Thursday, 28 April 2011

Okay, a few more short books...

Chase is going to remain a shorter book, as will it's companion the final of the CH series  Chasm.

My sister had her graduation and it caused a three day delay in my writing time. :)  
This is just a heads up for those expecting the longer books to commence immediately, it ain't happening quite yet.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

An author's voice

In the last year there have been two incidences of plagiarism that have rippled through the ebook community. One was handled quickly and quietly, the other has been made public in the most obvious of ways.  I have one question for the 'authors' involved. What were you thinking?

Readers are loyal, they read an author's books and enjoy the cadence of the voice that the author uses. If they come across a book in the same genre that uses that voice, they know it. Emails are sent to the publishers, publishers compare notes and a ripple of books disappear from the internet.

That's right. The only place that these books are now available is from the pirate sites that had copies of them.
Since I am not naming the authors here, those who are curious will have to remain so.

The cases I am referring to involved the plagiarist ripping close to or an entire chapter out of a could they not know they would be discovered. Those who read in a genre are devoted and intense. A new author is a potential treasure. To find that author has ripped off one of the most beloved of their grouping sends a shock wave of fury through them. This is not something that the readers will ever forgive.

Some folks turn to the publishers and ask why they didn't catch the plagiarism before it went to print. There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that the time it takes to run a complete scan looking for duplicates of the words is prohibitive. The other main that the AUTHOR signs a contract stating that they own all the rights and all the words in the document are their sole creation. (I am paraphrasing.)And that the work is not based on any work of existing fiction.  If someone counterfeits a bill, do you blame the person who gets it in payment or the one who passes it off as real?

Though theft may have been what seemed like a good idea at the time to get the story going, having folks on the lookout for the latest plagiarist in any incarnation is going to make re-entering the publishing world almost impossible. To steal the fruit of someone elses thoughts is the lowest of the low, and this community will not forget or forgive.

To bring a book to completion and out into the world is a labour of life energy, of love, enjoyment, and is a lot of work. The moment someone steals that effort from you and claims it as their own is the harshest of outrages. Would you do a job if someone else was getting the paycheque?

As anyone who has ever met me knows, my speaking voice is the same as the one in my books. I take pride in my words, and I know each and every source.

Thank you for listening,
I do all my own stunts. :)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Achieving goals and what comes next...

Alrighty.  I have created my 100th book... and now I need to get to the next one. Moving my mind forward is easy enough, but getting it to settle on one topic/plot is the hard part. Should I build in drama? Light bondage? A hunt?  I think I will just finish my Beauty and the Beast tale as a Trapezium exclusive for some distant release date... Asylum Mine will be done tonight.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Book 100 comes out tonight...

It took a bit of time, but I managed to complete book 99 (Shaken and Stirred). It is not my strongest work, but it is a cute story that will be continued in Echo in Time.

With Tosha and Micix squared away it was time to work on Captive of the Stars...or as I call it...Book 100.

I started Captive last summer when I took a few weeks off to work on anything that fluttered through my thoughts, so it was with some surprise that I realized I had named the female lead Nasha. Tosha and Nasha have been destined to debut since the moment I first put pen to paper. Or, fingers to keyboard. It just goes to show you the horrible truth...I forget most of my work the moment that I send it to the editor.
The book changed from my original idea. The characters shifted and the harsh edges that had seemed so reasonable in August were now softened by my mood of the Spring. Being a stream of consciousness author, I play a movie in my mind and simply dictate what I see. The characters determine what will happen next and if I write mean people or conflicts that I can't resolve, I get downright cranky.

To all the readers...thank you for hanging in there with me...Not all of my works have been fabulous and you have told me when I stumbled. The honesty has been tempered with kindness and for that I thank you as well. Many reviewers can be a little harsh with authors of fluff (in which category I firmly place myself) and they take umbrage when there is not enough conflict. 
It seems that those reviewers just do not get it. I am not out to highlight conflict, I want to make people smile. I want to lighten their day, I want them to forget the outside world for just a little while and reenter it with a lighter heart.

Improving someone's day has been my goal over the last 100 books and it is up to the readers to determine whether they want me to continue or not.

I wonder what book 101 will be like...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Your Biggest Fan...

Some of you may have written me at one point or another, some follow my work, some think I suck out loud, but to anyone who has ever read one of my books, I am your biggest fan.
Along the way, many authors forget that without someone to purchase their books, they are engaged in something that amounts to verbal masturbation.
My personal philosophy is that you are a writer when you put pen to paper and an author when someone you don't know reads your work. I have done a lot of mentoring over the last few years and that is the one thing that creates the demarcation mark for newbies. Sometimes it makes them acknowledge that while they want to write, they never want someone else -- a stranger -- to read it.
Many have told me that the most recent blockbuster movie looks just like their book and to them I have to say "I call bullshit."
There are apparently only a dozen or so master plots in the world, it is the author's interpretation that makes the story line original. You can't avoid similarities, but you can put your own twist on the wonderful world of your own making.

It came to me as a bit of a shock the day that a reviewer referred to my books as 'enthralling morality tales'. Had I been lecturing my readers? I went over the stories and realized that I had.
They didn't complain, and many enjoyed it, so I came to realize it was 'my style' and went on with writing. If they didn't enjoy my work, they never would have bought the next book in the series.
 And favourite part of the process began...the emails. I started to get fan mail from those who enjoyed my work, it made them laugh, it kept them smiling and occasionally it exhausted their husbands. Each letter made tears come to my eyes. These folks were enjoying what I had spun out of my mind and were looking forward to more.

How could I resist?

To my Readers...I am Your Biggest Fan...
Thank you.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

My Beloved Champions

The Champions of Terra is and will probably always be my most beloved series. Not only did they garner me some sales, but they let me settle into my sci-fi genre with some confidence. Being a nerd, I was quite comfortable in the land of speculative fiction and enjoyed every moment I could spend in the Alliance with my Champions.

When I first conceived of the Champions, it all began with Amy Tyrell. The image in my mind of a woman dressed from head to toe in concealing armour was a beacon to me. What would it be like to live where you could touch no one and no one could touch you? Why would anyone agree to it to begin with?
She had to be the mover and shaker in the Alliance. She had to be the one behind the scenes making things happen.
With Amy as a pivotal character, the plot for the others started to roll along. Kyra was the catalyst, she found the lost planet of Admar and set the rest of the events in motion. On the way to the planet she had discovered she was kidnapped and her violent reaction got her sent to the Arena Station where she met her match.
Amy is there when she is found, but what we don't know is the other three women involved have been twisted into the circle by events.
Samantha was a hunter who tracked Kyra after Sarah had pinpointed her location by watching the mating vid. Annabelle was the Pilot of the warship that transported the attack vessels to Arena Station. These women were all in the same place at the same time and didn't even know it.

Amy Tyrell steered each of these women, these Champions of what it meant to be human into stable relationships with men who complimented their diverse characteristics.

Now, what few readers know is that the origin stories for each champion were included in the Print copy of Champions of Terra available at Amazon.
When the books went to print, it was a sneaky thing for me to plant their origins and basic training in the back of the book, but I consider it a 'special feature'. :)

The Champions went up with only a bit of a fuss. The fight for the cover art was one of my first. With the light nature of my books a Manga style cover was produced, unfortunately the main character had a gun pointed right at the reader. I hate guns. So, I whined, begged and pleaded, and eventually was able to describe the sort of 'Bond girl' silhouette from the beginning of the movies. The Champions are all different, races, colouring and physiques. The concession was that I would use the same cover for all five books. 
Many new authors do not ever earn back their cover art, but since I was positive that there would be an audience for them, I agreed to the change in text colour for each book. Angela Waters did the artwork and she got what I was aiming at. I was very happy when the cover art was done and my Champions were launched.

I think it adds a unification to the series, to have the same cover, but there was an added selling point for me. No one at the time was using colourful covers. It made my books stand out and once they were blinded by the pink and purple and read, they stayed for the excerpt.

To those of you who have read the Champions, thank you for helping me to get a toe hold in the sci-fi erotica readership. They laid the foundation for the Sector Guard and the Terran Times, and I wouldn't be here without them.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Holy SNERT! Never Again!!!!

Today marks my 98th individual release under my Viola Grace name (not including Anthologies or co-writes), okay, technically it is 99, but who's counting?
Never again will I have 4 books out on the same day. Each had its challenges, and this is where you get to hear about them.  (do you like my use of commas? my editors spend most of their time picking them out).
We will begin with the book finished first. My contribution to the new bookstore that Extasy has acquired, Trapezium Ebooks.

Now, I love fairy tales. and my first book of for the Trapezium Exclusives was well received, so Flight and Fantasy took shape in my mind. The retelling of the ugly duckling came easily to me. I love fairy tales, fables and touches of steampunk. This story had it all in one tiny package.
Here is a secret that no one knows, so don't tell. I can't really write well until I find or have a picture to work from. Once I see the picture I spin the story to make it happen.
I saw the bodysuit and wings and knew that Annanya was in a flight suit competition. A wingless woman in a world of angels. She doesn't use a sword in the book, but it looks cool, so I went from there.

Next on the hit parade was for my alter ego. I don't get my regular editor for the Zenina Masters books, so I try and finish them first.

For those who don't know, I use the Zenina Masters name so I can write stuff that is outside my normal purview without freaking out my regulars. So the Zenina stuff is a little coarser, more violent and yes, each book features foursomes. I don't mind writing triads as Viola, but for foursomes, it is easier to put the Zenina mask on. If you buy something under Zenina, no reader can tell me that they were shocked by content. (in a later post, I will tell you why I created my alter.)
Anyhoo...This is my dragon shifter menage. I love the dragons and will eventually write a Viola set of the Terran Times where Drai (dragon) sleepers wake and have their wicked and determined way with the Terran Volunteers.
Take Me On was the first of the Shifter Sets, and with three more of those to go, I am cautiously optimistic.

Then there was Multiple Organisms.
Now, earlier I said that I wrote from a picture. Not true in the case of the Sector Guard. All of the book titles exist right now and I use those to tell me what will happen. This title made me laugh when I thought of it, and I still smile every time I see it.
I use my books as free therapy. I work out all of the slights and insults I have ever received and I turn them into entertaining stories. So it is for Drahali. She is a character known for her strength and nothing else. She wants to be seen for everything she is, not just the one aspect. In my opinion, something a lot of women struggle with today.
So, the story took off and Remar ended up with the same hangups from the other side of the gender spectrum. They are orphans in the emotional issue storm, but they begin working to a mutually beneficial attraction by the end of the book. Yes ladies, he can be six men at once, but there is no sex in this book. :)  Neener, neener, neener.

Ah, Chaos was an easy write. It didn't fight me like Take On Me did. It simply wove itself gracefully into a story that made me smile in the end. The bears on the cover made me laugh and I knew it had to be a multi-shifter book. Her graceful gown was too pretty for her surroundings, so she became the reluctant avatar of a planet. Zora had her own issues. Grumpy any time she was around crowds or out of her element she turned into a sweetheart the moment they touched down and she could enjoy the white glow of the new world. 
I was halfway through writing this book when I noticed that I had never given the guys their first names, so I kept it that way. She lives, laughs, loves (yes, this is a menage) and snarls at her men while calling them by their last names. They never mentioned their first names and she didn't think to ask.
The part of my brain displayed here is my innate grumpiness with my complete inability to learn names. 

So, when I next post about my current books, I will keep you informed about my countdown to number 100.
The books will be Captive of the Stars at Extasy, and Shaken and Stirred at Devine Destinies...which one should get to wear the badge of book 100, I wonder?