How can readers help authors succeed?

I’ve got three suggestions for you, and only one of them costs any money.

Buy the book if you can afford it. Borrow it if you can’t.

Did you to know that where and when you buy books is really important? Authors usually are paid a percentage of net sales, so the more the publisher gets, the more goes to the author. In general, publishers make the most from sales through their own website. Also, most publishers offer a discount or other incentives to pre-order the book, so you can save money. Clearly, that’s often the best way to buy the book. But there are other factors to consider. For example, heavy sales in a short time will push a book up on lists at Amazon, and then Amazon’s marketing system kicks in to further publicize it. So, it can be a big advantage to the author if you pre-order the book through Amazon. No matter what the source, pre-orders are very important to publishers because they determine the print run. A larger print run means a lower cost per book, giving the publisher more income with which to market the book (or to publish another book). But do remember, better late than never!

If you can’t afford to buy the book, order it through your local library. You can mention the book in person or use the online services most libraries offer.

Read and review the book.

Well, of course, if you bought it or borrowed it, you’re going to read it! But this suggestion is about where you read it. If you read the book in public, other people may notice and remember the cover or the title. Someone might even ask you about it—and word of mouth is the best advertising. So read it on the subway and at the beach, in the coffee shop and on the bus.

Once you’ve read the book, if you think it will suit, recommend it to your book club. Some publishers have questions available to kick off book club discussions and some offer discounts for group sales.

Post reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and so on. Reviews don’t have to be long and they don’t have to be completely favorable, either. They should be honest, or people won’t pay attention to your next review. Maybe the book is written in present tense, and you prefer books written in past tense. Go ahead and say so. Plenty of readers prefer present tense and others don’t care, but you’ve been honest. On Amazon, reviews within the first couple of days a book is out count for a lot in terms of how often Amazon will bring the book to readers’ attention.

Recommend the book.

Use your social media presence, no matter which platforms, to recommend the book to your followers. You share at least some common interests, or they wouldn’t be following you. So, you’re helping them out by recommending a good read. Post a review on your blog, if you have one. And don’t forget the old-fashioned social media. If you know of friends or family members who would like the book, let them know about it.

Don’t forget the author’s social media. You can “like” their Facebook page as well as recommending the book on your own. You can pass on the author’s posts on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and you can re-blog their blogs.

Talk to your local librarian about the book. Libraries all have acquisition plans and budgets, so it might not be possible for your local library to purchase the book. In that case, if you’re feeling generous, ask whether the librarian would shelve the book should you donate it. Once again, timing can be important. If books are reserved even before they’re in print, the library will often order more of them.

At your local bookstore, ask if they have the book, even if you aren’t going to buy it today. To succeed in bookstores, authors need salespeople to “handsell” their book. That is, they need enthusiastic salespeople to recommend the book when people ask “What’s new and good?” Maybe the staff will even display the book more prominently. Of course, if you’re a regular patron of the bookstore, that will be a plus. But, if you’re not, take a good look at what’s available and be sure the book you want to recommend will fit with the store’s other offerings. Once the bookstore has the book in stock, you can help draw attention to it by “facing” it—that is, turning it so the front cover faces out.

These are just suggestions. Please don’t feel that you ought to do any of them. But if you really want to…

Nicki D. Harper, PhD
Senior Editor

 

DUELING REVIEWS: Incoming by A.E. Wasp

Incoming banner - A.E. Wasp

Author Name: A.E. Wasp
Book Name: Incoming
Series: Veterans Affairs, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 261 pages, 66K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Publisher: Self-Published
Cover: Jay Aheer

Buy Links:
Buy Incoming by A.E. Wasp on Amazon Add Incoming by A.E. Wasp on QueeRomance Add Incoming by A.E. Wasp on Goodreads

Blurb:
Buy Incoming by A.E. Wasp on AmazonWhat Dmitri Wellington wants is out – out of debt, out of his rundown farmhouse, and out of Red Deer, Colorado. Salvation beckons in the form of a job opportunity in California.

What newly-discharged army veteran Troy Johnson wants is simply to lay down – lay down his weapon, lay down some roots, and lay down the memories that haunt him. Red Deer sounds like the perfect place to do it.

Sparks fly when their paths cross one hot Fourth of July weekend, and suddenly they find that what they need is each other.

But the memories Troy is running from are hot on his heels and, whether Troy wants it or not, Dmitri is determined to save him from the demons he hadn’t even realized he was fighting

Excerpt:
Dmitri laughed. Troy thought he was even better looking when he smiled. “This is, I think, the weirdest pre-date conversation I’ve ever had. I’ll tell you what. You go to coffee with me, and I’ll tell you why I’m single, okay? Then you can tell me you why you’re single. Then we’ll get that all behind us, and we can look forward to the next step.”

“I guess so. But I have to warn you. I haven’t had a date since high school.”

“Really?”

Troy shrugged. “Yeah. And it was all girls then.”

“So this would be your first date with a man?” Dmitri’s voice dropped.

Something inside Troy shivered, and he put a hand on the table and leaned down. “Actual date? Technically, yes.”

Dmitri’s eyes dropped down Troy’s body, blatantly checking him out.

Troy straightened up, hoping Dmitri liked what he saw.

“So, it’s a date then?” Dmitri raised one eyebrow.

“Sure. Where and when?”

“Tomorrow’s Friday, so I have to work tomorrow night. How about Starry Night at three? I’ll load up on caffeine to help me through my shift.”

Dmitri’s eyes were locked on Troy’s mouth, so Troy bit his lip gently, rolling it between his teeth, and then releasing it. Dmitri mirrored the action and then looked up as he sunk deeper into his chair, legs spreading. “I’ve got Friday off for the Fourth, so that works for me. Starry Night at three it is.”

Troy was starting to remember how this all went.

“Great.”

Angel called for Troy over the murmur of the crowd. “Troy! Little help here!”

“I’m going to get fired,” Troy laughed. “See you tomorrow.”

DUELING REVIEWS: Incoming by A.E. Wasp“I look forward to it.”

Troy forced himself to saunter slowly back into the bar despite the butterflies in his stomach. He resisted the urge to look back though he could feel Dmitri’s eyes on him.

Troy pushed the door open with a flourish, almost smacking Angel in the face with it as he did. “Sorry.”

“Oh, Dmitri,” she said, batting her eyelashes. “You’re so pretty.” She flipped her hair back so that the undercut showed. “I don’t know why you asked little ole me out.”

“Shut up.”

“That is the funniest shit I have heard all day. I don’t think he’s going to be surprised that you’re still single if that’s all the game that you got.”

They walked further into the bar, Angel yanking the drink tray away from Troy. “Give me that.”

“I’ve got game,” Troy said. “I got so much game; I’m practically Milton Bradley.”

“Oh, yeah. You’re smooth. Like milk chocolate.”

Troy sighed, deflated. “I know.” He whined. “I got nothing. I’ve never dated. I don’t know how to do this.”

Angel took pity on him, wrapping her thin, strong arm around his shoulders. “Come on. I’ll give you Angel’s quick and dirty tricks for dating. Never failed me yet.”

“Yeah? How many second dates have you had?”

“A couple.”

Troy shook his head. “You’re ruining all the lesbian stereotypes, you know.”

“Yeah, I know. But maybe one night the doors might open, and Ms. Right will walk through those doors and sweep me off my feet. Then I won’t have to worry about it anymore.”

reviewericon-evette

3.5✨s – Having read the original version of this story I was pleased with many of the edits in this new version. There are still some issues, but so much better.

Troy has my heart, I am pretty sure he is my favorite character in the entire series. Dmitri is a bit harder to get a feel for, but seeing him through Troy’s eyes- wow! The fun times are just that, silly, without being ridiculous.

Passion-check! Incredible friends and secondary characters-check! Drama without the insane unbelieveable-check,check,check!

As their connection strengthens all of the other threads that are unraveling behind the scenes push to the forefront. PTSD, money issues… but mostly fear. Fear of being left, fear of being loved as well as giving love and ultimately the fear of being honest. That asking for what you want, having that hope and dealing with the outcome is what makes the world go round. Together Dmitri and Troy navigate their lives and find that together they are pretty incredible.

reviewericon-Jen

3✨s – Troy is new in town, fresh out of the Marines. He’s going through some things and figuring out where he wants to be and what he wants to do. Until he can figure it out, he gets a job as a bartender at a pretty close knit bar. His boss is great and understanding of his situation and I was glad that he had someone like him to care about him. Angel, a chick he works with, plays matchmaker with her best friend Dimitri, that was cute how she played them both to get them to meet and I thought that they had awesome chemistry together.

Dimitri is a veterninarian, not a Veteran, but still… he and Troy agree to a date that turned into a relationship. Like I said, they had awesome chemistry and Dimitri helped Troy get out of his head a lot. As a sufferer of PTSD and not having it treated, of course things got ugly.

PTSD is serious and I thought it was handled in a very real way. I see people come back with so many psychological problems and for one reason or another, they think they don’t deserve the help or that others deserve it more. Because they may not be physically hurt that they don’t require medical attention… I hated it for Troy and his struggle with it was a very real thing. I liked that, I like reading situations that real people can relate to… It’s what pulled me into this story.

Now, in saying all that, Demitri kind of flip-flopped out of nowhere for me. I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t and I thought it was kind of ridiculous. I was glad that Angel called him out for being a little b*tch because that’s what he was being. He was self-centered and a little selfish. I didn’t like that side of him. He had seemed so perfect up until then and then BAM 180. I didn’t like him. Between Angel and being forced with a very real situation, he pulls his head out and things work out, but it was really frustrating getting there lol

I was kind of hoping that we’d see more with Troy and his family, namely his sister whom he seemed to be close with but after one phone call, we didn’t hear anything else about it. I feel like Troy wouldn’t feel so weighed down by so much crap if he’d come out to his family. Afterall, he talked Ravi into coming out to his family but he still hadn’t came out to his?
That’s frustrating too.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this story and I’ll more than likely read the next one.

Author Bio:
After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love – writing. A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world than can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds. Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado for who knows how long.

5 Questions with A.E. Wasp:

  1. As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind Incoming? It sounds a little depressing, but happy endings are guaranteed! I promise. There are even cute dogs!Incoming was inspired by many, many late nights (possibly intoxicated) conversations I had with military and former military and other security personnel during the year I was stationed in Kabul with the State Department. Many of the stories had me crying in my CHU later, and I started to wonder how you go back into ‘normal’ life after those kinds of experiences.After talking with some of contractors and service member, I realized that sometimes they couldn’t. Sometimes people never manage, so they re-enlist or find another way to get back into the war.For the ones who do manage it, reintegration can be a long process. The people you loved you are vital to the journey. Then there is PTSD and physical trauma. Returning are often depicted as suicidal, or violent, or haunted by trauma. But that is only a tiny part of the story. They love, they joke, and they go camping, and hang out with friends and love the partners. I don’t gloss over the effects on the guys and their partners, but it isn’t anywhere near the whole story.

    I wanted to tell these guys’ stories. The ones who come home, each affected in a different way by what they have lived through, and struggle to make a life full of meaning and love.

  1. What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or panster, explain) I started out writing screenplays a million years ago, so I’m a big outliner. It’s a flexible outline, based on a combo of Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” beat sheet and Gwen Hayes’s “Romancing the Beat.” I highly recommend both of those books.But because my books are about people and relationships, the inspiration for an individual story is always a character. I imagine them, daydream about them. Sometimes the character comes from a snippet of conversation or from a random name. But I swear they mostly come out of nowhere, popping out of my head fully formed. I write down what I know about them, give them a background, a context, strengths and flaws, desires, and needs. Then I set them down into a world and see what happens.This newest couple, in Bronze Star, came as a complete surprise to me. They were background characters in Paper Hearts, a friend, and an employer, of one of the main characters in the story. I had vague ideas of pairing them, separately, with a couple of other characters I had been contemplating.Then as I was writing a critical scene, it became obvious from a three line interaction that they had been having a secret relationship behind the scenes the entire time. My beta readers even asked when we would get their story. So, I had to write it.
  1. What is the hardest part of that process for you? Writing the words for the first draft. The actual sentences that don’t suck. Sometimes I sneak up on it. I WRITE IN ALL CAPS because then I can tell myself I’m not writing, I’m just writing notes. No pressure. Sometimes I dictate, just rambling into my microphone, and hope that something salvageable comes out it.And then stuff comes out that you didn’t expect and you have back and make sure it’s set up properly in their earlier scenes. Oh, Guy X never takes off the necklace given to him by an old love? Have to go back and mention it.Scenes you have lovingly outlined don’t fit anymore and get relegated to the dreaded CUT SCENES folder.
    I love outlining, and I love writing the second draft. That first draft, though. Oy.
  1. There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? It started a long time ago, writing articles for the high school newspaper and yearbook. I published some poems. Wrote comic books, and short stories and screenplays that didn’t sell. Started many things I didn’t finish. Then life changed, and I ended up taking a break from fiction-writing. I did a lot of academic and professional writing, and you’re always getting graded and critiqued on that.My writings had been critiqued and torn apart for years. I have a pretty thick skin and a possibly unearned belief in my writing ability. Bad reviews still suck, though.I quit the State Department and didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I had started writing fiction again, fan fiction mostly, a couple of years earlier, and that was a great way to re-enter writing for fun again. Then I started some original writing but didn’t know what to do with stories. I knew what the traditional publishing world was like and it sounded even worse than it had been back in the 90s. When I found out self-publishing was an option, I thought, well, I could try. I suck at having a real job.I researched obsessively, bugged my author friends, spent way too much on some gorgeous covers, and failed spectacularly to make any kind of ripple. But I learned a lot. Then I realized that all the fan fic I had been writing was gay romance and that gay romance was actually a legitimate genre that people bought. Then it got a little easier.
  1. What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writing considering that leap for themselves? Just one? That’s hard! I would say pick a genre that you love to read, and then write three novels that hit all the tropes head on but with the special something that only you can give. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show through.

Where to find A.E. Wasp:
A.E. Wasp Amazon Author Page A.E. Wasp on Facebook A.E. Wasp's Facebook Author Page A.E. Wasp on Goodreads A.E. Wasp on Pinterest A.E. Wasp on Twitter A.E. Wasp Website

Where We Are, and Where We’re Going

QRI blog weekly update

Hey all,

Time for the weekly check-in. 🙂

The site continues to grow – we just hit 250 authors, and will soon have 1,100 books in the directory.

Last week, we updated to version four of the library plugin we use as our site foundation. There were a few small bugs with the upgrade, but in the end it resulted in a great speed bump on the site, We made a few more tweaks that helped as well, including adding pagination to the book pages, so you don’t have to load hundreds of books at a time. All of this means the site is now running much faster than it was a week ago.

We tested our first Facebook ad last week to help get the word out and reached about 3,900 people. We’ll be playing around with these going forward to find the most effective formula to create brand awareness for QRI.

As far as site traffic goes, we’re on track to reach almost 7,000 unique visitors this month.

Next up for site development – filtering. Now that version four is in place, our developer is working on setting up the ability to filter searches and book grids so you’ll be able to zero in on the title you want using the criteria you want.

We’re thrilled with where we’ve gotten in less than three months, and excited for what’s still to come!

–Scott & Mark

BOOK BLAST: A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra

Author Name: Morgan Elektra
Book Name: A Single Heartbeat
Page/Word Count: 46 pages, 14K words
Categories: Bisexual Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi, Gay Romance
Release Date: December 29, 2016
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover:Lex Valentine

Buy Links:

Buy A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra on Amazon Buy A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra on Barnes & Noble Buy A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra on KOBO Add A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra on QueeRomance Add A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra on GoodreadsBuy A Single Heartbeat by Morgan Elektra on Amazon

Blurb:
Nature made them adversaries, but one glance ignites a lust stronger than the need for blood.

After 200 years, the nightlife has lost its allure for Reese. A leader among his kind, owner of a nightclub that serves as a banquet of nubile flesh and hot blood, he is bored out of his mind.

His heart hasn’t stirred in over a century.

Born to a line of vampire hunters, Will ventures out every day after dark to track down those creatures who have crossed the line from feeding to murder, and destroy them.

All he wants is one night off to drink and dance and maybe get laid.

Too bad it’s not his lucky night. Or maybe it is?

Not even witnessing Will stake one of his brethren is enough to quell the lust that Reese feels from his first glimpse of the gorgeous hunter. And though Will knows how dangerous it could be to take the
sensual invitation in Reese’s dark eyes, he can’t resist.

Why fight when they could fuck instead?

Excerpt:
Reese nodded his head at Joe, the bulky vamp Sebastián had left in charge of the VIP area. There were a couple of baby bloodsuckers in tonight, neophytes who still had that exuberance he’d lost over a century ago. Sometimes they had more passion than sense, and Reese didn’t want to risk his club becoming ground zero for a breach of secrecy.

“I’ll keep an eye on ‘em, boss.” Joe’s voice was pitched so low no one else would be able to hear it over the music.

At least, no one human.

He let his gaze drift over the crowd, the noise fading into the background of his consciousness. This was a trick honed as he’d grown more powerful, pulling apart layers of sensory perception and filtering through them as he saw fit.

Sight. Smell. Hearing. Even touch and taste. They were all heightened. Being able to compartmentalize when he chose kept it from driving him mad. It hadn’t bothered him in his first century as an immortal, but in the last hundred years his senses had become even more acute.

If he hadn’t been able to do what he did, Reese wouldn’t have been able to stand living in the city or running Sang.

The air in the club was warm with bodies. A melange of aromas. According to the state, the maximum capacity was 394 persons, and Reese was willing to bet he had at least that there tonight. Nearly four hundred people, most of them human. Different shampoos, hair products, cosmetics, deodorants, detergents, perfumes.

Cotton. Vinyl. Leather. Wood. Liquor. Sweat. Blood.

Reese pushed all that to the back of his mind. He was still aware of it, but it didn’t overwhelm him.

He watched the mass of bodies writhing and rubbing against each other on the dance floor, the music a low, sensual throb under his skin. People clung and groped and kissed, their passion for each other, their need for touch like another scent in the air.

Lust.

As much as Sebastián encouraged him to treat the club as a buffet of both bed partners and meals-on-legs, like the rest of the upstairs residents, Reese didn’t feel even the smallest stirring at the sight.

Then, he saw *him*.

He stood out like a single candle in a dark room. And not just because of his damp, wavy, unnaturally white-blond hair.

His body was compellingly compact. Tight, toned muscle stood out on the arms raised above his head, and his damp t-shirt clung to the smooth planes of his chest and the ridges of his abdomen. From across the room, Reese’s sharp eyes picked out the small, peaked, pink nipples underneath the translucent cloth and the faint line of dark blond hair that disappeared into the low-slung black leather pants, visible where the shirt rode up his belly.

A trickle of sweat slid down the small strip of skin framed by his sharp hipbones. Reese followed it with his eyes, sudden saliva pooling in his mouth.

He dragged his gaze away before it strayed below those swaying hips and lifted it to the man’s face.

The sight that greeted him almost pulled an unwilling moan from his lips. Blondie’s head was thrown back, revealing a long, pale throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed, the motion a beacon for Reese’s eyes. The man’s pulse thrummed in the thick vein on the side of his neck.

Once again, he had to force his eyes away. He lifted them higher and let out a soft breath.The face beneath the shock of blond hair was as exquisite as a Roman statue.

High, cutting cheekbones. Smooth, angled jaw. Strong nose. Full, pink lips curled into a secret smile.

His eyes were closed as he moved his body to the music, each twist and shimmy highlighting some enticing line or angle. When he spun away, Reese’s eyes dropped to the curve of his high, tight ass, framed perfectly in those gleaming black leather pants, and he growled.

Reese’s feet moved instinctively, taking him on a slow, circular path around the dance floor. If Sebastián, or any of the other vampires in their colony, had witnessed his actions at that moment, they would have recognized them for what they were.

As would any human who had ever watched a nature documentary.

He was on the hunt.

reviewericon-Jessie

4✨s – In the world of enemies to lovers, who better than a vampire and a vampire hunter? The give and take between two characters who want each other with as much intensity as they want to hate each other is a treat I can’t refuse and this book nearly hit the spot. Nearly, because like any good treat, it’s gone too soon and this short novella was like those single serve bag of chips-so good and over too fast. Reece is bored with himself—at 200 yo, it happens—and Will works too hard hunting down Reece’s kind. When they lay eyes on each other, it’s lust at first sight, and the question becomes: with they fight or fuck? Personally, I think they made the right choice. Anything else would spoil the story. I will say that for a novella, I was satisfied with the ending, however I wouldn’t say no to another installment of Will and Reece.

Author Bio:
Born in the artists’ community of Woodstock, NY, Morgan Elektra discovered her passion for writing at a young age, penning stories of witches, vampires, and monsters at the dining room table. After years working day jobs and moonlighting as a reviewer for popular genre website Dread Central, Morgan left the comfort of an office to follow her dreams of writing fiction. She spent the early twenty-teens as a freelance ghostwriter of erotica, but has now put aside the masks to write under her own name. She currently lives near Savannah, GA with her husband, their cat Harlequin, and—if the rumours are to be believed (and she sincerely hopes they are)—an awful lot of ghosts.

5 Questions with an Author:

  1. As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind A Single HeartbeatWhen I read books, or watch movies or TV, I often think, “How would I write this?” All the time. During one of my many rewatches of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (one of my favorite shows), I was especially caught up in the Season 2 episode ‘School Hard’. This is the first introduction of the character Spike, who is my absolute favorite character in the series. So interesting & sexy! There’s a moment where he goes to the local club to check out the Slayer, and ends up watching her fight in the alley. I’ve seen the episode plenty of times before, and always enjoyed it… but this particular time, my brain played the ‘What if…?’ game. There’s a sexual undertone to the episode, but Buffy is a teenager (and still hung up on stupid Angel) so it’s not really explored. What if it had been? How would I write that? Of course, for me, I made both the vampire and the hunter grown-ups. And men. I created my own supernatural world. And then took the scene to what I felt was the proper conclusion! (But readers might recognize some of the original inspiration in the bleach blond locks that a certain hunter sports.)
  2. What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or panster, explain) I don’t consider myself either, actually. I can and have plotted in the past, but once I figure out all the beats of the story, I tend to be done with it. I don’t consider myself a ‘pantser’ either though. That always sounds to me like I just wing it, which I don’t. I put a lot of time, effort, and thought into crafting a story. I just let it unfold the way it wants to. In the case of A Single Heartbeat, for instance, I knew the set-up going in. Vampire watches vampire hunter fight and kill a vampire, and is attracted/intrigued. Then I asked, ‘How did they get there?’ That’s the beginning of the story. Once I got them there, I asked, “Then what?” I let the characters tell me what happened.
  3. What is the hardest part of that process for you? I’m very rarely happy with my endings. They’re always the parts that I want to go back and tweak the most.

  4. There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? I was only 7 the first time I declared that I was going to write books (like Stephen King) when I grew up. Even as a kid, I would write stories and make my friends and family read them. I was a member of my high school’s literary magazine. Any time anyone gave me an opportunity to tell them a story, I took it. After high school, I became friends with some people who ran a horror website (DreadCentral.com, if you like horror, check it out.) They asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing some novels, and I jumped at that chance as well. The first few times one of my reviews posted, I felt like I was going to throw up! Then, I started ghostwriting erotica. There was something very liberating about not having my name on the work. It meant I could just write without worrying. And I wrote a lot! The first year, I wrote a million words worth of erotica. But after a few years of writing for other people, I wanted to write for myself. A Single Heartbeat came out all in a rush, and once it was done, I Googled something like ‘gay erotic short story submissions’. I found MLR Press, and Heartbeat fit one of their open submission calls perfectly, so I took a chance and sent it in.

  5. What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writing considering that leap for themselves? Don’t give up. You never know when you’re about to get a break.

Where to find Morgan Elektra:

Morgan Elektra Amazon Author Page Morgan Elektra on Facebook Morgan Elektra's Facebook Author Page Morgan Elektra on Goodreads Support Morgan Elektra on Patreon Morgan Elektra on Tumblr Morgan Elektra on Twitter Morgan Elektra Website

BOOK BLAST: Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey

Author Name: V.L. Locey
Book Name: Point Shot Trilogy Box Set
Series: Point Shot Trilogy
Page/Word Count: 458 pages / 100+K words
Categories: Bisexual Romance, Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance, Sports, Ice Hockey
Release Date: February 26, 2017
Cover Design: Reverie Design and Formatting

Buy Links:

Buy Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey on Amazon Add Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey on Goodreads

Blurb:
Buy Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey on AmazonNow, you can have the books that introduced Victor Kalinski to the world in one reasonably priced boxed set! With over 350 Goodreads reviews and ratings combined, the romance of Vic Kalinski and Dan Arou is one that once read, will never be forgotten. In this three-book set, you’ll get to experience all the passion, sarcasm, hockey action, and romance that reviewers have called “Beautifully Written”, “Surprisingly Heartfelt”, and “Hot! Hot! Hot!”

“The writing in this is snappy and awesome, the story moves at a great pace and oh it’s HOT AS EVER-LOVING HELL. There’s romance that never veers into a too-sappy place, it’s FUNNY and full of great lines right and left, and so engaging that I couldn’t stop reading it. The ending is satisfying, with our characters not becoming perfect people but becoming better together than they are apart, and that’s just about as romantic as it gets.” Avon Gale – Author of the Scoring Chances series

Readers should be over 18 due to mature language and gay sexual situations. The set includes:
Two Man Advantage (Point Shot Trilogy #1)
Game Misconduct (Point Shot Trilogy #2)
Full Strength (Point Shot Trilogy #3)

Excerpt:
Coach was an ex D-man who’d never crawled out of the minors. He was big, bold, bald, brash and knew his stuff. Someday a pro team would give him a call. Maybe.

I chuckled at the show. Christ, but this brought back memories. Watching whatever line was out there being ripped a new anus, I tried to pick out players I knew from my time there. Most were familiar to me and would be lifetime Cayuga Cougars.

One short little shit got my attention when Lambert told them to try again. He was a dark-haired little scrapper with a light-sienna complexion, who got into the corners, putting elbow to nose and lumber to teeth with no remorse until he got the puck free. I liked his grit. And the way his black hair hung out from under his lid, flipping up at the ends. The man had some good flow going on.

His style was good, his eyes sharp, his stick handling above par and his ankles strong. He was the only one who had a grasp of what he was supposed to be doing, if you asked me. When he skated past in pursuit of the puck, I got a glimpse of a round, cute face with a button nose and lapis lazuli eyes. He executed a perfect side-stop, his plump mouth drawing up as he looked at me.

“Holy shit, it’s the big bad boy of Beantown,” he yelled to be heard over the shouts of his teammates. There was a noticeable Canadian accent when he spoke. He was probably no older than my twenty-four, if that. He wore the big A on his shoulder, so I knew he was an alternate captain. Shit, but he had a sexy Elvis Presley mouth. “What’s your expert opinion on how we’re looking, Kalinski?”

“To quote Reggie Dunlop as played by Paul Newman in Slapshot, ‘Jesus Christ, what a *#*#* nightmare.’”

He chuckled, then skated down ice. His jersey said his last name was spelled A-R-O-U.

Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey

PG Rated Excerpt:
Lying beside him in the dark, I was thinking about getting under the covers to suck him off when he asked me what I thought about the team.

I shrugged the shoulder his dark head rested on. “They suck, man.” I ran my tongue over my teeth.

“Think so, do you?” he enquired. “I hate that sound you make when you suck air through your teeth.”

“Um, yah,” I snorted, my palm resting on his shoulder. “I mean, no offense, but if not for you that bunch of losers wouldn’t have the few wins they do. And tough shit about the teeth sounds.”

Dan’s exhalation blew over my nipple. It puckered up into a tiny pink bead. I really wanted to get oral on this man. He seemed to be chatty, though. I didn’t dare comment on how girly that was. My ass was still recovering from the last slur against his manhood I’d made.

“You’re right,” he confessed, sitting up against my wishes to turn on the light. I squeezed my eyes shut and bitched about the wattage. “You think you could help us out?”

My nose wrinkled. “Dan, man, look, maybe if I were going to be here for the season, yeah, I’d be happy to pass along what tricks I’ve learned. But this trip is just for a week or two.” I had hoped he would drop it as soon as I weaseled around. He didn’t. His blue eyes stayed glued to me. “Arou, man, don’t make this harder than it is. Why don’t you just turn out the light, lie down and let me get you off again?”

I saw the desire flare up in his gaze. “I’d consider it a favor if you gave the other guys a hand. They’re buddies, you know?”

“Whose buddies? Not mine. They all fucking hate me,” I countered, pulling him back to the bed.

He flopped down with a sigh of exasperation. I rolled over him and began tasting his neck. He was just as bound up in this crazy thing we shared as I was. His neck and jaw tightened as he worked to fight the fire trail where my tongue and lips moved over him, but the nudge of his erection against my stomach showed he couldn’t control the need for me any more than I could handle my need for him.

“That’s because you’re a dick,” he ground out as I tongued his navel.

I agreed, then licked a long trail across his belly.

Click to enlarge teasers

Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey Point Shot Trilogy Box Set by V.L. Locey

Author Bio:
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers. When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Where to find V.L. Locey:

V.L. Locey Amazon Author Page V.L. Locey on Facebook V.L. Locey's Facebook Author Page V.L. Locey's Facebook Group Page V.L. Locey on Goodreads  V.L. Locey Newsletter V.L. Locey on QueeRomance  V.L. Locey on Twitter V.L. Locey Website 

BOOK BLAST: The Poison Within by Kasia Bacon

BOOK BLAST: The Poison Within by Kasia Bacon

Author Name: Kasia Bacon
Book Name: The Poison Within
Series: Inspector Skaer, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 50 pages, 11K words
Categories: Bisexual Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: March 18, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Cover: Kudi-Design

Buy Links:

Get The Poison Within by Kasia Bacon on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited Add The Poison Within by Kasia Bacon on QueeRomance Add The Poison Within by Kasia Bacon on Goodreads

Blurb:
Get The Poison Within by Kasia Bacon on Amazon & Kindle UnlimitedBlack clouds of xenophobia gather over Radvadur, the western province of the Empire. The political climate is strained and fragile. A surge of Nymph refugees has stirred widespread hostility towards non-humans. When the investigation of a gruesome triple murder linked to the refugee camp ensues, it takes Inspector Käyru Skaer and his lover, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn, along an unusual path, at the end of which a precious gift awaits.

Käyru and Elly are worlds apart in social standing, but they have found common ground in the bedroom—up against the wall and the stable doors, too. The arrangement between them ought to have been temporary and of no consequence. As their circumstances change, will they find the courage to risk their hearts?

Warning: Contains mentions of off page sexual assault

Excerpt:
By nature, I’d always been an inquisitive sod, one to seek answers and ascertain motives. Besides, I liked the idea of justice served and balance restored. That sentiment prompted me, to a great extent, to become a lawman.

My fondness for asking questions explained why, after parting ways with Temper, I found myself heading towards Ÿben’s.

I encountered a few random checkpoints on my way to the town centre. The entire place bustled with Imperial soldiers looking purposeful.

Ÿben took his bloody time answering the door. I had my foot inside before he could blink. From the scowl he wore, I guessed my unannounced social call went unappreciated.

“Talk, elfling.” I barked at him. “About your Furia friend.”

“Inspector, you can’t—”

“Where is she?” I forced my way in and slammed the door behind me with the heel of my boot.

Ÿben stepped back and flattened himself against the wall.

The Furia’s tall figure appeared from around the back. She moved in the fluid, stealthy manner of a predator. Bloodstains marked the front of her clothes. Her upper lip lifted in warning and a display of teeth followed. The hair on the nape of my neck prickled at the bestial growl that came from her throat. I didn’t dare flex a muscle; I stood no chance if she chose to attack me.

Her luminous purple eyes clung to mine, and she spent a long moment examining me.

I wouldn’t say that her gaze made me shit myself exactly, but with three massacred bodies fresh in my memory, I drew damn near that territory.
Besides rage and hostility, something poignant lurked beneath her savage expression.

Despair.

“Tell me, human. Is there someone you love?” she rasped at last.

I blinked. The thought of Elly never slipped far from my mind.

Whatever emotions crossed my face must’ve satisfied her because her features mellowed. She summoned me with a jerky hand gesture. “Come.”

Wary and tense, I followed her.

5 Questions with the Author:

  1. What is your writing process? ‘Process’ is probably too fancy a word. I’m an organic writer. I don’t prepare detailed outlines. Instead, I keep loose memos, scribbled on the back of receipts, napkins and animal-shaped Japanese post-it notes. I visualise and ponder. A lot. Once the idea has matured in my mind—when I’ve imagined the characters and figured out the plot—I simply sit and write it all down.
  1. What is the hardest part of that process for you? Err…the sitting and writing it all down part? I’m a first-rate procrastinator. Often, I start with a Pinboard to motivate myself and create something half-tangible. And then, the moment I begin putting the words down, I get sucked in.
  1. What do you think makes a good story? Stories that evoke emotions. Humour. Language in particular often makes or breaks a book for me. I appreciate natural sounding dialogue that conveys the characters’ personalities.
  1. Do you have any strange habits or rituals? Oh dear. In a word: yes. I mainly write at a rustic coffee shop near my house. Unless I can get my usual table, I’m oddly wordless. Neither can I write without:
    • Breaking Benjamin blasting in my headphones
    • Hot beverages
    • Almonds
    • Heaps of Japanese stationery
  1. What can readers expect from you next? More fantasy/paranormal stories from my Order Universe. ‘The Highlander’—the continuation of ‘The Mutt’ told from Lochan Féyes’ POV—is coming next. After that, I’m determined to finish ‘The Price of Salt’, a novella built around the forbidden love trope, which tells the story of an insecure hunter and a gifted trainee priest. And I can hardly believe it myself, but I’ve also got a ridiculous idea for a fated mates shifter romance on the backburner.

Author Bio:
A linguist and an avid reader with a particular fondness for fantasy and paranormal genres, KASIA BACON lives in London with her husband. When not tearing her hair out over a translating project, she writes stories about the shenanigans of emotionally constipated assassins and sexy Elves. Otherwise, she can be found shaking her loins at a Zumba class, binging on anime or admiring throwing knives on Pinterest. She has a mild coffee and lemon tart addiction. A lover of MMA and Muay Thai, she also enjoys nature and the great outdoors. She dreams of becoming independently wealthy, leaving the city and moving into her wooden mini-manor—located in the heart of stunning forests resembling those of the Elven Country depicted in her tales.

Where to find Kasia Bacon:

Kasia Bacon Amazon Author Page Kasia Bacon on Facebook Kasia Bacon on Goodreads Kasia Bacon Newsletter Kasia Bacon on Pinterest Kasia Bacon on Twitter Kasia Bacon Website

Giveaway:
Win a copy of The Poison Within http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5b6f4fef0/

We Broke the 1,000 Book Level!

1000

1000

It was a good week at QRI. We surpassed 1,000 books on the site – 1,030 to be exact – and now have more than 230 authors.

We have our first official advertisers on board – Dreamspinner and MLR Press.

And on Friday our developer will be upgrading the site to version four, which will set the stage for getting our long awaited search and page filtering.

We’re also addressing the site slowness – it’s a new system and we’ve loaded a lot into it. Our ISP and developer are working to make the site run more efficiently and quickly.

Once we launch V4, we’ll start doing more reader outreach. But we’re already on track to have almost 7,000 visitors this month.

We have a lot of other features and improvements planned too – stay tuned! Thanks for coming along for the ride!

–Scott & Mark

BLOG TOUR: Midnight by J.V. Speyer

Midnight meme - J.V. Speyer

Author Name: J.V. Speyer
Book Name: Midnight
Page/Word Count: 74 pages, 27K Words
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Publisher: Less Than Three Press, LLC
Cover: Natasha Snow

Buy Links:
Buy Midnight by J.V. Speyer on Amazon Buy Midnight by J.V. Speyer on Barnes & Noble Buy Midnight by J.V. Speyer on KOBO Buy Midnight by J.V. Speyer on Less Than Three Press LLC Midnight by J.V. Speyer on QRI Add Midnight by J.V. Speyer on Goodreads

Blurb:
Six weeks after the sudden departure of his partner, Brandon finally emerges from seclusion—but still reeling from the loss of the man he thought he’d spend the rest of his life with. Then a chance encounter leaves him feeling hurt and confused, and a series of other seemingly random encounters slowly makes him wonder if his relationship was ever what he thought—and if he ever really knew Adrian at all.

Excerpt:
Buy Midnight by J.V. Speyer on AmazonBrandon shuffled through the doors of the bar. Back when he’d first moved to Boston, it had been a sleazy pool hall. Of course, that had been back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The whole neighborhood had been pretty sleazy, he remembered almost fondly, with ratty stores and ratty restaurants and actual rats the size of raccoons. There had been a closed-down nightclub—vacant for years by the time he arrived—whose reputation had been so foul that the name itself became a byword for sexually transmitted infections.

Then had come gentrification. Dumpy apartment buildings had been gutted, the brownstone facades given a facelift while the interiors merged into one of the swankiest hotels in Boston. Restaurants that had been the cheapest eats in town disappeared, their places taken by eateries even Brandon had only take people to when he could charge it to an expense account. The nightclub’s last vestiges had been forgotten by all but a few old guards, like Brandon. Everyone else who might remember had either returned to Long Island and New Jersey or migrated out to the suburbs like everyone else with a stable life partner and the two point five children, white picket fence thing.

A few small mementos remained. The Citgo sign, long since divorced from any literal gas station, blinked out its message over the square to summon students home from whatever misadventures had drawn them out. Fenway Park still stood sentinel over near Lansdowne Street, for good or ill. And a very tiny handful of old establishments still held on, able to adapt with the times.

Pendragon’s was one of those places. It wasn’t a student bar, and a good thing, too. They’d never have survived any of the crackdowns on underage drinking over the years. It wasn’t a sports bar, although a guy could catch a game there if he wanted to watch in convivial company. It wasn’t a meat market either. He’d met guys there, once or twice, but it wasn’t a pick-up joint. It was just a comfortable place to get together with friends, have a few drinks, maybe play a little bit of darts if the spirit so moved. It was a bar, no more and no less.

“Brandon! Hey!” A blindingly white smile dazzled him from behind the bar as Miriam looked up from the pint she was pulling. “Howdy, stranger! It’s good to see you!” She shoved a mass of dark hair behind one ear, snagging a few strands on a broken nail without seeming to notice.

He forced his muscles to relax. It had been a while since he’d been here. It had been at least six weeks since he’d left the condo for anything but work. “Yeah, well, you know. Been busy.” He forced a smile, knowing it was weak. “You know how it is.”

One perfectly groomed eyebrow ascended the vault of her forehead. She probably knew more about “how it is” than he’d have liked, but she didn’t say anything, and he loved her all the more for it. “Let me get you a beer. It’s new this week, the first time this brewery’s distributed this far out. You’ll love it.”

He shrugged and nodded his assent. Miriam had excellent taste in beer as a general rule. She knew what he liked, even when he disappeared for weeks at a time. He trusted her; she wouldn’t ever steer him wrong.

She turned around to go grab a glass as a figure settled in on either side of him. Somehow, even though he hadn’t expected it, Brandon found himself relaxing a little more. The world couldn’t have turned out two better guys than Greg and Tony. He wouldn’t even have been here tonight if they hadn’t insisted. “You know,” Greg told him in his quiet, deep voice, “I thought you weren’t going to show.” His mouth twisted into a teasing little grin, barely visible in the wilds of his bushy beard.

Brandon sighed. “Come on, Greg. I said I’d be here.”

Tony shook his sandy-haired head and took gentle hold of Brandon’s briefcase. “You said that last week, dude.” He eased the strap over Brandon’s shoulder and helped him put it on the floor. “And the week before that.”

“The Richter case was going to trial,” Brandon replied. It wasn’t a lie. “I had work to do.”

“Yeah, sure. Okay. I’m pretty sure that you had associates who could have done at least half of it for you, buddy.” Greg leaned in and nudged Brandon with his shoulder to show that there were no hard feelings. Brandon fought not to collapse into his friend’s touch. He couldn’t be this pathetic. When had he turned into such a pushover that even a little shoulder bump had him ready to burst into tears? “It’s okay that you weren’t up to it yet, dude, but be honest with yourself.”

Brandon sighed and leaned his head back as far as it would go. “How am I going to be able to pull off a court case if I’m that goddamn transparent?” he groaned.

Miriam returned and pressed a pint of something cold and vaguely damp into his hand. “Buddy, I’ve seen you in court. It’s a whole different ball game than you when you’re with your friends.” She waved a dismissive hand. “Trust me. You’ll be fine. You’re transparent to us because we know you. And we knew you back when you were just a dumb history major who danced on tables after too much tequila.”

He couldn’t help but laugh at that, even as he blushed up to the tips of his ears. “How much tequila is it going to take for you all to forget that ever happened?”

Tony clapped him on the back. “Not all the tequila in Mexico, my friend. There are pictures to prove it. You were a pretty good dancer back in the day, I have to admit. That tie choking off your rhythm or do you still have moves?”

Brandon’s unoccupied hand instinctively went to his tie, loosening it. “I never had moves, dude. And even if I did,” he added, holding up his beer to forestall the objections he could see coming on both of their faces, “they surgically remove your moves in law school. It’s a requirement. They have to make room for tort law somehow.” He put his hands to his chest in an affectation of innocence. “I don’t make the rules.”

“Aw, come on,” Greg objected, a hint of pink coming into his cheeks. “You were great. Everyone loved to see you dance, dude. You could’ve put yourself through law school that way if you’d wanted to.”

“Not anymore. Lawyers don’t dance, Greg. We plod from case to case and occasionally watch baseball alone in our condos. Or we would. If we had televisions.” He grimaced and took a sip of his beer. It really was good stuff, he had to admit. Miriam hadn’t failed him yet.

“You haven’t bought a new one yet?” Tony blurted. “Dude, it’s been six weeks. What the hell do you do with yourself in there without a TV?” Greg reached around Brandon to smack Tony on the back of his head. “Ow! It was a legitimate question!”

  1. As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind MidnightHonestly, the inspiration was a song. Like you mentioned, inspiration can come from anyplace, but I’ve always found myself most strongly inspired by music and this is no difference. The song was “Sometime Around Midnight,” by The Airborne Toxic Event. I came up with characters and a scene (the opening scene) based on the song, and I wanted to see what came after that.
  1. What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or panster, explain) So, I have ADD, and I need a set of guideposts to keep me on track or else I will spend my day on Pinterest looking at beautiful graphics about writing instead of, you know, writing. I start out by writing a vague idea of what I want to happen – what ending do I want to see, what are the conflicts that I see coming up, what are the little snippets of life that I already see for these characters. I do that in Evernote.Then, in Scrivener, I do the actual outline, right there in the document. Each chapter folder has a brief note of what I want to happen in that chapter. I outline the beginning and ending first, and then the crisis point, mid point, and pinch points. Then I go in and “color in” the rest based on what makes sense.
  2. What is the hardest part of that process for you? Editing. It’s almost impossible for me to see my own mistakes, especially when I’m up against a deadline. I definitely won’t notice things like overuse of certain words. My mind just kind of skips right over them, because I’ve already read this book once, right?  I’m trying to learn to be better about that, but it’s still a work in process!  I’m so grateful to the editors I’ve worked with.
  1. There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, but the fear always kept me from trying to put myself out there. Then my need to show my daughter that I was working outweighed my fear, and I pushed myself to start submitting my work.Now she sits and writes little books of her own, in the office next to me. They’re adorable. She’s in first grade, and she brings them in to class. “I’m a writer like Mommy!”
  1. What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writing considering that leap for themselves? Develop a thick skin. You’re going to be rejected by some markets, and that’s okay. Maybe your story had some holes in it, or maybe they didn’t like the fact that your leading man was blond. Keep submitting, and keep writing. (Also, pay attention to submission guidelines.)

Author Bio:
J. V. Speyer is an author of romance and speculative fiction. She lives outside of Boston in a house with more animals than humans.

Where to find J.V. Speyer:

J.V. Speyer on Facebook J.V. Speyer on Goodreads J.V. Speyer on Pinterest J.V. Speyer on Twitter J.V. Speyer Website

Flirtatious Fiction Friday!

Flirtatious Fiction Friday

Flirtatious Fiction Friday

Welcome to F3: FLIRTATIOUS FICTION FRIDAY at our FB discussion group – a chance for our queer romance writers chance to pop in and tell us about their latest success. Have a new book or short story coming out? Let us know. Just sell something? Let us know so we can cheer you on. As long as it’s queer romance, we want to hear about it.

This is our once a week promo day.

HOW IT WORKS:

I’ll pin this topic to the top of our FB discussion page for the day.

–Please post your announcement as a separate post so we can comment on yours specifically
–Check out the other posts and congratulate and share them too!

And congratulations!!!

220 Authors, 900+ Books and Much More to Come

Hey all,

Just popping in for our weekly update on the QRI site, or Q-Rink, as the hubby calls it. 🙂

We just topped 900 listed books, and will probably hit a thousand this weekend – phenomenal growth in just five weeks, thanks to the wonderful authors on the site. We’ve also added our first ad, sorted out some site slowness problems, and plan more speed optimization to come.

Next week will likely see our upgrade to Version Four of the the books plugin we use, which will add a few things but is more of a back-end update. But V4 will allow us to move forward on our most pressing current goal – filtering of searches and book pages to allow you to zero in on exactly the books you want. A number of our authors have grumbled – and rightly so – about the amount of information we ask for on each book. But with this depth of info, QRI will be a site like no other when it comes to finding great Queer Romance reads.

I (Scott) will be at the DSP Retreat this weekend – if you plan to be there too, hit me up with any questions you may have about the site!

🙂

–Scott &amp Mark