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💋Dark Fantasies For Abuse Survivors And A Ton Of Rainbows🌈

Hey babes,

So the boyfriend and I are on the road this weekend for out 8 year anniversary. I was super excited cuz it’s the first time in years I got to celebrate our anniversary while healthy. So, naturally, I sneezed the morning of our big trip while still in bed, and my back seized up. Motherfuck. XD But I don’t care. Life is short (much shorter than first anticipated) and I threw my little back support thing on and we went out despite the pain cuz I want to enjoy now.

We ended up checking out the Norman Rockwell museum cuz it was on the way and we both love art. I have to say, I’m particularly jealous of Rockwell’s studio. Having so much room in such a peaceful area to be able to create feels like a dream come true I’m never going to reach. We then drove to Burlington, Vermont to see the last night of the fabulously funny, Jen Kirkman. I love intelligent humor and she was this wonderful mix of quirky eccentric and damn brilliant.

The view was spectacular on the drive. Saw so many rainbows (seriously, double rainbow!) along with the beautiful leaves turning. And one disgusting, giant confederate flag that was a stark reminder even now, even how far we have come, hate is still breeding and festering in the most beautiful of locations.

 

How To Help The World…

I wrote a blog post this week as something constructive and positive after all the damn pain of the Kavanaugh bullshit. I hope you find the time to read it during the week. I go into things that I haven’t shared with most readers before, things I only recently learned about my past. But I knew for a very long time this was a truth for many families, in many different walks of life, and it’s been hiding beneath the surface tearing people apart.

It’s only been recently women have been allowed to talk about sex. It’s only been recently we’ve gained financial independence through bank accounts, credit cards, employment, birth control, equality laws, and voting. We don’t have to wear the ‘dress code’ of a dress for the female gender, but you’ll see, when a man wears this perceived dress code he faces humiliation because to be a woman is still to be lesser in the eyes of society. Women still don’t have equal pay, we don’t have equal representation, and we don’t have our voices taken seriously even now–and this is just in America. Reason is not what drives this world, but instead those little pockets of repression, hate, fear, and I want to help tear the darkness away and reveal our monsters for what they are. Human.

I think the world needs this. I know I needed it. Fear isn’t just the mind killer, it is the nonlife. When we reject our bodies and our sexuality, we reject our very lives. We have suffered too long like this, and now it the perfect time to change it and heal. I want to see #metoo mean more than just a battle cry of the traumatized, but an actual step in changing these common, hidden, and far too many times justified atrocities.

You can read about it here; Dark Fantasies For Abuse Survivors
 

This Week’s MM Goodies

$0.99 Dead In The Garden

Join bestselling author Dahlia Donovan on a cosy mystery adventure in Grasmere Cottage Mystery book one. With love, wit, and a murder to solve, life for Valor and Bishan is about to get bloomin’ complicated in this sweet gay romance.

Dead body in the garden? Check.

Mystery to solve? Check.

Police focused on the wrong person? Not good.

All grown up and graduated, Valor Tarquin Scott, son to Earl and Countess Scott, owns The Ginger’s Bread, a biscuit shop, in Grasmere in the Lake District. The love of his life, Bishan Tamboli, has turned his music studies into a successful career playing with the London Symphony Orchestra. It’s a perfect life with their cat, spending evenings watching Poirot on the television.

The nightmare begins with one dead former schoolmate, leading police to believe Bishan is responsible.

Valor struggles to solve the cryptic puzzles left behind in a race to prove Bishan’s innocence.

He can’t help wondering how far the body count will rise before they manage to stop the killer.

Buyer’s Remorse

Will love persevere when the truth comes out?

LEE
I changed my name, but I can’t change what I did. My brothers died, and I spent three years in witness protection. Returning to Fields, where I once hid out, feels right. Seeing Miguel again feels even better. But when a dead body interrupts my tour of a building for sale, my start isn’t as fresh as I’d like.

MIGUEL
I’ve been trying to curb my habit of leaping into bad relationships, but when Lee comes back to town, he’s hard to resist. Kids are dying, and life’s too short to shy away from a good thing. But will Lee’s mysterious past come back to bite me?

Between police questioning and trials of trust, it’s far from smooth sailing. If we don’t figure out who’s selling synthetic drugs and convince the police Lee is not their man, we may all have a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

The Heights

Twenty-one years ago, a four-year old child was kidnapped from his front yard. He was never found. Until now.

All Nat Walker wants is to make his late father’s dream of running a father/son woodworking shop come true. And he had the perfect building in mind—until the new guy in town came in and bought the place right out from under him. The fact that the new guy is adorable means nothing. For all Nat cares, he can take his new dance studio and waltz back to New York City.

Professional dancer Quinn Carroll couldn’t be happier that he made the move to the small town of Lakeshore, Oregon. Sure, it’s not New York, but now he’ll be living closer to his adoptive brother. And since his studio will be the only one in the area, he should get enough business to keep him busy. Besides, there’s something about this place that seems familiar…

He doesn’t expect to fall hard for the local, grumpy woodworker who won’t even smile at him.

Or find out that his entire life is a lie.

Last Chance To Snag Hellcat For $0.99!

Sean knows what those wicked, hellfire eyes want. Him, on his knees, taking every finger, tongue, tail, and tentacle.

This is what being corrupted by a demon feels like. It’s the only explanation. Sean’s not supposed to have fangs or know magic, damn it. And this bs where he’s horny and begging all the time? No, not freaking happening. He’s just a nerd—a hot, gay, totally panicky IT specialist—who needs to find a solution to his destroyed business, asap. He doesn’t have time for whatever weird this shapeshifting demon is into. Soot can’t just claim him whenever he wants, over and over again. He’s about to be homeless!

If Sean doesn’t save a witch from a dragon, it’s game over. But he’s changing, turning into someone he doesn’t recognize. He’s not sure if he can play hero, not even when Soot abducts TJ, Sean’s painfully straight crush, to the top of a tower full of witches, gargoyles, and one very pissed off dragon. TJ doesn’t know who to fear more, the demon prince or whatever it is Sean is turning into.

There has to be a way out. Stealing a 3 million dollar hellcat isn’t a binding contract to be a sex thrall, no matter how much his demon master disagrees.

 

😡Are You Freaking Kidding Me, America?😡

Hey babes,

I am so fucking angry. Beyond. I am hurt, disgusted, pained—this Kavanaugh confirmation is a pain in my soul and psyche that has no fucking limit. I wasn’t even going to do a newsletter this week, I’m so upset by this all, but Wendy has her newest book out, and it’s fabulous, and fuck, let there be some damn good in the world right now when there is so much injustice.

The Imposter King

Their love made them close. Their secret kept them closer.

Dare and Prince Malory are happily married and in love, but the secret of Dare’s true identity as a mere servant threatens their romantic bliss.

Messages to the king of Brookfall go unanswered, and rumors of war unsettle both kingdoms. Until one day heralds arrive with bags of gold to ransom Dare and demand his return to Brookfall.

King Millard, Prince Malory’s father, orders Dare to make the journey to see his father. But Dare is not the true heir, and if they meet, the secret he and Mal have been guarding will be revealed. Also, impersonating a royal means a death penalty offense. Worse, it could mean all-out war between their countries.

Panic. Despair. Lovers torn asunder. Personal sacrifice. More dark secrets revealed. An ending that will leave you breathless.

 

 

 

They chose one privileged man over all the women of this country. They chose one man and said he ‘deserved’ the highest seat we have to offer while he sniveled, blatantly lied, cried like a bitch, bullied, dodged, and refused to be honest. They claimed he would ‘bridge the partisan gap’ when his hearing created one of the biggest fucking divides in this country. They gave him a gift, a gift they had no right to give after holding that seat hostage for over a year, while saying fuck you to abuse victims everywhere.

Fuck this country. Fuck this administration. Fuck what the Republican party has turned into. If there is a true conservative left of sound mind and free of insane, religious and hateful ideology in America, I don’t fucking see them. Many of them don’t even understand their entire party has been taken over by white nationalists, and they still vote like they’re talking about economics instead of the rights of women, of refugee children kept in cages, of minorities being shot at and jailed, of our entire country being cut off from the global economy and world with a wall of lies and fear and tribalism.

America is racist. It is a country built on the genocide of the Native Americans and the labor of the enslaved Africans (and so many more, it never fucking ended,) and long after a war to end all fucking wars, half this country still refuses to admit that racism was even a problem, never mind it’s STILL a problem. America is racist and yet it manages to be even worse in how sexist it is.

America hates women. We treat them like objects, like pretty pets who can’t think for themselves, like weak, pathetic victims who aren’t allowed to be empowered against their attackers but must wait for their adults—their husbands, their fathers, their grandfathers, their uncles and brothers and priests and statesmen—to speak up for them. And when the time comes and those men fail because they’ve gotten too content with raping their domesticated, trained women who aren’t allowed to decide what consent means because they’re ‘all mixed up,’ America shrugs because women don’t matter here. America blames a woman for daring to speak up. America attacks women for daring to believe a woman instead of an accused assailant. America wants their fucking sandwich made and tells those chicks to go drink wine to unwind from the stresses of being oppressed and never getting an equal fucking paycheck no matter how hard they work.

It’s time for America as we know it to destruct. Let it fucking burn. There is nothing left worth saving when we can have credible testimony of a crime, documented repeated lying over 100 times of the candidate under oath of matters not even pertaining to the accusation, and those in our government still just shrug and go ‘business as usual, give that man a job!’ This is not a democracy, and what it takes to build America back into one involves tearing this rotting corpse down. These senior citizens who lived when women weren’t even allowed to have fucking credit cards need to get the fuck out of office.

We could have learned but the impulse was too great to oppress those uppity women once again. Have your own babies. Try and birth a male when all women close their legs and say we’ll only birth girls. Fucking see what gender inequality looks like then.

Fuck this day and fuck this country. Vote blue November, and make sure it’s progressive because those established democrats are just as bought.

🔐Hacked, Patched, And Looking To Escape🔐

Hey babes,

Insane week. I’m not just talking about the Kavanaugh hearings—which, my fuck, I still don’t expect any sort of justice or vindication to come forth after the long history of rich, white male privilege. I want to have hope but common sense is wasted in this country when it comes to government and business. Common sense, basic logic, empathy, human emotions, scientific fact, any base level of decency; it’s all foreign to these people. But yeah, still I hope.

The guy is a blatant liar. Every word out of his mouth. That is the problem with credibility; I can’t believe him because he lies again and again. Once you surround yourself in lies, it’s impossible to pull yourself out. You’re not owed a seat on the Supreme Court, so stop lying like a dumb fuck and try to show some fucking empathy already.

Sorry, this shit has been upsetting. I didn’t realize that America would be facing one of the biggest ethical cases of the history of the damn country this week. It’s been intense, and I’m sure triggering for many. There was a reason all those women protested worldwide when Trump was elected. Some people thought it was because Hillary didn’t win, because of the blatant unfairness. The truth of the matter was a known repeated rapist and sexual assailant, (one known victim a minor,) was elected into the highest office of this country by the electoral college, and politicians once again said rape doesn’t matter. Women don’t matter. Power over a female’s body still belongs to rich, out of touch senior citizens running this country.

Women are fucking angry about it. We all should be.

Hacked

Anyways, something got into the website. It was caught immediately by my hosting company, and after a little work, it’s all cleaned up. To be clear, I don’t store any customer financial information on my website. I designed it that way from the very beginning cuz I didn’t want to worry about exactly this. What is stored are emails and whatever name you may have signed up with, so if you used a nickname/alias on the site and find it being used as a greeting in an email to phish your info, yeah, that could potentially be from my site. There isn’t actually any indication that information was taken, but I just want to be upfront about it all just in case.

I’ve increased security, found the exploit used to get into the site and updated/patched. Restored a later version of the database so apologies for the comments lost. I guess it was a known issue with the software so the company had a patch ready. Recoded most of the website just to ensure potentials would no longer be potential. Uh, oh, and I got rid of all the free members—all the free stuff is no longer behind a login. I just added a disclaimer, cuz really, there were too many 1 time logins and I guess people just weren’t bothering to find the email with the password they set. @[email protected] Make shit easy for everyone.

But, in cleaning up the member list, I might have accidentally deleted expired users who weren’t actually expired. The subscription software does this thing where it doesn’t update the expiration date if you let the membership expire and then pay later—it’s been an issue from the beginning and very frustrating to catch it happening. So if you’re a member and you can’t login, contact me immediately! That shit can be fixed in seconds. I just verify with Paypal and it’s done. Do not be quiet about this cuz the guilt will fucking kill me. (Don’t kill me. Don’t be that douche. Speak up! XD)

I need an escape

So I left the ER where I spent Saturday with an antibiotic for an infected tooth. I should have gotten the fucking thing pulled the first time around, but I was just enjoying life too much and cockily assuming it wouldn’t hit again. >_< I’ve learned. My fuck, the pain of the last few days. The mold has been killing me. The tooth inflames and screams in pain every time I breathe the wrong thing in. I’ve been living with ice in my mouth and pressed on my neck to keep the swelling down. What a mess. I finally got some sleep wrapped up in the car (got this amazing blanket that doesn’t set me off like the others ones do. What a relief.)

I think after this very stressful half of week of coding like a mofo, I’m going to find a good, sexy book to read for Sunday, and hopefully solve this pain thing. I’m grateful it hasn’t gotten as bad to have the multiple chemical sensitivity come back, but yeah, I’m scared that’s where it’s leading. =_= But hey, I finally slept during the night instead of day, so win?

With that in mind, a plethora of sexy books. I’m sure something on this list will help me hide for a day or two.

Of Princes False and True

A tennis match? Starting a war between the Duchy of Avann and the Kingdom of the Westlands?

Only in a fairy tale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing But Trouble

Adrian would be the first to admit that his life has been filled with trouble…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey From The Lion

​Soulmates across time. A love that was meant to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember Tomorrow

When artificial memories are everywhere, how can you tell what’s real?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greyson Fox

Greyson Fox, the man, the myth, the legend. The highly sought after, self-proclaimed permanent bachelor. Or so the rumor mill goes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Way Out

It’s April of 1816 in Another England. And Jeremy—a whore from the Dock—is living in a guest bedroom in the London home of the (in)famous Iron Marquess, with over fifteen days missing from his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$0.99 Mated To The Demon Prince

Sean knows what those wicked, hellfire eyes want. Him, on his knees, taking every finger, tongue, tail, and tentacle.

⌛Musings of Mortality, Suffering, and Mercy⏳

Hey, babes

I find myself in mourning. Unexpectedly. The digital age has created this ability to connect with others from so far away. We can meet a person yet never meet them. Know a person and never share their day. Realize only a month after his 30th birthday, you’re never going to hear from him again.

I’m going to be talking about some heavy stuff today, and it’s totally up to you if you want to read it. Sorry I haven’t been posting free and cheap reads lately. The return of the mold has made simple shit feel difficult, and I’m trying to keep most of my focus on writing. I will get back into the swing of it all eventually, promise. I think the weather going cold again is helping. I’ve been updating The Paranormal Academy For Troubled Boys pretty consistently this month (outside of when the mold first jumped me,) and I’m happy it’s flowing so well.

So, yeah. No matter how heavy the stuff is below, it’s important to remember thoughts aren’t reality, and I am very happy living no matter the circumstances. I go into suffering, suicide, and transformation today. I find it to be cathartic at a time like this for me and want to share that, but it’s important to know others don’t find comfort but more pain when bringing up these subjects. I get it and it’s okay.

Mortality

There aren’t a lot of people who can hold a conversation with me. Even fewer who can look past my strong opinions, blunt nature, and very rough angles for long. Online, I talk about topics that offend most people, in a manner that also offends, and few dare to jump in to discuss. Wade Hartley was one of those rare gems who jumped in, and damn, how sad it is to lose him.


I think it was because of those touchy, combustible topics that I felt so close to him, because it required such raw honesty and a total lack of shields to get through. You can’t challenge the established disorder and have your sense of identity get in the way. It requires a stripping of all those trappings to really sink into a concept and try to suss it out. It’s easy to feel bruised in conversations like that, like you’re battling instead of exploring, being pushed down instead of someone just trying to understand a new concept. I don’t know if you realize it, but there are a lot of people arguing on the Internet while others assumed they were having conversations. Jumping into such a potentially volatile atmosphere while promising to not make it about the bruises you feel to your ego takes a bravery few have.

Most people passed us by with scornful anger and mumbles of rules and morality, terrified to even glance into that part of their mind. It required a fearlessness, as does facing death and shaking hands.

Talking with Wade was a freedom few people can offer, a lack of judgment and a way to learn to stop judging, stop expecting, and just accept. And that is the ultimate kindness Wade’s memory has given me. I can accept his choice even if I don’t agree with it, the same way we accepted each other’s strong opinions even though we didn’t always share them. I still battle what will be while he embraced it on his terms. And yes, even though I feel sorrow, I’m also joyful he found whatever level of acceptance he needed to release himself from the torture of existence.

We want life to be sacred, to mean something, to be valuable and counted even as it’s a mere blip in the eternal void of the universe. When we raise life up on some sacred altar, we lose sight of the actual living. Life is mundane, concrete, simple pleasures mixed with daily work and sometimes deep thoughts that feel bigger than reality. Our minds know no bounds even when our bodies find limitation after limitation. It takes a certain bravery to expand your mind so freely, to be giant inside a contained, fragile shell while the mere concept of mortality can push the strongest mind toward insanity. And in all minds there can be a depth of pain and suffering that feels limitless and without end.

While so many slipped away, unable to see the pain and agony of life as I experienced it battling mortality, PTSD, mold toxicity, and an existence where fairness is merely a concept, Wade didn’t look away. And that really should have been knowledge enough, because most shy from brutal reality while the ones who have suffered long enough see and accept and understand. They see the beautiful humanity within and reach, unafraid to fall into the darkness of despair. They have lived there too and offer comfort in companionship.

That is all we have for each other: each other. There are no answers, though always many questions. But when there is that darkness and despair, there is at least another—many others—out there who know, who feel, and somehow it is a little easier.

Mourning

As sentient, self aware beings who fear the inevitable end, we cling to the memory of how we perceive the people around us. This is the honoring we have for those brave souls we meet as we go forward another day. There is a hope to preserve that beautiful light snuffed out that makes us less alone in this arduous journey. We offer immortality of a person in our minds while our bodies continue to exist in this concrete world alone, aging, deteriorating, counting down to an end we must all face but few can dare to look at and see and embrace. We choose if we feel sorrow so deep to drown in, or love and compassion every time we touch upon the memory of a person. We choose to feel, to react, and be changed by those memories instead of still and unmoved by the intangible.

Many battle with reality, deny it because when you cannot change the concrete you feel empowered to at least deny what is. But there are the rare, the brave who will accept, and love with great gratitude what is, and release the suffering others cling to. When we can accept that suffering isn’t required to live, perhaps as a society we might learn to finally live without suffering instead of seeking to escape such pain at all costs. That is my hope for all and where my sorrow lies when I remember Wade.

I wish he could have lived without suffering, but at the same time, it was his suffering that allowed him to reach out and connect with others who were otherwise overlooked and discarded. I see those who suffer, and they desire to be seen, known, valued for who they are and not for the circumstances that distort them. Inside, we are all worthy, and what a cruelness of our insane minds to ever consider otherwise. Wade and I might have never recognized each other if not for a familiar pain, so even in suffering there is gratitude and acceptance and a little less loneliness.

We can choose to be unmoved or we can reach out and connect, seeking that lifespark and base understanding no matter how imperfect the playing field and events of life may be. We can have the bravery to be known and to find others who accept us even when some struggle to accept who they themselves are. It is a gift for the brave who endure the cruel, careless imperfections of life and dare to let their shields fall away anyways. We have learned nothing can ever hurt us more than how we hurt ourselves in our minds.

Suffering

There is a theme in my writing you may have noticed. Suffering leads to transformation. It is a belief I’ve held for a lifetime before I could even truly perceive or voice it.

I don’t talk about my past suffering much—you hear terms from me like mold toxicity or pain or disability or brain fog, but I don’t really call it suffering because on that level, it is not. Depression is such a meaningless word to me. As someone who had it for over 10 years straight, I never recognized depression on those television commercials selling antidepressants. Feeling ‘blue,’ or just tired, down, unsocial. I had depression during a time in my life when I didn’t even know the word depression, and it wasn’t blue; it was insanity. Agitated depression. Anxiety. PTSD. Symptoms confused for bipolar with ups and downs, but never really ups, just fresh energy and an amazing level of disassociation. Life was behind a veil, a veil that could never lift. A death shroud that colored everything, and although I could tell it was there, distorting life, no amount of fighting with it ever really set me free.

When I was living in my adoptive family’s house from the age of 13, to around the age of 26 when I finally left that place, I was in severe, debilitating mental anguish. It was something that grew worse and worse the more the years passed. It turned out to be sourced in the mold that had taken over the basement my bedroom was located in from water flooding in every season, and beneath that, untreated PTSD from a trauma that happened at the age of 3. How I knew reality wasn’t by mold or clinical terms, but by insanity, and despair, and a certainty that death surely would be a better way to exist than to continue as I was.

It was all I knew for years. No one could help me. My days were spent existing for others, watching the ones I loved the most dying while pretending I was human outside that house. During high school I cared for my mother, who eventually died of cancer soon after I graduated. Then there was college, which I left when my father got dementia and eventually died of kidney failure. After that I found the household I was in suddenly abusive, dangerous, filled with the trash of a hoarder and someone with a violent temper and I didn’t know how to escape. No one could understand what was happening in my head—I could barely express the torment, the decay of norms and joy and life I could only remember. I was too broken to help myself outside of coping every day by creating art and trying to bring some order to these very broken adults around me. It was my normal until some form of self preservation kicked in enough and I got the fuck out and started living life for myself.

When you hear about the last, what, seven? years of my life when I started writing in my previous apartment, where I was bed bound from the mold toxicity, not knowing the source, certain death was coming because of the inability to move, the Parkinson symptoms, the brain confusion and damage, the insomnia mixed with absolute exhaustion, those years were so different compared to my years suffering in my first house. The pain was less, the distress was less, the wish to die wasn’t there. It was like being a victim of torture only to find myself being slowly suffocated this time around. Even though it was a fresh hell, I was not alone. I understood the mental anguish, sank into the realization it wasn’t forever, and I was surrounded by loved ones who understood it too.

The main difference was, I wasn’t depressed. I don’t know if depression is ‘blue’ for other people. I don’t know if what I felt was unique. All I know is a doctor diagnosed what I was going through back then as chronic depression and agitated depression, and as I knew it to be, it was a festering torment on the mind that changed me into something less than until something even baser awoke in me to break me out.

I survived that first moldy house and the insanity it created in me that I perceived as real. I couldn’t discern being inflicted with a mental illness but that I was a mental illness and nothing more. I survived out of spite, out of instinct, out of a greater fear of death than of pain. I became a creature that had value in creating, and someone who sought value in others, in people and their intriguing psyches, and eventually, I became a human again when I saw that value in me. It was a transformation—one I never sought but had to experience—and it grew me into a being far more empowered and in love with the world and those around me than who I was when I started.

Now when I survive, it’s for that, for others, for understanding, for the belief that the futility of the inevitable should never stop this moment now from being the best it can be. And no, I hold no ill will, no anger, no disdain for anyone who decides to step forward on their own and plummet into the inevitable darkness of death. I understand it too well to ever condemn anyone for such a choice, even though I do feel sorrow to know the suffering they must feel to push them there. I want everyone to find the relief I eventually did find, all those glowing moments that made and continue to make my life worth hanging around for.

Mercy

Who are we to decide the form? I don’t know if there is a more beautiful concept than the ending of suffering: a mercy, a forgiveness, a release. But that mercy can’t happen without suffering to occur first. We cannot be saved without being lost. Sometimes the most wonderful kindnesses can only exist because of the worst of conflicts.

Ego death was my most recent mercy, and I truly believe I will never suffer the way I ever did in the past because of it. Even the extreme pain in my body and brain these last months fighting the sudden infestation of mold in the house we’re renting and living out of my car was not a suffering, but a clean pain of life without the emotional torment and torture and rot that can occur when I lose track of reality and get caged in my mind. The cage isn’t there anymore, just forgiveness and understanding, and a very bad habit of thought pattern to want that cage to hide in.

Learning to let go of suffering is the greatest gift you can give yourself. I don’t know if it’s something that can be taught, but fuck, I truly hope it is. In the end it’s a journey a person takes on their own, but guides are there to point the way. We remain. Not all of us, but we remain and are replaced because this is not unique. This is humanity the only way I have every known it to be. We suffer and transform and we live on the brink of inevitable.

It’s okay to be who you are, babes. It’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to let the hurt go. It’s okay to not be alone anymore and to learn to love yourself. There is no wrong in how you choose to live, but there can be great rewards when you do seek to live your life in bravery and accept those bruises as they come. It’s worth it to meet someone new, or someone strangely familiar, to learn what can be learned, and find a little more truth inside.

It’s okay to despair and know you weren’t the first, and you won’t be the last, and nothing will ever be forever. The mortality of all living forms can be just as merciful as the eternity we can experience in our sweetest thoughts.

It’s okay to be okay. I promise. You still remain even when the suffering is gone.

 

?You Ever Wonder How Books Make Money??

Hey, Babes,

Hmm, so another different newsletter this week only cuz my brain is on fire… mostly metaphorically. I could spend my time talking about all the fucking injustice in my little slice of the world (mostly what I focus on when not writing but I know how oppressively unhappy politics can leave people.) Or I could talk about the mold that has taken over my neighborhood this week. Like, it’s a cloud of spores every time I drive near the house and the rest of the surrounding area isn’t much better. But that just depresses the fuck out of me because I have no idea if and when it will improve. My heart is set to hummingbird, blood pressure is in the pits, and everything hurts. I was in the house for a good couple of week, writing consistently, brain working gloriously, etc, but now it’s back to being in the car seeking little spots of relief.

But hey, I got a car and can find places that don’t kill me too much, and I just got to wait it out. The town where I used to work basically blew up from a giant gas disaster (40 houses on fire) so that was intense and there are a bunch of people without homes in eastern Massachusetts because of it. Mold doesn’t look so bad atm. So I’m talking business strategies today, cuz that’s where my brain is to avoid those other topics. (Ah, avoidance. Such bliss XD) Also, I like this kind of stuff: pattern recognition, problem solving, cause and effect, trial and error, etc. It’s cool beans.

Strategizing a new sales model—aka, a peek into my brain

I hopped onto my Book Report page for the first time in a while (I’ve been ignoring a lot of this shit so I can just focus on writing and getting healthy) and got some interesting numbers with my Amazon sales. For those who don’t know what Book Report is, it’s an app that allows you to view your Amazon book sales and page reads and break it down in a gazillion different ways to understand what is selling and what’s not.

So, the numbers were revealing. Out of 48 books, 6 of them were making over 77% of my Amazon income. Intense. That means I have 42 books just sitting there barely making money. What a waste.

So, a couple main thoughts this resulted in: what is similar about these 6 books, how do these 6 books brand me as an author, and how do I get those other 42 books to start making money? Here’s my breakdown.

1) What do these 6 books have in common?

To figure out why these books are a success, we need to look at a few different aspects of what makes them similar. These aspects aren’t what an outsider to selling books might automatically think. You might be asking questions like how good is the story, or the characters personality, or did each one totally have a quirky best friend; or you might want to know if it’s a horror MM verse a romantic MM. Unfortunately, it’s rarely so deep when it comes to writing. The genre plays a roll, but you need to take into account things like cover design, blurb writing, Amazon algorithms, length, etc. Some examples.

  • 3 of these books were KU (kindle unlimited) reads. Hellcat, Demon Bonded #11, and Taken By Beasts. These are my only books enrolled in KU, and they’re already at the top of the income pile. Be it algorithms or just readers unwilling to throw down cash outside of KU when on Amazon, this program generates income.
  • 4 of these books are either bundles or collections: Taken By Beasts, Demencious Saga, Apprentice Saga, and Bullying Teacher: the complete serial.
  • 5 of these books are between 60,000-100,000 words
  • All of them have newer covers verse my old, moldy style
  • 4 have newer blurbs with an understanding of genre copy-writing
  • 4 have been extensively edited, or written originally in my mold free style, aka, quality of writing is better
  • 5 books are paranormal, with Bullying Teacher being the odd man contemporary title out
  • All of these books are high heat
  • Demencious Saga and Apprentice Saga are books previously to my most recently released Demon Bonded book #11. It’s known that books just released in KU get about a month of a ranking boost before a different set of algorithms kick in, meaning all 3 could be a fluke to watch for.

2) If I had a smaller catalog of books on Amazon, would it be easier for new readers to find these 6 books that are already drawing the most attention? What kind of ‘brand’ am I presenting right now, and would it be improved by only having these 6 books on Amazon instead?

This is a question I’ve been poking at for about 2 years when I realized just how much my brain had been impaired by the mold. And even if it hadn’t been an illness at the root, I think it’s a good question for any author to ask after a few years of self-publishing. What are you presenting to your audience, and is that message clear? When someone sees your name on a book, do they already know what that book is going to be about? Do your stories have a consistency of genre/trope, quality, subject matter, etc?

For the varied author, this might be a terrifying question. What, I’m supposed to only write one type of book? If you enjoy writing a variety of topics, no, but if you’re looking to create an income off your books, fuck yeah. Consistency is important. What do you think of when you hear names like Anne Rice, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, RR. Martin, J.K. Rowling, Diane Steele, James Patterson? If you’re familiar with these main stream authors, you immediately think of the ‘type’ of book they write. The genre, be it horror, romance, political intrigue, vampires to wizards to castles and assassins. If J.K. Rowling came out with a contemporary romance in the modern world, wouldn’t you be confused as fuck? If she did decide to write a book like that, it would be smarter to put that book under a completely different pen name so she wouldn’t water down her wizard brand. Otherwise, you might pick up that new book and wonder why there are so many wizards in the rest of her books.

So yeah, here I am looking at my catalog of books asking myself, what am I selling to people as an author, and is that message clear? Not only that, is what I’m selling what I want to be writing?

Books like Hellcat, The Paranormal Academy for Troubled Boys, and Demon Bonded are series I want to write. I wake up thinking about them, plotting them, wondering what those characters are going to do next. And the shorter fics that you find in Taken By Beasts? I enjoy making those even if I don’t usually write them in groups but once in a while between novels. As for Bullying Teacher, I love everything about that book from the high heat to dirty sex, but I don’t like contemporary fics the same way I do paranormal. I don’t like having to make everything feel ‘real’ which is why that book is still such an exaggeration (which probably makes it less believable, but fuck it, real life isn’t that interesting.) So yeah, I can at least say I 100% enjoy writing the books that are selling.

But the other question, is the message of what I write clear? That’s much harder to discern (aka, probably not clear at all.) The genre/trope of dubcon and paranormal are pretty strong themes but other things like consistency in quality and plot are not. Being sick did not allow me to really grow as a writer but just write to escape thoughts of being sick. What I thought was good enough back then isn’t remotely so now that I’m healthy. As a writer, do I want to be known as someone who has interesting ideas but doesn’t follow through, doesn’t push to make a complicated story that really satisfies? Do I want to be known as the author who can’t be assed to edit and ensure every sentence actually makes sense? I’ve tried to read some of my first published books, and my fuck, I don’t even understand what I was trying to say sometimes. (looking at you, Blackthorne @[email protected]) It’s not pretty.

3) How do I get the other 42 books to make me money?

Now, if I was any other author, this would be a question of do I continue to sell the old books, remove them permanently, or edit them and then try to sell them? Do I seek out other platforms and go wide (put my books everywhere you can) and see if that draws in an audience of new readers? Which made me ask very bluntly: has going wide done anything positive for me?

No. I don’t know how to rank on other platforms outside of Amazon, and the platforms themselves have a poor algorithm and SEO set up. I don’t want to do the work to climb to the top of those platforms, especially when it’s much harder to even gain a foothold without those algorithm aspects. I think I made a little less than $100 a month on my books total on other platforms. These platforms can’t compete with Amazon—that fucking monopoly is taking over everyone, let’s not pretend, and KU is part of the problem. But fuck, I want to make money so I’m going to feed the beast for now.

But I have an option most authors don’t take, and that’s the subscription site. Something I realized I haven’t been putting center. The subscription site is how I can make those 42 books generate income while keeping them from watering down the quality of my brand, and stupid me, I was competing against that subscription site by putting those books on other platforms instead of making it so the only way to find them was on the site.

Which leads me to the key: Exclusivity

It goes against the grain as a writer, lol, but so do a lot of marketing strategies. For example, free books. Free books are the quickest way to get people on your mailing list and notice that you exist (at least before Instafreebie started making free so redundant people hoard those digital files and will never have enough time to read them all.) But there are so many authors terrified of giving their work away. They don’t see it as fishing for new readers, but just throwing their hard work away, and because of it, they don’t take the risk and they don’t get noticed.

In the same way, exclusivity on one site instead of spreading your books out everywhere to find as many eyes as possible seems risky, potentially suicidal. How will people find you? Well, through Amazon. Because that’s where most readers find you anyways because it is so fucking hard to compete against that corporate giant. The readers are already there, so that’s where you seek them out.

It helps that those in the KU program already understand the idea of a subscription service. Will they all think that my small number of books is worth the same cost as the thousands of books in KU? Probably not. But the ones who enjoy my type of writing, the genre, the tropes, will be interested enough to give it a month and see. And if they like the new stuff coming out, they may stay.

Crafting a new strategy

So, after I went through all those questions above, I came up with a new strategy I’m going to be focusing on for the next year. The two main goals of this strategy is to

  1. create books that work for the KU program which will push views, ranking, and ideally sales
  2. ensure the subscription site is utilizing all those books of exclusive content to the best of its ability
  3. make sure I focus on branding for both sites

For part 1, it’s about taking those aspects that work in KU and focusing on them. This includes longer stories and bundles. So, if I wanted to have Heat in KU, I would make sure I bundled it with its sequel, Bite, maybe even Feral if I have it written by that time. This would allow for more pages to be read, pushing more income out of one sale instead of the hope the reader would seek out the sequels and read those too.

KU allows for a different strategy in this regard compared to selling book by book. When you’re selling pages, you want as many pages there to be read instead of leaving it up to the reader to seek out the rest of the pages in another book. Make things easy for your reader and give them everything up front. This would also mean rewriting and editing the fuck out of Heat and Bite to ensure my writing is cohesive and at a quality that could sit side by side on the shelf with a book like Hellcat, which is high heat, novel length, and has a cohesive plot that’s well edited.

For part 2, I want to go into creating an exclusive feel to the website and that content. I want to push that there are books to be read that you can’t get anywhere else, and while you’re waiting for me to finish a novel, you can read this too. I need to convey to readers the value of this content, a value that has just gone up if it can’t be found elsewhere. This also means working on my sales funnel and ensuring that my ads in the back of books are pulling people where they need to go.

Part 3, is two fold, and should be thought out on all the different levels. Branding might seem like one of those buzz words, but it matters big time. I want my main series to be my brand on Amazon. When someone picks up a Sadie Sins book there, I want them to think, oh, like Demon Arms, or Mated to the Demon Prince, or Demon Bonded. That’s my goal of a brand on Amazon, those 3 main series going forward. That means those series have to be front and center, be of the highest quality writing I have, covers and blurbs must be exemplary, and the books that are shown side by side with them need to have elements that reflect those series.

Branding for the website, though? Oh, we’re pushing the hardcore erotica and taboo nature of my books you can’t find elsewhere. Not only is it exclusive, but it’s super naughty, and way too hot for Amazon. It’s the idea that these books, if left out in the public, could somehow bring the world crumbling down (or so those shame based censors would have us all believe when it comes to erotica. XD) I want to use that not as a reason to hide my books, but as a reason for readers to come find my dangerous books. Selling sin, basically. <3

Sales Funnels

I mentioned this when it came to the website, and I want to expand because if you’re selling something on the Internet, you need to understand what a sales funnel is.

You ever see those totally transparent, kinda sleazy blog posts where someone is saying how much they love a product, it helped them after they had this terrible problem (let’s say it’s a weight loss product,) and hey, if you have trouble losing weight too, you should BUY NOW!!! In bright link letter and giant font? Yeah, that’s a sales funnel of the most obvious type. I’m not judging sales funnels (they’re a structure while it’s up to the user to decide if it’s used for good or evil,) I’m just giving you an example that I think we’ve all come across where it doesn’t feel like the end goal is to actually give the reader of that blog a solution to their problem, but just put some cash into the blogger’s pocket

Sale Funnels are all about conversion. Grabbing as many eyes as you can, pulling in the ones interested, and leading them to the end. Cuz I study other authors and marketing, I’ve watched as some authors push certain marketing books in other people’s newsletters with the intent to sell a how to market, or how to brand, or how to write—or breath through your fucking nose and hop on a leg—e course at the end of that sales funnel. I saw an annoyingly transparent sales funnel for one of those master classes (I get the ads on Facebook all the time cuz Facebook knows I’m a writer) where another author claimed to have taken the Master Class of the author in question, and how it was worth the time, etc. Sales funnels may come in different shapes and sizes, might stretch across different areas and employ many strategies, but the goal is still always the same, to get people to the end of the funnel.

So, for myself, when I’m putting books up on Amazon, my end goal is not to make a fuck ton of money there because I had a bestseller (don’t get me wrong, that would be fucking awesome XD) but more, my end goal is to put out work that a certain group of people will enjoy consistently enough to want to see what else I write and invest their free time, and their money, in reading what I write. Instead of directing them towards my back catalog of books on Amazon, I would instead be directing them to that back catalog on my website where they can also get my taboo fiction they never would have had an opportunity to find on Amazon. It’s important that I’m putting my best work forward in that regard with those Amazon books, and creating a brand that promises to continue that quality when you come back to the site.

So when I say authors don’t understand the value of a free book, that’s because they don’t understand a sales funnel. That free book is at the top of the funnel, drawing potential readers in to fall in love with your stories and invest in you as a writer. Instafreebie is great for that, as well as Goodreads giveaways. When you have a blurb at the back of your book telling people about books they haven’t read yet, that’s part of a sales funnel. When you get your book in other author’s newsletters, that’s part of the sales funnel. My newsletter is part of my sales funnel where I might not even be advertising my books, but you’re seeing how I write, and that might interest you enough to pick up one of my books. Every free book on my website is part of a sales funnel where my hope is the reader will invest and want to stay and grow with my books.

I guess I don’t think of my sales funnel as sleazy because I know that it involves me keeping a promise to readers and to myself. That’s not just of quality editing and stuff, but of being committed to what I do, to taking the time to make the story the best I can, and knowing I’m not going to grow bored and run off and never finish a story or some shit. If my end goal was to sell a book, that would be when it all ends. An exchange of cash for story, but by making the focus about building a readership that wants to grow with my stories, I’m promising those stories will be there to grow with. I wish I could have started off healthy, that I could have made that promise look far more stable in the beginning, you know? As a sales pitch, that would have kept people invested. But reality is not a sales pitch, and all we have is reality at the end of the day in all it’s imperfectionism.

Complicated or clear?

I love this kind of shit because of the intellectual challenge. Patterns, structures, and then all the trial and error as you find out what works and what doesn’t. Whether I’m actually good at it? Eh.

So I just removed those 42 (or nearly) books from Amazon and I’m already seeing the KU sales fill in the income those other books brought in, as well as exceed it. Will it hold once Demon Bonded #11 loses it’s algorithm push? No clue. I haven’t been doing any advertising or cross-promotion lately, just playing with Amazon atm. I’d say it was just because of the experiment, but really, I’m so lazy about this kind of shit. =_= I’m looking to create a system where once it’s set up, I don’t have to fuck around with it. I can just add new content, publish books, and the system perpetuates itself. It’s like building a house around my books in the hopes that I can keep the writing process and my income completely stable. But first I have to make a system that works, that sells, and you know, I should probably advertise. >_>

If Amazon tanks, or the KU program fucks up and refuses to count pages again, or maybe they change it all completely again, my system would have to change to adapt. If Amazon decides to censor all mm fiction or says my books cross their acceptable line, again, the system would need to change. It’s always good to reevaluate and question your strategy for this kind of thing anyways, cuz just because something is working doesn’t mean it can’t be better, too.

So, yeah, there’s an inside look at some of the things I do to sell books. I find it all really fascinating <3 (I’m a nerd, sorry. XD) But hey, if you’re interested in understanding how some things on the Internet make money, this might be interesting to you as well. Nothing wrong with making a living.

Hope everyone is safe during this crazy hurricane season. Peace, babes.