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Friday, May 13, 2011

Forwarding address

I have moved my blog to a new home. Here's the new address: http://trashystreasures.wordpress.com/

I'm so grateful you all have chosen to follow me on Blogger, and I hope you will be comfortable in my new home. I will be removing this blog in a few days.

See you in the new neighborhood!

Amelia

Secret Storm excerpt - shower sex

Something wasn’t right.  This wasn’t his bed.  This wasn’t his home.  Home wasn’t safe.  Was he safe here? 
Jack opened his eyes and looked around without moving a muscle.  Sunlight filtered in through closed curtains, lighting a neat, carefully arranged dresser against the opposite wall.  The mirror and the walls around it were covered with photos.  The faces looked familiar but he couldn’t make them out.  The bed he was lying in was warm and soft—comforting.  The woman sleeping next to him was the one who held his heart in his hands.  Almost literally, Jack smiled.  Sara’s palm rested on his chest, his heart beating under it.  Images of the night before chased sleep from his brain.  Wow.  How did things get so out of control?  He meant to be gentle with her, but he couldn’t remember how he ended up ripping Sara’s clothes off.  A guilty smile found its way to Jack’s lips.  He shouldn’t have enjoyed roughing her up, but Sara sure seemed to.  Wasn’t she the one who provoked him?
Sara moaned, and her fingers curled involuntarily, digging in to Jack’s chest.  He winced and lifted her hand.  “Oh sorry,” she blinked at him.  “I thought you were my pillow.”
“I am,” Jack smiled.  “I’ll be your pillow anytime you like.”
“Mmm…nice.”  She closed her eyes again.
Jack touched her face, brushing her hair off her cheek.  So beautiful.  “I love the way you look first thing in the morning.”
Sara looked at him like she didn’t quite believe him.  “This is the first time you’ve seen me first thing in the morning.”
“Yeah, but I love it already.  Your hair is all tangled and curled, your eyes are sleepy, and your body has a few bite marks and scratches from the things I did to you.”  There was that guilty smile again.
Sara moaned and pressed her lips to his neck, nibbling up to his ear.  “Do you have any idea how hot you make me?” 
Jack kissed her wandering mouth.  “Show me.”
She gave him a wicked smile then took his hands and put it between her legs.
“You’re wet,” he whispered.
Her hand slid down his stomach.  “You’re hard.”
“We should do something about that.  Come on.”  Jack threw back the covers and took her hand, pulling her toward the bedroom door.  He stopped and made sure the hallway was empty then they scurried to the bathroom. 
“What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking a nice hot shower would feel good.” He turned the water on and waited for it to get warm then he pulled her in with him. 
“Mmm…I like.”  Sara kissed him, pressing her wet, slick body against his, wishing she could wake up like this every morning.  Her fingers tangled in Jack’s wet hair, pulling it back from his face while he held her under the warm water, kissing, kissing, and more kissing.
Sara gasped when her back touched the cold tile wall, but she relaxed and let the shower and Jack’s touch warm her.
Jack kissed her warming skin, stroking her wet body with his hands, exploring and tasting.  Last night was too rushed to fully enjoy her so he took his time, nibbling her ears, nipping her neck, tugging her nipples with his teeth.  She squealed when he did that so he kept doing it.  He directed the showerhead at one breast while he fondled the other, pulling her nipple into his mouth, circling it with his tongue.
Sara’s legs turned to jelly, but Jack held her up.  His mouth moved down her stomach, and she held on to his shoulders.  His tongue slipped between her thighs.  “Ohhhh…,” Sara moaned.  Jack stood up and pointed the shower spray lower.  Sara giggled when the water tickled her pink flesh.  The tickle got more and more intense, insistent.  She tried to get away, but she didn’t want to.  Then she noticed Jack was the relentless one and she stopped trying to move.
Jack was on his knees, tasting her.  The tip of his finger slid inside her, making circles right at the edge.
Sara was at the edge of madness.  “Oh Jack,” she groaned.  “You’re such a tease.”
He chuckled.  “Is this what you want?”  His finger slid in deep, stroking and thrusting.  “Or do you want something else?”

Secret Storm – available now on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Self-publishing’s downside

“There’s two sides to every Schwartz. He got the upside; I got the downside.” ~Dark Helmet, Spaceballs
There are a lot of upsides to self-publishing. The author has control over everything: writing, editing, cover design, and marketing. The self-publishing process is typically much faster than traditional publishers, and…there’s no rejection.
Or so it appears.  While you’ll never have to face personal rejection from an editor or publisher, you will have to deal with the stigma of being a self-published author.
“You’re not a good enough writer for a ‘real’ publisher?”
Actually, I am, but that’s not the point.  My point is, aside from struggling to maintain my self-confidence (see last week’s blog Self-publishing is easy…not), the second hardest part of self-publishing is getting people to take me seriously. 
I’ll be the first to admit there are a lot of poorly written self-published books out there. I’ve read a few of them. They weren’t pretty.  There are a lot of hidden gems too, but you have to find readers willing to take a chance.
I think the key to selling more books, for me at least, is getting people to read them.  Reviews are helpful but they take a long time, and many book bloggers will not review self-published books.  For more tips on getting reviews, see 10 Tips for Querying Book Bloggers.  So I have to make my books available to readers in as many places as I can find.  I have excerpts posted on Facebook, Worthy of Publishing, Amazon, and here on my blog. Barnes & Noble and Smashwords allow readers to download samples.  I am also conducting a giveaway promotion on Twitter.
So if you’re feeling adventurous, read one of the excerpts above (the one on my blog is really hot). You just might discover a self-published gem.
Authors: how do you get your book to readers? Where do you post excerpts? Feel free to post a link. May the Schwartz be with you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The truth about turn-ons

I grew up in a fundamental church that viewed women and girls as pure and innocent, but a girl with sexual experience (or even unfulfilled desires) was damaged goods.  Fantasies were sinful (lust in your heart); therefore, masturbation was a sin. (I did it anyway.) After I lost my virginity, I beat myself up for years because I felt like I was no good.  I believed that God forgave me, but I couldn't forgive myself. (And then I met hubby and his open-minded family. I learned a lot from them.)

What turns women on?  For me, the forbidden.  In all but one or two of The Devil Made Me Do It’s stories, the characters are married to each other.  I wrote those several years ago when I was learning to think for myself. I explored ‘forbidden’ subjects like spanking, exhibitionism and voyeurism, and role-playing (forbidden to me, anyway).

The whole idea behind The Devil Made Me Do It is many women are taught it's wrong for them to enjoy sex, so if there's someone else to blame (i.e. the 'devil' or the guy who seduced her), it wasn't her fault if she enjoyed it.  I think women who openly admit having a healthy interest in sex (or even reading romance novels) have to be strong because they'll take a lot of crap for it.

Quarterbacks aren't supposed to dive head first.
He had an injured shoulder too, but he got the touchdown.
I can't give you a simple answer on what turns women on because there isn't one.  Every day it's something new and I'm always surprised by what interests me.  There’s no quick and easy answer because the truth (if they knew it themselves) might frighten men (and us too).  Another turn on for me (I don't often admit this to anyone): a little bit of violence. Not blood and guts, but a good dose of testosterone. That's why I'm a football fan. ;)

What turns you on? Give it to me straight now…I can take it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tell Me You Want Me - Sex Lessons

This scene did make the final version. If you like it, buy the book!

“That was just the tip of the iceberg, just an initiation.  You have a lot to learn, my sweet Janie.”
“Is that right.”
Okay brain, cooperate.  “That’s not what I meant.  I still have a lot to teach you…um….”
Jane laughed and climbed on top of him.  “Then I am your willing student.  Show me everything you know.”  She leaned over and licked his nipple.
Austin sucked in his breath.  “You seem to know a lot already.”  He grabbed a fistful of her hair at the back of her neck, pulling her down on his chest.  “But I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.”  He pulled her hair, exposing her throat to his mouth.
That should’ve hurt, but it felt exciting and scary at the same time.  That one simple hold had her completely in his control…and at his mercy.  “Teach me.”
Austin nibbled her neck.  “That’s lesson number one: a little restraint is a lot of fun.”  He bit her neck and held it, her pulse throbbing under his tongue.
“Lesson number two.”  Austin let go of her hair and shifted her so she was sitting upright, giving him a great view of her naked body.  “All you have to do to get a guy’s attention is show up naked and bring beer.”  Her pretty round breasts bounced when she laughed.  “The beer is optional.”  Especially when naked looked as good as she did.
“So what you’re saying is: men are easy.”
“Uh-huh.”
Jane smiled and twisted her hips, watching his eyes roll back in his head.  “What’s my next lesson?”
Lesson?  What lesson?  Oh yeah.  A wicked grin lit up his eyes as he flipped her on her back and fell between her spread legs.  “Lesson number…whatever: a hard man is good to find.”  He rubbed his hard cock against her wet flesh.
“Mmmm…you already taught me that.”
“It’s worth showing you again.”  He pushed her thighs apart and leaned in close, rubbing his cock against her.  She moaned and arched, begging for more, but Austin was a little more patient.  He slid inside her, giving her just the tip.  He waited there a moment, savoring her hot wet flesh, and then he pulled out. 
“Please do.”
He slid inside her, just enough to wet her for more.  This time he watched her eyes roll back.  “Lesson number…oh screw the numbers.  Anticipation is a good thing.”  He pulled out.
She reached for him.  “If you say so.” 
“You taught me that.”  He slipped back in, but not as much as she wanted.
“Did I now.”
Out.  “Yes you did, you little tease.”  He slid in again, just barely—waiting, enjoying—and then he slid out. 
“You’re so cruel,” she gasped.
“You like it.”  He pressed forward just a bit, twisting his hips while she moaned.
She didn’t deny it.  She wrapped her legs around his waist and tried to pull him all the way in, but he resisted.
He was torturing himself as much as he was torturing her.  He would give her what she wanted—and more—but he wanted to make her crazy for him first.  She twisted beneath him, making his blood boil.  Who was he kidding?  He was the one who was crazy for her.
“Why are you smiling like that?”  Jane studied his face.  It wasn’t his usual naughtier-than-sin-itself smile.  Even his eyes were different—bright, shining—happy. 
“Because I like you,” Austin said.  “I like your sweet lips.”  He leaned down and kissed her.  “I like your sexy neck.”  He nipped it.  “Mmm I like your fat nipples.”  He sucked each one.  “I like this cute freckle here.”  He kissed it.  “I like your soft, soft skin.”  He planted kisses between her breasts all the way down her stomach to–  “I like this yummy spot right here.”  He kissed the nub between her legs that was already throbbing for him.
“I like that spot too,” she moaned.
“And I absolutely love,” he knew he was on dangerous ground with that word, but he didn’t care, “being right here.”  He sank deep inside her and softly, slowly touched his lips to hers.  She melted against him and he held her close, kissing her more deeply. 
Jane sighed and wrapped her legs around him, holding him tight.  She’d keep him there all night if she could. 
“But first,” Austin abruptly pulled out, sitting back on his knees.  Jane sat up with him, protesting.  “But first,” Austin laughed.  “I have plans for you.”

Tell Me You Want Me - available now on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ten years ago today

I lost my father to cancer. About three years ago, I decided to think of May 7 as the day his cancer ended, but something about the 10th anniversary is making that difficult.  I can’t believe he’s been gone that long.  That’s more than half my marriage. 
My dad was a big goof.  He was known for his practical jokes and his offbeat sense of humor.  He gave everyone nicknames.  My pen name, Amelia James, is one of the many nicknames he had for me.  He loved the outdoors, and he was a skilled carpenter.  For my wedding present, he built me a china cabinet and put his name on it. “It’s a one of a kind Raymoon (one of his nicknames) original,” he said with that goofball smile I miss so much.  He spent his entire career, more than 30 years, protecting and preserving our natural resources.  My dad made a living doing what he loved.
I’ve been feeling down the last few days, like everything I’m doing is pointless.  My dad fought cancer for three and a half years, but in the end, it didn’t do any good.  I spent the last days of his life with him, and though I wouldn’t trade that time for anything, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.  But one of the many things my dad taught me is that I can’t give up doing something just because it’s hard.  A month before he died, he was still ordering fishing gear from Cabelas, still trying to do what he loved.
And now I realize the best way to honor my dad—this year and every year—is to keep doing what I love.  I need to keep writing no matter how many rejections or bad reviews I get.  I need to keep marketing my books no matter how many days without sales go by .  Being a self-published author is the most challenging job I’ve ever had, but it’s also the most rewarding.  I can’t give up just because it’s hard.
Thanks, dad. I love you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My favorite guilty pleasures

“Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilty and I'll show you a man.” ~Erica Jong

·         Listening to Christian Kane sing—even better—watching him sing.
·         Real potato chips with mountains of full fat dip.
·         Writing a sex scene that makes me wet.
·         Man Candy Monday  Man candy. Period.
·         Glen Livet 21
·         Daydreaming about any of the above (well, maybe not the potato chips).

Music, food, sex, men, Scotch, imagination. Did I miss anything?

“I no longer have guilt about pleasure. Guilt is wasted energy.” ~Amelia James

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tell Me You Want Me deleted scene – cheerleader sex

This is an extension of Austin's bedroom encounter with the cheerleader.  I deleted it because it was completely gratuitous, but I like impulsive sex so here it is:
“Oh Austin, don’t stop now.”
Austin smiled.  “Patience sweetheart.  I know what you want.  I know what you need.  And I know how to give it to you.”  He leaned over her back and nibbled her shoulders, rubbing his cock between her thighs, teasing her.
Carrie buried her face in his pillow and raised her hips to take more of him.
“That’s it, baby.”  He drove in deep and she squealed.  Lunging forward, he grabbed a fistful of her hair in one hand and a handful of her breasts in the other.  Banging against her ass, Austin leaned back on his knees and took her with him, holding her upright against his body, thrusting up into her.
“Do you like it like that?”  He growled in her ear.
His hold on her hair was so tight, she could barely nod, but her sweat-sheened skin and ragged gasps for breath told him she liked it.
“Or do you like it harder?”
“Ohhhh god….”
“Sounds like a yes to me.”  Austin pounded her, driving into her tight wet flesh. Her skin felt hot and soft and slick, grasping and stroking his cock.  He groaned and pulled out and pushed in nice and slow so he could savor her hot pussy clinging to him. Yeah baby, that's what he liked.
Carrie gasped and called out his name, going limp in his arms.
Austin grinned.  If Jack was home, he probably heard that.  Didn’t matter.  Austin lowered Carrie to the bed and crawled on top of her.
“Your turn, Austin,” she sighed.  She pushed him back and climbed on top, straddling his cock.
Austin moaned, watching Carrie's breasts bounce.  The sight of a beautiful girl riding him should’ve finished him off right there, but Carrie just wasn’t doing it for him.  He closed his eyes and imagined a stubborn brunette soccer babe naked and squirming underneath him.
Oh god yes….

Monday, May 2, 2011

Self-publishing is easy…not!

Sure the publishing part is easy once you get everything formatted right, and then wait 24-72 hours for the epublisher to convert and upload your book.  Then you check the final product, correct the weird formatting bugs, upload and wait…again.  If you’re lucky, you only have to make corrections once.  If not….  Wait, did I say that was the easy part?
The hard part is selling your book. I did things backwards.  I published my books and then I started marketing them.  I didn’t know anything about book launches, release dates, or advance reviews.  Getting a review takes a lot of time. Learning to use Twitter and Facebook took me some time as well.  Hint: set up a Facebook Page for your book, not a profile.  I highly recommend research—and lots of it—before you start marketing.
No, the hard part is not getting discouraged.  My first book, Tell Me You Want Me, sold half a dozen copies before I really started marketing it.  Wow.  Maybe this wasn’t so hard.  But then it didn't sell at all—for days.  I stepped up the marketing and sold a couple more copies.  I found someone to give me a review and that sold a few more copies.  But then days went by and no sales.  I got discouraged. What did I get myself into?  Was it worth the effort?  Should I give up now and get a dayjob? *cries*

The hardest part of being self-published is believing in myself. I don’t have a publisher to tell me my books are good.  I don’t have daily sales to confirm that. All I have is shaky self-confidence that needs a good hard shot of encouragement more often than not.  But the really cool thing is when I need encouragement, I get it.  I have the best fans in the world.  I may only have 12 of them, but they are awesome!  And that is the best part of being self-published—having a personal connection with my readers, knowing people are reading and enjoying my books.
Self-publishing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  My dad used to accuse me of avoiding hard work, and he was right.  I used to.  But there are so many resources for the self-published author the only way I’m gonna fail is if I give up when the work gets hard.
I. Will. NOT. Give Up.
Here are a few of the resources I used:
Worthy of Publishing – Post chapters for free and add a buy link.
Novel Publicity’s Building a Facebook Page – this is just one of the tons and tons of useful articles on their blog.
Top Ten Ways Authors Can Use Twitter – The key to Twitter is to follow people who give good information and to make your tweets a balance of promotion, good information and socialization.  Don’t just promote yourself.  Help others and they will help you.
If you publish on Amazon, make sure you fill out your author page.
There are lots more resources out there.  I’ve only listed a few.  When you get discouraged—and you will—don’t be afraid to ask for encouragement. You are not alone.