started in it?

My main genre is male/male romance, or as some e publishers call them—Romantica, a combination of romance and erotica. I got started with a friend and fellow author named Remy Devereaux who also writes for SCP and co-authored several of the books. This is his genre, and I found I really enjoyed it. I didn’t know if I could write it at first. Then I thought, hell, I love men, and I love the idea of them having sex, (preferably with me, but any old port in a storm) so why not? The writing seemed to flow pretty well from my typing fingers, so I just went with it. Now I love the relationships between the young men. They can be so sweet and loving and yet rough and wild. The sex can be rough and wild too, just the way I love to write it.

2. Okay, what is the most exotic location you have written in? And how did that come about?

Hmmm? Exotic? I don’t think I’ve written much in exotic locations. It’s usually me and my computer surrounded by screaming kids and loud tv’s, but I did write a few chapters of Georgia Heat on my laptop on the beach.

3. Have you got a current WIP and can you give us any hints as to what we will find within the book?

Why yes, I do. I’ve got an idea, really, since I just finished a story and can’t get time to sit down and put it on paper. It’s about a rich, handsome man who receives a letter from an old college friend. The friend is in trouble, being victimized by a beautiful, heartless male prostitute who is taking all his money and refusing his love and pleas to marry him. Later, when he learns the friend commits suicide over this boy, he decides he needs to revenge himself on the prostitute by turning the tables on him. The only trouble is, once he meets him, he’s in serious danger of falling in love himself.

4. Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate or something stronger? And why?

Definitely something stronger! You need to be a little buzzed sometimes when you write about hot sex. Makes the words flow a little uninhibitedly. So I like to write these scenes when the house is quiet, late at night, alone with my trusty glass of red wine.

5. What was the hardest scene you have ever written, and why do you think it was difficult? (emotionally for you and/or your character)

Has to be a menage scene I wrote once for Fire and Ice. Trying to decide just who puts what into who and how was a little complicated. Lots of fun, though.

6. If you had the opportunity to try something in your books, what would it be?

I like to dabble a bit in spanking and BDSM. Nothing harsh or too much, but love to read it and I think I’d like to write about it.

7. If you could invite 3 of your characters to a dinner party, who would you choose and what do you want to learn from them?

Brandr, the Light elf from Fire and Ice, cause he’s just so hot and supernatural to boot. He could tell me all the ways to do a proper menage scene. Then probably Mark from Georgia Heat, just because he’s my perfect Alpha male. He could teach me to make my alphas even tougher. And Will from Come Hell or High Water, because he’s wicked funny and sexy and very brave.
He could teach me to be myself and throw consequences to the wind.

8. What would you do differently on your road to becoming published?

Start younger, be less afraid of what people think about your style and what you love and who you love!

9. You are going on a holiday and can only take 5 things with you. What would you pick and why?

My man, my laptop, my Nook, some wine, and some chocolates.

10. If you could give a piece of advice to a reader who wants to write a book, what would it be?

Just do it! Get the words down, find a crit partner who can help you polish and edit and then send it in! There are so many wonderful independent publishers waiting to see it. Don’t be afraid, and don’t let it languish on your computer. Just go for it--

You can catch Shannon West at

Her current releases include…
Street Angel
Come Hell or High Water
Lube Job
Georgia Heat

Shannon West has kindly offered your choice of back list or Come Hell or High Water in a pdf file so, in order to win, name their most recent release with Secret Cravings.
Prizes will be drawn randomly on 6th January...

So come on, don't be shy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm back!

You know, I had every good intention of getting on here each and every week in the lead up to Christmas...but life happens :) With two teen daughters, my full time job and a husband it all got very complicated.

Then the edits arrived - yep we have finally finished the edits for Starline and it has gone into the queue...I am waiting anxiously on the day that it will be released - and I have to say the excitement levels here are building. And that means now the anxious wait for the cover art for the Star of Ishtar to arrive. As before, I will upload it here and once I have the trailer ready, so will that be posted

In the meantime, Christmas came and went and hubby bought me a Kobo (how cool is that) so with about 100 titles in my to read pile in ebook pile I am thinking that's a pretty cool start right? Well yesterday morning I won a $250 gift card from Here We Go A-Caroling, but because I can't buy ebooks to read on my Kobo, instead I bought a ton of paperbacks. So I am looking forward to them arriving

In the meantime a quick run down of the movement here on my blog - starting Wednesday we will have guest bloggers - mostly Secret Cravings authors...January 26th I am joined by another Aussie SCP author.
On the 5th (make sure you bookmark that day) I am the Secret Cravings Publishing Birthday Blogger! A fabulous giveaway is planned and
you can go in the running to win a Kindle Fire from SCP. So you will need to leave a comment.

Anyway, back to work for me. Starfire is waiting presubmission editing :) Ooh I can't wait!

Not to mention a few other jobs that have been pending for the last 2 months waiting to complete these other things.

And I hope your 2012 is as fabulous as mine has started - with a very positive outlook