Where is the Love? How Writers are Forced to Cheat

Glorious-Sunset-front-final[1]I’m Ava Bleu, author of contemporary and edgy inspirational romance, and I just want to know why things have to be so hard for writers?

If you are a lover of romance novels you have probably heard more than one author explain that they still have their day job because it is terribly hard to earn a living income as a romance novelist.  And the fact remains that writers write because they must.  Day job or not, a writer is compelled to write. Alcoholics have their wine.  Food addicts have cake.  Writers have writing.  Okay, some of us also have wine and cake too, but that’s beside the point!

Writers need to live — pay mortgages, put our kids through puppy kindergarten, get our hair done — and these things cost money so we must work second jobs.  Yes, the nine-to-five is the second job despite the fact that it is usually the only job bringing an income.  The nine-to-five is not the job we love; it is the one that makes the job we love possible.

It’s much easier to understand when I put it in my own, personal romance novel terms:  My nine-to-five is the husband I have fallen out of love with but must stay with because of the needs of the children (and by children I mean food, shelter, puppy kindergarten, and those hair appointments).  The writing?  Clearly, Lady Bleu’s scandalous lover.  He’s gorgeous, he’s addictive, he’s a delicious, devilish rake. Sometimes he’s bad but he’s always good, if you know what I mean ;-).

I’m no harlot. I want to love my husband, but he doesn’t have my heart. The best possible solution would be if my scandalous lover could afford to keep me in the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. Instead of buying him dinner and sustenance (paper, toner cartridges, time), maybe he could afford to feed me for a change.  Instead of paying to dress him up all pretty with a website and postcards and a fancy new logo, maybe he could afford to get me something nice like an electric stapler or a tank of gas or, I don’t know … a shiny new savings account.  An actual real vacation would look fabulous on me and would go a long way towards keeping my respect.  I mean, you’d think he’d get tired of being a “kept” career and have the dignity to contribute a little more.  Just sayin’…

But who am I kidding?  Despite all he costs me, I would pay anything to keep writing.  The joy it brings is priceless.  So I will bite my tongue and pretend to love my day job for as long as it takes.  And someday – one glorious day – my lover will find his financial legs and we will sail off into the great beyond leaving only a dear John resignation letter to end the nine-to-five commitment I once held so dear.

Yes, it seems cold.  Yes, it’s reckless and scandalous and wicked.  But let’s face it … the heart wants what it wants.

And when it’s all said and done, doesn’t everyone want just a little wicked?


Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. She can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.

Website: http://www.avableu.com/subscribe/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ava.bleu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AvaBleu1

Ava’s latest novel, Glorious Sunset (Blurb):

African King Taka Olufemi has traveled over four hundred years to find the woman who holds the soul of his murdered queen and he’s a little cranky.  With a ruby brooch as his vessel, the former king is forced to grant wishes to ungrateful mortals hoping to one day find, and win, the heart of his lost love.

But it will take more than good looks, superior intelligence and an impressive pedigree to earn the love of Violet Jackson.  The ambitious interior designer doesn’t remember Taka or their history.  Love—with its inevitable heartbreak chaser—has no place in Violet’s immediate life plan.  All the handsome “genie” can do for her is pony up on the three wishes he’s promised and try not to be a pain while he’s at it.

While the arrogant king is praying for his submissive queen and the faithless object of his affection isn’t praying at all, guardian angel, Aniweto, is praying for them both.  With Ani’s help, Taka and Violet’s epic love will be rekindled and this royal couple-behaving-badly will finally earn their happily-ever-after through the grace of the Almighty.

Buy: Glorious Sunset (Urban Books)

It’s a Beta Life for Me!

by Sharon S., guest blogger and beta reader

What is a beta? It is someone who reads over an author’s manuscript before they send it to their editor/publisher. The beta is that “fresh” set of eyes the author needs. They look for inconsistencies in plot, things that don’t make sense, awkwardness of dialogue/prose and tons of little detail things like a hair style that changes mid passage or if the author mentions the light from the moon after just saying it was early afternoon. Some betas can catch grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, but if you are good at that aspect then you are called an editor, and you get paid for doing it <G>.

Betas don’t get paid, at least I don’t. Usually the author will send you a copy of the finished book as a thank you and you do get to read the book before anyone else does, which, leads me to another thing a beta must do. Keep quiet. I would never tell people who I beta for and never divulge any material from the manuscript. This is the author’s baby and they have trusted you with it. My rule of thumb is, if the author publicly mentions you by name, then it is okay to for you too, but you never talk about the book until after the release.

How do you become a beta? A little luck, and paying attention. Some authors will solicit their fans for a beta. This is a great way for an author to find out how long time fans will react. I think having a beta that has never read your work is smart. This gives the author an idea of how a new reader will react.

I got my first beta offer when I sent some constructive comments and a suggestion that they use a beta to a new author. She was thrilled with my honesty and observations and asked me to beta her next book. I also hang around a lot of author blogs, and have built a report with many authors. I mention that I beta around the web, and sometimes an author will contact me. I currently, beta for 5 authors, and I just picked up one more yesterday <G>. She did an interview and mentioned needing some.

There are no set rules, but there are understood ones. Don’t talk about the book to anyone, duh! Don’t take it if you can’t give it your undivided attention. An author will tell you ahead of time it is coming. Make room on your calendar and get it done quickly. They are on a deadline and need your feedback.

I am not shy about saying that I am a damn good beta reader. I have a knack for it. I have a habit of breaking down what I read or watch (try watching a movie with me <G>). I am part critic and part cheerleader and very personable. It is easy to point out all the things wrong with a book, but you have to comment on the good too. If a passage is very effective at expressing emotions, I will say so. I give the author a running commentary of what is in my head as I read. I read pdf. files so I can make comments right in the manuscript, in red, of course <G>.

I use humor to point out problems. Authors have a lot invested in their story and you don’t want to go in and start tearing their house down. Most authors have a favorite word that pops up on about every page, like “gifted”. So I will make a comment that they sure do love this word and suggest picking a different one. Then every time I come across it I might say (you did it again <G>). My favorite comments are when the characters make me swoon. After a sexually tense passage I might comment (OMG, I want to lick his abs too!) or (Oh, No he didn’t!) The author wants to know what the reader is thinking, so I tell them.

I love beta reading. I don’t have the patience to write a novel, but I admire the people that do. This lets me sort of be involved in the process, and I get to feel like a doting auntie for my author when their book is released. Even though no one knows I am involved 😀

Here is a look at what I do. I got permission from one of my authors, Elizabeth J Kolodziej (http://www.vampyrekisses.com/) to show some snippets from the manuscript of her latest release Werewolf Descent.

“But slayers might have better Intel about what the hunters are doing.” I stepped away from Mac (were her hands still on his shoulders?) and ran to my room. Up on a shelf in the closet I pulled out a little red address book (re order sentence, sounds like Faith is on the shelf). Swiftly I made my way back into the living room.”

“A plain black top (t-shirt?) that was a tad to tight and a pair of tan slacks. He kind of looked like a bodyguard, which was good for (considering?) the situation we were in.”

“He turned around. “Good.” He began walking back to me. “Baby doll, you are not going to regret learning from someone like me.”

“Stop calling me that. I am not your baby doll.”  (I don’t like baby doll either. Doesn’t sound right coming from Vincent. Should be something more seductive and elegant)*

*Elizabeth ended up using the Italian word for Faith, which is Fede as the term of endearment, and it is perfect for the character.

5 Musts for Any Author Website

by Sharon S., guest blogger

As a reviewer, I visit tons of author sites as well as other blogger’s sites. While I am not an expert, I know what I need and want from these sites. I have put together a list of must haves for author websites.

  1. Fast page load times. Probably the most important. This tends to be a problem with blogger sites more than author sites. There are some wonderful sites out there that I would love to visit everyday, but I have over 30 sites I visit and I can’t spend time waiting for all those graphics to load up. My computer isn’t the newest model on the block either, so some of these sites will actually freeze up my computer.
  2. Work In Progress page. I want to know what books are coming out and when (if available). Places the author can be found online and in person over the next couple of months.
  3. Book List, in order. This is a must. I constantly need to look up back lists so I can include them with my reviews. Ideally, I want a printable list (if there are many books), images of the covers, and links to the blurbs.
  4. Author Bio. This is a good place to get information about an author for interview questions as well as just being fun to read 🙂
  5. Links to blogs. Many authors have their own personal blog site as well as blog site they do with other authors. These are my favorite blog sites. You can communicate with multiple authors in the same general genre.

I am sure there are other things I missed. What do you look for when you visit an author’s site? Do you have a favorite author site?

My next post will be the must haves for review blog sites. Look out for it!

Why I Joined Author Yahoo Groups


by Susan Sigler, guest blogger

Some time ago, Keira asked me if I would share my interest in Yahoo groups with LRP readers. At the time, I promised to add it onto my to-do list. Which by the way, if stretched would circle the earth four times, know what I mean?

There are several reasons I love Yahoo groups, main reason being it matches my interests. Which happen to be my love of reading, a commitment to follow new projects by favorite authors, and to keep up to date on publisher news.

Here’s a list of some groups I belong to: BiancaDArcNews, ciarcullen, Deanna_Jewel_Readers, devynquinn, genashowalter, JLWilsonNewsletter, moirarogers, roxanneserotica, Terry_Spear_News, and theromancestudio.

You can find a group to match almost any hobby or interest. If you enjoy crafting, or you’re a sci-fi movie buff there’s a group for you. Are you a Harry Potter fan? there’s a group for you. Did you like the movie Twilight? there’s a Twilight chat group.

Want to hear more? Keep reading!

  • When an author’s writing their latest novel, he/she may choose to add unedited chapters for your reading pleasure. You’ll read the novel as it unfolds.
  • Members are entered in monthly giveaways, with reader’s choice to the winner.
  • You’ll be the first to know about author blog tours, giveaways, and new releases.
  • There’s the option of emailing or chatting with the author.
  • You can email or chat with other group members who share your interests.
  • Every now and then, author attaches files with free reads, or showcases new cover art of upcoming release.
  • Yahoo let’s you add and remove groups to update your changing needs. Very similar to updating your blogroll list.
  • My groups are listed alphabetically, showing new posted messages, the “number” of posted messages, or if there’s no new activity.
  • Did your favorite author buy a new house? Get a new car, go to Hawaii on vacation, you’ll know.
  • It’s fun!

LRP readers do you belong to any Yahoo groups? Share your Yahoo grouproll with us.