Saturday, 26 March 2011


Writing can be a lonely busines, but for years I kept myself pretty much to myself because I read posts on networking sites and discovered that writers have very strong views and seldom keep them to themselves.

I read JA Konrath's blog post: Depression and Writers and was incredibly moved by Kiana Davenport's story. She is talented writer who has literally found a new lease of life through self publishing. Her book, House of Skin, went from being #134,555 at the time of Joe's first post to being #182 when I last checked. I found this story heartwarming and a little scary, because we hear all the time of writers committing suicide and as a writer you hope to never find yourself in that position.

What shocked me though was the cynicism among a few of my fellow writers. Some of them accused Joe of having ulterior motives, of deliberately posting this blog on the day that Amanda Hocking's four-book deal was agreed with St Martin's and a whole host of other things. Some have even said that Kiana would have committed suicide if she really wanted to and seem to have no sympathy for her. I suspect some of them are peeved that she is obviously a great writer and now that she has been made visible, she will no doubt be able to hold her own easily.

I'm absolutely thrilled for Amanda. She has always said that she wanted a traditional publishing deal and I'm sure she was able to negotiate the terms she wanted. Joe has been an advocate of self publishing and a lot of people seem to think that he will be upset with Amanda. I don't know why because, unless I missed it, he has never said that a writer should not take a publishing deal. It has alway been about the size of the deal and if it is the right one for you. Amanda is keeping the rights to all her current books which will continue to make her bundles of money. Yes, she is taking a risk, but it is a carefully calculated risk. I have no doubt that she will come up smelling of roses.

So, all I can say is, Stephenie and JK make way, Amanda is coming to join you at the top!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


I always comment about the lack of reader reviews for my books, but for the third week running I've had a review and they were all for different books. I was very pleased with the 4-star review for Soca Nights. The 1-star review for Naughty Professor was undeserved, I thought, but as I said in my previous post: 'a bad review can be a good thing'. Naughty Professor has been selling much better since that bad review because readers love a bit of sleaze.

Bedtime Erotica for Freaks (like me) received its fourth consecutive 5-star review this week, but the reviewer then deleted it because I inadvertently pissed him off afterwards. He had sent me an email saying that he had enjoyed the book and I asked him to leave a review. I get dozens of similar emails for readers who buy my books, visit my website or read my stories on Literotica and I never ask for reviews, but this reader was one of the few people who 'got' the concept of the book - straight sex, no fancy frills.

He had written an excellent review, so I wasn't thrilled when it was removed, but it was good to be reminded that I had vowed to never actively seek endorsement from readers or fellow writers.

When I first published my books I had the opportunity to have bestselling authors write reviews of my books for an agreed sum and I declined. There are also lots of writers who exchange reviews, but I have never participated because, if I read another writer's work and didn't like it I would hate to have to lie in a review. Similarly, I would hate to make a fellow writer lie in a review of my book. If I was really desperate I could have had dozens of friends and family write 5-star reviews, but I would never stoop that low!

Reviews are good at giving potential readers different perspectives of a book, but don't necessarily guarantee sales. Personally, I never take any review to heart because I've done a few creative writing courses and read enough literary works to be aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I deliberately choose to write in a style that's uniquely mine; readers either love it or they don't.

Hopefully this be my last post on reviews, but let's see what next week brings.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Two days ago a reader gave me a 1-star review for Naughty Professor which is currently priced at $0.99/£0.62 and it confirmed my thoughts on low-priced eBooks. It seems that readers rarely take the time to read descriptions or download samples of cheap eBooks before purchasing, simply because they are so cheap.

There is enough information in the Book Description for readers to see what they are getting beforehand. A professor seducing his students is morally wrong and I don't agree with it in real life, though it happens! But, this is fantasy and pretty much anything goes, as long as everyone is over the age of consent.

But it seems as though people rather like the idea of young women and a young man being being seduced by a dirty older man; Naughty Professor had its best days of sales following the review.

However, I've never been one to run from a challenge, so I'm giving readers who like this sort of kinky story a chance to read it for free on my website. Please just do me a favour and email me or leave a comment, good or bad, if you read Naughty Professor.

Monday, 7 March 2011


I love paperbacks and worry about their future, but having looked at my paperback sales over the last five years, I have come to the painful decision that I cannot publish any new paperbacks until I see a drastic improvement in these figures.

Formatting a book for paperback publishing takes precision and a lot of patience. It’s also not a cheap process, especially if it requires correcting proofs and tweaking covers until you get the desired effect. I have currently reduced all three of my paperbacks to the very minimum price I can offer them, and still they are not flying off the shelves. In contrast, my Kindle book sales are going from strength to strength and will soon eclipse my total paperback sales of all time.

Kindle publishing is so much easier. New or corrected versions of eBooks can be uploaded overnight at no extra cost. Purchased eBooks can be downloaded in seconds, so readers get instant gratification. If the book is not as gratifying as hoped then readers can just as easily claim refunds.

I hate to leave my hard-line, dead-tree-reading friends and colleagues to join the high-tech electronic-reading brigade, but I have to say the more Kindle books I read, the more I embrace the concept. Although I worry vaguely that surely this can’t be good for the eyes!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


I received the first, and rather sweet, review of Soca Nights last week and it had quite an effect on me. I had lowered the price mainly for Valentine’s Day, but partly also to see if there was enough interest in the book to justify publishing it in paperback.

The lower price prompted a flurry of purchases which thrilled me, but now I’m must choose between reverting the eBook to its original price, selling less copies but earning more royalties, or leaving it at the lowered price and tempting new readers who would not perhaps try my work otherwise.

I’ve decided to leave it at the lowered price because, although every cent/penny I earn takes me nearer to my dream of being a full-time writer, I write primarily for readers to enjoy. So, if I can entice more of them at the lower price then I want to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

However, my erotica will stay at the higher price. Readers generally buy cheap eBooks without downloading samples first. This is perfect for Soca Nights as I know they will be very satisfied.  My erotica, on the other hand, is not for everyone. I want potential buyers to put much more thought into the purchasing of these books. I want them to download samples or visit my website to read more of my writing before making their decisions. As I’ve always said, I would much rather lose a potential sale than gain a dissatisfied customer.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Writing is a compulsion I’ve tried to stifle all my life because it consumes me totally. When I’m writing I forget time, place and other people – thankfully I have no dependents. I sometimes crave a sunny, uninhabited island where I could be alone with my thoughts and a solar-powered laptop. But I would probably go quietly insane or develop a severe case of RSI as my thoughts come faster than I can type when I give them free reign. I would be like a woman possessed trying to capture them all before they slipped away.

I yearn for the day when I have earned enough royalties to safely give up my day job, but I fear it equally. With nothing to stop me daydreaming I might lose touch with reality and become a part of my creations if I’m not constantly pulled back into reality by other obligations.

But I have taken several mini career breaks in the last seven years and they have been more glorious than anything I could have imagined. To have a chance to write freely without thinking of getting up for work the next day was sublime. I would love to take another breakright now, but it would defeat my long-term plans. I’m trying hard to be disciplined, to be patient and wait until the time is right, but it’s so hard!

Friday, 4 March 2011


I’ve been toying with the idea of combining all three books in the Bedtime Erotica series into a massive Kindle book titled The Bedtime Erotica Trilogy.

Or, selecting my favourite stories from the three collections (a tough choice because they are my babies and I love them all) and compiling them into one volume titled The Best of Bedtime Erotica. Singers do this all the time, why not writers?

Or perhaps even re-editing all the stories and publishing cleaner versions of the books for Kindle, if not in paperback. I wrote these stories five years ago when I was new to writing erotica and thought the more graphic the sex, the better. I’m older and wiser now and though I still love the stories and re-read them often (I hope I’m not the only writer who does this!) I can see that perhaps a more subtle approach could be applied. It’s a tough decision because many of my fans love the books just the way they are and I still laugh my head off at the funny parts and get turned on by the sex scenes. But as I edit the second of my eight romance manuscripts, I’m beginning to see ways of enhancing my erotica.

Of course, any reader purchasing a book with a title Bedtime Erotica for Freaks (like me) will not necessarily be expecting subtlety! So I’m caught on the horns of a dilemma: do I leave well alone or do I fix what doesn’t appear to be broken?

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Years ago I watched a short, free movie which featured the late shemale, Camilla De Castro and found it very erotic. I'm seldom aroused by porn, but she and her male partner made love to each other in the most sensual way.  It's such a shame that she was driven to suicide at such a young age, she must be sadly missed. She was indeed a 'goddess' and must have been quite a temptation for straight guys.

I'm writing a series Jo, Shemale Goddess! which is inspired by Camilla.  Read the first two The Last Reunion & The Virgin on my website.

Click here to see the movie. I had to change the link because the movie was deleted from xHamster.  This version isn't as good, but still well worth watching.

You may also like my Kindle short story, Naughty Professor.  Buy it on Amazon UK for £0.71 or US for $1.14, both prices include VAT.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


I seem to be reaching more readers now that I've published my books on Kindle.  I'm not sure if it's an indication that Kindle is being used more widely than I'd imagined, or if readers are simply more willing to buy an eBook for $2.99 rather than a paperback for $9.99.

In terms of royalties there is not a huge difference between a Kindle sale and a paperback sale for me as a writer.  Printing and distribution costs pretty much make up the bulk of the price of my books.  And by buying books for Kindle instead of paperbacks readers are helping the planet.  I'll have to see how things go, but I may decide in the future to publish Kindle books only.  Although, I'm still trying to get used to my Kindle.  It's fine for when I'm out and about, but when I'm indoors I still like to curl up in bed or a chair with a paperback or hardcover book.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


My erotica is often accused of being is pornographic. In my defence I hadn’t meant it to be! After penning my first story, Double the Trouble, I gave it to a friend to read who told me that it was too tame to be called ‘erotica’. Discouraged, I gave up on the idea until I picked up a Mills and Boon Blaze and realized just how far romance had pushed into erotic territory. In the novel the word ‘cock’ was used (and not in reference to a male bird) and the heroine had a finger inserted into her bottom as part of foreplay leading up to intercourse. Scandalous!

So, I assumed since romance had become so erotic, it stood to reason that erotica must have become more pornographic! Or so my crazy logic told me at the time. Applying this theory I threw myself into writing not one but three collections of short stories—the most fun I’ve ever had! I’m proud of these stories. I still read and enjoy them, but sometimes even I blush at the in-your-face sex scenes.

I wrote these stories in 2005 & 2006, but I wouldn’t write them today. I constantly fight the urge to take them out of circulation because some fans take them too seriously. They assume that I have had all the experiences and tried every sexual position. I constantly receive invitations for girl-on-girl fun, or to join couples for threesomes. My erotica comes purely from my filthy imagination. I’m far too private a person to reveal anything about my sex life to close friends, much less the world at large.

I never expected readers to hang on to my every word. The books were meant to be outrageous fun, to give readers a thrill, but never for them to emulate! I read all types of erotica including BDSM, but I never get the urge to wear leather, tie a man up and beat him or walk all over him in stilettos. Similarly I read murder mysteries and never feel like killing anyone. Well, anyone except my boyfriend, but that’s a different matter.

The next editions of these books will definitely be cleaner and come with the warning: Explicit Sex Scenes Deleted!