Another small publisher closing, what’s going on?

News came down recently that Samhain Publishing will be closiClosedng down. I don’t know the circumstances behind their decision, but they are certainly not the first small to mid-sized publisher to shut down in the past year. Most blame Amazon, and the self-publishing boom that we’re currently seeing.

So the question becomes, how can these publishers stop their authors from leaving them in favor of self publishing?

I have a theory. Continue reading

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How many wases could a writer weed if a writer could weed was by Brandy Ayers

How do you pluralize the word ‘was’? Wases? Wasses? Was’s? Wassssss? I don’t know. However you do it, I effing hate that word at this point. How could one hate such and innocuous word as ‘was’ you ask? Continue reading

It’s all about you!

One question a lot of writers get is, “do you base your characters off real people?” Or, “who am I in your book?” It gets old after a while, as if we’re not creative enough to come up with realistic characters without stealing all our friends’ personality traits.

But here is the thing, if you are important to me, then yeah, there might be some Easter eggs hidden in there someplace that you would recognize.

The only character I have based directly off someone in my real life is my BFF, and I asked her before hand if she cared. So the BFF in my novel The Arrangement may seem very familiar to her (and to some extent her boyfriend in the book is reminiscent of her real life husband, because I think they are a super cute couple).

But besides that one very obvious example, there are lot of smaller ways I try and honor people I love in my writing. Examples?

Well, I gave my dad a little shout out in my newest work in progress, Standby. There’s a scene where the main character, Mira, is getting a performance review from her boss, Michelle. At one point Michelle says “Step up, throw some elbows, get your hands dirty.” That is an almost direct quote from the pep-talk my Dad would give me before every basketball game I played in middle school. He usually gave me this little speech right after ripping a book out of my hand and tossing it in the back seat, telling me to get my head in the game. Picture a cross between Jerry Garcia and Santa Clause (only nicer) doing that and you get the picture. Granted, the likelihood that my dad is going to read my erotic romance novel is slim to none. But still, the guy was a big influence on me and my love for reading, so it’s just nice to honor him even if he’ll never know it.

Another of my family members is recognized in Standby, my sister’s affectionate pet name for me as a child was butt-munch (I know, sweet isn’t it?) Well just so happens the main male character in the book has two brothers, one of whom uses the same nickname as my sister. I’m sure my other sister’s love for Star Trek will eventually find it’s way into a story, and Bon Jovi has gotten a mention or two in stories thanks to my brother’s status as their biggest fan.

Also, in almost every book/story I write there is a pivotal scene that takes place in a parking lot. Usually at night. Why? Because my darling husband proposed to me in a gravel parking lot, in the middle of the night, with no lights anywhere. That was one of the best moments of my life, and I like to immortalize it by making my characters’ first kiss or some other important event happen in a similar setting.

And of course, I like to sneak little pieces of me in every once in a while. Michelle’s love for The Princess Bride, mimosas, and really sweet coffee are all me. Mira’s penchant for stretching herself too thin and refusing help is me too, as is her love for Kenny Loggins (stop laughing).

But even though there may be elements of the people I love in my stories, in actuality these character kind of create themselves in my head. All I really have to do is put my fingers on the keyboard and they just start developing. At least when I’m lucky that’s how it happens.

Brandy Ayers
Smart, Sexy Stories to Make You Sweat
BrandyAyers.com
facebook.com/BrandyAyersAuthor
@BrandyWritesSex

See What’s Blooming at The Bowman’s Inn

In honor of the imminent release of The Bowman’s Inn anthology I would like to sit down with one of the delightful inn employees. But first, let’s give you a little peek into what to expect from this sweet and sexy collecticover 4 couple 3on of stories:

In the city of Anteros, you might find yourself at the Bowman’s Inn. You could be lonely, hurting, or lost more than you know. The bartender, Valentine Archer, will know just what you need. He not only looks like a Greek god, he used to be one. Cupid prefers to be called Val these days. But he still knows how to mend a broken heart.

Six authors have combined their talent to bring you a collection of tales with romance, mystery and maybe a little humor. The delightful short stories feature characters who own or operate the facilities of the Bowman’s Inn or are just passing through. Whatever the case, Cupid has a way to help each of them find what their hearts require. Mark your calendars. The Spring edition of the Bowman’s Inn Anthology is expected to be released in April 2015.

Now with that in mind, allow me to introduce Stacey Moore, one of the fine bartenders working along side Valentine Archer at The Bowman’s Inn.

Brandy Ayers: Hi Stacey, how are you today?

Stacey Moore: I’m pretty good Brandy, how are you doing? That trio of troublemakers from The Arrangement treating you any better?

BA: Ugh, don’t get me started on those three. They’re going to be the death of me. But enough about me, let’s talk about you! But none of that “what’s your favorite color?” BS. Let’s get straight to the point. What is your greatest regret?

SM: Jeez B, you aren’t taking it easy on me! That is really a hard one. I would love to say marrying that asshole of a man, if you can call him that, that I call an ex-husband. But I can’t regret marrying him, because without him I wouldn’t have our amazing daughters. I do regret giving up my career because he wanted me to stay home with the kids. It made it a lot harder to support my girls when he cut and run.

BA: That prick. Don’t worry, karma will catch up with his ass. Okay, let’s lighten the mood a little bit. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

SM: Now that’s easy! Perfect happiness is standing in my kitchen whipping up a batch of my killer cupcakes with my girls. Nothing better than hearing those two giggle while throwing powdered sugar everywhere.

BA: Come on, are yclaytonou really telling me perfect happiness isn’t something more along the lines of an earth shattering orgasm. Perhaps brought on by Clayton, that sexy as hell brewer that’s been coming into the bar lately?

SM: Haha. Well, that certainly wouldn’t be bad.

BA: My, my, Miss Moore are you blushing?

SM: Oh shut up Brandy! Next question.

BA: Uh huh. Okay, What is your current state of mind?

SM: Crazed. Between working strange hours at the Inn, spending time with my daughters, and trying to keep my head above water with all our bills and keeping the house standing, I barely have time to breath. And, yes, before you ask, I’m also incredibly sexually frustrated.

BA: Well since you brought it up, what is your favorite quality in a man? Personally I’m an ass gal. Nothing like a well formed gluteus maximus!

SM: Do you ever get your mind out of the gutter Brandy?

BA: Very rarely, what would be the fun in that?

SM: You’re crazy. Okay, favorite quality in a man, let me think… I’m going to say loyalty. Someone that is willing to stand by you no matter what. Be a rock for you, but at the same time won’t be afraid to lean on you when he needs you. Of course being funny and smart don’t hurt either.

BA: Don’t forget what he’s got in his pants!

SM: You have a filthy mind woman!

BA: I know, that’s why you love me!

SM: If you so say.

BA: Last question. What is your biggest fear.

SM: I think it’s a tie. First would be that I’m going to irreparably screw up the girls because of all this shit with their father, or I won’t be able to provide for them. Second is that I’ll grow old alone because I won’t ever find someone that I can trust again.

BA: Don’t worry Stacey. If there is one thing I know about Val and The Bowman’s Inn, it’s that he always knows exactly how to help. Thanks for talking with me sweetie! Give the kiddos a hug from their auntie Brandy.

Well that’s it for now. You can read more about Stacey and Clayton in “Strange Brew” look for it soon on Amazon! Have an orgasmic evening!

Brandy Ayers is a writer of erotic romance. Or romantic erotica, depending on how you look at it.

Find her:
http://www.BrandyAyers.com
Facebook: facebook.com/BrandyAyersAuthor
Twitter: @BrandyWritesSex
Pinterest: pinterest.com/brandyayersauth/

This Post Sucks!

I recently took part in the Women Read / Women Write conference in Pittsburgh. It was a great time and I learned a lot.

I took a couple seminars specifically targeted at writers, which were both incredibly illuminating. But I want to pick out just one thing a teacher said in those classes and talk about it.

Negativity.Downvote

Teri Coyne taught the class ‘Daring to Draft’ on getting through your first draft. At some point she asked one of my fellow students a question about her writing, I can’t remember the exact response anymore (hey, it was two weeks ago, give me a break!) but it was an answer that subtly put her own writing down. And Teri said something along the lines of “We’re ingrained to only put the negative out there.”

And she’s right! How many times have I told people when they hear I write “It’s no big deal, I’m not very good.” Or “It’s not good enough to get published, but I like doing it.”  It’s very similar to when I used to tell fat jokes about myself. If I’m the one making the jokes it won’t hurt as bad, right? Preemptively cut down your own work, and rejection from outside won’t be as bad.

On the same thread, those people that do say positive things about themselves and their work usually get a giant side eye. “Oh she thinks she’s so awesome, she actually says nice things about her work.”

But dammit, why shouldn’t we be kind to ourselves?! Writing is hard, and even attempting to put something creative out into the world is intimidating as hell. We should all be patting ourselves on the back for putting ourselves out there like that.

And yea, there will always be people who hate what you put out into the world. But you don’t need to be one of those people for yourself.

So I am issuing you a challenge. Next time someone asks you about your writing, try and say something positive. Don’t immediately put yourself down. I’m not saying you should run around and claim to be the next Ernest Hemingway, just try something along the lines of “Yea, I work really hard to be a good writer, and I’m proud of the work I do.”

Now was that so hard?

******

Brandy Ayers is a writer of erotic romance. Or romantic erotica, depending on how you look at it.

Find her:
http://www.BrandyAyers.com
Facebook: facebook.com/BrandyAyersAuthor
Twitter: @BrandyWritesSex
Pinterest: pinterest.com/brandyayersauth/

Thanks, but no thanks

I had a bunch of ideas for my blog post this week. First it was going to be about eeking out time to write between being a mommy and working a stressful full-time job. Then I was going to write something funny about euphemisms for private parts in romance novels.

Then my first rejection from a publisher came, and that’s all I could think about.

no-68481_640Back in December I submitted an excerpt from a short for consideration in an anthology. I was ecstatic a couple weeks ago when they asked to see the rest of the story. The refresh button on my email was getting a major workout as I waited for a response. Then I was disappointed this weekend when I got the email saying they were passing on the story.

I’m not ashamed to admit I indulged in a bit of wallowing. I’ve probably read the rejection email two dozen times. At least. It was short and sweet, so there really wasn’t much to analyze. It said they liked my main male character, but the story wasn’t what they were looking for. Good luck. Bye-bye.

Now I’m tasked with getting over it. Being a person that endlessly dwells over my mistakes, this isn’t the easiest task.

The first step was figuring out what I did wrong, and how I could improve for next time. Easier said than done since the rejection email didn’t give a lot of information. Simply that my story wasn’t right for them. Cue over analyzing a three sentence email and trying to read between the lines. They said they liked my male main character, Luke. Maybe I need to work on my female characters? They said the story as a whole wasn’t right, perhaps the pacing was too slow? The sex not hot enough? Too hot? The truth is I may never know. I have to deal with that uncertainty. I won’t be the first writer to be given a vague rejection, and I’m it won’t be the last I receive either. I archived the email for my own posterity and tried to forget about it.

That lasted five minutes.

Next I tried to look on the bright side of things. I hear from some fellow authors getting a personalized rejection is actually a good sign and doesn’t always happen. Heck some said they never got a response. So, yay! I got a response, and they mention my MMC by name, that shows they at least read part of it, that’s a start!

Sharing my rejection with my fellow writers was the best thing I could have done. I found that commiserating with friends who knew where I was coming from gave me a new perspective on the situation. This is part of the process of becoming a writer! Everyone has been there.

After deciding this was not a sign I’m a horrible writer and should give it up altogether, I tried looking for success after rejection stories. Back in my basketball days my Dad always reminded me, after spending another game on the bench, that Michael Jordan got cut from his high school team (turns out that isn’t true, but my Dad said it was, so it was). I typed into Google “famous authors rejected by publishers” and hundreds of articles popped up. I clicked on one from Buzzfeed (knower of all). Whoa, Robert M. Pirsig was rejected 121 times before getting Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance published. There’s a guy that knows how to take rejection and keep going. One publisher told JK Rowling not to quit her day job. And it turns out Beatrix Potter self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit after several rejections.
It appears those of us to get rejection letters are in good company. All was not lost. I’m not saying I’m on the same level as those authors, but if they can roll with the punches, so can I.
One article I read said to keep writing, don’t let the rejection get you down. But when I opened the document for my work in progress I got dismayed. All I saw were the problems with my story. I wasn’t ready to be optimistic yet.
Instead I pampered myself a little. I went shopping, bought a great new dress, and walked around sipping a latte. Then I came home and played with my toddler. Because there’s nothing that can boost your confidence like hanging out with someone who thinks you’re the greatest thing since Nutella.

The next night I was ready to work. I finished a new short for another anthology and made some serious headway with my novel.

I don’t know what will happen with the rejected story. The idea of expanding it into a novella and self-publishing is playing in the back of my mind. Or maybe I will stick it in a drawer for a while and decide later.

I do know the next time I get rejected, and there will be a next time, I’ll be okay. There’s a weird sense of accomplishment that comes with getting your hopes dashed and moving on with your head held high. Sure, for now I may be an unpublished author, but I stuck my neck out there. That’s saying something.

I swear, next time I’ll write about pocket rockets.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I‘m infamously indecisive. Just ask my husband. He dreads the “what should we have for dinner?” conversation. It usually goes something like this:

Me: I don’t know, what do you want?

Him: Whatever, what do you want?

Me: I’m easy, whatever.

Him: I know you’re easy, but what do you want to eat?

Me: Ha. Ha.

And around and around we go until we eventually settle on pizza or something equally boring.

So why on earth did someone with zero ability to make a simple choice start writing a romance novel with a love triangle at the heart of the story? Because I’m secretly a masochist?

And so it happened that 30,000 words into my first novel I had set up an impossible situation. 1 strong, beautiful woman. 2 hunky, sweet, awesome in the sack men. What’s a girl to do? No, not a three-some.

My main female character, Michelle and I spend hours drinking wine, agonizing over this quandary. True, Michelle is a fictional character of my own making. That doesn’t mean I can’t share a drink with her.

First there is Russ: A tall, strong, rugged man with a long history with Michelle. They dated in college, circumstances drove them apart. Years later they started a friends with benefits relationship. Now, he wants more, Michelle isn’t so sure.

Then there’s Jeremiah: He has elegant, angular features, brilliant green eyes. Smart, successful, and an amazing kisser. He seems to be everything Michelle could want in a man. There is a problem however, he’s her boss.

We go back and forth on a daily basis. It should be Russ, he has been there for Michelle for years. They have chemistry in spades. What he lacks in ambition he more than makes up for in caring and muscle.

But Michelle pops into my head. “Brandy!” she admonishes “a relationship with Russ could never work. There’s too much baggage weighing us down! Jeremiah is the obvious choice. He owns a business. Knows how to wine and dine a woman. Not to mention the body he’s spent hours sculpting in the gym.”

I try and explain to her that Jeremiah is her boss, it’s a conflict of interest. And we end up in a stalemate, both pouting in opposite corners of my brain. I really need to get this woman under control!

Letting her stew in her own juices, I turn to our men. They glare at each other across the scattered landscape of my brain.

“Okay boys, let’s rein it in and sit down to hash this out.” I scold them

Russ looks at me with those big hazel eyes “Tell pretty boy, he’s the one that horned in on my woman.”

“Your woman?” Jeremiah scoffs in disdain. “I’m pretty sure she’s her own woman. Caveman.”

(Michelle perks up, turning to me with a “See, I told you so in her eyes.”)

“Now, gentlemen, plead your case. Why should we pick you?” I clasp my hands in front of me and turn to Russ first.

“Come on Brandy, no one knows our girl better than me! I know every sexy curve of her body, I know how to meet her needs and then some.” He licks his plump bottom lip and Michelle and I shiver in unison. “She doesn’t need to resort to fantasies and daydreams when she’s with me.” He shoots an accusatory look at the man standing opposite him.

Jeremiah takes a threatening step towards him, but I return him to his corner with a well placed glare.

“Go on, Russ.”

“Sure, we have history. I did some stupid crap when we were in college. But we’re in our 30’s for God sake. I’ve changed, grown. She has just failed to see that. Yet.” He heaves a deep sigh and slumps against the wall. “She just needs to open her eyes.”

Michelle eyes him questioningly from her corner. “What haven’t I seen yet Russ?”

“Uh huh, you aren’t part of this discussion right now girlie.” My stern look shuts her mouth. For now. “And Jeremiah, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“Well, Brandy.” He puts on his best conference room voice. “Not only are Michelle and I compatible on an intellectual level, but we also have so much in common. We are both avid readers, share a fondness for body art, and we have similar ambitions for our future.”

“Ohhh, impressive.” Russ spits the comment at Jeremiah from across our little room.

“Hey, you had your chance buddy, let the man talk.” Maybe getting these two in the same room wasn’t such a good idea. “Anything else Jeremiah?”

“Yea, I may not know every curve of her body yet, but I am more than willing to learn. Making fantasies come true just so happens to be one of my talents.”

His smooth as caramel voice sends butterflies swarming in both our bellies.

Well, this has been no help at all. I send my creations back to their corners of my mind and search for my wine glass.

In the end, I know I’ll have to come to a decision. I keep hoping it will come out organically, without having to force a resolution.

For now I keep writing. I’m starting to get an inkling who Michelle’s main squeeze will be, but I hesitate to pull the trigger. Because making that decision means I’ll have to go back and make some changes. Those rewrites will make the not chosen one flawed, so it’s easier for readers to accept her decision.

But it physically pains me to have to do that to one of my perfect men. Maybe I will write another story for the loser down the line. Give him his happy ending too.

Maybe it’s strange that I get so personally attached to my characters. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you for taking this journey into my sometimes confused brain with me. Hopefully in a few months I’ll have a book finished, and more importantly, a decision made.