Teaser Tuesday: The Carrot In You

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The bus doors slammed shut behind them and the bus screeched off raising a hefty dust cloud.

Welcome!” The man greeted them. “I’m here to check all of you are accounted for and to escort you to our most holy retreat of… holy good times.” He had a thick mustache that was almost the same exact brown as his skin, and a flat comb-over. “My name is Hardeep Chander, but you can just call me Hardeep,” he smiled. Dan was lost in his huge brown eyes and the thick lashes shadowing them.

Har-… hardy?” Dan tried. He looked at Skye.

Skye glanced back and shrugged. “Hawrdey?”

“… Or Andy,” Hardeep smiled. His eyes looked resigned.

The Carrot In You coming out this week! Finally! And I got something short and terrible as a freebie this week too! Stay tuned!

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Scenes From A Hat

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This is a short random segment of scenes lying around on my desk that may or may not ever blossom into fully formed stories on their own (most likely won’t).

“Crystalline Maze was giddy with excitement. Her first big interview job, after being just hired at TIME-magazine last week at the tender age of 19! And she got to interview the biggest of the big bigshots in nondescript business: Blazer Blane, the multimillionaire playboy with the secret past. The man with more Bentleys than shoes (at least two). The man all women wanted to be seen with because of his massive… fortune. Crystalline closed her eyes and imagined Mr. Blane’s massive… fortune. Her inner goddess snorted.

‘You know, you can’t keep measuring men’s worth by the size of their… fortune,’ it said.
Crystalline waved her hand dismissively.

‘Don’t you dismiss me, missy!’ her inner goddess barked indignantly. ‘You don’t know this guy! You don’t know anything about him except he has a huge… fortune. He could be a total scrotefaced turdgobler!’

Crystalline gasped and covered her mouth in horror. Her inner goddess was a potty-mouth.

‘That’s right. I said it. Whatcha gonna do about it?’ her inner goddess snapped her fingers.

Crystalline covered her ears and started singing loudly.

The office door opened.

Blazer Blane was staring down at her.

Crystalline gasped.

He was perfect. His eyes were dark and mysterious, with long lashes framing them like a dark pine forest. He had a strong jaw that was covered in manly stubble that Crystalline could feel scraping her skin from two feet away. His abs were popping through the flimsy yet neat dress shirt and Crystalline could clearly see the outlines of his erect nipples.

‘Ms. Maze?’ he asked. His voice was creamy gooey chocolatey goodness dripping from his lips. Crystalline wiped spit from her chin.

‘Durrr,’ she giggled and rolled her eyes to break the undeniable sexual tension. She accidentally on purpose checked out his… fortune. It was huge. She was still covering her ears with her hands.

‘Won’t you come in? I’ve been expecting you,’ he continued, opening the door wide and stepping aside. His office was also huge.

He took Crystalline by the hand and escorted her to the table. She could hear her inner goddess’s muffled protests at the back of her mind.

‘Would you like something to drink?’ Mr. Blane asked.

‘Oh, you know me,’ Crystalline blurted out.

‘No, actually, I don’t. This is the first time we’ve met. Which is a shame.’ He stepped closer.

Crystalline could feel his rippling pectorals radiating heat through the flimsy shirt. Her own boobies were like slowly inflating airbags drawn to his heat. Her mouth cracked open.

‘You can call me Blazer,’ he whispered.

‘Oh,’ she gasped.

His… fortune was inching closer to her thigh and she could already feel the outline sharply poking at her.

‘Oh no you don’t! You don’t even know this guy!’ her inner goddess piped up. ‘We just walked into his office and dude’s poking your thigh with his turkey baster? What’s wrong with him?!’

His inner god didn’t care. It was sitting in a very comfy chair calmly pulling at its left testicle.

‘Hello! HELLOOOO!! What exactly do you think you’re doing with this young girl?’ her inner goddess shouted at his inner god.

‘Hmm.. what?’ it lifted a lazy eyebrow.

‘I said what exactly do you think you’re doing letting your flesh prison run rampant taking advantage of innocent young women who don’t know not to make personality judgments on people based on penis size? Hu?!’

‘Lol,’ it said. ‘Send nudes.’

Crystalline’s inner goddess blinked.

‘No.’ it said in that terrible tone your mother uses when she says your entire name from first name through the middle names and the family name, slowly and surely, enunciating every syllable with painful clarity. When you know you’re in deep doodoo.

-The Moist Fire, a terrible romance novel parody

“They eyed each other under the moonlight. Their skin rippling from deep pinks to blues and cascading into bumps that stretched out to arching necks. The beaks touched gently as they circled each other, claws landing quietly on the moss and feathers stretching out to catch the moon. Katie ruffled her wings in a sign of dominance. Her tail feathers cut an impressive fan against the night sky. Cherry swooned. Her beady turkey eyes rolled back as she let out a submissive gobble. Her wattle shivered with excitement, the minuscule feathers on her it standing erect. The night dew was still around them, enveloping them in a mist of anticipation, beads condensing on their snoods and lashes.

Katie cocked her head to the side. The moonlight made her eyes seem like endless pools. Cherry was drowning in them. Katie took a step forward and spread her mighty wings to embrace her lover.”

-Unnamed FF turkey-shifter romance

“Mr. Darcy shook with excitement as he was handed a caramel chocolate digestive. They were his favorite.”

Pride And Prejudice parody, on hold indefinitely

Teaser Tues-..Thursday: cover reveal!

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Tuesday is going to be Thursday this week. Because it’s Christmas! And a bunch of other holidays! Rejoice ye readers of books and things. It’s the official holiday of staying at home and burying yourself in books. Yes. For a cover reveal we got a cover for a werewolf/wolf shifter whatsit coming up later. Long hair and things that almost look like wolves. But not quite because that would be bestiality. And I made a Santa to wish you happy holidays. Enjoy whatever you’re celebrating!

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Self publishing vs Vanity publishing

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Self publishing and vanity publishing are not entirely the same these days… well, not according to everyone. If you listen to your uncle Bob who knows everything about everything and definitely knows everything about books despite never having written one, self publishing and vanity presses are all for “stroking yer delicate damn ego cuz you can’t hack it in the Real World (TM) of publishing!”. Sigh. Really need to stop talking whenever uncle Bob is around….

So let’s break this down a little. A vanity press/publisher takes on small runs of books to publish. They may offer a package deal on 1000-2000 copies that would include cover design, but most vanity publishers have a set price for the run and then they want you to buy editing and cover design and publicity at an extra charge from them. You will pay out of pocket for the books that you’ll eventually receive and then have to work your butt off to contact sellers and hawk your wares because the money you just invested (and it’s not going to be a small amount) is now sitting in your living room/garage as physical copies of the book. There are publishers who do this with digital books as well. Point is: YOU pay, you pay a lot, there’s little to no marketing done by the publisher on your work and sellers are reluctant to stock items printed through these publishers because they’re perceived as “of lesser quality”. The out of pocket costs for a few boxes of books in this case can be in the tens of thousands. The product here is not the book. Vanity presses don’t make money selling books to readers, they make money selling publishing services to authors. This whole practice started in 1959-60 when a few publishers started offering to publish poems in anthologies for a fee from the author. You’d pay to get your poetry included. Vanity presses, the worst ones, continue soliciting would-be authors with letters of flattery and taking out ads that say “XYZ Publisher is looking for books!”. God I hope that’s not an actual publishing house… Y’all, that’s an example, so any similarities to an existing publishing house is purely coincidental!

Self publishing through Amazon/Createspace/Lulu/B&N/Kobo etc. print on demand services is a bit different, as your initial, required, monetary investment is very small. Usually about as much as you’d pay for a single paperback book, sometimes even less, and this goes down to you needing to order a proof copy from them. The marketing platform is already there but there’s still little to no marketing on the service provider’s end and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd so you can and should do marketing yourself. BUT you’re not treated differently by the publisher for not wanting to buy editing or cover design services from them as you might get with a straight up vanity publisher. You also wont have most of your money tied up in stock. Createspace, for example, has options for making your book available through Amazon and B&N as well as their own website. That’s already 3 platforms as opposed to 1 or none. Your book exists in a digital form with the publisher and physical copies are made when orders are received, hence the moniker Print On Demand. They make their money by selling your book as well as selling publishing services to authors.

You can also go “full” indie by simply contacting a printer and dealing with them directly to get your book made. Now that’s hardcore self publishing. You find a good printer and you might get good deals for making book related merch as well since, ya know, they print stuff. Books aren’t their sole bread and butter nor are authors their sole client group.

Ok, so why does uncle Bob and a whole host of other people say all self publishing is vanity publishing? It’s not entirely unjustified conflation, but really depends on how you view the extent of the publishing process and not just how you view the author. First “vanity publishing” as a term clearly states what the person flinging it, and uncle Bob, think of the person who takes that route: you think your writing is too good and pure to be touched by dirty, old strangers and whatever you have to say has to be heard by everyone. DO NOT EDIT MY PRECIOUS BOOK, IT IS PERFECT!

The reality is that a lot of smart self publishers do employ someone to edit their work and take on their suggestions, not just the proofreading. If they have the money to spare. Seriously, a lot of the time when you wonder how such a misjudgment of creativity was ever put on sale, it’s not because the author didn’t want to put their best foot forward in a creative sense, it’s because there were limitations like, say, money. Or experience. Or time and place. Take your pick. They also look for beta readers (people who don’t edit but represent your average potential reader) to give input on the book. That’s an awful lot of trouble to go through for a quick ego wank.

That’s not to say that there aren’t those special snowflakes who take pride in never having shown their work to anyone for a second opinion before unleashing it to the world. But writing and publishing aren’t a matter of agreeable personality. Authors, like plumbers and politicians, come in all shapes and sizes.

Another point is that while there are bunches and bunches of publishing houses in the world, enough that you could safely say that there’s a home for all kinds of material, traditional publishers are there to make a profit from selling books, so they can be reluctant to take chances on unconventional material. There’s that story about some YA author who got rejected 12 times… can’t remember her name now… I’m sure it’ll come back to me at some point. And that other author, well a few of them, who is often cited as having written like, really really badly. Like absolute shite. And yet they got published and got really wealthy from it. Point is, it’s obviously misguided to assume that going through the extensive editing of an “official” publishing house would guarantee a good, high minded book. So at this point, you gotta ask yourself: what exactly, would be wrong in just self-publishing?
Nothing mate, on a conceptual level, not a damn thing. In fact, it might be more apt, when talking about self publishing and vanity publishing (because you CAN reasonably say that all self publishing is vanity publishing in the sense that people want their special story to get out into the world, unlike traditionally published people who do it for altruism. Wait,  what?) to instead talk about self publishing and predatory vanity presses like dem eggheads in academia already do. They call those papers who charge budding academics for publishing their articles predatory open access publishers. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to just make a book and not sit through the very long process of getting published traditionally. People like books. People like stories! If you want to and can afford waiting it out and going through the traditional publishing route to get a home for your books and a nice deal that guarantees you a home for future books, that’s just nifty too. Both routes are equally part of the real publishing world.
Traditional publishing can guarantee you, at least for a certain amount of time, a professional editor, cover design, marketing and distribution. Maybe even a steady paycheck, it really depends on how you play things, how your publisher fairs and how long your book remains in print. That’s a whole lot of good things that you don’t have to worry about and the lump sum of the advance is nice too. The main differences between self publishing and traditional publishing these days, is the amount of creative control you’ll have and how much work you have to put into it to get that money. Because unlike in years gone by, thanks to digital publishing you can actually make a living self publishing, it’s just going to take an exponential amount of work. So uncle Bob with his ego stroking theories can just sit down cuz his ideas of what constitutes a proper job and what’s fiddling with pretty paperweights to give out on Christmas is going the way of the dodo. Self publishing, for profit, is hard work just like working independently in any creative field. To get financially stable (-ish), you can’t really afford much of that vanity.