Sunday, March 27, 2016

Retirement W5 rundown #RB4U #RomFantasy #MFRWauthor

A few days ago I announced that I was retiring from writing and publishing. It wasn’t done for effect, or attention. It was a simple statement of intent on my part. Since that announcement, a surprising number of people have asked me why I’d give up a lifelong dream when I’ve achieved a decent success. Ironically, I don’t see success, I see a lot of work for little return over the past eleven years. People define their successes in ways as unique as they themselves are, so it’s all a relative question. I decided I’d try to answer some of the questions I’ve been asked by going back to my journalism and approaching this from the W5 perspective. With that in mind, it occurred to me only one of those Ws really mattered at this stage, the why part of the equation. Still, let’s do it right…

Who: That would be me, obviously.
What: Retiring from the dream of a lifetime job.
When: Effective almost immediately – I have two contracted stories waiting for final edits and release dates, and one more pending…
Where: Anywhere books are sold, social media, websites, etc.

And the big one, the really complex angle, the WHY of it all: I’m sure a lot of readers have seen blogs and announcements like this in recent years, and everyone has their reasons for setting aside the goals and dreams of a lifetime. I can only tell you why it’s come to this point for me.

I’ve spent eleven years building a network that includes some of the most talented and wonderful authors in the business, and fabulous readers and friends. It’s been the joy in a business that has grown increasingly difficult over the past decade. We all do this for different reasons, I’ve discovered. Most start out because they love the writing, the crafting of words into worlds and relationships that enchant readers and make them want to read more. I’ve been passionate about the written word for as long as I can remember, my house is overflowing with books and always has been that way. Sometimes to the dismay of people around me.

When I started writing it was magical, and so rewarding to me. I wrote fan fiction for almost twenty years, and there was no monetary return, only the appreciation of the people who read the stories, enjoyed them, and sometimes wrote to me to tell me I’d made them smile. I loved it. It was enough. But it fuelled a desire to do this professionally, to make it a career, and to be successful at it. In 2004, I got my chance to begin a new journey, as a professional author. I was beyond thrilled…and still marvel at the chance/luck that opened this business to me.

I’ll skip the rehash of the journey and cut to the chase for a change. (I’ve been told often I’m too wordy, and I know it’s true.) I’ve watched as the publishing business has mutated, shifted, struggled, and hit amazing highs, and equally amazing lows. I’ve seen quality disintegrate, rebound, and while it’s wobbly at the moment, I do believe we’re moving back to a place where good books are being offered to a public that is as jaded and discouraged as many authors are most days. The optimist in me likes to believe that trend will continue now that it’s begun.

Let me tell you some of the negatives that led to my believing there is really no place for me in this business. First, let’s talk about money, because when you look at a career, you expect to get paid for your work. In the past five years alone I’ve made less than a thousand dollars–on titles that add up to several dozen books. Piracy has cost me upwards of $10,000, and that’s on the sites that are bold enough to actually give a download count on the pages where my books are being given away free of charge. I can only guess at how much more it is when I factor in sites I don’t even know about. I’ve seen/heard a lot of arguments about piracy helping to get your name out to the public, even seen authors who think it’s something to crow over because it means they’re important enough to be pirated. I call it what it is, theft. Some people say these are not the people who’d buy your book anyway, and that could be true, but it doesn’t negate the stolen payment for the years of work put into this career. So, money is huge, especially when you know thieves are the ones collecting on your hard work.

Then there’s the search to find a niche in the market, an audience that is loyal to you and supports you. I have a tracked network of over 12 million via my social sites and websites, much as it amazes me. In spite of that, I can’t find a readership when new books come out. I gave up writing erotic romance, it’s a genre I don’t feel comfortable in anyway. I took time out, spent the past couple of years relearning writing craft. I felt confident and hopeful about starting over. That died quickly when my last novel was rejected for reasons that have little to do with my skill as a writer, and a lot to do with track records, readership–or lack thereof–and even a failure to have become less diverse over the years. To say that I’m discouraged is a monumental understatement.

In my heart, I want to write, to create beautiful, romantic stories that will touch the hearts of those who do read the books… by the same token, I struggle daily with the question of whether or not it’s worth the time and energy, and caring, that goes into this for me. I’m the only one who can answer that one, of course, and maybe it’ll be clear one day soon. The one driving force in all my writing was the pleasure others took in the stories, and when they were excited about what I was creating, I worked that much harder and drove myself to write the best story I could possibly dream up. I’ve even been spared the harsh reviews that most writers have to suffer, and say with complete honesty that about 90% of all my reviews are positive. That doesn’t excuse the ignorance that social media and the internet has bred with such abandon, and what I read in reviews makes me shake my head at times…

In the meantime, the question remains for me–is it time to retire? Will anyone give a damn if I never publish another word? I will…this is the one and only thing I wanted to do with my life, and until recently I believed with all I am that I could make a success of it… all I have at the moment are uncertainties, and confusion. And doubts… so many, many doubts…

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Together, Again - New from @CharJGordon #RB4U #MFRWauthor #RomFantasy

Together, Again 
by Charmaine Gordon 
Now Available in All Ebook Editions! 

A wealthy couple, no children in sight, answer the door one day to find a replica of the woman living there, titian hair and all. Charlie is her name and so begins the story. Years later, Charlie’s young twin sisters, now seventeen, are rescued by the same couple with a big heart. It’s a tale of love and hearts that keep on giving. 

If you're seeking a story with love in all the right places, this is the book for you, the final closure to Charlie Costigan's secret. And where did this story come from, you might ask? The answer is this author sleep writes. Yes she does. I can vouch for her since she is me. I dreamed of a young girl in a state I've never been to , Minnesota. The girl is in trouble and so it began. In the morning, computer warmed and I wrote Reconstructing Charlie. My batch of kids were grown. Who needed a fifteen year old fictional kid to worry about but worry I did, a glutton for trouble. I cried, laughed, eventually finished the book, wrote two more sequels yet knew the story was incomplete without the twins. 

So here they are, with titian hair, athletic and brilliant, rescued after their wicked witch of a mother had dumped them like garbage in a religious school ten years before. The kindest aunt and uncle in the world come to rescue them to begin a new life but first they must know what happened the night their older sister ran away. 


Lights out and for the next to last time, the twin sisters whispered to each other in the cramped room shared for many years. 

“Do you remember her?” 

Celia rolled on her side to face Carey; “Vaguely, like a bad dream, the long trip from Minnesota to Utah with Mother hanging all over that guy, what’s his name?” 

“Max Calhoun who wouldn’t stop long enough for us to eat or use the bathroom so when he needed gas, Jimmy snuck us out for food and the toilet.” 

“He’s the best brother ever and to think he was only twelve back then.” 

“We were just about seven years old. We grew up fast, Sis.” They reached across the small space separating their single beds and touched fingertips. 

“She’s a bitch to have abandoned us, Carey. Never forget or forgive her.” 

“The wicked witch of the West.” They giggled. 

“If we ever have kids, we’ll take the best care of them.” 

“Celia, do you remember why Charlie left?” 

Carey shook her head, the beautiful mane of long auburn hair flowed around her shoulders. “All I remember is suddenly Dad’s dead, Charlie, our big sister, was gone and we were stuffed in Max Calhoun’s car.” 

“I smell something fishy, Sis.” 

“Me, too.” 

“Just think, we’ll be gone from here living a whole new life with people who care for us.” Again they giggled. Their motto over the years was to laugh instead of cry. “Then we’ll find out what happened when we were seven." 

If anyone is interest in who the author is, just ask me. An actor for many years in NYC on stage, daytime drama, and movies, suddenly I lost my lovely voice to spasmodic dysphonia. The end of the Sweet Time. A friend encouraged me to write. I didn't know how but after many scripts read through the years, also being in contact with Mick Nichols, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, and many more, I had an idea. To Be Continued was born. Vanilla Heart offered a contract and we've been together more than six years. 

Contact me on Twitter CharJGordon 

Together, Again 
Now Available in All Ebook Editions!

Kindle/AmazonApple * Kobo * Inktera * Nook *

SMASHWORDS for ALL Ereading Devices
including Nook, iPad, Kindle, and More!

Coming Soon in French and Spanish editions!

Friday, March 04, 2016

#FreeRead Battle of the Undead: Prequel - Traitors Gate by Nicky Peacock @EvernightTeen @nickyp_author

Battle of the Undead: prequel 

Only time will tell who the traitors really are…

Sixteen-year-old Lucinda is getting the home-coming from hell. England is in the grip of the War of the Roses and her tyrant father has promised her hand to a vile man three times her age. In need of aid, she seeks sanctuary with an old childhood friend only to find him accused of treachery and harboring a supernatural secret. All too soon Lucinda is caught in a fight that’s not her own but, to be with the man she loves, she’ll gladly take up arms. 

When you stand at Traitors’ Gate, keep the vampires close, and the zombies as far away as possible!
14+ due to violence and adult situations

Bad Blood (Battle of the Undead, 1)  
Battle of the Undead, 1 “I am Britannia. I am your protector. I will fend off the hungry hordes of undead hands that reach toward you. I am your steadfast defender. I will stand between you and the zombie masses as they try to taste your flesh. I am strong, unyielding, and dedicated to your survival. All I ask from you… is your blood.” A 500 year bloody game of vengeance will need to be put on hold if vampires are to survive the zombie uprising. Bitter enemies, Britannia and Nicholas must work together to save un-infected humans, delivering them to a stronghold in Scotland. Unable to drink the zombie blood, vampires need humans to stay alive. But will they tell the survivors who they are, and what they want from them? Will Britannia be able to hold back her vengeance? Is survivor Josh the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love? And can she bring herself to deliver him to the safe hold? Survival instincts run deep, but bad blood can run deeper. 14+ for violence and adult situations

Bad Timing (Battle of the Undead, 2) 
Battle of the Undead, 2 “You know now that monsters are real. Whether they have recently risen to reach for your flesh, or have chosen now to step from the shadows; you are surrounded by them. You also know that I am one too, but I’m all you’ve got and time is running out…” There’s no rest for the wicked, especially in a zombie apocalypse. Britannia has used every vampire skill at her disposal to keep those she cares for safe, but with old enemies and unseen adversaries moving against her, she will have to push herself to both her physical and ethical limits to survive. Britannia is changing, but will it be for the better?  14+ due to violence and adult situations Please note this is the second book in a series that should be read in order.
I rush into the dining room like the wind on a stormy night, gaining a withering look from Mistress. Black who is seated at the table along with my father and a strange man.
“And this is Lucinda,” my father says pointing at me. The man next to him gets up and smiles at me. He bows slightly and takes my hand in a sweaty grip. He drags his moist lips over my palm in what I assume is a romantic gesture. I look over at father, who doesn’t seem to care. 
“This is Lord Appleby. He has a large estate in Dorset.”
“Dorset? My, that’s quite some way away.” I try to smile at him, but fail miserably.
“Yes, you’ll love it there.” Lord Appleby sits back down to the right of my father and Ms. Black physically moves me to the seat across from him. 
Lord Appleby is painfully thin with almost black eyes and a complexion like a cooked frog. I imagine him putting his arms around me, and I shiver; it would be like being enclosed by a sallow fleshy girdle.
The dinner slowly marches through seven courses, every one of my favorites from Mistress. Leighton’s repertoire, but each plate is tainted by the obvious conclusion to my homecoming: my father has sold me and didn’t even have the decency to tell me beforehand. I’m to become Lady Lucinda Appleby, the sixteen year old wife to a forty year old man who eats with his mouth open and, as he’d gotten drunker through the evening, and has become more and more leery, regardless of Mistress. Black or my father’s presence.
The moment I finish chewing the last piece of the cheese and bread, I stand up.
“I’m tired from my journey, so I will bid you goodnight, father, Lord Appleby, Ms. Black.” I nod to each of them and turn to leave.
“Wait,” my father says, “Lord Appleby would like a turn around the garden with you.”
I glance toward the window. It must be at least ten o’clock and is pitch black outside.
“Now?” I ask.
My father narrows his eyes at me.
“Oh please, yes. I so love a garden at night.” Lord Appleby jumps to his feet and moves to my side. He’s protecting me. Have I misjudged him? I take his arm and we head into the garden.
Outside, the chill of the night air pinches at my bare arms. I look at Lord Appleby in his lovely warm cloak, but he makes no move to offer it to me in any kind of gentlemanly gesture.   
“And these are the white roses,” I say. “My father planted them for my mother.” I linger at the small patch of buds that I remembered as being much bigger, fuller, and more fragrant. 
“Ah yes, we are all white roses here,” he says with an exaggerated wink. He’s referring to the House of York. A war has been raging for quite some time between the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster, each backing a different king for the throne of England. 
We make strained small talk for a while longer as we walk farther away from the lights of the house. Suddenly he stops and grabs my elbow, spinning me round so my body is flush against his.
“I do hope you are amenable to this arrangement, Lucinda,” he says.
I try to pull back, but he’s stronger than he looks and holds me firm. “Please let me go.”
I look up into his eyes and see a slight madness there, a malevolence that I hadn’t noticed before.
“Let me go!” I say again.
“Just a kiss,” he whispers and lowers his lips to mine.
I pull my head back so that he lands his kiss on my chest. I’m unsure as to whether that is worse than his mouth on mine. His grip on me tightens and he begins to slobber rough kisses over my collarbone, while his hand frantically pulls up my petticoats ripping into them as he does. I scream, but no one comes. I struggle and pull back as far as I can from him, falling halfway out his grasp. A wild look crosses his face and he raises up a hand and slaps my cheek. The blow makes me stagger backward, out of his clutches. He stares at me for a moment. I kick him in the crotch. He doubles over with a strained groan. I run.
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