My Thoughts on Literary Theft

I ended my war against piracy this month.

For a long time, I would get incensed when I’d see free versions of my books lying all around the internet for the taking.  It seemed there were thieves here, there, and everywhere.  I spent endless hours sending notices to offenders, demanding they take down what was rightfully mine.

Over a year ago, I discovered (thanks to a Facebook friend) MUSO, a service that does all that stuff for you–it hunts down offenders and sends them takedown notices (at your request).  I was, shortly thereafter, also contacted by DMCA Force for the same type of service.  Both services operated a little differently, but I loved them both for different reasons, and where one was lacking, the other seemed to be strong.

There were still pirated copies out there, but that was beside the point.  If I found new pirated copies, all I had to do was send the info to one of the companies covering me (one was much easier than the other when it came to completing this process) and they’d take care of the problem.  Both companies have amazing customer service and I still to this day highly recommend them both to writers who feel the need to battle piracy.  For less than a dollar a day, you can have one of these companies doing just that for you.

But there are STILL lots of pirated copies of my books out there out there.

Ah, what’s a writer to do?  Frankly, it really is a full-time job just hunting that stuff down and sending the notices.  It is worth every penny to let a company do it for you if you wish to fight piracy.

That said, I was paying over $50 a month (split between both companies), and I don’t know if it helped.  Don’t get me wrong–I know the sites contacted took down their copies of my books (and usually kept them down).  What I mean is this: How many readers took the free copies offered by all those sites?  How much did those pirated copies cut into my sales?  Would the readers who stole my books have ever paid for them?

Recently, I read a book by David Gaughran called Let’s Get Digital.  I consider myself somewhat of an indie writer “expert,” simply because I’ve learned everything the hard way, but I’m not so cocksure and full of myself that I don’t take advice or continue learning.  Much of the info in Gaughran’s book was stuff I already knew but there were some gems of advice that made me glad I picked it up.

One of those gems dealt with piracy.

Let me tell you the most frustrating part of fighting piracy.  It’s like being a teenager with an acne problem.  That one annoying zit finally goes away, and another pops up a few centimeters away.  It is an unending battle.  That said, there was one site that angered me more than any other, and that was because it charged for those copies and gave readers the impression that dollars spent on the site went to a good cause.

I emailed the company (this was in the days before I employed MUSO and DMCA Force) and called them on their bullshit.  The site owner just kind of gave me a smarmy smile (yes, I could practically see it in the email) and challenged me.  He lives in Canada and I live in the U.S.–so whatcha gonna do?  It was that site in particular that drove me to MUSO and DMCA Force.  Those companies are very good at their jobs and, if you are an author and want to fight against piracy, I highly recommend them both for myriad reasons.

However, this month, I made a choice.  I am no longer fighting piracy.

The list of why is long, but let me tell you the main reasons.  While I am not one to give up just because something is a losing battle, I have begun to seriously doubt that I am losing a ton of money this way.  And, honestly, being pirated so damn much tells me people must want to read my books.  There’s a demand for them.  I don’t sell them for exorbitant prices, so I think that honest people will pay for my books–and that’s what Gaughran talked about in his book (sentiments previously echoed by folks like Neil Gaiman and Joe Konrath).  We, as writers, want to be read, and there’s an even better chance of being read if people are talking about our books.  There have been enough informal experiments (if you will) conducted by these folks to suggest that having books pirated is a good thing.  No, it’s not good in that someone is stealing from you, but I see the logic.  Aside from that, I can tell you that I don’t think I am losing $50+ a month in sales due to piracy.  Again, it’s because I think honest people will continue to be honest, and cheaters and thieves will always be cheaters and thieves.  I can thwart one attempt, but if I have one site take down one of my books, another will pop up with that book less than a day later, and Mr. Thief will get his copy there instead.  My time is more valuable than that, and, at the end of the day, I have to put faith in my fellow human beings.  I would like to believe that more people are honest than not, and for those who aren’t, I no longer wish to spend my precious time, money, and emotions on them when those resources are better spent doing the things I love (actual writing, for instance).

I understand and respect why other authors still feel the need to fight piracy.  For me, though, I am pulling my troops out of the battle.  I have other, more important, wars to fight.

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Never Say Never

When I first began publishing as an indie author, I pretty much just kept my nose to the grindstone, writing my little heart out, because I had this mantra:  “If you write it, they will find it (eventually) and read it.”  Man, was I right.  As most of you know by now, Bullet was the book that broke me big.  I’d been gaining momentum before that, but something about Bullet inspired the imagination of thousands of readers.

After that book’s success, I was sure I had it made.  To a degree, I did.  I’m a lot more well-known than I was before that, and I have some amazing hardcore readers, many of whom I’m proud to call friends.  I know there are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of authors who feel/felt the same way I did–that they’d finally “made it.”  I’ve always been the type who’s had to work two (sometimes three) jobs at once to make ends meet (and it’s not for lack of education…it’s just a long story, one I don’t feel like writing), and–for the first time in a long time–I knew I could get rid of one job, and I envisioned a time in the future when I could get rid of the day job as well.

My, how times have changed.  I pointed a finger at a lot of things but, finally, I, a lot of my indie author friends, and even experts who analyze the industry have come to the same conclusion.  Yep, that’s right–the company that was responsible for the indie publishing boom is also the one now lowering the boom.

Amazon, when it began offering Kindle Unlimited (KU), offered many customers an irresistible temptation–borrow as many books as you want for as long as you want for the low price of $10 per month.  In a way, it reminded me of the way Netflix operated before their streaming video business surpassed their through-the-mail DVD service, except for one thing–you had to pay for however many DVDs you had out at once (a higher price meant more movies out at once).  I suppose the Netflix of today is a lot more similar, in that you can watch any movie in their library whenever you feel like it.  However, if that movie is no longer on Netflix, you no longer have access to it.

I think it’s great for customers, especially voracious readers who don’t ever reread books.  I think it’s great for authors who are just starting out and are desperate to be read.  It’s not so good for authors like myself and it’s also not good for the indie market in general.  Let me explain.

Authors like yours truly…we’d built up a following, but let’s be honest–unless you’re a hardcore reader of mine, well, if you have KU, you just might not buy my book because you literally have millions of books you can read for free.  My book can and probably will sit on your TBR list forever.  It will be forgotten after you’ve consumed another five or six KU books.  I and other authors like me can’t compete unless we choose to go with KU–and I’ll tell you in a minute why we and others won’t (but I’ll also follow up with a disclaimer at the end, so bear with me).

The second group KU isn’t good for, as I said, is the indie market in general.  Why, you ask?  You might think it is good, because now there are literally thousands upon thousands of new writers pumping out books for all to read.  Buuuuuut…how many of these books are publication worthy?  How many of them have been well written?  And, setting that aside, how many have been edited well?  Formatted properly?  How many of them deserve to be read?  How many of them–had the competition been more fierce–would have been tended to better prior to release?

As I said earlier, if I were a newbie indie author, I would most certainly consider KU, because it’s becoming, more and more, the only way to be seen on Amazon.  Let me tell you why I’m anti-KU.  First of all, this woman here hates a monopoly (or anything close to it).  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love Amazon, and I feel like I owe much credit for my success to the company…but I hate bullies, and Amazon is beginning to feel that way.  I first got an Amazon rep about a year ago, and she and I talked numbers–how many books did I sell on Amazon compared to other sites, for example–and she wanted me to reconsider exclusivity.  I did it for one book (Be Careful What You Wish For) and regretted it.  I had immediately alienated my readers who don’t buy from Amazon, for starters.  Maybe I didn’t (and don’t) sell as many books at other sites, but that wasn’t the point.  I was almost, in effect, telling my B&N customers that they weren’t as important to me as my Amazon ones.  Amazon will continue to have a monopoly if we let it.  I tend to be a nonconformist anyway, and that alone is reason enough for me to decide against it…mostly.

Because of my declining sales, I’ve tried to take back my power.  I’ve done a lot of things recently–one is remembering that Facebook and Twitter, while they seem to be okay marketing tools, are out of my control.  Even if I were to pay to advertise on their sites, I don’t control how their sites work, nor do I trust them to effectively reach my readers.  What do I have control of?  This right here–my website, and many of you find me this way (some of you have signed up for the RSS feed and get every single post in your inbox!).  Also, my newsletter.  I’m the one writing and publishing that puppy.  No one else is.  So, I’m shifting my marketing more to those avenues and not spending as much time on other sites.  Yep, new ones come and go (I’m on tsu, Pinterest, Instagram, for instance), but I only control those that are mine.  I’m taking those back and investing more time in them.

Oh…and the books.  Yeah, the writing.  I’m redoubling my efforts there.

But what else?  Well, last month I had the lowest sales on Amazon that I’ve had since before Bullet.  They’ve been decreasing every month, but even the last two months–with two new releases–I saw no big boosts in income, and that’s beyond unusual.  My, how times have changed.  Two years ago, I was ready to quit both of my jobs and just write, and now I’m back to two jobs.  I have over thirty published books, though, and I know they’re good, so I’m not throwing in the towel.  Instead, I’ve done something I had never wanted to do, and I’m getting ready to do another something I said I wouldn’t do, but that’s because I have to treat this like a business.  I need to keep it profitable.  So, last month, I first of all went through all my books on all sites where I’ve listed them, and I tweaked keywords and descriptions and cleaned up their categories, even adding additional ones where I could.  Sales at Amazon this month are, thus far, even worse than ever since having done that, but sales at Barnes & Noble are better, and I credit “cleaning up my act” for that.  I sold fewer books on B&N in December than I did in November, but because I’d adjusted prices, I made about the same amount of money.  Amazon?  Let’s not even go there.  Out of seven days in January, I have sold more books daily on B&N than on Amazon more days than not, and the only time I ever sold lots of books on B&N was when Bullet was a new release.

I never wanted to raise my prices.  My thought was that I know what it’s like to be broke, and I wanted to continue to entertain the masses for pennies.  Had my sales remained consistently high, I wouldn’t have had to raise prices, but I’ve had to adjust to a changing market.

I said I’d have a disclaimer momentarily:  So what else am I doing?  I’m experimenting with lots of changes, many of which you’ll never see, even if you look for them, but one thing I’m pretty sure I’m going to try is to pull just one book (not one of my bestsellers) from all sites except Amazon.  I’m going to try KU, although I think it’s a bad idea–but I have to try something to stop from drowning, for just this one particular book.  I have hardly sold any copies of this particular book elsewhere.  It’s also one of my lower-priced ones, but it’s indicative of the rest of my work (quality writing, steamy sex, etc.).  I want to try offering it as a KU book so folks can borrow it and also so I can offer it for free.  I’m going to try it for the 90-day exclusivity phase.  I’m afraid what will happen is that my book will get buried in piles of TBRs in folks’ KU libraries, but that won’t matter, because I’ll be no worse off than I am now.  I’m instead hoping it will expose me to a new audience who’s never read me before.

Once more, I’ve learned that I should never say never, because as soon as I do, I wind up having to take it back.  But I’m here to stay, folks.  I’d just like for my writing business to buy me a cup of coffee and tank of gas once in a while, and that’s what I’m doing.  I made my first goal a long time ago; now I’m trying, once more, to make this a viable business.

One last thing…I also used to be anti-sale (for the most part) because I felt like offering my books on sale punished my faithful readers who bought my books when they first published.  Again, though, I will continue offering “first day of publication” sales to reward those readers for buying them on day one.  That said, I will begin doing more sales overall, because I’m trying new things.  Wish me luck, but know this:  I’m not going anywhere, so you might as well read one of my books and get it over with. :)

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WTF? My Thoughts about Things Like MMF, MFF, and Other Interesting Types of Romances

If you’d asked me four years ago (when I was writing Tangled Web, the first book I published as an indie author) if I would ever write a sex scene involving more than two people, I would have laughed.

Hard.

I look back and now I laugh because, man, how things have changed!  It all started with Bullet.  One of the scenes that pissed off readers the most was the scene now referred to as “the party scene” or the “LSD scene.”  In it, there is a little threesome action, but Val, the main character, is totally not into it, nor is it consensual, and as soon as she’s aware of what’s going on, she removes herself from what was about to be some hot MFF action.

Fast forward to late summer of that year, and one of my fave bloggers devoured all the Nicki Sosebee books I had to offer.  At that time, it was books one through eight (Got the Life through Blind).  Those of you who have read the series know that a big part of it hinges on a love triangle in which Nicki is torn between the two main men in her life–Sean, her dream guy, a man who owns a motorcycle repair shop, and Jesse, the quintessential “loser” who finally decides he wants to do something with his life and enrolls in school to become a firefighter.  Anyway, said blogger (Angie of TwinsieTalk) suggested that I should write a scene involving the three of them.

I suppose, before I venture further, that I should explain the MMF and MFF acronyms a little for those of you who don’t know what they mean.  If you already know, skip this paragraph! :)  M means male and F means female, so MF would indicate a male/female romance.  Simple enough, right?  Therefore, you can extrapolate what a MM romance or FF romance might be.  Now, when you get to more than two, it changes a little.  MMF, for example, means that there are two men and one woman, but it also means that they are all interacting sexually (that’s why the MMs are touching).  If it’s MFM, that means there’s a threesome, but the guys are all about the lady.  That make sense?  So you can have a MFF or a FMF romance, and while they’re similar, they’re actually a little different.

So, back to Nicki Sosebee.  I laughed (again) when Angie suggested I write a threesome, but I already knew the plot of Fake and had, in fact, written several chapters of the book, but–as my mind toyed with her idea–I envisioned it.  And then I wrote my first full-fledged MFM scene.

It was HAWT.

So I was open to new possibilities but still didn’t see that I’d write a whole lot of those scenes.

Yeah.  Never say never.

When I began thinking about Nick’s book (Bullet 5), I knew almost from the start that his love interest, bassist Sabrina “Sinna” Moreno, was bisexual.  That alone complicates any relationship he might pursue with her, but it gets even stickier when he realizes she is already in a relationship–with a woman.  Eventually, Nick joins the action.

I wasn’t sure how Slash and Burn would turn out.  I didn’t know what kinds of scenes I would write.  That said, I’m a “pantser” kind of writer, meaning I write the story as it comes to me.  I usually know the ending (I did with this book) and I often know key points in the story, but I don’t always know the path I’ll take to get there.  In this case, I definitely didn’t.  I could only see ahead of the story about one chapter at a time (not the first time I’ve written this way), and that was fine.  I had to keep writing to see what would happen.  So, it wasn’t until I was deeper in the book that I realized Nick was going to be having sex with not one but two women at once.

I didn’t panic.  I trust my characters and the story to tell me what to do.

I asked readers on Facebook a few weeks ago what kinds of acronymic (HA!) books they like to read…MM, FF, MF, MMF, MFM, MFF, etc.  Most readers were open to a lot of possibilities, so I wasn’t too worried about the book.  However, something unexpected happened.

I wrote some of the hottest scenes ever in Slash and Burn.  I never expected that.  No, there’s not a ton of MFF action, but there’s plenty, and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to write something that steamy when I myself am only attracted to men, nor did I think I would find the scenes hot (but I do).  I think it all comes down to this:  I know the characters and I’m invested in them.  You, as a reader, will be no different.  I think that many of you will be pleasantly surprised.  I definitely was.

Right now, Slash and Burn is available for pre-order on Amazon, and it will be available everywhere on January 19.  I am so excited for you to read it!

Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CAN
Amazon AUS

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I’m Back!

Time to admit my age, I guess.  More than a decade ago, I was a leader in adapting to and embracing technology.  Hell, for my day job, I even built a computer class from the ground up, teaching students (both clients and coworkers) everything from how to turn on a computer to how to create a professional-looking document.

Times have changed.

…and so have I.  At first, I loved upgrades.  I loved when we got a new version of Internet Explorer or Word and I went with the flow.  Sometime in between then and now, though, something changed.  I wish I knew when and why.  For years, I refused to get a smart phone–my rationale was that I hated talking on the phone anyway, so why the hell would I want the stupid thing following me around everywhere?  After all, my car was the only place I had alone time.  My husband started affectionately (mostly) calling me a Luddite, and my kids thought I was anti-tech.  Not so–I had to use a computer forty hours a week in my day job, and it wasn’t much different in my teaching job.  And, even though I grumbled, I adapted and accepted upgrades in my work computers.

Okay, so I didn’t have a choice.

Some changes I didn’t mind.  Yes, I’d spend several days “tweaking” my computer settings because I liked them a certain way, but once that was done, I was good until the next computer swap out.  My college job forced change even more rapidly.  Every time Microsoft farted, we got upgrades, so I had no choice but to learn new versions of Word and Excel, and what really sucked about that was that my home computer had one version, my day job had another, and the college had yet another.  Still, I managed to survive in each microcosm.

I think, though, that it was somewhere during that time that I began to resist change.  It wasn’t for Luddite-y ways, mind you (did you see I just made up a new word?).  It was because, I guess, I’m getting older and I can see now that change is a pain in the ass.  Just when I get used to something, there goes the rug being pulled out from under me again, and I need to waste valuable time retraining myself.

(Grumpy old man voice) Get off my lawn!

That resistance led me to not perform upgrades…often…unless forced to.  If I was getting ready to shut down my computer and Microsoft had updates, okay, fine, go ahead and do it, even though the last three times made shit wonky on my browser for a few days until I figured out what the new settings messed up.

My phone, though?  I didn’t update it for MONTHS and my oldest son gave me grief about it constantly.  Want to know why I didn’t want to update it?  Because I hated the new look.  That’s right.  I didn’t want my phone to look different.  In retrospect, that’s pretty funny, but at the time, I was tired of people moving my damn cheese (yes, I realize that’s an obscure reference, but some of you will get it).  Want to know why I finally upgraded?  Godsmack.  Yes, Godsmack.  I had to wait just a few more days to buy their new album (1000HP), but I got an email from them that I could listen to the whole thing on iTunes radio.  Weeelllll, my phone didn’t support iTunes radio without an upgrade and, dammit, I wanted fresh Godsmack!  I was able to listen to the album at home on iTunes on my computer, but I wanted to hear it at work too.  I didn’t want to have to wait four or five more days before I could purchase the actual CD!!!

Silly, yes, but that’s how bad I’ve become.

Sooooo…fast forward to last week.  I have had multiple upgrades listed on my WordPress dashboard for, oh, perhaps *cough* years that I had chosen to ignore.  Yes, ignore.  My hubby-slash-occasional webmaster (when I beg) could upgrade next time he was on if he thought it was important.  Yeah, well, so the upgrades never happened.  Why?  Because change.  That’s why.  I didn’t want to deal with change.  Sites I use frequently (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, to name a few) were constantly changing things and I had no choice.  My site?  I had a choice and I chose NO!!!

Last week (as some of you know), my website crashed and went BOOM!  I saw that *shudder* my dashboard on WordPress had changed (grumpy old man voice: grumble grumble), but I was checking it out because a reader had mentioned that she couldn’t find the link I have to buy signed copies of my books.  Well, I could see my (new and improved) dashboard just fine, but the site itself was toast.  I asked webmaster hubby to check it out.

Well, here is where I discovered the errors of my ways.  I hadn’t upgraded for a very long time and, he said, it made my website vulnerable.  I’m not exactly sure of all the details, but it was pretty serious and it was sketchy for a while.  We thought I was going to lose all the content I’d ever posted on the blog portion of this site (which, honestly, is about all I do here–I write!  Big surprise).  I was bummed but hoping it could be saved.  As you can see now, it was, but hubby made sure to tell me that I must upgrade when they are offered.  (Of course, I’m thinking that if those upgrades are so godd*mned important, why don’t they just happen?!?!)  If I don’t, this could happen again.

So, I guess, my New Year’s resolution will have to be not to embrace change or new tech with open arms, but to not be a dumb ass and just take the stupid upgrade.  JUST DO IT!

So…I’m back.  Another thing I’m hoping to do is post here more often.  The site itself needs a facelift (yes, more change), but this is one place online I have control over.  I can’t control the shit going on at Amazon or Facebook or anywhere else.  Here, though, I rule, and what I say goes…so I plan to utilize that freedom a whole lot more.

Happy New Year, my friends.  Here’s to a great one!  Thank you for being here and reading my stuff.  :)

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Headbangers Unite

Hey…do you remember what your favorite song was when you lost your virginity?  What song was playing in your car the first time you drove by yourself?  What was your favorite song when you graduated high school?  Fell in love (really in  love) the first time?  Got your first job?

If music is as important to you as it is to me, you can answer these questions, and you can probably even tell me your favorite albums during those same periods of time.  The sense of smell can sometimes transport us back, evoking a memory that had faded–until we caught a whiff of something we hadn’t smelled since then.  Well, I’ve found that–for me, at any rate–music can do almost the same damn thing.  I can think of a song and I can tell you a memory associated with it.  Here is one example of how vivid music has made my memories…

Early May 1985.  The song–“Turn up the Radio.”  The band–Autograph.  (Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of them.)  I had the day off from school (I think it was a Friday, but I could be wrong) because I was going to tour the college I wanted to attend.  I had a President’s Scholarship from that school and another in Colorado.  I’d already toured the other school and wasn’t that impressed.  Anyway, I had my Walkman and was sitting in the back of the car listening to this song, and my mom and dad were in the front of the car…listening to less cool music.  ;)

If you had asked me before I looked at a calendar, I would have sworn it happened on May 5 (but that was a Sunday, so I know that’s wrong).  It was probably May 3.  That’s not important, though.  What’s important is I looked up the song on YouTube and listened to it while typing this post, and it’s amazing the memories that came flooding back.  When I was listening to that song in my parents’ car, I was thinking about that one boy who got away.  I still had both sets of grandparents.  I did a lot for a high school kid (work, theater, color guard, good grades), but I loved it.  All of these things are swirling in my head–the general gist of how I felt back then–but specifics too, like how I fell in love with the college and attended that fall, the different people we talked to on campus (a theater student, an English prof I took a couple of years later, the color of the damn leaves!!!).  This song will always remind me of that day, and that boy, and my first impressions of my alma mater…and who I was back then, the hopeful girl I used to be.

But I digress.  Music has been so huge a part of my life that I can give you memories (big or small) to go with almost every song I love (or like).  I am not judging folks, but I have seen–amongst us crazy metalheads–a community of sorts and a respect for and appreciation of what music has done for us, how it alters our perception of the world.

It provides unity.

For example, a guy I consider a very good friend used to be my supervisor when I taught college English.  We’d hit it off anyway, but it didn’t take long for us to realize we were both hardcore metalheads.  We could spend hours talking music.  One day, the woman who ran the bookstore was teasing us because we were, yet again, talking about concerts, and I said, “I know.  Every time we talk, our conversation degenerates into a discussion about music.”  He immediately corrected me and told me our conversations always evolved into music discussions.  How true.

And then at work a few weeks ago, I was giving a new worker orientation and the guy I was talking with noticed all the CDs on my shelf.  “You like metal?”  Ha ha.  Is the Pope Catholic?  I admitted that, yes, I was a metalhead and then he noticed the Suicide Silence CD.  “Oh, you really are a metalhead.”

Yeah.

Conversations and memories about music.

The reason why I bring it up is because of one of the books I’m working on, one that will come out (I hope) in March.  Yes, it’s about zombies.  Yeah, it’s also about second chances, redemption, learning to forgive yourself.  But one of the undercurrents is what I’ve waxed poetic about here–music binds us and it binds our memories.  It ties us to old emotions.  I’m not going to tell you just how pervasive music will be in Savage, but rest assured that it will be huge.  I tend to have a lot of music references in my books anyway, but this is gonna be something special.  I’m not going to give anything away, but I can’t wait for you to read it!

What the hell are you waiting for?  Add this puppy to your Goodreads TBR: Savage

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The Little (er, BIG) Book That Could–FREE!!!

When I started publishing as an indie author in 2011, I did it for one reason:  I wanted to be read.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal of all authors?  For me, it’s been an amazing journey, one that I wouldn’t change for the world.

But guess what?  I’m greedy.  I want to be read by MORE people.  I want to be read so much that, in the spirit of the holidays, I am giving away my bestselling novel Bullet, and I’m going to make it easy.  I’m not going to send you off to Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Kobo, or…well, you get the idea.  I’m giving it away right here in PDF format.  I wanted to include a mobi version (for Kindle users) and an epub version (for other ereaders), but it’s a security issue on my website, and it’s not allowing me to share the book that way.  Feel free to save it and share it as much as you like.

If you’ve never read Bullet before, now you can see what the fuss is all about, but I’m going to warn you–readers either love or hate this book.  There really aren’t many folks in between.  I have readers who love my Nicki Sosebee series but loathe Bullet, and I have readers who love the Bullet series but just don’t get why readers love my other books.  That said, Bullet continues to be my bestselling book, and I think it’s because it’s an emotional journey that readers have said will put your heart in a wringer and make you want to throw your reading device across the room multiple times.

If you are someone who has read and loved Bullet, then please feel free to share the news!  Oh, and happy holidays!

PDF version: Bullet

I’ll try to get mobi and epub versions up somehow, but–for now–I hope you enjoy the book as a PDF file!

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Order Signed Paperbacks by Yours Truly for Christmas

You know all those books I ordered for Rebels & Readers?  Well, they’re now sitting here at my house, and they’ve gotta go!  Want one as a Christmas present to yourself or to send to a friend?  You can!

Here are the books I have and prices.  FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED!  Once they’re gone, that’s it!

Books:

Bullet…$15
Rock Bottom…$14
Feverish…$14
Fully Automatic…$22
Tangled Web…$10
Everything But…$13
Finger Bang…$13
Got the Life…$10
Then Kiss Me…$13
Be Careful What You Wish For…$13
Jade C. Jamison Tote Bag…$4

Now…here’s the trickier part.  If it’s in the U.S., I will ship using Priority mail, so it will get there by Christmas!  I can’t make any guarantee for international orders.  Sorry! :(  That said, here are the rates!

Shipping and Handling:
One or two books to same address.  If ordering more than two, multiply the price. 
If going to different addresses, adjust accordingly.

U.S. Shipping (one or two books to same address) – $6
Canada Shipping – $20
International Shipping – $24

Extras:

If you would like the book to be send as a Christmas present (wrapped and with a card that has a personal message from you), add $1

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Orders will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis until I run out.
2) Please email JadeCJamison@gmail.com with the following information:

a) Which book(s) you would like and how many
b) The name you want the book(s) made out to (if you want them personalized) or simply state that you want them signed only.
c) If you want them gift wrapped, let me know what you want the card to say.
d) Your PayPal email address.

 3) Once I receive this information, I will send you an invoice via PayPal.  The books will not be shipped until the invoice is paid.  Once it is paid, I will ship the books out in seven days or less.
4) If the book(s) you asked for is sold out, I will email you and let you know.

And Happy Holidays, my friends.   

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Tangled Web 3 coming right up!

Hello, my friends.  It’s been a while, and I apologize for that.  A lot has been going on in my life (those of you who follow me closely on Facebook probably know some of the details).  That said, I think it’s a crying shame that I’ve neglected my website, so I’m rectifying that right now.

Seal All Exits comes out on Monday, and if you’ve already pre-ordered it, you’ll be getting it for the introductory price.  It will go up after the first day of sale.  I’m eager for you all to read it, because it’s probably the darkest book in the series thus far, but you know me…it’s always darkest before the dawn!

This is one of those books where I am afraid to tell too much.  There are a lot of “secrets,” things I want you to discover on your own, and so I won’t even publish the first chapter here, because those secrets begin on page one, and I want you to enjoy them from start to finish without any spoilers!  That said, I will share one last teaser here for you.  If you’re the kind who avoids teasers, then I will post links first and you can stop reading there!  :)

In case you’ve missed the blurb, I’ll start with it!

Heather Morrow has been fighting demons all her life, but the past two years have likely been her darkest.  So when her friend Katie invites her to a reunion of sorts, Heather jumps at the chance, because Katie, one of the most down-to-earth people Heather has ever called friend, is the only person she has ever felt like herself around, and Heather realizes that she needs an ally to help her out of the shadows.

Kiefer Steele, vocalist for Shock Treatment, has been battling some demons of his own.  He’s been a nothing most of his life, but world-famous guitarist J. C. Gibson took him from his beach-combing, weed-smoking ways and helped him make something of himself…except life on the road has taken its toll.  The only ray of hope in his life has been his continuing online friendship with Heather.  The two met in person once, backstage at a concert, and their friendship has grown stronger.

They haven’t seen each other in three years, though, and both have changed immensely.

When they discover each other’s darkest secrets, will their friendship—and budding romance—survive, or are they destined to spend their lives apart…and alone?

You can pre-order the book at these online retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1zZ8V9k
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/1zpYTNo
Kobo:  http://bit.ly/1vc2cXv
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1qRT6It

Teaser:

“Kiefer!”  She looked at him at first as though she thought he’d been serious, but her features softened when she saw the big smile on his face.  God, she was beautiful, and it really was a shame that she couldn’t see what he saw.  It wasn’t just her looks; who she was on the inside and the way they connected made her an amazing beauty.  He couldn’t resist her charms and leaned over to kiss her.

She responded, and he wasn’t sure if it was because of the overwhelming relief she felt, knowing the turkeys weren’t going to chase her back to the cabin trying to devour her or if it was because she felt the same inexplicable desire he did.  Well, desire, yes, but love, no.  He was certain of that and beginning to wonder if she’d ever be able to reciprocate his feelings.

Until they left Johnny and Katie’s at the end of the week, he was going to try to make that happen.

And one of the ways to do that, he thought, was to play on their physical desires.  She had no qualms telling him she felt lust for him, so why not try to use that to his advantage?  He reminded himself too of their friendship and continued to hope that it would help her break through her walls and feel more for him too.

She clutched the hair at his neck in two fists with a desperation that told him maybe they could do more than work up their appetites out here.  He broke off his kiss and moved his lips to her neck, then her ear, and he whispered, “Since there are no zombies…”—he nibbled her lobe—“…or bears or other creatures ready to tear your clothes off,”—he kissed her neck up to her jawline and then touched her nose with his—“how about I do it instead?”

“What?  Tear my clothes off?”

He raised his eyebrows.  “Sound fun?  Or I could leave them mostly on.  I can still take care of you without exposing you to all of nature.”

She giggled, but her eyes told him everything he needed to know.
*************************************************************

I do hope you enjoy the third book in the Tangled Web series.  It has truly been a labor of love!

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Seal All Exits

All right.  No rants this week.  Instead, I want to talk about my next book.  If you haven’t heard, Seal All Exits is coming out in November.  It’s Tangled Web #3, and I think readers have been waiting for it longer than they’ve waited for any other book from me.  Come November, I will put you out of your misery!!!

But…I really don’t want to say too much about the book.  Why?  I definitely want you to be excited for it, but there’s so much in there I don’t want to give away!  I thought about posting the first chapter but even then…I want to keep the secrets a little longer.  :)

To make up for holding the cards close to my chest, I’ll post all the excerpts we’ve shared on Facebook in case you missed any of them.  The good news is you don’t have much longer to wait!

Excerpt #1

“You from around here?”

Heather looked back at him then.  She couldn’t ignore him if he was talking to her.  “No.”  Hmmm…she wondered why he was asking.  Probably because he’d never seen her here before.  She was definitely sensing an interested vibe.  He looked kind of familiar…those eyes.  But she’d never been to Winchester before.  There was no way she knew this guy.

He nodded and took a swig of his drink.  “What’s your name?”

She couldn’t help the slow smile that spread over her face.  She knew it was seductive.  “Do we really want to go there—I mean…considering you’ll never see me again?”

He raised his eyebrows, a smile growing on his face as well.  “Why?  What do you have in mind?”

Holy crap.  Could he sense Heather’s dark side?  She’d tried so hard to be good, but…there was that part of her that just couldn’t resist.  It was strong—stronger than her resolve.  She took a huge gulp of her drink and then looked at him again.  God…his eyes were smoldering.  “I’m open to a lot of things.”

Excerpt #2

Sage was tapping on the edge of the pool table, and Kiefer knew without even asking that he was drumming out the beat to a song.  Mickey was setting up a shot and, as Kiefer approached, Sage looked up at him.  He just nodded his chin at first, but then his eyes lit up.  “God.”  He looked over at Mickey, pounding on the green felt.  “Dude…look at this pussy.”

Mickey looked up from the pool cue.  “What the fuck, man?  You destroyed my shot.”

“So what?  Look at our man over here, Mick.  Tell me if you see what I see.”

Mickey looked up, frustration wrinkling his brow.  But then his expression softened and he looked over at Sage.  “Naw…”

“Yeah.  That cute little blonde waitress who’s been following you around?”

Kiefer could only imagine what he looked like but he wasn’t going to give them what they wanted.  “What?  No.  She wanted an autograph and I gave it to her.”

Sage started laughing.  “Yeah, I’ll bet you gave it to her, all right.”

Kiefer found his sense of humor wasn’t with him…not at all.  In fact, he felt himself getting a little pissed.  “I didn’t touch her, all right?”

“Sensitive,” Sage said, standing up straight.  “So what the fuck is the grin all about?”

Kiefer felt his brow furrow.  “What grin?”

Mickey finally made the shot and looked up after the cue ball did its job, knocking a stripe into the corner pocket.  “He’s right, man.  You look like the Cheshire Cat.”

“He looks like he ate the Cheshire Cat…”

Excerpt #3

He moved close to her but didn’t touch her, save not letting go of her hand.  “So what have I gotta do to get you to tell me your name?”

She couldn’t help but smile.  “I’m not telling.”

“I could do lots to you to make you tell.”

She laughed.  “Oh, I’m sure you could.”  She lowered her voice.  “How about you just call me Angelica?”  Angelica?!  What the hell was she thinking?  What a stupid name.  Not really…but stupid for her.  Well, she’d never been very good at thinking on the fly.  That was Katie’s bag.  And Katie would have a cow if she knew what Heather was doing right this second.

He got closer, this time letting go of her hand and placing his on her cheek while he brought his body close to hers.  Oh.  His hand felt hot against the tender flesh of her face, and she knew now there was no denying the desire buried deep within her.  She felt the tempo of her breathing increase as her eyes scanned his.  He seemed so sincere.  She wasn’t used to that look in a man’s eyes.  “Angelica, huh?  So you’re like an angel.”  Suddenly, her breath stopped.  She wasn’t able to pull air any further down her lungs, because this man had her imagination in his grasp.  His face got even closer to hers and he said, “God…it feels like I know you.”

If something about him hadn’t been grabbing her by her heart and loins and captivating her attention, the fact that he kept thinking he’d met her before would have started to make her question him.  But before she could think anymore, his lips touched hers.  And that was it.  If—if—she’d been trying at all to resist him before, just the warm brush of his tongue on her lips would have ended that notion.

Excerpt #4

Heather wondered if Katie and Johnny had invited the entire city of Winchester, and she didn’t quite know what to expect when she walked into the great room, but she was surprised that there weren’t many more people than she’d seen when she’d first arrived.  There were more people standing, but the place wasn’t packed like it had sounded.

There was laughter as well, and that made her feel more at ease, but she wanted to see if maybe Katie needed her help getting things ready for dinner.  She walked to the dining area but noticed that Katie was standing closer to the spot where everyone had been playing a game earlier.  Heather started walking toward her friend to see if she could help her with anything, but then she stopped cold, dead in her tracks.

Holy Mary, Mother of God.

It was the guy.  The guy.  The one she’d fucked at the bar not three hours earlier.  What the hell was he doing here?

She felt her eyes grow wide.  No way in hell was she going to keep walking forward.  No way.  She didn’t need Katie to know what slutty thing she’d done.  She decided she’d head to her bedroom and maybe come out later.  If nothing else, she needed a safe place to sit and think quietly until she could figure out how to deal with this mess.  Fortunately, he hadn’t spotted her, so she knew she had a chance of making a clean getaway.

She turned, noticing how shallow her breathing had grown, and began walking away.  Then she heard Katie.  “Heather.  Hey, Heather.  Come here.  Don’t you want to see Kiefer?”

Heather stopped.  Kiefer had been in that group of people?  And how could she talk with him without seeing the other guy?

Excerpt #5

They walked off the deck and Kiefer said, “So what did you want to talk about?”

“Hmm.  I’m not even sure where to start.”

“No pressure.”  Kiefer looked up toward the mountain across the road.  It was covered in evergreen trees and the sky above was a light blue, clean and clear.  He could see why Johnny wanted to live here.  Regular worries were gone, far and away, and it was like regular shit just didn’t matter.

Heather stopped walking, so Kiefer slowed and turned to face her.  “Um…I have a proposal for you.”

He raised his eyebrow.  “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”  She drew in a deep breath and looked in his eyes, but he could tell it was hard for her.  “I, uh…I don’t want or need a relationship.  But I’m so glad you’re my friend.”

Kiefer smiled.  “Ditto.”

“So…just so we can get it out of our systems…why don’t we, uh, explore our attraction, but…when we leave here, things go back to the way they were.”  Kiefer drew in a long, slow breath.  Was she saying what he thought she was?  “That sound okay?”

Honestly, no, it sounded like a copout.  He thought some of telling her that, but he wanted her.  He wanted her to continue to be a part of her life and he also wanted to step it up a notch after what they had experienced last night.  This might be his only chance to convince her that a more intense relationship could be a good thing.  So he nodded.  “Yeah.”  On impulse, he took her hand in his.  He wanted to start now.

Heather had other ideas, though.  “Not here.”  Kiefer couldn’t help the look of confusion that he knew appeared on his face.  She let go of his hand but got a little closer, almost as though she were afraid someone would be able to hear her.  “If we’re going to go back to the way things were after this week, then I don’t want to give anybody here any bright ideas, and I don’t want to answer any questions or deal with any looks.”

He nodded, saying nothing.  He could live with that.  And that also gave him several days to see what he could do to change her mind.

If you’re excited for Seal All Exits, here’s how you can get ready.  :)  Read or reread Tangled Web and Everything But, Tangled Web 1 and 2…and might I also suggest you read Punctured, Bruised, and Barely Tattooed?  Yes, it’s not necessary reading, but Punctured is a companion novel, and you will be glad you read it when you read Seal All Exits.

Okay, I need to get back to writing the novel.  Catch ya later!

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Social Media Shenanigans

It seems that my poor blog has become my venting place…but better to vent than blow, I say!

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media behavior and the things that drive me crazy.  Social media are great, but they seem to bring out the worst behavior in a lot of people, and that’s what I don’t like about them.

It’s no different in indie author world.  There are so many instances where I’ve made some really great indie author friends, ones I am so proud to have met and glad to have in my life.  A lot of them, though, just feel like users.  I’m sorry to be a little harsh, but that’s how it feels.  Let me explain why.

First, though, let me tell you why I think the behavior is the way it is.  Indie publishing is tough.  Oh, it’s easy to publish your book.  It’s hard to get noticed…so authors are desperate for any attention they can get.  I understand that, but there are less annoying ways (and sometimes more polite ways) to get attention.

So…let’s start first with Twitter.  I joined Twitter in the summer of 2011 when I was trying to find as many outlets as possible for readers to connect with me.  Granted, no one was looking for me yet, but I wanted there to be any and every way possible.  Twitter was one of those ways.  When I set everything up, I started following some of my favorite bands and I was extremely twitterpated (ha!) when my very first follower was Korn (yeah, the real f*cking Korn!!!), following me back.  Talk about a total fangirl moment.  I was writing the first Nicki book and their act changed Nicki’s favorite band from what it was (a secret I’ll take to the grave) to Korn.  :)

But I digress (something I do frequently, I’m sure you’ve observed by now).  It wasn’t long until I started connecting with other indie authors.  At first, it was pretty cool.  There were a lot of them who were just starting out like I was, and we shared information and gave each other feedback about certain things (blog posts, book trailers, and the like).  I’m not sure when it changed, but it did.  I followed lots of authors back, but I noticed after a time that I would get particular sorts of responses.  “Please read my book” was the most frequent one.  Some were very nice about it.  One person even gifted me a copy of his book.  Others were a little needier about it.  Recently, I was badgered (I wish I was exaggerating!) into following another author back.  I did, and then he started bugging me about reading his story…didn’t say and/or ask about my writing, instead began pestering me about reading his work.  Finally, trying to be polite, I explained that I didn’t have time, free copy or not.  I beta read for friends and, believe it or not, like to read for pleasure.  How do you nicely tell someone that their writing might not fall into either of those categories?  I looked at my schedule and tried to tell this guy nicely that I couldn’t make any promises to get to it any time soon, and that he would do better offering his story to someone else with more time.  He acted insulted that I wasn’t going to drop everything to read his book.

That guy is just one example of Twitter behavior.  A lot of authors DM as soon as you follow back, asking you to read their stuff or visit their website or…well, you get the idea.  I stopped opening direct messages on Twitter a long time ago because if they weren’t spam (many of them were), they were solicitations.  It comes down to this, a metaphor for the Twitter experience:  If you come to my open house party but you don’t even know me, why would you start shoving your shit down my throat at first contact?  Don’t you even possess the courtesy to get to know me first?  And, if you don’t, why are you surprised that I don’t want to read your shit?

It’s like going on a blind date and having the guy unzip your pants before even offering a drink.  It’s presumptuous, rude, unfriendly, selfish, and self-absorbed.

So…I stopped following writers back a long time ago unless I already know them first in some other way.  If I’ve already “met” them on Facebook or elsewhere, then I will follow back.  I recently had another good reminder to stick with that rule.  A traditionally published author followed me a few months ago, and I figured she wouldn’t be the desperate type (didn’t fit the profile), but damned if her f*cking DM to me didn’t prove me all kinds of wrong.  So my personal Twitter rule continues to be not following authors back unless I already know them somehow…and that has to be more than their also friending me on Facebook.

Facebook…well, that’s another animal.  I get friend requests all the time from people I don’t know.  That’s okay, because I know a good chunk of those requests are readers, and I don’t care if they want to connect with me as a friend or by following my page.  I’m okay with either.  For quite some time, though, I’d say at least four times out of five, one of those friend requests is a wannabe author (or maybe a newly established author).  It drives me crazy that I’ll accept the friend request and not five minutes later get an invite from that person to like their Facebook page.  A few of them (maybe ten percent) will be nice about it–they’ll offer to like my page back or they’ll thank me.  Most of them, though, just friend request (probably as many authors as they can) and then sit back, waiting for the accept so they can immediately send the page invitation.  Again…it’s presumptuous and rude behavior.  I suppose I shouldn’t encourage it by liking their page, but I do.  I know how hard it is starting out.  But these folks have a lot to learn about being social.  This is social networking, after all.   Here’s my metaphor for the Facebook experience:  Don’t come knocking on my door and, when I shake your hand, start dragging me out the door so I can come shop at your store.

That’s not the whole of it, though.  I can’t tell you how many aspiring authors or authors just starting out send me messages asking me to share things.  I don’t mind doing it when I can, but if I promoted all the authors who asked, I wouldn’t have time to promote my own work.  Add to it that, out of all those authors, only two in recent memory have offered to promote (or actually have promoted) me in exchange.  One author, about a year and a half ago, one who is now well-known, hassled me to share her stuff every week or so, and when I finally politely declined, she disappeared.  Now she’s well known, but I guarantee she doesn’t realize that people she bugged like me helped her get there, and I can also tell you she doesn’t pimp MY shit like she begged me to do for her for months.  That’s kind of disappointing.  But it is what it is, and unfortunately a lot of newbie authors don’t understand why I’m so guarded nowadays and also hesitant.  It also reflects on me when I promote others, and so I have to be careful of how and when I promote.  I’ve started doing other things now, hoping to deflect some of the negativity, and I hope these authors will take advantage of what I offer and stop asking for things I’m no longer willing to give.

Bottom line, I try to be polite, both in “real life” and online.  I try not to do things online that I would never do to another person face to face…and I wish I could figure out why other people lead their life in the exact opposite way.  I understand, as a writer, wanting to be read, but if you annoy the shit out of people, you might never be read.

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