LV’s Monday Meanderings… August 27, 2018

Happy Monday Readers! I’ve created this regular newsletter since beginning my newest day job to keep me engaged with you on a regular basis. This will provide a way for you to know what’s going on with me even though I’m not camping out on Social Media anymore. I’ve got exciting news to share with you this Monday. Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Writing, Writing, Writing!

There is an “M” word that most authors dislike more than any we encounter in this industry. That word, my dear friends, is Marketing. For most of us, writing is the easy part (present company excluded). Writing is easy for those who have a unique talent for crafting great prose, for writing riveting dialogue, and drafting plots that will make your toes curl. I only experience this phenomenon sometimes. Usually my writing style is more like giving birth. The story gestates in my head for a while, then I endure the labor pains of putting pen to paper, until a story is birthed months, sometimes years later. No, I am not as prolific as many of my author friends. Writing does not come easy for me (probably because I second-guess myself so much, but that my dear friends, is a story for another time). And, if writing doesn’t come easy for me, one can easily deduce that marketing is a nightmare.

I’ve been around for a while, and actually I emerged on the scene on the other side of the self-publishing bubble. I wish so many times I’d taken the opportunity to self-publish when so many of my peers did, but I didn’t (babies, life, and career happened), and in fact, I got in right around the time the bubble burst. Many friendships had already been formed, acquaintances made, cliques formed, bloggers had chosen their favorites, and most of these early alliances never allowed outsiders in. So, my marketing efforts were done very much through trial and error. The industry changes rapidly. Paradigms are always shifting, so each and every time when I’d finally figured out how to do something in marketing, inevitably that thing was transitioning, and I was never able to quite get it right.

There are many book marketing sites at writers disposal these days. Unfortunately, there are more that don’t work than do, and unless you have a friend or colleague who has used a site and can give you some feedback, it’s trail and error, my dear friends. And trial and error is okay if you have a marketing budget to speak of, but if you’re like me right now, you don’t even have a great budget, let alone a marketing one. I simply cannot afford to spend any money that won’t yield a return on investment, so I’ve been very picky lately. Or I’ve tried to be, and sometimes I still get it wrong. Which hurts my pocketbook so much, it takes weeks to recoup just the tiny bit of disposable income I could find to do marketing.

Recently, ladies and gentlemen, I submitted two of my books for a Bookbub. If you’re not familiar with Bookbub, you absolutely need to be. They are the premiere marketing site for books for authors, and the permiere site for readers looking to find new books. This is yet another marketing site I found out about later than I would have liked, but their return on investment has remained steady despite the shifting paradigms of the book industry. Most authors know that a Bookbub ad will yield dividends that it would take 15 or more author marketing venues to yield (and that is a conservative estimate). They are pricey as f#%k, but they get the job done.

I’m excited to tell you that out of the two books I submitted for a Bookbub, one of them was successful! So at the end of September, my book, The Venture Capitalist, Tristan’s point of view of Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever, will be featured on Bookbub, and I’m over the moon about it. So, stay tuned. I’ll make a big announcement when it gets closer to the time. In the meantime, if you’re not following me on Bookbub, I hope you will, because not only will they keep you apprised of my new books as they come out, they will share my book recommendations, and sales of my books and others, if we’re lucky enough to snag a Bookbub ad. So click on the Bookbub icon below and follow me there. You will be glad you did!

Speaking of writing, if you want to read any of my books while you’re waiting on my new stuff to publish, you can find all my books here, where most of them are $0.99: LV Lewis books!

Briar by Ripley Prosperina

My Review

I am part of the original Twilight Fandom, and I have a thing for Vampires. So sue me!

Anywho, I was quite taken by this Reverse Harem spin on the genre. Ripley Prosperina whose other RH books I’ve read really did her thing with this one! Move over J. R. Ward, Ripley Prosperina has created a quartet of Vampires that I love almost as much as your Black Dagger Brotherhood. Hudson, Valen, Sylvain and Marcus, Oh My Effing God! Listen, I guess I need to write a real review of this book, because, really that is the purpose of this venue. Right?

Okay, so Briar Hale is allergic to sunlight, or so she thinks. Her diagnosed condition is EPP (and I won’t even try to remember the medical term here). Whenever she allows any ultraviolet rays to touch her skin she blisters and burns. I’m talking serious second and third degree burns. In fact she’d probably die within a few minutes were she to remain exposed. She moves to Boston to attend Boston College for her Master’s Degree where she attends a symposium for one Dr. Hudson Nors who is the foremost authority on her condition. An accident reaching for a fallen glove causes her to be burned and Dr. Nors and his friend, Marcus come to her rescue. Unbeknownst to Briar they share a bond of brotherhood that she learns about later.

One by one, she meets the four brothers and early on doesn’t know about their connection until she gets lost in the city and decides to take a detour through a wooded area. When she is saved by Sylvain, one of the quartet, from a fate I don’t want to describe here, she befriends them each in turn, despite her rocky start with Dr. Nors (the reclusive and anti-social genius). Soon, Briar learns why Dr. Nors has been notoriously antisocial, and why Marcus, Sylvain, and Valen can’t seem to stay away from her.

As they each seek her out, she develops a caring for each of them she’s never known, since her condition has kept her from having even rudimentary friendships. Despite her early accident and brush with death, she’s determined to stay in Boston and finish the education she’s desired. The brothers become convinced she is fated to be theirs, but she isn’t privy to their feelings until a sinister and deadly threat from their past learns of their connection and his hellbound on removing the sickly girl from the equation.

The story ramps up from there. While Briar’s story is the first and contains all the world-building, it doesn’t detract from the story at all. And, because I knew this was a trilogy, I wasn’t befuddled or unhappy by the way this first story ended. You will be drawn in as I was by how well Ms. Prosperina drew these characters and Briar’s reaction to each of the brothers. Their back stories as are fascinating as the current conflict they find themselves in and I believe you will be as taken as I was by these Reverse-Harem Vampires in this series.

Check out their follow-up books below:

***Briar is Book 1 in the Midnight’s Crown series. A slow-burn reverse harem romance series***

Book 2, Shadow of Thorns

Book 3, Diadem of Blood & Bones

THE BEST WAY FOR YOU TO STAY CURRENT WITH MY BOOK NEWS:

“Book marketing is like opening doors for your readers to find you, not a stick you hit them with.” – Heather Hart

LV’s Monday Meanderings… July 16, 2018

Greetings, Readers! I hope you’re enjoying my Monday Meanderings. I’ve created this regular newsletter since beginning my newest day job to keep me engaged with you on a regular basis. This will provide a way for you to know what’s going on with me even though I’m not camping out on Social Media anymore.

Writing, Writing, Writing!

Most of the time, I’m happy to be a part of the writing industry, I truly am. In a perfect world, people who agree to do something for you will do it, and do it with excellence. My writing world hasn’t been so excellent lately. Mainly, because I’m dealing with a person who purports to be professional in their field who isn’t. I’ve written a bit about this in the past here: Am I Too Nice For My Own Good?  But I digress. Recently, I hired someone to do a project for me. An agreement was made and I was promised my project would be complete earlier than I anticipated. However, the first milestone was never reached and an excuse was given, which I accepted because “we’re all human, and life happens, right?” Then the next deadline was missed, but I was given part of the project (just a tiny part). Then I’m thinking, surely the next deadline will be met. Right? Didn’t happen. A month after this professional accepted my project, I still don’t have it. I have been promised yet again it will be ready this weekend. I’m waiting with bated breath. Not! I have no faith that the project will be ready this weekend when only one third of it has been done in a month!

I try to be a nice and understanding person, but writing is my business, and I try to maintain a consistency of quality which begets the title of professional. I’m human, too, so I make mistakes. I have a job that pays my bills and I have my writing business (which currently pays no bills. Hahaha!). In my writing business, I miss deadlines, but rather than make excuses, I own my mistakes, apologize to my readers, and move forward. What I’ve found that happens a lot with the “professionals” I use to support my business is an inconsistency in quality, inefficiency in providing services, and an unwillingness to own their mistakes and make it right.

Is it too much to ask to expect that when someone promises you a project will be done, that it will be done on time? I don’t think so. How do I mitigate situations like these? I guess I need to manage my expectations better, and if that makes me a bitch, then so be it. I am tired of people taking my kindness for weakness and giving me lackluster projects and services for my hard-earned money. In the future, if someone doesn’t uphold the letter of our agreement, I won’t be using their services anymore. Contracts will be iron-clad with language in them that support liquidated damages when milestones and deadlines aren’t met. Simply put, I’m going to be kicking ass and taking names! Names that will be dead to me moving forward in my perfect writing world.

Speaking of writing, if you want to read one of my books while you’re waiting on my new stuff to publish, you can find all my books here: LV Lewis books!

New Genre: Reverse-Harem (It’s Raining Men, Hallelujah!)

Over the past year, I’ve been reading a new romance genre called Reverse Harem (or RH, because we writers love our acroynyms, don’t we?). I heard about this genre about the same time that a very good writer friend mine began writing her own Reverse Harem novels (I’m looking at you, Angel Lawson). If you’re not familiar with it, Reverse Harem novels are those where you have a female protagonist who is the central focus or love interest of three or more male protagonists in a novel. Yes, RH goes there! The idea of RH first began in anime and manga and eventually spread to the romance genre, which has been growing like wildfire.

Nys Glover, author of The Airluds Trilogy, explained RH in the best way I’ve seen yet: “Men have had their harem fantasies forever. I think women have finally given themselves permission to entertain such fantasies, too. But unlike the male fantasy, a woman’s fantasy isn’t so much about sex as it is about romance. It’s the idea of being loved and cherished by more than one man, and protected and supported, too. The steamier end of the market covers the hot sex that’s possible, but it’s not necessary. There are a lot of YA reverse-harem books that contain no sex. In a way it’s like taking popularity to the next level.”

Generally, I am not an early adopter of anything. I tend to be the type who likes to wait and see if something is going to “take” before I go all in. Well, now that I’ve seen that RH is likely here to stay, I’ve been reading some of the stories to see if this genre might be a good fit for me to write (the jury is still out on this, by the way, but you’ll be the first to know if I decide to wade into the waters of RH). My reading taste in Reverse Harem has been primarily the paranormal lane. I find I can suspend disbelief easier if there’s a paranormal slant to the books. There is now a very robust community of authors and readers in the RH genre, and there are sub-genres in the main genre. Who knew? So, if you’re interested in testing the waters reading-wise, I have some recommendations for you.

 

 

The Best Reverse Harem Series’ I’ve Read Lately!

One of the first Reverse Harem series I read was Curse of The Gods by Jaymin Eve and Jane Washington (Trickery, Persuasion, Seduction and Strength). These novels have a fair amount of world building you have to slog through, and Willa Knight, the main character has quite an inferiority complex, partly due to the lot in life to which she was born, and partly due to the people around her. Although she is likely the clumsiest woman ever born in her home of Minastol. When a mix-up of epic proportions lands her in Blesswood, where Sols (Gods in training) reside, she is forced to keep up the ruse, or die. When she is tasked to serve the Abcurse brothers, her tenuous position in Blesswood becomes even more of a challenge. If you’re a fan of God mythology with a twist, you might find Curse of The Gods to your liking.

 

 

Tate James’ Kit Davenport Series was my next foray into Reverse Harems. This series has a total of five books currently, so no need to feel like you’re dangling on a cliffhanger anytime soon (The Vixen’s Lead, The Dragon’s Wing, The Tiger’s Ambush, The Viper’s Nest, and The Crow’s Murder). Heroine Kit Davenport is a world-renowned thief only known by her secret identity, the fox. She is clever, cunning, and has abilities she’s trying to master, but is so busy evading her captors, she’s unable to wield them well. Her driving force is vengeance against those who’ve wronged her, but as she gets closer to that goal, she picks up a group of allies who give her something she’s never had before: acceptance and love. Each book takes her on a different journey to discovering the truth. Tate James is a master at divulging just enough to keep you reading from one book to the next. Once you read the stunning climax, though, you’ll be thoroughly satisfied with the outcome.

 

 

My good friend, Angel Lawson, has made Reverse Harem her writing niche in recent months, and I’ve read all of her Raven Queen’s Harem Series (Raven’s Mark, Ebony Rising, Black Magic, Obsidian Fire, Onyx Eclipse and Midnight’s End). All six books are complete, so no need to wait on any followup. Morgan, an aspiring author, receives a scholarship to NYU graduate school, where she is set to realize her dream as a published author writing books about some events from her childhood. Unbeknownst to her, these events may just be more real than she could ever have imagined. Her housemates in her scholarship program just happen to be five of the hottest artists she’s ever met: Sam the photographer, Damien the welder, Bunny the painter, Clinton the musician, and Dylan the historian. Her destiny may rest upon seeking their assistance.

Another RH series by Angel Lawson are The Supers of Project 12. As a lover of all things Marvel and DC, I absolutely adore this series, because I’m a comic book nerd from the old days. If you love Stan Lee’s offerings as much as I do, I’m sure you’ll love The Supers, too. Astrid, the heroine, is the product of a state run group home, where she remembers fantastical things that happened for her and some of the other members of the home. In early adulthood, by day she is helping her guardian and mentor to run a program to train young people who desire to work for the government as operatives. By night, she is a super hero who rids their town of bad guys, until things go awry and she’s thrust into a leading role, and her past meets her present in surprising ways. Some welcome and sexy, and others unwelcome and threatening. Astrid builds a team of loyal allies whom she may have to enlist to take down one or more of their own. Lots of kick-ass action and a sexy reverse-harem take on the super heroes trope.

As a woman of color, I had to find some of these with heroines that look like me, so if you’re also a woman of color and would like to see some heroines of color in this genre, you might want to check out Ripley Prosperina’s The Searchers Series, beginning with Finding Honor. The reading order for the series is Finding Honor, Finding Nora, Finding Valor, and Finding Truth. Nora Leslie, the heroine in this series gets caught up in a tragedy which could be ripped form the headlines of today’s news. The substitute teacher is first regaled as a hero for saving the lives of her students, but then she is linked to a troubled young man who was likewise a ward of the state as she once was, and quickly becomes a suspect. Her introduction to law student, Ryan Valore, and his roommates may just help her find the redemption and love she seeks.

 

Another Series starring a heroine of color is the An Obscure Magic Series by Viola Grace. The first three books in the series, One Part Human, Two Parts Demon, Three Parts Fey, follow heroine, Beneficia (Benny) Ganger, who gets more than she bargains for when she’s subjected to a ride-along with three agents of the XIA, the eXtranormal Investigation Agency (who also happen to be a vampire, a shifter, and a fey). But Benny may be harboring secret abilities of her own, the likes of which the XIA haven’t seen. The world building in this intrigued me and I just had to figure out what was going on. I think you’ll be likewise roped in. While this series has additional books, they are not featuring Benny, so I haven’t read them yet, but I’m sure Ms. Viola Grace has put just as much skill into the later books that she did in the first three.

Mark my words! You will be absolutely thrilled, positively entertained, and extremely turned on by all of these enthralling books!

  

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” – Stephen King