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Author Spotlight: Kait Gamble

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When Kait Gamble emailed me her guest post, her excerpt was so hot I immediately pre-ordered Sins in the Sand, and several other books. At this point, I am such a fan of Kait’s that I can’t spotlight just one book.

In order of how I read them

Breaking Rossi's Rules

The first book I read by Kait was Breaking Rossi’s Rules, which features Anika, otherwise known as the Ice Princess (her family owns one of the biggest Jewelry Companies) and Luca, a billionaire with a mysterious past.

Anika is complex. Her “ice princess” façade is a coping mechanism. When Luca knocks on her hotel door, expecting someone else, they’re both intrigued. Her ice melts for Luca, and she believes that maybe they could have more than a weekend fling.

Luca inhabits the skin of a billionaire as if he were born to it. But he has a past that few know.

When they come together, Anika melts for him until she catches him doing something unforgiveable.

Anika and Luca have great banter and better chemistry, the locations are described well, and the pacing of the book flows well.

Sins in the Sand

The day that Sins in the Sand downloaded onto my kindle app (I pre-ordered) I started reading at 11 or midnight and didn’t finish until nearly sunrise. I have no regrets.

Kendra is a new employee of the Totally Five Star Dubai hotel. She’s getting used to the quirks of dealing with the highest of the high-end clientele, when the most extreme request she’s ever gotten comes directly from her boss. Kendra bears a striking resemblance to a reality star who was supposed to be appearing at a charity event that evening. Kiki has flaked, so Kendra is asked to stand in, and is assured that they have taken care of ensuring that the “winning bid” will be rigged.

What no one counted on was that competitive billionaires Dmitri and Nikos would shatter the highest rigged bid in an attempt to make this dinner date another contest between to the two of them. Kendra’s desire is ignited for both of them, and when one dinner date turns into a week of playing Kiki, Kendra knows she’s playing with fire.

Kait has written two different, yet equally melt your panties alpha men in Dimitri and Nikos to the point where as a reader I would’ve volunteered to take Kendra’s place. (j/k) The sex, as a threesome and individually with each of the men, was hot enough to live up to the promise.

The reader is taken along with Kendra on a whirlwind ride, and we empathize with her fear that her relationship with these men will shatter when they know the truth, and her confusion over falling for both men.

What happens when the truth comes out? I’m not telling. I will say that this is my favorite Kait Gamble book yet.

Fuel to the Fire

Jackie and Logan were insanely in love. Until they broke up.

When a friend’s wedding brings Jackie to St. Lucia where Logan is working/standing in for a missing groomsman they run into each other again.  The old chemistry is just as strong. Yet something is off–it’s obvious to the reader early on that something fishy went down with the break up as each blames the other. What really happened?

Lots of risky public sex and the rekindling of their romance bring Logan and Jackie to a moment where they need to talk about the past to have a future. That’s when the bride drops a little morsel that sends Jackie running away again.

Just who, or what broke them up?

The public sex is exciting, and Logan and Jackie’s connection pulls at the reader. You’re rooting for them to get together long before you understand why they broke up.

Cuffed

Cuffed is a short story about YouTube stars Scarlet and Jackson getting cuffed together as a publicity stunt staged by a third You-Tuber, Rex. Rex says he won’t uncuff them until they give him some good footage. Neither Scarlet or Jackson expected to enjoy being cuffed together as much as they did.

My only complaint is that I’d love to read more stories in this world.

Ignite Kait Gamble

The last story I’m going to review today is Ignite. This is the second in a series, but works well as a stand-alone as well.

Natalie and Sebastian have been friends since high school. As Sebastian has worked his way from pretty girls in high school to supermodels as an adult, Natalie has always been just his friend. They dress in the latest fashion, while she’s happiest at home in short and a t-shirt, as a computer programmer. When Sebastian has a business deal with a conservative couple, he asks Natalie to play his wife during a trip to Thailand.

Their act drops barriers that have existed for years. But when the trip is over, will Natalie be the latest in Sebastian’s string of conquests.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt the connection between Natalie and Sebastian, and I was rooting for them all the way. My only complaint, which is also a compliment, is that I wanted more.

 

 

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Call for Submissions—Positively Sexy (extended deadline!)

Coming Together: Positively Sexy is a collection of erotica focused on characters living and loving while STI-positive, edited by Annabeth Leong. Proceeds benefit the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, a sexuality education and training organization that works to reduce sexual shame, challenge misinformation, and advance the field of sexuality.

Submissions Close July 31, 2016 October 1, 2016

Submission Call
Ever notice that sex ed classes tend to focus on how to prevent STIs, but don’t say much about living with them and having a sex life after an STI diagnosis? Erotica, on the other hand, is often written as if STIs don’t exist at all.
For this anthology, I’m looking for short erotica and erotic romance about characters who have STIs.

I would like to see a range of experiences represented. Give me characters just opening themselves up to sexuality post-diagnosis, characters for whom disclosure and safer sex practices are a routine side note to whatever sexual fun they’re getting up to, characters who deal with STIs by fetishizing them (see bug chasing and gift giving), and more. I will be accepting stories with an eye toward representing many types of STIs and experiences with them. Stories must be fictional.

It’s a major priority for me to include stories about people of a variety of orientations, body types, races, genders, ages, abilities, etc. I’m very interested in stories that engage with stigmas around STIs, but I’m absolutely not interested in stories that perpetuate those stigmas. I’m interested in the realities of sexuality, and it is fine for characters to have backgrounds that include unsafe behavior/murky consent/etc. In the present of your story, however, I want to see characters who are responsible with themselves and their partners. Please use medically accurate information where relevant. Please don’t be preachy or shaming.

All sexualities and gender expressions are welcome. Kink is welcome. I prefer contemporary settings for this anthology. For historical settings or science fiction/fantasy, please query first.

Submission Guidelines
Stories between 3,000 and 7,500 words are preferred. I will consider shorter stories or stories as long as 10,000 words if I find them truly exceptional.
Coming Together contracts non-exclusive rights to publish, so previously published work is fine, as long as you own the rights to the work you submit. Stories over 5,000 words may be released individually through Coming Together as well, with the sales proceeds benefiting the CSPH.
Please use RTF, DOC, or DOCX format when submitting a manuscript. Include your legal name, pen name, and a working email address at the top of the document. Do not paste your story into the body of your message.

Please use Times New Roman font, size 12, and one-inch margins. Double-space paragraphs and set indentations to .3 – Do not use tabs or spaces to indent.

Please do not submit poetry or memoir.

Direct all submissions to positivelybook@outlook.com and CC submissions@the-erotic-cocktail.com.

Include “Coming Together Positively Sexy Submission” in the header of your e-mail. In your e-mail message, include a two-line blurb for your story (to help with promotion if your story is accepted), and a short biography, no more than 150 words, including your website/blog/social media links if applicable. Please also indicate if your story has been previously published.

Feel free to query if your submission is not acknowledged within 72 hours.

Coming Together is a non-profit organization, and all CT authors and editors have generously donated their talents to various causes. Compensation for inclusion in this work is a PDF contributor copy of the finished product and the satisfaction of knowing you are helping an amazing organization that is working to reduce sexual shame.

Signs that you’ve read the guidelines make me❤ you. Thanks so much for being interested in this anthology.

Questions? EMail: submissions@the-erotic-cocktail.com

Americans–Are you registered to vote?

Hi Americans,

I’m taking a one-day break from my usual content to ask you a really important question–Are you registered to vote? Registration deadlines are coming up, and remember, as (fictional) President Barlett said…

decisions

If you live in the US, you can find out the voter registration rules in your home state here.

Expats and military serving abroad should go here for voter registration help

 

We will return to our regularly scheduled smut shortly

Totally Bound/Pride Publishing are now on sale at WH Smith stores in the UK!

As a Totally Bound author, I’m so excited to announce that some Totally Bound and Pride Publishing titles will be on sale at WH Smith stores in the UK!

The first forty titles includes Darkening by Ashe Barker, who guest posted about her series on my blog. Congratulations!

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To celebrate the new partnership, WH Smith is running a content where you can win all forty titles! Click here to enter.

Misadventures in Marketing

Capturing the Moment has been on sales for just over two months now (three if you count the Totally Bound early downloads). Here are some of the promotional tools I’ve used and how they have/n’t worked. Opinions are purely based on my experiences, your mileage my vary.

 

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Bookmarks

Totally Bound provided me with the jpegs to make bookmarks and postcards. I thought (and still think) that the bookmark is the better promotional tool. It fits into my wallet, and I can hand it out like a business card. That said, ordering 500 was absurdly optimistic on my part.

Given that I live in Singapore, there aren’t romance conventions where I can pass them out as swag. I assume over time I’ll eventually pass them out, but I think next time I’d keep it to 100 bookmarks at most. Specific to Singapore as well is the problem that it is a conservative, uptight culture. People generally are uncomfortable/don’t know what to do with the idea of erotic romance.

Virtual Book Tour

Eight different friends/bloggers were kind enough to let me guest post about my book before health problems made me pause the tour. I think that touring can be very effective to connect with a new audience, and it presents the opportunity to give out some of the free copies that Totally Bound provides to its authors.

It can be difficult to come up with topics, so here are some of the ones I used

  • How my experiences in Siem Reap inspired my setting
  • What music influenced me when writing Capturing the Moment
  • I interviewed my main characters, one at a time
  • I talked about how my main characters resembled myself and my spouse
  • I talked about writing persons of color as a white author
  • I was interviewed by two friends

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Amazon Giveaways

I gave away fifteen copies of Capturing the Moment. There were several lessons I learned about giveaways

  • Pick a reasonable number of books to give away (I suggest five to ten)
  • If you’re picking a ratio 1:5 finished the giveaway in less than an hour. 1:50 meant that I only gave away a few over two weeks.   My suggestions is to give away at a rate of 1:15 or 1:20.
  • I thought that I was asking people to follow my author page, but it actually had them following my personal reviews. In the end I think it’s easier to give the books away without any condition.

I then tried the experiment of giving away 10 books, but with a 1:50 win rate. Over two weeks just under two hundred people had entered and only three books had been given away. I did a first-come, first-serve giveaway for the seven books that were left over.

I have not gotten even one review, positive or negative from these giveaways. I don’t have figures from Amazon that tell me how many people who didn’t win still bought my book.

 

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Facebook Ads

I tried no less than ten different times to buy a facebook ad. My ads were rejected because RJ’s chest violated nudity standards, that my amazon book page was for “adult” material, and that my blog was also objectionable. I’m told that some people have been able to get FB ads through, but that FB rejects ads from everywhere at a high rate. (A friend is an editor for a diabetes magazine and they’ve had roughly half of their ads rejected for reasons that include “needles are icky.”) I am of the opinion that after you get three or five rejections, just move on.

Self Promotion

  • I have brought up my book with links at the end of a lot of my blog posts
  • I have advertised it on my twitter feed (which friends then retweeted)
  • I have advertised it on my own posts on Facebook (which friends have reposted)

 

How successful was I? I don’t know yet, because I haven’t seen my first round of royalties. It’s also impossible for me to know how effective each tool was.

I hope that my suggestions are helpful if you’re new to the game (as I still am).

Experienced authors–what promotional tools have you used and found valuable?

Guest Post: The Challenge I Didn’t Expect by Annabeth Leong

Annabeth Leong and I have shared pages, but we’ve only just become friends. Annabeth came up with the brilliant idea that we exchange guest posts–I share my thoughts and  feelings about being a first time editor and share my current submissions call, and Annabeth write a post about her anthology and her evolution as an editor. After reading her post, I’m so thrilled to have Annabeth guest posting here today.

***

Delilah, thanks so much for hosting me here!

At the start of this year, to be honest, I was feeling burned out. After eight years of writing erotica, I wasn’t sure anymore if I had stories to tell that mattered in the world. So I took a step back, sat down with a notebook, and thought about things I’d done that did seem to matter.

 

MakerSex

 

Immediately, the forays I’d taken into editing stood out. The first anthology I edited, MakerSex: Erotic Stories of Hackers, Geeks, and DIY Projects, came out in March, but even though the book wasn’t yet available I already knew how important it felt to have discovered great stories I wanted everyone to read, to have helped the authors polish and improve them, and to have put together a book that was sexy, diverse, and well-written.

 

Between the Shores

 

I also spent a lot of time in late 2014 and early 2015 copy editing for The New Smut Project. Both of the books that project produced—Between the Shores: Erotica with Consent and Heart, Body, Soul: Erotica with Character—are filled with stories that humbled me, stories I felt honored to have touched in any way, stories that changed how I think about erotic connection to this day.

Next, I thought about how proud I’ve been to have contributed to the Coming Together series of charity anthologies. I’ve been in nine of them, including Among the Stars, Arm in Arm in Arm, and Keeping Warm. I don’t make much as an erotica writer, so it means a lot to me to be able to give to charity this way, when I might not be able to otherwise.

Finally, I thought about this question of stories that matter in the world. The stories I’ve written that I’ve loved best came from my own unique voice. They spoke to experiences I hadn’t read described in quite that way before, and when they resonated with readers, they seemed to do so because they addressed a void, made people feel they weren’t alone in something.

So if I wanted to do a project that I could feel excited about amidst my burnout, it felt like it ought to combine these elements—it should give me a chance to help other writers, it should be for a cause I believed in, and it should speak to an experience in which people too often feel alone.

Some time ago, I realized that I’ve never read a piece of erotica that includes a person who has an STI. If erotica acknowledges that STIs exist at all, it’s only in terms of their prevention. (Whenever I write this, I add that I would love to hear about positive counterexamples. Please feel free to email me!) That was what I learned in school, too—only prevention and warnings. But the truth is that’s not the world. People get STIs all the time, and getting an STI doesn’t forfeit a person’s right to a fun, fulfilling sex life.

I remember being diagnosed with HPV and genital warts—both of which are incredibly common in the U.S.—in my twenties and honestly thinking I could never have sex with anyone again. The shame was overwhelming. I’ve since had lovers who had other STIs, and I’ve seen them in various stages of overcoming shame, too.

 

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I got into erotica wanting to talk about subjects that had always been taboo, wanting to shine a light into places I’d felt shame, and where I thought others might, too. I came up with the idea for Coming Together: Positively Sexy, an anthology of stories including positive portrayals of characters with STIs, in this spirit. My hope is that the book will do good just by existing—that writing for it and reading it will heal shame. Beyond that, its proceeds will benefit the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, an organization that has helped to free me from so much of my own sexual shame, and that, among other work, educates people about STIs, including prevention, but also including enjoying sex responsibly after a diagnosis.

And since I put out the call for submissions, I’ve heard very, very often from people who want to read this book, who say they need to read it. I haven’t, however, gotten many story submissions.

I got into this project knowing this book would test my editing skills. I want to choose stories representing a wide variety of people and experiences, and to work with writers to help them realize their vision. I have an image of a book that includes a range from stories of people dealing with disclosing an STI to a new lover to people for whom it’s a quick, no-big-deal conversation before the sexy fun begins. I have experts at the CSPH available to consult with if needed, so I can be sure the book treats STIs in a medically accurate, non-shaming way.

What I didn’t realize was that this book is demanding a different kind of editing skill: convincing and encouraging nervous writers to try their hands at stories that feel risky to them. I have had many conversations with writers who say they don’t know anything about STIs and can’t write about them, only to tell me in the next breath that they’ve had or currently have an STI. I’ve had conversations with writers who say they can’t picture how a story could include mention of an STI and still be sexy. I’ve had conversations with writers who say they are far too worried about the possibility of getting something wrong. I’ve talked to writers who say they mostly submit stories they’ve already written, and they’ve never written a story that includes a character with an STI.

To me, this all speaks to the stigma around STIs, the very stigma that I’m hoping this book can question. I want to make a book that opens up a little space inside a dominant culture that often seems intent on shaming people, a book that offers up a vision that an STI doesn’t have to be the end of a person’s sex life, that it doesn’t have to be a big deal at all. I’m hoping to get some stories from writers who already know that because they’ve lived that experience, and I’m also hoping to get some stories from writers who are learning it through the writing they’re doing now.

I will confess that I’m not the greatest at promotion. I worry that I’m not up for the task ahead of me, and that I can’t edit the book I see a need for because I won’t get enough stories. I do want to say, though, that I am doing my best—that’s all a writer or editor can ever do. If you’re reading this, and you’re interested in writing a story, please give it a try. If you have questions, send me an email (positivelybook at outlook dot com). You can see the full call for submissions here, with all the information.

Thanks so much again to Delilah for hosting me, and thanks so much to you for reading.

Guest Post–An Interview with Tanith Lee

Today I welcome fellow Totally Bound author, Tanith Lee to my blog. Her new book Wish I’d Never Met You looks like such a great coming of age story. I can’t wait to read it.

 

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1–Hi Tanith! Tell us a little about you.

I’ve been writing erotic romance for about nine years, published for six, and I live in Yorkshire with my husband and two cats Dash and Spot. I’ve been published by Totally Bound, Naughty Nights Press and House of Erotica, and there’s nothing I love more than watching a horror film with a Mojito by my side.

2–Tell us about your journey from aspiring writer to published author.

I began my debut novel when I was 27 but was spurred on by the onset of my 30th birthday to get it finished. At the same time I was taking the Writers News course in fiction writing and had been connected to the RNA via my tutor, so I submitted my novel under the NWS. After receiving feedback and reworking it I submitted to several e-publishers and was accepted by Totally Bound, who I’ve been very happy with ever since!

3–Who has influenced you

I’ve been influenced by a number of people as my writing has progressed – Victoria Blisse (who introduced me to Smut By The Sea) and Gina Kincade (who invited me to submit to Naughty Nights Press) have been particularly influential and have broadened my horizons considerably. I also learned how to blog by working with Kallypso Masters on Red Lipstick Diaries. I would also have to give credit to my tutor Valerie Holmes and the Book Doctor Debi Alper who first advised me to re-brand my writing.

DashandSpot

4–Where do you usually write, and what’s your ideal writing space?

I do most of my prep work curled up on the sofa surrounded by cats, which is perfect for me as I can either glance up at the TV or stroke one of them whenever I get stuck. They also like to lie behind me when I’m on the computer in case I need a two-minute snuggle break.

5–Tell us about your current book.

Flick Lindenwood, fresh from college, has returned home to the suburban haven of Green Valley, back to society…and the source of her heartbreak. Four years ago Elodie Hamilton savagely broke her heart, and Flick has no intention of letting her pretty ex get back under her skin. As far as she’s concerned, she and Elodie never happened.

But Elodie has other ideas.

Afraid to come out, Elodie chose to destroy her relationship with Flick rather than let her family know who she was. But now she wants to right the wrong she did—if she can only find the nerve, and if she can convince Flick to see past the pain she caused.

6–What’s your next writing project(s)?

I’m working on a paranormal novella for Totally Bound and planning out a possible entry for a Sex in Space anthology.

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Excerpt

‘You know what I love about you? You always drink your coffee too hot.’

It had been their final year of school when Flick and Elodie had really noticed each other.

Both avoiding gym class—Flick with a wrenched ankle, Elodie with a broken finger—they had sat together behind a hedge on the school grounds, sunlight warming the grass, comparing notes on that hideous essay their literature teacher had set. Flick had glanced across at Elodie and desire had flushed through her, igniting her nerves. She had longed just to reach over and brush that blonde forelock out of Elodie’s blue eyes.

She had known for some months that she had no interest in boys, but had told no one, nor had she planned to.

It had all happened so suddenly. As she’d leaned closer, Elodie’s hand had landed on top of hers, and when Flick had turned to look at her, their faces had been too close to resist. She would have pulled away and apologized, except that Elodie had been kissing her back with such force that she had fallen back on the grass, feeling Elodie’s soft weight roll on top of her.

‘You know what I love about you? You always play your music too loud.’

Elodie had been cute, pixieish, her short blonde hair in a messy cap pushed back from her clear-skinned face. She’d had a way of tilting her head to one side that came over as thoughtful and curious at the same time. And she had been fascinated with psychology, always analyzing what people were thinking, reading their body language.

‘You know what I love about you? You always pick the weirdest meal in a restaurant.’

“Why do you love that about me?” Flick had asked.

Elodie had given her a sweet smile. “Because you do everything like it’s the last day of your life. You take chances, you take risks. You enjoy everything to the max.”

“Doesn’t everyone?”

“No.” Elodie had looked down into her cappuccino, mouth turning down. “I don’t. My mom would disown me if I did anything she didn’t like.”

You mean like coming out? Flick hadn’t asked the question—she’d known the answer already. Rightly or wrongly, Elodie had been terrified of coming out. Hell, Flick had been nervous about the idea of coming out herself. It was much simpler to play at being friends, friends who read poetry together and practiced their music and hung out, snatching moments under the bleachers and under the bedclothes when no one was around.

Oh, Elodie. So sweet, so adorable, so good with her hands. So able with her fingertips—able to torment every spot, dipping her moist fingers between Flick’s folds until Flick was biting down on her wrist to hold back her cries. So pretty when she came, gasping and moaning as she’d writhed on Flick’s tongue.

So easy to love.

Right up until the end of summer, the day before Flick left for college.

The day that text had broken Flick’s heart.

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