Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why am I still here? (Part 2)

I have so much going on in my mind right now. I write confidently about my book marketing plan for Dream Hunter and I work dilligently every day to follow it. But how do I even know it's working? I had my last free day on Amazon last week and, since then, my sales ranking has steadily declined. I post pretty much daily on social media - Twitter, Facebook, Google+ - and traffic on my website and my new Facebook page is decent, but how do you equate all the hard work into results? How many times can you post to FB and tweet to Twitter on the same message - please buy my book - to the same audience? What measurement defines success (other than sales volume)?

My debut book was published on December 30, 2014, not even three months ago. In that time, I have worked to increase my book's exposure and get reviews. I have 17 reviews on Amazon, with a 3.8 average rating. My book (and me) have been featured and interviewed on various sites. I have guest blogged, I have hosted guests. I have interviews lined up for the future and 30 potential reviews forthcoming. But I feel like I am hitting a brick wall. What else can I do that hasn't been done before? I am but a small fish in a very big pond filled with talented and well-known authors. My book is special to me, but directed toward a niche market. I run with every idea I have.

I signed my book contract with Just Ink Press in December 2013. Starting in January 2014...

I started a blog.
I created an author Facebook account.
I bought an avatar.
I joined about 100 Facebook groups.
I joined Goodreads.
I joined Twitter.
My book had 5 free days on Amazon.
I submitted my book to every place under the sun to promote for free.
I developed a website with my own domain name.
I made a book trailer and posted it on my website and youtube.
I started a Facebook page for my book.
I plan on writing a prequel to my book.

I constantly read articles on social media, how to improve my website, how to market my book. I am present. I am active. But am I running on a treadmill? How do I know how I'm doing? Is there a book marketing checkup?

I feel the same way about my current health. I have not been well for the last 6 months. I blog a little about it, but it's a difficult subject for me. No one wants to be ill. It is especially disconcerting when the diagnosis is yet unknown. Marketing my book has really kept me going. It's been a great distraction for me. But I still have doubts if I'm doing everything I possibly can. The avenue I am researching now is paid book promotion and I'm still undecided. Maybe it's simply a matter of being patient, not exactly my best virtue. Until then, I am doing everything to facilitate a speedy recovery. When it's time for a checkup, hopefully I'll pass with flying colors!

Are you an author? What are your thoughts on paid book promotion?

Are you a reader? What makes you want to read a book?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Friday - Why am I still here?

I shouldn't be here anymore. I should be well and at work. I should be churning out financial analysis and reports, making graphs and presentations, ensuring bills are paid and correct charge codes were used. But I am still unwell. I am home. Lying on the couch, contemplating how lousy I feel.

It's amazing how not awesome your house becomes when you're at home sick. When you're home on the weekend, there seems to be an endless amount of chores to do, places to go, fun to be had. But when you're home sick, the day stretches out endlessly, TV becomes unappealing, and you just plain become sick of it.

I have been home sick for about six weeks now. Things wouldn't be so bad, except... I feel like I'm going to vomit (sorry for the gross factor) every time I stand up, my body is numb, I'm so exhausted, and I can't even think which means I can barely string two sentences together. Imagine I went to work for five months like this? WHAT was I thinking?

I don't know what to do with my time. There's only so much that can be accomplished lying on your back. Get your head out of the gutter! :) I read historical romances on my iPhone and I'm all caught up on Grey's Anatomy! But I can't shake the fear of something being seriously wrong with me. Medicine doesn't seem to help. I've been to the Emergency Room twice and seen four different doctors, including one specialist. I rest all the time! Distraction is the only 'cure' and I use that word loosely.

My book Dream Hunter has once again saved me, given me purpose. I have trouble writing right now so I've focused all my energy into marketing and promotion. I have a daily marketing plan and both short term and long term goals. I firmly believe when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. This is my lemonade.




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Spotlight - Hong Kong Heat

Welcome, Raven McAllan! The lovely and talented Raven is visiting Maya's Musings to promote her latest release Hong Kong Heat. Come, read all about it... the title says it all - it's HOT!




Hong Kong Heat by +Raven McAllan 
Erotic Romance, Contemporary


Debra Scotburn never thought of herself as a cougar, until she fell in lust at first sight with a much younger man.

Daniel Van Meister, a trouble-shooter for the Simply Five Star Hotel chain doesn't do commitment, until the older, curvy, vivacious brunette robs him off his ability to control a certain body part.

Unable to keep their hands off each other, they embark on a passion-filled holiday fling.

Surely that is all it can ever be? Daniel's work takes him all around the world at a moment's notice, and Debra is on the last leg of her middle-aged-crisis induced gap year.


When misunderstandings tear them apart, can they both admit their love and find the trust needed to make this more than just a fling?

Available for early download via Totally Bound
https://www.totallybound.com/hong-kong-heat
Out on general release on eBook and Print: March 27th







Excerpt
In one swift movement the lady pushed off the side, kissed him hard on the lips and turned to swim away. He was too fast for her. Braam held her by the shoulders, tread water and kissed her back.
She groaned deep into his mouth and let her tongue swirl with his. Her body floated next to his and her breasts teased his chest. The thin lace that covered her was no barrier to hide how her nipples stood out. Braam slid one leg between hers and moved one hand to hold her ass and push her tight against him.
She wriggled and ground her pussy on his cock. Yet again, the few scraps of lace she wore were negligible. Even so it took immense control not to rip them away and have nothing between them. Instead he held her close, let her rub herself on him and savoured the moment. Braam swam them backwards a few feet until he could rest on a ledge a foot or so underwater and sit his lady on his knees with her legs either side and her pussy open to his cock. It was teasing, tantalising and downright enjoyable. Judging by the shivers and mewls she made as he nibbled her ear and scattered kisses over her face and mouth, she agreed. Her hands played with his nipples.
Until his cock gave notice that a few more seconds’ play and they’d need to clean the pool out. He was so close to coming it hurt.
Braam pulled back and she moaned in protest.
“Honey, I’m so close to coming it’s painful. We need to get out and find somewhere more suitable.” He towed her to the roman steps at one end of the pool and glanced around the area. Not even a sunbed had been left out.
His lady looked dazed and her eyes were misty.
“Eh?”
“We can’t come in the pool. Well, I can’t. We need to… Holy hell and fuck.”
She sat up, half out of the water, and rubbed her face. “That sounds rude and hold on, we need to fuck? Who says?”
“Well, you didn’t say we didn’t a few minutes ago,” Braam said. “But we need condoms. I don’t suppose you have one with you?”
“Con… Argh, shit and fuck. No, strangely I don’t. They’re not something I feel I need when I go for a walk at midnight.” She sounded horrified. “Even if it does include an illicit swim. You?”
He shook his head. “Sadly no. I mean where would I carry it?
She got out of the pool and looked around her. “Apart from that, I don’t make a habit of screwing with strangers, even with a condom. Where’s a towel? Blame it on the moon, oh, I don’t know, temporary insanity or jet lag or something. Pure fucking stupidity. Look, if you try anything, I’ve got a black belt in karate. So, towels?”
“Locked away. Along with sunbeds, robes and all things needed to fuck.” He paused. “Or dry off.”
She shut her eyes and sighed. “Figures. Oh, Lord, what have I done?”
“Nothing yet, and in the future? Up to you, but let me say, I seem to have been inflicted by the same bout of insanity if that’s any consolation.”
“It isn’t. I guess I’ll have to do the walk of shame in a dress sticking to my wet body.”
“Or we could make love and dry off that way?” Braam suggested. He could have bitten his tongue out. Do I have a death wish? When will I learn to keep my mouth shut?
“Or not. Sorry. But I don’t even know your name. Isn’t it at least polite to be introduced or something?”
She shivered and Braam stood up and left the pool to grab his shirt.
“Here, use this to dry off.” He handed her the shirt and walked to the other side of the pool where his jacket and trousers were. “My name is Abraham,” he said as he used his jacket to soak up the bulk of the moisture on him. It looked like even the dry cleaners wouldn’t save it. “Braam to my friends.”
There was silence from the other side of the pool.
“And you?”

His answer was to hear the faint noise of the lift descending.


I'm growing old disgracefully and loving it.
Dh and I live on the edge of a Scottish forest, and rattle around in a house much too big for us.
Our kids have grown up and flown the nest, but roll back up when they want to take a deep breath and smell the daisies so to speak.
I write in my study, which overlooks the garden and the lane. I'm often seen procrastinating, by checking out the wild life, looking—only looking—at the ironing basket and assuring tourists that indeed, I'm not the bed and breakfast. That would mean cooking fried eggs without breaking the yolks, and disturbing the dust bunnies as they procreate under the beds. Not to be thought of.
Being able to do what I love, and knowing people get pleasure from my writing is fantastic. Long may it last.





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Monday, March 16, 2015

Dream Hunter Book Trailer

Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Spotlight - Hidden Passion


Hidden Passion 
by 
Summerita Rhayne 



The Blurb

Rukmani, the youngest of her family, has always had her way and she thinks she would too when the question of her marriage arises. But when she expresses her wishes, her world comes crumbling down because aristocratic affairs seem to matter more than her heart. Who can she run to but the strongest ruler of the region, Deveshwaraya?

Devesh finds himself torn between duty and desire. He is drawn to her yet being with her jeopardizes everything he has worked for. When even protecting her invites trouble, how can he let his heart become involved? 

When the walls of monarchical politics rise high between them, will her passion prevail?

Hidden Passion – the story of a princess daring to reach out for her heart’s desire

Buy @



Watch It 




Meet the Author



Summerita Rhayne writes sensual romance with emotional conflict. She took up writing when she was in her late thirties and hasn't looked back since. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Writing, she finds, is the only way to deal with the numerous story ideas bubbling in her brain which pop up more rapidly than her keyboard can do justice to. Especially when writing time is in short supply while juggling it with a job and the demands of a family. However, her pet belief is that a story and its characters have a life of their own and will find a way to make the writer pen them down. What else can one do when cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters?

She prefers to call her books sweet and sensual to denote the slowly deepening relationship between the characters.

She loves winding down with music, movies and social networking.


You can stalk her @

                          

         


This Tour is Hosted by 






Thursday, March 12, 2015

Internet Shopping at its Best

I'm not looking for shoes or a new purse or the latest gadget, but I am shopping online. The Internet is the best place for some pre-purchase research and I am doing my homework. No buyer's remorse for this gal!

I am shopping for a publisher for my new full-length paranormal romance novel. In many ways, shopping for a publisher is very similar to shopping for any other product. You base your decison on your identified need, value, quality, price, reputation, recommendations, and reviews.

I am a picky shopper and I have the luxury of being selective. Writing is my passion, but it's a hobby for me, not a career. There are many ways to approach this decision. I imagine it unfolding in front of me like a decison tree with little boxes full of questions. Each answer determining the next step. This a highly personal and individualized process. My choices are my opinion only.

Assuming your book is publication ready, you are ready to begin.


Traditional Publishing versus Self-publishing:

The first decision is whether you submit to traditional publishers or self-publish. Both come with pros and cons. A traditional publisher, especially for a new author, brings experience to the table. A book requires professional editing, cover art, and a marketing and promotion plan. A publisher will guide and lead an author through the process since they are monetarily invested in the outcome. With self-publishing you make all the choices yourself - selection of editors, cover art, selling outlets, and price setting - but you also take on all the financial risk. Professional services cost money and, with any investment, you get what you pay for. A traditional publisher has submission guidelines, they may be looking for a particular genre and a specific word count, or limit submissions to agented material only. This could limit the number of companies you can choose from. Wait time for submissions also tend to be longer, from six weeks to six months, and publishers tend to disapprove of simultaneous submissions. Self-publishing gives you the freedom to publish what you want, when you want.

As a new author who has only published one book, I lean toward traditional publishing. I feel, at this time, I lack the industry connections and savvy to publish my own work.


Trade Book Publisher versus Independent Publisher:

Do you aim big or small? When you think "trade book publisher", you think the HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster's of the world. These companies, for the most part, publish the books that land in brick and mortar bookstores. The bigger, more established companies bring reputation and continuity to the table. Some will accept unsolicited, unagented material. I have no idea if they pay better, but I know the wait times tend to be longer. Independent publishers. The last frontier, of sorts. These companies vary in size and age. Some only publish eBooks. Some opened their "doors" yesterday. There seem to be so many of them, how could you ever find the right company? The same way you sift through the massive amount of information on the Internet - research, recommendations, and reviews. Do you like their book covers? Have you read any books published by them - how was the editing? Were there any obvious errors in the book? Are there spelling errors on their website (I have actually seen this - huge warning bells should go off if you see incorrect spelling or grammer on a publisher's website!)? What do their published authors say about them? Do you know anyone who has published with them? Have you checked any online forums?

I lean toward the Independent Publisher. Somehow I think my paranormal romance will find a home with one of them. Which one? I have no idea. Despite my comprehensive research, it still seems a bit trial and error at this point.

This is a very simplified version of the many decisons that must be made before your book is published. I am by no means an expert. I am fumbling through this process the same way I imagine other new authors do.


Are you an author? What decisons have you made with regards to publishing? Traditional vs self-publishing? Trade book vs Independent Publisher?

Friday, March 6, 2015

A writing sample... fit for the weather more suited to winter than spring...

Christmas Dreams by Maya Tyler
“Al-lie!”
I’d been ignoring my step-mother’s summons since I woke up this morning. It was the holidays, I was only home from college for a few days, and she had to be off her rocker, more than usual, if she thought I would spend my vacation waiting on her hand and foot. I pulled my quilt over my head. Maybe she would call her daughter to help instead. I snickered.
Knock, knock. “Allie, I know you’re awake. It’s not fair of you to laze around while we slave downstairs. We have the annual open house tonight, you know.”
Ah, yes, the annual open house. A time honoured tradition where I could be openly criticized by my step-mother’s friends and repeatedly asked if I was still single. Or worse, if you could imagine, have to dodge being matched up with someone’s son or some other miscellaneous male relative who couldn’t find a date on a calendar. I couldn’t wait. But I also couldn’t think of one good reason to stay in my room. I was sunk.
“Young lady, you better be decent, because I’m coming in!”
Oh shoot. She only threw out the “young lady” bit when she was really pissed. And she knew I hadn’t been ‘decent’ since the day her family joined mine. I was out of options. I threw off the covers and did what any mature, rational college student would do. I hid in the closet.
Peeking through the crack in the door, I saw her stalk into my room and huff in exasperation as she glared at my empty bed.
Well I dodged that bullet; for the moment anyway. I sunk to the floor and drew my knees toward my chest. Now the only question remained. How long could I hide in here?
* * * * *
I opened my eyes and stretched. I was stiff and achy from sitting in the closet. Pushing the door open, I stepped into a dark room. It was later than I had realized, I must’ve fallen asleep. Maybe I missed the open house. I felt a twinge of guilt. I was here for my Dad and he would be disappointed if I didn’t put in an appearance tonight.
Fumbling around for the light switch, I came up empty. I twisted around quickly and banged into a sharp edge, probably my bed. “Ouch!”
“Oh, there you are.” Dim light from a flickering candle filled the room. “Alison, we’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
The voice belonged to a vaguely familiar face, but the candle illuminated an unfamiliar room with stone walls and floor.
“Where am I?” I asked.
The young girl before me laughed. “Oh, Alison, you are so droll!” She outstretched her hand. “Come now, you have to get ready. Father is waiting.”
 “For what?”
“Don’t tell me you don’t remember. You’ve spoken of nothing else for days.”
Like an unstoppable force, she and another young girl piled me into what felt like five dresses and pulled my hair into a gravity defying hairstyle.
“Ready?”
Hell, no. But since she couldn’t read my mind, she tugged on my arm and pulled me stiffly toward her.
“It’s the most exciting night,” she gushed. Either she didn’t notice my reluctance or she didn’t care.
The girl, whose name I still didn’t know, rushed to greet a man wearing a fine looking robe. “Father! I found Alison!”
“Good girl, Meggie!” The man turned to face me.
I gasped. He looked like my Dad.
“I thought you were going to be late.”
“I uh-”
Then I saw him. He looked like a dashing young prince from a forgotten time. His curly black hair fell across his forehead looking like someone tried to tame it and failed. He caught me staring at him. I swear my heart stopped.
“Who is that?” I whispered to Meggie.
“What is wrong with you tonight, Alison?” she whined. “It’s not funny. Stop staring at Robert like an imbecile and go speak to him.”
I didn’t need any further encouragement. I crossed the room and stopped in front of him. Clutching my hand, he pressed it gently to his lips.
“Hi,” I said, my voice taking on a breathless quality. I resisted the urge to tilt my head and bat my eyelashes. Had I morphed into a complete ditz?
“Hello, my love, shall we?” He gestured toward the dance floor.
Not trusting my voice, I nodded. He led me into the throng of people and twirled me close. We moved in time to the lively music. One song turned into another. I was smitten and the possessive way he held me spoke volumes. I didn’t want to break the spell, even though I was getting thirsty.
Without saying a word, he led me toward a punch bowl. Deftly, he poured a cup and handed it to me.
“Thanks,” I said; not sure if he could hear me over the noisy crowd.
Taking my arm, he led me outside onto a wide stone veranda. “Beautiful night,” he murmured, stroking my hair boldly with his free hand.
“Yes,” I agreed.
“Yes?” He leaned in and captured my lips in a kiss I hoped would last forever. He tasted like sweet cherries and I melted against him.
* * * * *
“Allie!”
“What? Huh?” I sat up straight and bumped my head. I licked my dry lips and rubbed my eyes. Stepping out of the closet I saw my step-sister Margaret standing in the entrance to my bedroom with her hands on her hips.
“Mom and Dad are waiting for you,” she huffed impatiently. “You’re ruining everything!”
Harsh and a bit of an exaggeration; I doubt my step-mother mourned my absence.
“Just give me a minute and I’ll be down,” I snapped. Margaret could be such a pill sometimes. I gasped when I looked at the time. I’d lost the whole day. Oh well, it was my vacation. I pulled on a red sweater and a pair of jeans, ran a brush through my thick, brown hair, and splashed cold water on my face in an attempt to look presentable. There. Ready. Or not. Squaring my shoulders, I prepared myself for the onslaught of questions I would encounter downstairs. I would smile, circle the room, grab a bottle of wine, and escape back to my room. Here goes nothing.
Christmas music filled the room. Platters of appetizers were placed strategically. My step-mother was bustling about, wearing a black dress covered in poinsettias, replenishing food and drink. I was so busy zoning in on the bar I almost missed him. Standing in the shadow of our brilliantly decorated tree, he was wearing an ugly Christmas sweater and an equally ugly scowl. He swirled his drink and I was so tuned into him I swear I could hear the ice cubes tinkle. There was something about him, something familiar.
“Did your mom guilt you into attending?’ I asked as I sauntered up to him.
“Yeah. Yours?”
“Nope, mine’s dead,” I quipped.
A look of genuine remorse crossed his face. “God, I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
“How could you?” I shrugged. “I’m Allie.” I offered my hand.
“Rob.” His large hand dwarfed mine and his handshake was firm. “So how did you get roped into this lame party?”
“I live here.”
“Foot in mouth again.” He grimaced.
I smiled and waved the bottle of wine I’d snagged from the bar. “I forgive you. Want a drink?”
“Yeah.” He looked around the room. “Sounds good. A place without all the noise they’re trying to pass off as Christmas music sounds even better.”
“I know just the place, follow me.” I led him downstairs to the den, a cozy room with a battered leather couch and no music.
“Perfect,” he said as he sat down.
I poured the wine. “Merry Christmas.”
 “Cheers.” He tapped his glass to mine, giving me an intense look. His eyes were a mysterious smoky grey and they seemed to see right through me.
“You look familiar, Rob. Were you here last year?”
“Nah. I was off on a shoot last Christmas.”
“A shoot?”
“Photo shoot. I’m a photojournalist.”
“Cool.”
“What do you do?”
“School right now.”
“Major?”
I cringed. “Undecided.”
“What year?”
“Second.”
“I remember those days. You’ll find your way.” He leaned over and brushed a lock of hair off my forehead. “You’re so young.”
“And you’re so ancient,” I teased.
Looking at me solemnly, he said, “I’ve seen a lot; too much.”
He seemed lost and I didn’t know what to say to shake his demons. Without thinking, I leaned over and kissed him. He returned the kiss hungrily, his lips tasting like sweet cherries. Just like my dream; the one I’d had while hiding in the closet. I jerked back and gasped. How could this be? But it didn’t really matter. Fate, magic, whatever, we were together now and it was altogether possible he could be my ‘dream-come-true’. I smiled and leaned in to kiss him again.



THE END

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Not Writer's Block

But I can't write. I've been at home from work for two weeks now and I can't concentrate long enough to string two sentences together. The writer in me is torn between blogging about my feelings and using this experience as the basis for my next book. What am I thinking? I don't write medicals! And there's something medical - quite possibly neurological - wrong with me. I have been tested and seen specialists, now I'm waiting for more tests and more specialists. All the while I am home. Completely unexcited about writing or even catching up on my favorite TV shows. At best I keep myself distracted. If I'm unable to write a new book, at least I can promote an old one or post book spotlights for other authors or keep myself up-to-date on Twitter. The Internet has replaced day-time TV. And I'm so tired all I want to do is sleep. Or lie down. Or at least sit.

And I think about calling or texting my friends who don't know I'm at home. And something holds me back. Fear. Sympathy. Having to live through it all again each time I relay my story. And the crux of it all. You know who your friends are when you get sick. That old saying has a lot of truth in it. My husband became sick about six and a half years ago. He was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. People treat you differently once they know. They probably go through the same gauntlet of emotions we did. Disbelief. Fear. Guilt. Avoidance. Similar to the grieving process. But we don't get a day off from our own health issues. When you have your health, you truly have everything.

I enjoy thinking up blog post topics. I'll turn 35 this year and, as it's a momentous occasion, I decided I would put together a list - 35 things I wanted to do before I turned 35. First of all, I couldn't even think of 35 things... And I could only think of 2 things left to accomplish - both of which were completely too far-fetched to be realistic goals. My list included finishing my education, getting married, having children, buying a house, taking my kids to Disney World, completing my concert bucket list, going to NYC, and publishing a book. 8 things. Out of my whole life. I have simple tastes. I wish my husband's, and now my, health situations were better, but on a whole, I am happy with my life. Despite it all, I am happy. I have no desire to sky dive or go on Africa safari - I wish those who do all the luck in the world. I don't need a new car, the latest designer purse or a $500 pair of shoes to float my boat. I am happy with what I have.

Although, I'll still try to achieve the last 2 things. I mean who doesn't want to be a voice in an animated Disney movie or "see" their book come alive on the silver screen?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

For Sexy Snippets - March 1, 2015

A #SexySnippet from my recently published paranormal romance novella Dream Hunter, now available on Amazon.

__________________________________________________
Cynthia’s dreams are so real, they are actually coming true – complete with the prerequisite dream guy. But things are not as they seem.
Who said dreams are sweet?
Chicago businesswoman Cynthia Courtland is completely focused on her career when a sensual, reoccurring dream disrupts her orderly life. Then a threat against her workplace forces her to take time off. She is lost with nowhere to go--only her empty apartment.
Work is Gabe’s life too; he takes it very seriously and will do whatever it takes to succeed. He's been watching over Cynthia for a long time and he has her best interests at heart, but can he protect her from the danger she is blind to? When Cynthia insists on investigating the threat so she can get back to work, it makes Gabe's job all the more difficult.
When things settle, will there be more for them than a life filled with work? Will she give her dreams a chance to come true?

__________________________________________________

Intrigued? Here are seven sentences from Dream Hunter to tempt you to want to read on.



She needed release . . . now.

Unbuttoning her blouse, she unhooked her front-clasp bra and pushed down her skirt. She slipped her hand under the elastic of her panties and rubbed her moistened folds. Letting a moan escape, she continued to test herself, dipping one finger inside and using the wetness to lubricate her clit. She shimmied out of her panties and used her fingers to pleasure herself, imagining his hands on her body. What’s happening to me? Am I turning into a sex fiend?



Thanks for reading... have a wonderful day! <wink>

Maya