Measure for Measure by EM Denning

Heart Throbs

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Blurb:

Millicent Hughes—Millie—is an author on the brink success. As a former foster child, her past wasn’t a bed of roses, making her current success even sweeter. But despite her skyrocketing career, she knows something is missing: him.

When her best friend is killed and she’s attacked by what police believe is an obsessed fan, her life is thrown into turmoil. Even her publisher comes under scrutiny. Can her former foster brothers keep her safe or will they have to take drastic measures to catch a killer?

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Buy links:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/measure-for-measure/id1178447137?mt=11

Reviews:

on January 13, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
From the very first page I was hooked on this book! Mille is a character that drew me in right away and I couldn’t…

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What it actually takes to write a book

I know this has been done to death, and there are several books on Amazon that claim they are able to help writers become best-sellers, but just recently there has been an influx of “it must be nice to not have a real job” and “oh I would love to have the time to write a book”. So, here is my input on what it actually takes to write a book.

An Idea

It might sound obvious, but you need to have a plot. I’ve read a few books that didn’t really have a storyline, just a jumble of characters that went from A to B. There was no substance to them though. There was no progression. When children are taught to write a story at school, they are given “a hill” to work with – start, build up, conflict, resolution, end, and that is a good basic plan to follow. When planning a new novel, I visualise my story arc, and follow that. Characters are terrible for going in their own direction, but that’s okay, as long as there is still a hill to climb up and roll down.

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Keep a notepad and pen in your bag at all times, for when inspiration hits you!

Characters

We’ve all read books that have hundreds of characters in them, but unless you are JK Rowling or George RR Martin, it’s generally a good idea to stick with a small-ish number. I tend to write with no more than five or six characters. I may add a few extras here and there, but they aren’t even minor characters, they are just background noise to give it a more realistic feel.

Character profiling is a thing. Some writers will create spreadsheets with every minuscule detail written down. I try to keep it simple, but it is important for your characters to be like everyday people – with different quirks and flaws. Nobody is perfect. Add a scar, or bitten nails, a short temper, a love of Marmite, just one tiny thing can make that character go from being flat and wooden, to realistic.

Editing

I don’t care if you plan to self-publish, find an agent, go directly to a publisher, or just print it out and give it to a friend, editing is vital. And not just the once either. The Final Straight was the first romance novel I wrote, but it certainly wasn’t the first to be published, because it spent so long in editing. I re-wrote the entire novel three times before even sending to be considered. Seven Dirty Words and Four Letter Words started out as a trilogy, but was condensed into two books. Taking Care of Leah was originally a full-length novel, but got tightened into a short novel. And this was all before I handed it over to a professional editor.

I would highly recommend finding a professional editor to give your work the once over before submitting it to be considered. Don’t just Google it though, do some research. Some editors are better than others, and some may specialise in your genre. But remember, just because an editor makes a suggestion, doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

Self or Traditional Publishing

I am traditionally published. That means that I have a contract with various companies who publish my books, provide me with an editor and a cover designer, hand it out to beta and proof readers, and work with me to make it perfect before putting it into print. The publishers then send me royalties (between 25% and 60%, depending on whether it’s an ebook or paperback, and the company). Self-publishing means doing that yourself. There are companies who help with self-publishing, but they cost a lot of money.

For the love of all that is good, do not self-edit, make a cover on Paint, and send it to KDP. If you can’t afford to pay for the work, then find a traditional publisher, or save up and wait until you can afford it. The market is saturated with bad covers that my nine-year-old could have made. And just because your mum said the book was good, doesn’t mean that it will sell.

Be Prepared for Negative Reviews

We all get them. One-star reviews are a badge of honour – it means you wrote something that not everybody likes, but you’re strong enough to shrug your shoulders and get on with writing the next project. Don’t cry, don’t whine, don’t stamp your feet and threaten to report them. Haven’t you ever read a book that everybody loves, but you hated? I have – The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, Fifty Shades Freed (the other two were okay, but by the third book, I was bored), Harry Potter Series (love the films, can’t read the books). All of these are best-sellers, and all of them are books that I will never read again, and wouldn’t recommend to anyone. So someone told you that your book was crap and won’t read anything you write ever again. So what? One person, out of billions. Unless your book only ever gains one-stars, I wouldn’t worry about it.

http://writermarketing.co.uk/

Organise blog tours and release blitzes to help get your title out there!

http://writermarketing.co.uk/

Marketing & Publicity

The bane of my life. When a new book is released, I tend to organise a blog tour or a release blitz, with various companies to get the title out there, and to get my book cover seen. But once that’s done, what do you do? Keep at it. There are plenty of companies out there that will help market your book, although discounted prices and a certain star-rating with Amazon is generally required. But you can also use social media like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. to help get in front of readers. Marketing is hit & miss though, and it doesn’t always work. The advice I was given was to just keep writing, keep talking to readers, create a brand for yourself and keep your blog up to date. I’m terrible at all of those, except the keep writing bit.

Paying the Bills

Sadly, my book sales do not cover my bills. They cover marketing and editing costs, but that’s it. I make a loss each year because of National Insurance Contributions – yes, you need to register as self-employed and pay your taxes. So you need something to cover bills while you’re on your quest to become an author. I’m lucky that I have Hubby, who works damn hard to pay for everything, and I work as a child-minder and dog walker to pay for the luxuries in life. I did run a business working as a freelance writer, editor, and cover designer, but the truth is that it got too much like hard work, and writing should be about having fun.

Positive Mental Attitude

Staying positive is the hardest part of writing a book. We all have bad days – what’s the point, why do I bother, etc. etc. And writer’s block is a nightmare. But take a break, have a cup of tea, go for a walk, whatever it is you need to do to refresh yourself and remind yourself that this will work, if you keep at it.

Writing isn’t for everyone. I hate it when people say they have a book in them, waiting to come out, as if we can sit and spit a few words onto the page, and voila! A best-seller. It’s hard work, and it can be draining. But it’s also very rewarding.

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Out Now—The Tryst by Monique Roffey #eroticromance

Heart Throbs

Tryst cover.jpegAn exciting new direction from acclaimed novelist Monique Roffey

London, midsummer night. Jane and Bill meet the mysterious Lilah in a bar. She entrances the couple with half-true, mixed up tales about her life. At closing time, Jane makes an impulsive decision to invite Lilah back to their home. But Jane has made a catastrophic error of judgement, for Lilah is a skilled and ruthless predator, the likes of which few encounter in a lifetime. Isolated and cursed, Jane and Bill are forced to fight for each other, and, in doing so, discover their covert desires.

Part psychological thriller, part contemporary magical realism, The Tryst revisits the tale of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, to examine the secrets of an everyday marriage.

“What makes The Tryst an unexploded virus isn’t just the quality and brightness of Roffey’s writing on sex, even as it uncovers inner glades between flesh and fantasy where…

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Amazon Has A Fake Book Problem

David Gaughran

Fake books – powered by clickfarms – are gatecrashing Amazon’s charts. And despite being aware of the issue for well over a year, Amazon has failed to resolve it.

If you look at the Kindle Store Best Seller charts right now, and click over to Free Books, you will see that the Top 20 currently has five suspicious-looking titles.

None of them have reviews. All were published in the last week. They have no Also Boughts – meaning they have had very few sales. Each of these titles are around 2,500 pages long, seem to have duplicated content, and are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

What is going on here?

For over fifteen months now, scammers have been raiding the Kindle Unlimited pot using a well-worn trick. They usually pilfer the content first of all – often by stealing an author’s original work and running it through a synonymizer – and…

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The Final Straight – $2.99 #contemporaryromance #romance

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It’s my birthday on the 3rd June, and to celebrate, The Final Straight has been reduced to just $2.99 for the whole week!

Blurb:

April Miller works for her bestfriend, Max Knight on his livery and competition yard. Their friendship has withstood many turbulent times, and while April is deeply in love with Max, she is also aware of his womanising ways and has refused to succumb to his flirtatious charms. When her ex, AJ, suddenly comes back with a business proposal, April finds herself torn between the two men.

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Extract:

Max stormed across the yard. At the mention of AJ’s name, a ball of fury had begun to boil in the pit of his stomach. He could almost taste the bile as it threatened to rise in his throat. He marched towards the stables, to the one place he felt calm.

Whisper stood with her head hanging over the stable door, oblivious to her master’s raging temper. Blaze was in the next stall, ears pricked, attentive for any possible predators. Max grabbed the head collar and lead rope, bringing the black mare from her stable and tying her up.

She stood at an impressive sixteen hands high. As always, her coat shimmered as though tiny diamonds had been sewn into the impeccable hairs. Even though she didn’t look as if she needed grooming, he picked up the soft body brush and began to run it over her coat anyway. He moved it up and down her strong neck, taking in the musky scent as he brushed away the flecks of shaving dust.

“She’s beautiful,” said a soft female voice. Max turned and saw a young woman he did not recognise standing in his barn. She was only a couple of inches shorter than he was. He looked her up and down. Ash-brown hair had been swept into a butterfly clip, showing off her tanned neck.

“Yes, she is,” he said, not trying to hide his gaze as it fell over her body.

“I’m looking for April Miller.” She smiled at his obvious attraction.

“She was on her way out, but she might still be in the office if you’re lucky.” He nodded towards the opposite side of the yard.

“Thank you.”

He watched as she walked away. Navy jodhpurs fitted her hips and buttocks to perfection, and pinched in at the waist, where they were joined by a pink vest.

“I need a ride,” he growled to himself.

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ISBN: 9781311748546
ASIN: B00SW7GE26

Kindle US, Kindle UK
Smashwords
Apple, Kobo, Nook

Guest Blog – S. Nano

Heart Throbs

Mistress of the Air.jpgLa Camorra – the Neapolitan mafia

Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester’s airship travels take her to the Italian Empire. She drops in on Naples for some pizza, and to collect a bronze statue of herself. But the main reason for stopping there is to view the erotic frescoes at the nearby archaeological site of Pompeii.

On the quay side of the port where her airship docks Lady Sally meets with her agent in Naples, Signore Fellatio. It’s clear he’s a member of the Camorra, much to the concern of Captain Wyndham, her airship pilot.

He had good reason because the Camorra were a criminal secret society, renowned for their control over the city of Naples…and their brutality. They were a kind of Neapolitan mafia. They orchestrated criminal activities – smuggling, blackmail and extortion and corrupted local politicians and public officers. Not that this would bother Lady Sally! As she says – if…

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Fantasies, spankings and the BBC

Studying a Creative Writing module for the Open University is a lot harder than I anticipated. I thought, yeah it will be fine. It will be fun! I’ve got plenty of material to use. Nah. I’ve really struggled this year. Possibly because I decided to go full-time and do a Worlds of English module at the same time. (Turns out I’m not as much of a grammar Nazi as Hubby thinks I am.) But anyhoo, the last assignment, the EMA, is to write the opening of a novel. I have plenty of unpublished works to choose from, but none of them seem appropriate. I’m pretty sure the OU are looking for something more literary than a sex scene. It’s okay though, because there is always that fantasy series I’ve been working on for about three years now, right? Wrong.

Unless you have sat down and actually tried to write a fantasy novel, there is no way I can describe how much of a ball-ache it really is. Fantasy – you can make shit up, yeah? I thought so too. But wow, so much has been done, it’s difficult to find an original story idea for a start. At least with romance, nobody cares that a particular trope has been done to death. With romance I’ve always been a pantster writer, with fantasy it takes so much more planning. Timelines, family trees… My desk is just one giant notebook.

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So the OU may just have to deal with someone having their ass spanked, because I’m not sure I can come up with 2,500 words of something more intelligent.

Speaking of spanking… Today I found out that the most commonly used term to bring up my website and blog is “BDSM romance” which is interesting when you consider that the only two BDSM books I’ve written are Taking Care of Leah and A Different Kind of Therapy. All the others are technically classed as erotic romance, but have vanilla sex as opposed to anything remotely kinky. And even then, it has been commented that both TCoL and ADKoT aren’t really erotica, and barely scratch the BDSM world’s surface, as can be seen in reviews on Cara Sutra’s Pleasure Panel reviews, here and here. But maybe it’s a sign? Maybe I am supposed to write more in-depth books with regards to the kinkiness that is BDSM. It’s always been a fascination – remember that time I tried my hand at online domination? I still have foot fans and random people sending my alter-ego shoes. Maybe I need to research more. Of course this may be a problem consider the BBC are going to be following me around for a couple of days soon.

Did I not mention that? Yes, because I’m a student with the OU and a full-time writer and a full-time Mum, and walking dogs and volunteering at school, a member of the local PTA and a girl-guiding leader, they have decided to use me in one of their online learning videos. Eek! For 2 days at some point, I will have a camera and a director following me around and interviewing me. I don’t suppose they will want to watch me taking pictures of my feet and being social on websites like FetLife. So that will be fun.

But back to the grindstone. Books don’t write themselves, and neither do EMA’s. When my last assignment (a short story) comes back, I might post it online for you all to read, for free.