Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Two Q's

This blog has been percolating in my mind for a while and I am just now getting to write it. I have argued with myself for a long while about it. I want to write it but then I think about it and then I don’t because it will pertain to some of my favorite authors. I finally stopped arguing with myself and decided to sit my big old butt down and put it in a word document. So here it goes…

I love authors well most of the time I do. Here is my issue with some of them. I started reading a couple of authors and fell in love with their books and wanted more right after I finished one. They manage to put secondary characters in them that I wanted to know more about and I felt they needed their own stories and happily ever after.  I never bothered the authors but I know I am probably the exception to the rule. I get that authors are always trying to please their readers and I understand that, I mean who wants to hear from unhappy readers. Anyway, I think some of the authors fell into a trap with trying to please everyone.  They started to write shorter stories for some of the characters. It started out harmless enough. Some of the characters didn’t need full books to find their happily ever after’s.

I then began to notice  that a few figured out that they could make a few of their readers happier by giving them books every few weeks instead of making them wait a few months. Herein lies my problem. Some characters need full length books. There have been several books that I have bought lately that I keep thinking that the characters fell into bed so fast that there was no way they had any kind of emotional attachment to each other.  Now a good author can make you feel that they do and yes I have read some that it did happen that way but I have found more that don’t. This disappoints me because I love some of these authors. I want to love their books but I will stop buying and reading their short books because they are not satisfying to me. I feel that I am being cheated and that the quality is not present in some of these books. I know that sounds harsh and it is but it is the truth from where I sit as a reader. 

A few of these authors were automatic buys for me but not any longer because their books have become so bland that I can’t remember who the characters are within a few hours of reading the book. I might be able to give you the story but not the characters names. One time of this happening I can forgive but when it is every book I just end up frustrated and irritated with the author.  Now I won’t buy their books and that makes me sad because they have a unique voice and I used to want more of it.

This part is harder for me because I do love these authors but they have a few series that I totally love the concept and I want to love the books but they are too short. These characters are so interesting and it feels like the authors are trying to cram them into a short book to make a few of their readers happy.  This is a tragedy to me because I would wait for these books. I love these characters and the storylines would lend themselves to longer books but they are made into short books.  I could not tell you how many of these books I have purchased and when I finished I was disappointed by not just the book but the author.  I now hesitate to buy these series because I know what I am going to get when I read them and that is disenchanted by both the book and the author.

Now I am going to be the devil’s advocate. I hope this is not true but it does go through my mind occasionally.  Some of these author who write shorter books make them .99 so their loyal readers buy the books they make the best sellers lists because lots of people do not mind spending a dollar on a book and if they don’t like the book it is no big deal because it was only a buck.  Now I am not saying all of the authors are doing that or anything but the thought does cross my mind.

 I also have seen some of the short books that are put out by publishers being sold for $2.99 or even more and that just pisses me off. Yes, I do know that the authors have no control over how much a publisher lists the books for but damn that is expensive for a book that will probably leave me unsatisfied and is only 50 to 75 pages.

I guess I am ready to get off my soapbox and ask the question. How do you feel about short books?
Sinfully Sarcastic,


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Yes, You Too Can Be An Author


Yes, Luna and I are back to spew our mad rantings. You might want to run now and that’s okay we won’t hold it against you.  Well, maybe I will but Luna won’t she is the nice one. Especially, tonight since she has tea and swiss rolls to keep her happy. I however have a cold so I will be the hateful one.

On to the topic at hand, authors. Authors used to be someone who sat at a desk scribbling their thoughts on to the page but now they are the ones sitting behind a computer screen pulling their hair out. Or maybe that is just the ones we know. Writing used to be a very solitary profession but with the computer it has made authors more accessible. Now the problem with that is that people now get to know the authors. For most this is a good thing but the downside is that people now realize that authors are just like them or so they think. This has put the idea in some people’s heads that since authors are just like them then they too can become a writer. This is where it gets scary.

If you ever talk to authors they will tell you that they have characters talking to them all the time. These are people that live in their heads (why I don’t know). Most people who have imaginary friends that talk to them are put in the wonderful jackets that help you hug yourself. They are then given some really nice drugs too. Where authors let their imaginary friends run rampant on the page so they can share their antics with the rest of the world. This is one of the ways you can tell the difference between an author and a trying to be.
We will separate the authors from the scribblers. Authors plot and plan their tales and adventures and make them into a coherent story.  Most agonize over every word and detail of each sentence. They want this to be the story that their characters deserve and their readers want.  After they finish their books they send it off to a publisher who will give it to an editor. Editors oh how authors love them. They read the story and make suggestions. They are there to help the author tell a better story. They then send the manuscript back. The author will then read over it and work on it some more. Some will then send it to beta’s others just send it back to the editor. Each step in this process helps the author make a better book for their readers. This is very important. This is one way to tell the difference between and an author and a scribbler.

Now after a while these authors are able to do most of these steps on their own. Some decide that for whatever reasons want strike out on their own and step into the world of self-publishing. Some keep beta readers to help catch some of the errors that are going to be made no matter what. For some this is a very freeing experience for others they find that they are not ready to do all this work on their own. Now you say where do the authors go for self-publishing. There are a variety of places, Amazon and places like Smashwords not to mention many others. For some this is the perfect way to get their work out there to the masses without publishers who sometimes delay books or just don’t want to publish them. Some succeed others do not.

Anyone can call themselves an author and publish what they’ve written on these sites that let you post your wares for sale. Does that honestly make you an “Author” or just a trying-to-be wannabe author? Yes people can buy your stories, whether they be short, long or mega sized, but what exactly is the criteria for the title of “Author” when all these site let every Tom, Jane and Mary go about like this? Sometimes the self-publishing can be a good thing. It can help the amateur author who has some rough talent get the platform they need to get their work noticed by the right people. Or it could give false  hope to those who are desperate to be a writer but simply don’t have the talent for it.  We have seen some downright dreadful dreck published. It’s like the unconditional love syndrome when your family tells you that you sing very well, but they just say it to be kind. Just because your friends like what you’ve written does not mean it will be the next great Novel that will be made into a movie franchise.

So what are your thoughts on self-publishing? Do you like it or do you want to hunt down some of the wannabes and beat them with a dictionary/thesaurus?

Sinfully Sarcastic,
Shmuttmeister & Luna

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Confessions Of A Convention Virgin - Michelle Walsh

2013 was my year.  The year I lost my convention virginity. Before then, I didn’t know even know that these conventions existed for readers and writers.  I’ve always been a voracious reader but in the closet.  I’ve always idolized authors but from afar.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine there were groups of people like me that got together just to talk about reading and writing, and mingling with their literary heroes.  In 2013, I went to my first two reader/writer conventions, and I was quickly hooked.

Once I found out about the Romantic Times Convention and RomCon, I did a lot of research about them.  What to wear; what to do; what to expect.  I inhaled and memorized every do and don’t I read.  I asked question after question of convention veterans.  I learned that I needed to hydrate often.  I knew that I needed to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, but, since I was going as an author AND a reader, I needed to make sure my clothing was professional looking as well.  Just in case I met the publisher or agent that took one a look at me and decided I was the writer they’d’ been waiting their whole life for.

Alas, that didn’t happen.

But that didn’t diminish my experience at either convention.  And I learned a lot of things that not all my previous studies and research had prepared me for.  For instance, I hadn’t planned on power-walking several miles a day to make it to meet-and-greets and seminars.  I also hadn’t planned on missing several meals because I had packed my schedule so full there just wasn’t time to eat.  Who needed food when I got to learn from Yasmine Galenorn and Jeanine Frost, for goodness sakes?  In fact, going to conventions turned out to be a great diet plan, and I lost 10 pounds at the end of them both!

I learned a few other things from my virginal convention tours:

 VOLUNTEERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.  If you have extra time at conventions, volunteer.  They always need more people to help, from stuffing bags to setting up rooms for meetings.  Find one of the people in charge and ask them to put you to work.  Not only is it rewarding work, but you‘ll meet some great new friends.  If I hadn’t stuffed bags at RT, I would have never met Kasi Alexander.  Kasi and her family have turned into great friends of mine, and if I had stayed in my room instead of volunteering, I would have never met her.

ENJOY A PUBLIC ORGASM OR TWO.  One of the great things about conventions is that there is always something fun to do.  I had the opportunity to assist with several parties at RomCon.  The Very Virginal Bachelorette Party, hosted by Lexi Blake and Shayla Black, was a girl’s only party with the requisite naughty games… Naughty Pictionary, Cock Ring Toss, and of course, The Orgasm game.  I was the lucky judge of The Orgasm game, and handed out prizes for the best orgasm of the night.  Nowhere but a reader/writer convention would it be appropriate to move about the room asking for orgasms!

Conventions have all kinds of great parties and fun activities for readers and writers to mingle with each other.  It doesn’t matter if what genre is your favorite, there’s something for everyone.  And I mean everyone!

BE YOURSELF – OR NOT.  The RT convention held several parties, both during the day and at night, which boasted all kinds of costumes.  If you weren’t into dressing up in Steam Punk, then you could dress up in a ball gown from Gone with the Wind.  Or perhaps you’re more into vampires.  Don’t worry – there’s an event for that too.  Dress up was encouraged, and the costumes were plentiful.  Some beautiful, some odd, and some outrageous.  It made me wonder how they got them on planes, and how many pieces of luggage were needed to carry them!  One thing was clear, however, and that was that costumed or not, everyone enjoyed the dress up.

TOUCH, STROKE, FONDLE – IT’S ALL OKAY.  When I first signed up for the conventions, I knew there would be cover models there.  What I didn’t realize was how many skin bearing hunks there would be.  And I assumed that they would all be unapproachable – no talk-y, no touch-y, just look-y.  I found out that my assumption was VERY wrong.  Not only were the models extremley approachable, but they didn’t have a problem with being hugged or kissed.  They even seemed okay with the occasional stroke across their smooth, muscled chests down to their washboard abs, covered in tanned skin that looked so lickable…oh, um, sorry.  I got a little distracted!

Besides being very patient with the fans, they were also very friendly and loved to talk to everyone.  I learned quite a bit that I didn’t know about the cover model business, and made some great new friends to boot.  Not only that, when I see a book cover featuring one of these great guys I get to point to it and tell my friends “I know him!”  Sure makes them envious!

OPEN UP.  This was by far the hardest thing for me to do.  I’m not an introvert, but I’m not someone that can just strike up a conversation with a total stranger either.  However, I swallowed my fear and approached people I’d never met.  I made great new friends and found this awesome group of people that shared the same sense of pervertedness I have.  (Can you guess what group of PERVS I mean?)

I also had SEVERAL fan girl moments, and because I opened up, I got to talk to and party with some my greatest heroes.  In fact I almost peed myself when Jess Dee talked to me for about 20 minutes!  And when Mari Carr hugged me!  And when Jayne Rylon recognized me from Facebook!  I think Lorelei James probably thought I was stalking her at RomCon since I stopped her three times for pictures and autographs, too.

However, had I not shoved that fear way down, I would have never had those opportunities.  And boy, I’m glad I did.

Every convention is different:  different themes, different purposes, different authors.  But, in the end, they all have the same purpose:  to bring reading fans and their authors together.  I’m glad I’m no longer a convention virgin, and I’m already planning my 2014 conventions.  I’m excited to have some fun, catch up with old friends, and meet new friends.

Maybe I can even meet you!


You can find about Michelle and her books under her pen name Emleigh Walsh at:

Emleigh Walsh
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