Mar 24, 2014

Where is spring? Mindful waiting.

Where is spring? Has it sprung for you yet?

Here in Nebraska it has not. Nope. Basically Mother Nature has decided to trick us. The first day of spring it was beautiful. As the weekend progressed, it turned cold again and even snowed on Saturday. Ugh. The grass is slowly trying to green, as the trees are also trying to bud, but Ole' Man Winter just won't let go of the reins.

Oh well... It will come.

And that leads me to my next discussion. So what have I been up to lately? It's been an awfully quiet winter, mainly because I've been struggling with personal stuff. But I do have several upcoming releases that will be officially posted on my website as soon as I have a new computer built. :)

One thing I've been learning lately is how to be more mindful. What is that? Well, you might have heard the sayings: "Stop and smell the roses" or "Live for today." It's the goal of living in the present moment, day to day. We all live in a busy world and that rush tends to run us ragged. You know that "personal stuff" I talked about in the previous paragraph is the reason why I decided to try this mindfulness stuff. And it's been quite beneficial, for the most part.

As author's, I believe we could all use a little more mindfulness in our everyday tasks. I know I'm always so impatient to see a new upcoming release, so I'll concentrate too much into the future to really think about what's happening right now. Or I'm always scared of rejection, even when I've just sent in a manuscript, again worried too much about the future to miss out on the opportunities of today.

Feeling overwhelmed? Try this: In a quiet setting, sit upright in your chair, couch, bed, where ever. Take a deep breath, feeling the air enter your nostrils and your belly expanding, then exhale. Focus on your breathing - sometimes it helps to think to yourself: when you breath in, think "IN". When you breath out, think "OUT". Let any other thought, good or bad, pass by without being judgmental about them. Do this for five minutes.

How do you feel?

It takes practice. I'm definitely not there yet, but the main goal of that exercise is to relax yourself, not calm your mind, but to let the thoughts come and go just as they are without letting them consume you.

Want to learn more? Check out some mindfulness videos on Youtube. The breathing exercise will help with all sorts of situations.

Mar 6, 2014

Trigger Me.... Not!

It's really funny sometimes how authors (like me) completely avoid topics to write about if they are particularly triggery. And it's exactly how readers will chose books that don't trigger them. I have several topics that I won't touch, actually, and those that I will even if they are kind of triggery.

I'm just a very, very sensitive person with those things. One thing that scares the crap out of me is the thought of the apocalypse, but yet I tried to write a story based on that type of scenario. When I first started the idea back in 2012, I decided to wait until that whole Mayan prophesy thing was done before writing the whole thing. This December, I finally got it done, even if it's a little haywire on the why's and where's, frankly because I don't want to think about things like that.

But that's plotting I suppose and it needs to be done.

So I wrote about that one, even though it's kind of scary.

Another example... Last year I must have been in a damn good mood, because my story "Surviving the Fall" available at Less Than 3 in their "If You're Reading This Anthology" deals with a major trigger for me. Strangely. I love the story. Gaw, love it. But it's something that I usually won't write about.

In the story, Austin finds the perfect coat at a thrift store for his date. In the pocket, is a note and a ring, and curious, Austin decides to take the ring to the address on the note. He meets love interest, Luke and finds out, the original owner of the ring committed suicide.

Although I never go into major details, that word is a trigger for me. Hence why I think I must have been in one hell of an awesome mood last year. This year, though, when I went back for one last read through before publication in January, it was suddenly a trigger again.

*shrugs*

I don't know, maybe it's because I've been in one hell of a shitty mood this year. You know how it goes, drama drama drama... LOL

Stories like that are important to write, and readers do love them. But honestly, I'm not sure if I'll ever go into a topic like that again. Hey, it's good to challenge myself, though. Done...

Feb 24, 2014

A Word to the Wise

Warning: Kind of ranty. I'll try to make it fun.

Was it two years ago that I made a post about reviews? Yes, I think it was. Essentially, it said "go ahead, look at your reviews only if you can handle it."

As we've seen time and time again, some people just cannot handle it. That's okay. It's not COMPLETELY TOTALLY NECESSARY for you to read your reviews.

Authors, I'll say that again: IT'S NOT COMPLETELY TOTALLY NECESSARY FOR YOU TO READ REVIEWS!

Everyone gets bad reviews. It's been going on for years, decades, centuries even. On my personal Facebook, I follow Anne Rice (LOVE) and she posts about the bad reviews she's received as well as good reviews all without judgement. She's awesome, and just one author who knows she's not going to please every reader 100% of the time.

One thing I hear a lot of is author's whining that we have feelings, too... We have opinions. What about our freedom of speech? Blah blah blah.

Our "freedom of speech" comes out in the words in our book. And readers have every right to review. They bought the book with their money. They can review bad or good. 1* star: this author's writing is garbage and I'll never read them again. Or 5*****: OMG. I want moar! MOAR!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!1!

And when author's come across that 1* review, it's their right to feel bad, but not their right to make the reviewer feel bad, too. When you whine and gripe about that review, it's no longer about your book, it's about you. It gets personal. Pretty much, your career = toilet.

Instead, authors, feel bad in private. Eat a piece of cake, a bowl of ice cream, or find a private corner of the internet (a writer's support group, or wherever you go) and feel bad. If you're on the internet, do it quick = get it out and get on with your life.

So I'm sure at this point you're asking "Azalea, what's this all about? The recent shit storm from so-n-so?" Yes and no. It's about the shit storm that comes up every few months from authors that can't stand criticism. But it's also about a personal decision of mine not to read my reviews anymore, well, not for awhile anyway. Will I ever read another review? Yes, yes I will.

I got a bad review. Hell, I got a lot of them. I don't whine in public places where everyone can see me. I may post a quick gripe in a private place on the internet, and that's that. I get on with my day. I may talk to my boyfriend about it. But that's that. The end. I keep writing. Whether it sucks, eh, I'm happy so I don't give a shit.

FYI: public internet space = Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. etc.
private internet space = closed critique group, closed forum area, a support group (separate from writing all together), etc.

So a word to the wise:
Authors: IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO READ REVIEWS. But if you do, DON'T whine about the bad ones all over public internet space!!
Readers and reviewers: keep reviewing. Don't let whiners discourage you. You have that right.



Feb 21, 2014

"For the Long Haul" Flash hop #3

Good Friday to you all and welcome to the last stop on the "For the Long Haul" Flash hop. Since Wednesday I've been promoting my newest release by visiting awesome bloggers Shayla Mist and Book Whores United.

This is going to be a very short post, mostly because I didn't plan anything for my blog. LOL

I'm terrible, right?

Anyway, leave a comment at the bottom with your email address for a chance to win a copy of "For the Long Haul". Winners will be drawn on Saturday, Feb 22nd which is also release day!
Update: Sorry for the lateness for the giveaway. Winners will be contacted ASAP!

Feb 17, 2014

House of Manlove Valentine's Flash


Welcome to the House of Manlove Valentine Flash Hop! Sixteen authors = sixteen fabulously hot M/M flash stories for you on this Valentine's day.

Here's my little not-safe-for-work story. Ya might wanna wait until you get home for this. *winks* Links to other participants are at the end of this post.



Valentine Morning Wake Up Call (NSFW):

I turned on my side with a yawn, peering out at the wall ahead. What happened last night? Still groggy, I searched my memory for last night's events. It was the night before Valentine's Day. I met a gorgeous man at the bar and we... My legs were sore, so was my back, and to top it off, my dick hard. I sighed and reached under the blankets to adjust myself. Wow, did I really submit for that guy last night?

He had me twisted in all sorts of positions: on my back, on my side, on my knees, fucking me like a champ. Talk about bedroom acrobatics. I even remembered being against the wall at first. He grabbed my legs and ground against my hardness. Just thinking back to it all wasn't helping my morning wood.

As my thoughts drifted, the bed moved beside me and I jumped. Turned around to a pair of sleepy eyes staring out at me, the man's lips lifted into a happy grin. "Good morning."

I bounced up, the blankets falling around my waist. "You're still here?"

"Yeah. You invited me to stay, remember?"

Of course, I didn't recall saying that. Must've had too many beers, or maybe I was just too tired from all the fucking last night. "Really?"

He scooted closer and brushed his hand against my back. Damn, what was your name again? "If you want me to go, I can."

"You don't... have to." It was different waking up to someone beside me. Almost comforting. And on Valentine's Day of all days. I leaned in to his touch, feeling all sorts of giddy. “You can stay.”

“Good, cause I don’t think I can drive with this hangover.” He wrapped his hand around my shoulder, easing me back down on the bed.

I chuckled and stared up at the ceiling, then at him. He had to have been a few years older than I, telling by the white hairs in his perfectly shaped goatee. Not my usual type, but his embrace was so warm and soothing. I rolled to my side and cuddled close to him, the closeness helping to relieve my hangover, but the longer I laid there listening to his breath and heartbeat, the more uncomfortable my morning hard-on became.

He must’ve sensed it, or else wanted to play, because he brushed his fingers against my naked arm, down to my side and against my ass, causing me to writhe inside. I let out a groan, and he eyed me with a devious smile. “Still horny?”

“You wish,” I mumbled.

“So what’s this?” He raised a brow as he rubbed his palm against my boxers.

I squirmed, pressing my hardness closer to his hand, then caught myself but it was too late. He squeezed my shoulder tight, keeping me close to his chest, while his other hand went to work on my cock.

With a gasp, I muttered, “It’s just—“ His fist went taut around me, stroking my prick wonderfully from the base to the head. The wipe of his thumb across my glans made me sink closer into his chest.

He worked me feverishly, stopping once to let me breath, then again when my hand found his hard cock underneath the blankets. When I brushed my fingers across his tented boxers, his body twitched. He gasped a lustful moan. “S-sure you want to do that?”

“Why not?”

He gazed at me with intent, eyes sparkling in the pale morning light. “Well, I don’t know about you, but...” he paused to move away and sit up on elbows, leaving me cold. “I’m still sore from last night.”

Scooting closer, I brushed my lips against his and whispered, “So? A little pain has never stopped me before.”

He flashed a grin. “Really?”

“Uh huh.” I pressed my lips to his, drinking in his heavy breath still spiked with alcohol. The need had me wild, the same as last night, and I eased myself on top of him, straddling his lap and grinding against his hardness. Damn if only I could remember your name, I’d scream it.

We kissed for what seemed forever. Running my hand across his muscular chest made him tense and squirm, exciting me even more. When I reached his abs and circled around his side to his back, he broke our kiss. “It’s Valentine’s Day, you know.”

“Yeah.” I breathed him in, seeking his lips again, but he chuckled instead.

“Can I tell you something? You’ll never believe this.”

“What?”

“I was... kind of scared when you came over to me last night.”

I cupped my palms against his cheeks, staring into his serious gaze. “You were?” He nodded his head, and I added, “Why?”

“Well, I um...” He swallowed, clearing his throat in the process. “Seen you at the club before. Didn’t think I was your type.”

Of course, I’d never noticed him there maybe because I was too busy flirting with the younger studs. I sucked in my bottom lip.

“When you spilled your drink in my lap, I guess I finally decided to try talking to you.”

My cheeks went hot. “Glad you did.” I brushed my fingers against his chest hair, around his nipples and back up the line. Strange I’d never considered an older man before. I should have—should have noticed him—because now I know how warm and comforting it was to be in his arms.

“Me too.” He kissed me again, our tongues mingling together, breaths heavy. Wrapping his arms around my neck, he held me there, large hands clasped behind my back. My hard-on was gone, but there was something different than lust creeping up on me, now.

After several gasping breaths and moans later, he broke away again. We chuckled at the sudden grumble from his stomach. “Can we continue this after breakfast?”

“Yeah.” I scooted away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

The bed dipped and he grasped my shoulder as he swung his legs to the floor beside me. “If you have pancake mix, I have an excellent recipe.”

“Oh, sounds good.”

We both reached down to grab our jeans from the floor. He chuckled again as he stood and pulled them up to his waist. “Okay, so this might sound crazy, but... what’s your name again?”




Here is the list to follow everyone's stories:

1. HeloiseWest: http://velvetpanic2.wordpress.com/
2. Jena Wade: http://www.jenawade.com/blog/
3. Amelia Bishop: http://ameliabishop.wordpress.com/
4. Mina Kelly: http://www.solelyfictional.org/
5. Kimber Vale: http://kimbervale.me/
6. Shiloh Saddler: http://shilohsaddler.blogspot.com/
7. Eva Lefoy: http://writery.wordpress.com/
8. Azalea Moon: http://azalea-moone.blogspot.com/
9. Dakota Trace: http://alittlebitofnaughty.blogspot.com/
10. Jade Crystal: http://boundbybloodblog.com/
11. Crane Hana: http://www.cranehanabooks.com/blog/
12. JT Hall: http://jthallwriting.wordpress.com/
13. ND Wylders: http://ndwylders.blogspot.com/
14. Evelise Archer: http://sexyforreview.blogspot.com/
15. Skye Jones: http://skyejonesromanceblog.wordpress.com
16. Kate Lowell: http://thebluntinstrument.wordpress.com/

And the dates when you can read at each blog:
Feb:
14th: Jena and Heloise
15th: Amelia and Mina
16th: Kimber and Shiloh
17th: Eva and Az
18th: Dakota, Jade, and Crane
19th: JT and ND
20th: Evelise, Kate, and Skye