Monday, April 29, 2013


I felt that it was appropriate for my blog post today for me to give you an update on what has been going on in my personal life.

I said this on my Facebook, but I'll say it here, too. My fiancé lost his job and things have been crazy at my house since then. Although I've been writing regularly still, I haven't had the same access to the Internet that I used to. Most of my Internet access has been on my smartphone, which I recently purchased and am using right now to write this post.

I'm telling you this because I want to explain why I haven't been posting as much on any of my accounts (Facebook, twitter, blog.) Hopefully everything will be resolved soon and go back to normal.

But until then, I've been getting a lot of writing done. Here's what I've been working on:

1. I finished the first draft of the first book in a trilogy about necromancers. The main character is cursed and accidentally killed her boyfriend by giving him her first kiss. She hides the body to keep from going to jail, but her boyfriend, now a ghost keeps following her. He wants a second chance at love even though she has a body and he doesn't. It's about the struggles in their relationship and also the complications being a necromancer brings to their lives.

2. I finished editing the second draft (but there will be more) of a romance novella. In this story, the main character falls in love with the reader.

3. I have about 10k words written about an empath who falls in love with a cyborg. And all the problems that come with someone who's in tune with everyone's emotions falling in love with someone who's mostly synthetic.


I also have a few other projects I am working on, including one about an evil mermaid, but they are either in their early stages or I may be publishing them under a pen name. So I'm not going to talk about them as much.

So a part of me is sad that I'm not on social media as much, but another part of me is having a ton of fun writing a lot.

What projects are you working on? What would you like to see me work on? (I'm very open to suggestions right now.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Things I've Learned (So Far) From Self-Publishing

1. There's no easy road to selling books

I hear too many people say: "If I can't find an agent, I will self-publish my book!" As if self-publishing is the easy route that anyone can do.

Self-publishing is very difficult. It's hard to convince people to buy your book. You have to do everything yourself, including creating your own covers, running your own web-site, formatting your book using codes, and more things that take up time that you could be using to write faster.

No matter how much you read on what little tasks you need to do in order to self-publish a book, you'll actually get there and find out there's a million other jobs that no one mentioned that you need to perform.

2. Sometimes the formulas work

People often make fun of formulaic books. They call them predictable and boring. But the thing is, these people always buy those books anyway. It's why they have the formulas memorized-they've purchased and read so many books that followed those rules. Readers like their comfort zones.

It's not a huge sin to write a book that breaks the rules, but it's much easier to sell a book that doesn't. People get greatly disappointed at times when your books break the rules.

3. Sometimes the formulas don't work

If you self-publish, you will hear mantras of how to do it successfully. You need to get an editor. You need to get a professional cover. You need to advertise yourself this way or that.

The truth is, I've talked to some successful self-published authors. I've met people who started out with bad covers and no editors and still got thousands and thousands of downloads.

What I'm saying is that if you don't have enough money to hire an editor or advertise in a certain way or anything else, then do your best to find something equivalent. Like a friend who is a grammar nazi or a bunch of free sites to advertise on.

Following the rules to the letter (like I did with my first book) is no guarantee that you'll sell. And giving up on self-publishing because you can't follow the rules is a guarantee that you won't sell.

Do what you can. Try new things.  It doesn't matter that your first book isn't perfect-no one's is.

The people who mock self-published authors because their books have mistakes in them or problems with their covers also forget that even traditionally published books suffer from the same a lot of times.

4. People love free things

The difference between a 99 cents book and a free book is astounding. I had a book available for 99 cents on Amazon for a month and got zero sales. As soon as it was made free, 300 people had downloaded it in two days without me even announcing that it exists. It's a good way to get people to hear of you who would otherwise not.

5. Most people who follow you will not buy your book

It's hard to get people to read your blog, twitter posts, or facebook posts for free online.

It's even harder to get them to buy your book.

Most people will tune you out when you mention it, regardless of how many followers you have.

6. It's difficult to know where your sales are coming from

I do contests and other promotions, but I honestly have no idea where my sales come from. I can tell on some days I am having certain promotions and selling more books on those days, but usually I am promoting myself in a variety of ways. I have no idea who buys my books or where they heard of me from. I make guesses sometimes, but I don't know if they are accurate.

7. You can write for the trends

You can't do this when you are traditionally publishing. From the time you finish a book to the time it gets published, you have to wait two years. Not with self-publishing-it's pretty instantaneous. If you can write quickly, then you can finish a book within a few months, which will allow you to publish it before the trend is over. Because of this, if you want to, you can actually latch on to trends and benefit from them while they are happening.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Interview With Melanie Toye, Author of Entice Me

Thank you for joining me on my blog today, Melanie!

What is your book about?

Entice Me is about three women who are living their lives unsatisfied and unfulfilled but are unsure how to break free and live the life they really want. Which begs the question – what do they want from life? It is not until life forces them out of their daily routines that they are forced to discover what the world has to offer. Complication arises when one woman is set out to be the best in the business and when things don’t go her way no one suspects what she will do next.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Entice Me was created when I had just left a very demanding job that I loved but was treated very poorly. I had never felt fulfilled in any of the jobs I worked in and had spoken to many people who had worked in their careers for decades yet were unfulfilled, they were stuck. I wanted to create Entice Me to hold a motivating message through an entertaining story to not wait for life to force you to change paths, but to think about what are your ultimate dreams in life and each day work towards it.

After writing Entice Me, it seems my life has also changed directions, writing is my dream and at the time I didn’t realise it. I wanted to escape the rat race but I was not sure what I wanted to do. It seems I have been writing and telling stories all my life I just never realised it was my dream career until recently. Now I want more than ever to share with everyone to chase their own dreams. It can be daunting and push you out of your comfort zone to the max, but it is incredibly rewarding.

What makes your book different than others in your genre?

Entice Me is a chick lit novel that pushes the boundaries that this genre would not normally write about. Drama, suspense, eating disorders, fraud and even suicide make this chick lit a book that will have you hooked to your seat wanting to read more.  What makes Entice Me even more compelling are the characters which can relate to anyone in any stage of life.
Who is your favorite writer? Why?

Currently it is Janet Evanovich, I love her characters, her writing style and the fact that I can’t put her books down.

What strange writing rituals do you have?

Now, I write mainly in the evening, so I like to have a cup of herbal tea and something to eat as I sit down and write. For sanity purposes I have a pen and notepad in every room of the house as well as in my bag and in my child’s pram because when I get a thought for a good story or just a conversational piece, I have to write it down as soon as possible.

Is your writing style similar to any well-known writers? If so, which one(s)?

A good chick lit novel is one filled with girly fun and adventure, which is light and entertaining that will leave you smiling throughout the read. Entice Me portrays this and adds even more thrill to your read.

I don’t think I could really compare my writing to any one else’s, as all writers add their own uniqueness and specialty. I would say my story telling is combined with self-help as I want to inspire and send a message through my novels to chase your dreams in life but be sure to have fun on the way.

Who is your Muse?

My motivator is my son. I was writing before he was born but he motivated me to self-publish my novel and become a freelance writer. I love that I am showing my son that I am chasing my dreams and he can too.

What are your hobbies?

Writing! Generally all my spare time is spent on writing and marketing. But I love it. I love spending time at the beach and exploring new adventures and places too.

Does your main character resemble anyone in your family or circle of friends?

Most likely, one cannot help but write about personalities and traits that are known to the person. When my husband and brother read the first two chapters, they said ‘this sounds just like you’. Not that I would ever go around sleeping with strangers in a drunken manner and throw my underwear on their bed (as I am happily married!) but I guess my voice came through the novel, which is great.  Although once the characters where created the story just flowed through me, these characters created their own paths.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Longer than one would appreciate. I spent two years writing Entice Me, when my computer crashed I lost everything except for three chapters. I took four months off, when a friend suggested perhaps it was a sign to start again. Then I rewrote Entice Me again adding in Sally and Mr Perfect to really spice up the storyline. I believe most of the story changed but for the better. Took me another 1 year and a half to write Entice Me again. I was also working full time in another role. I would write in lunch breaks, at night time and on weekends.

What are some writing goals for the future?

My immediate goals are to become an International Best Selling Author. I would love for my novels to be turned into movies. And I will be aiming to write and self-publish some short stories and non-fiction eBooks as well as release my next fiction novel by the end of next year.  My main goal at this stage is to earn a full time living from writing.

If you were stranded on an island which book would you bring with you?

I would be sure to pack a notepad and pen so I could write my own story.

What was the most difficult thing you have learned being a writer?

When writing Entice Me I had to be absolutely focused to finish the novel. Then once I finished it, I had to let go of all my fear of rejections and go out and spread the word to the world about Entice Me.


Blurb: Miranda is the top recruitment consultant for Entice Consultancy, working long hours to achieve great results. From the outside she appears to have her life in order as a successful career woman. Yet a jealous rival is determined to do anything to take her down and soon Miranda’s life turns problematical. Grace and Louise both met Miranda through work and lead interesting lives of their own. Grace a free spirit, falls in love with a man that appears to be perfect. When her true love goes missing her world soon falls apart. Louise’s eating disorder is pushed to the limit as is her marriage with Mike. Retirement and a new relationship seem like bliss until one night’s event changes everything. Entice Me is a journey that explores life changing events that forces each woman to rediscover themselves and what they are seeking from life. Meltdowns, break-ups, love and laughter make Entice Me into an entertaining read.

Where to purchase the book:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don't Fear Publishing

Once your story is published, its words are available to the public forever.

I think the above sentence is what people fear. Although we strive to publish our novels, when the days actually come for our books to be released into the world, we get scared. Some of us never have the courage to go through with it. We may know we want to self-publish or find an agent, but we're too scared to try because what if people hate it? I think that's a mistake.

We want our stories to be perfect. Many authors are scared of making a fool out of themselves through their book. They get depressed and sometimes embarrassed when they receive one or two star reviews. If a book receives too many negative reviews, they are afraid that their careers are ruined.

I self-published my first novel back in November. My book isn't perfect, but I do not regret self-publishing it. I've learned so much about writing and marketing since I first published my book. The one problem with writing book after book without ever publishing is that sometimes it's harder to grow as an author that way. Now that I'm releasing books and getting direct feedback from readers and through numbers (of what I'm selling and what I'm not), I know more how to please them.

Just like my critique partners improve my writing, so do my readers, even the ones that hate what I write.

No one is a perfect writer. There's always something to improve on and work harder at. It's always difficult to find readers for your book, whether there was recently a best seller with a similar idea or there's never been another author to write something similar. Trends come and go quickly, the marketplace changes at breakneck speed.

There's a million reasons why logically you should *not* publish. But we don't write because it's logically the best thing to do or will make us the most money. We write because its what we love to do. So follow your heart and take a risk. Your mind will catch up and fix your mistakes as you do so.

The best way to improve is to try. Making mistakes will only help you grow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

FREE BOOK - Pandora's Mistake Now Available

Being the only human woman in existence makes Pandora a celebrity. Unfortunately, her fans are a race of males whose lusts endanger her life.

She imprisons herself in a cave and marries a Titan named Epimetheus in order to protect herself. His brute strength and foul temper lead to abuse.

Tired and bruised, she finds the one martyr on Earth: Prometheus. The fire that cooks everyone's food and keeps them warm at night is also the reason a giant raven pecks Prometheus to death every day. He stole the fire from Zeus and his daily death is his punishment.

Pandora falls in love with him, but Prometheus refuses to be with a married woman, even though their kisses cause a heat greater than the fire Prometheus stole from Zeus.

Pandora clutches a jar that Zeus made her promise never to open to her chest. Electricity sizzles through her veins as she discovers the jar holds magical powers. Zeus says opening the jar will lead to the destruction of her and all mankind. The jar tells her that if she opens it, all her dreams will come true. One peek can't hurt, can it?

Get it for free on . . .

Barnes & Noble: