I hope everyone had a nice holiday. Why is it turkey never tastes as good as it does on Thanksgiving?
Now, we’re on to the next holiday. Christmas.
Since people have been actually injured and even pepper-sprayed during the Black Friday festivities, I have decided to complete the bulk of my Christmas shopping online. More specifically, since there are several people I know who are receiving e-readers this year, I think e-books or gift cards are in order. It sure makes my life easier.
If you’re thinking how I’m thinking, let me make some recommendations for the reader on your list:
I am running a giveaway for “Athena’s Promise” on GoodReads. Three signed copies are the prize; all you have to do is register and click for a chance to win. Easy-peasy.
If you’re into zombies (and who isn’t?) Monster’s Unmasked, a novella by Lori Whitwam, offers a look behind the zombie apocalypse set in the universe created by Joshua Guess. Sometimes the monsters are not always who or what we expect. Lori also writes from the other end of the spectrum — Make or Break is a funny, snarky, sparkalicious romantic suspense you’ll thoroughly enjoy.
If you like erotica with your story, you can’t miss out on Eden Baylee’s excellent Fall Into Winter. Wonderful stories with rich characters and imaginative plots.
I was very sad to hear of the passing of Anne McCaffrey. Those of us who are avid readers know there are special stories which can have a huge impact on your life. Some books can actually change or save a life. Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” is one such book for me.
The hardcover copy I have is battered and held together with clear shipping tape. It is almost 30 years old, and has traveled thousands of miles. It is the only book I have both in hardcover and e-format. I would emigrate to Pern today, if I could. And I make a mean cup of klah.
Although I am very sad we’ve lost such a distinctive and talented voice, Anne McCaffrey is not gone. All you have to do is open one of her books, and there she is. What a legacy! I can never thank Ms. McCaffrey enough for the hours of joy she has given me through her stories. She will be sorely missed.
In this business, you meet a lot of different kinds of people, some good and some…challenging. And then you meet the kind of writer who goes above and beyond; who is not only talented in her chosen genre but supports other writers with a genuine desire to help which is very rare.
I met Eden through a Facebook group, and then won a copy of her book, Fall Into Winter. I don’t normally read erotica, but I am really happy to say I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying Eden’s work. Hers is a cut above erotica I’d experienced in the past; solid characters, solid plots with some extremely hawt bits included for spice. And baby, she’s spicy!
Please welcome a dear friend and a lovely person all the way around — Eden Baylee.
1. Your chosen genre is erotica, and hawt it is! Have you written anything in a different genre?
Thanks Annetta, that’s so sweet of you to say! As a matter of fact, I just completed a story for a holiday anthology that is completely non-erotic, and I’ll be writing outside of the erotica genre for other collaborative projects coming up.
Additionally, I post flash fiction on my blog, and many of my stories have erotic elements, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify them as erotica.
2. Why did you decide to write under a pen name, and how did you come up with it?
I chose to use a pen name because I intend to write in different genres, and it’s a good idea to differentiate identities. It was purely a business decision at the time. Whether I decide to use my real name in the future will depend on the project. Most readers know my writing isn’t just erotic, so I may even stick with Eden Baylee because I’ve built up a following under that name.
Coming up with the name was easy. I’ve always loved Eden and the letter “e,” (that’s quite obvious from my tagline, heh). I also wanted the name to look a certain way on my website, so it came about visually at first. Of course, it had to sound right and roll off the tongue, and I think I accomplished that.
3. What are your favorite genres to read and why?
I read everything—from autobiographies to thrillers to women’s literature. I can’t really say I have a favorite genre as much as a favorite author, and that’d be Charles Bukowski. I tend to be attracted to the crotchety old men, even in real life!
I’ve read almost everything he’s written, including all his poetry. The reason I love his writing is because it kicks me right in the gut. His book Ham on Rye is one I refer to often just to see the simplicity of his writing and how it elicits so much emotion from me. Of course, his poetry is always a great inspiration as well.
4. You decided to self-publish “Fall Into Winter”. What were your reasons?
I didn’t set out to self-publish at first, but it evolved into that as a result of rejections from publishers. That, coupled with my own impatience made me go the self-publish route, and I don’t regret it one bit.
I knew I could write and that I had good stories, so I took the critique of editors to structure my stories better, but I didn’t change the plot. As an example, my second story “Act Three” has a scene that conventional romance/erotica publishers would never buy—it borders on a taboo that is against their submission guidelines. I was told to change it before they’d consider it. That was fair, but in the end, I really didn’t want to change my story, so…
I think most writers have to contend with losing some control if they go the traditional route. By being self-published, I am totally in control, but there’s a lot more I have to do because of it.
5. What has been the most difficult aspect to self-publishing, in your opinion?
Ha! Great segue—doing it all. I write, promote, design, and develop my own marketing plan. I pay for a professional editor because there’s no way I can edit my own work. I truly believe writers have to pay for this if they want their work to be taken as seriously as those published by traditional houses.
6. Please describe your writing and editing process. Inquiring minds want to know!
Ha! I’m a pantser, bar none. Don’t ask me to explain my process. It will make no sense whatsoever because I don’t know how I do it. It’s akin to me asking my mother how she cooks a particular dish. She can’t explain it to me because she’s never had to think about it. There’s no recipe, and she measures nothing.
I must say I hate talking about the “craft” of writing, and I don’t deconstruct what I do. It’s not to put down those writers who have a plan, who use an outline, etc., but for me, the best way to learn how to write—is to read—a lot.
As for my editing process – I keep doing it until I’m sick of reading my words, and then I give it to a professional editor and pray it doesn’t come back splattered in red ink.
7. You have been incredibly supportive to other writers. How do you find the time?
Firstly, it’s my pleasure to be supportive of other writers, so I make the time to do it. I’d go crazy if all I had to think about were my own stories and thoughts, and just “me, me, me.” Writing is a solitary profession, and the last thing I need is to be wrapped up in my own ego 24/7.
8. What do you think has been the most help in selling books? What would you recommend to other writers?
Write a good book and get it professionally edited. If you don’t start off with this as a foundation, then everything else you do afterward will fail. If a reader cannot get through your book, then you’ve lost that small window of opportunity to win over a fan. The bottom line is nobody wants to buy garbage, regardless if it’s $4.99, $1.99, or free.
Once the book is ready, then do the social media, promoting, networking as much as your time permits, but first and foremost—you need a good product.
9. What is the one myth or inaccuracy about erotica you would like to dispel?
It’s only sex. Some people consider erotica just to be sex scenes strung together by a few commas and periods. That would be as interesting as watching paint dry. Good erotica incorporates plot, characterization, and all the elements required to tell a good story, not unlike any other genre. Sex is an important backdrop, but by no means can it stand alone and still be considered an erotic tale.
10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
My follow-up anthology called Spring into Summer is scheduled for early 2012. It will have the same formula as Fall into Winter: 4 novellas – two will take place in the spring and two in the summer. I’ll have all the seasons covered (heh), and then I’m moving to full-length novels. I enjoy horror/thrillers with strong erotic elements, and would love to write something à la John Fowles’ The Magus – another of my favorite authors.
I also have stories scheduled for independent publications and will apprise once I know their release dates.
Thanks so much for having me on your fabulous site, Annetta! ‘Twas a pleasure!
Eden writes erotica incorporating all her favorite things: travel; culture; and sex. She enjoys weaving together stories with edgy themes, and sex is but one way to do it. Her first book, Fall into Winter, a collection of four erotic novellas, is currently available on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites located on her website.
He second anthology entitled Spring into Summer is due out early 2012.
Okay, so the Kindle edition of “Athena’s Promise” has been available since October 28th, right? And it’s gotten some amazing reviews, for which I am very grateful and overjoyed to see.
Athena’s Promise held my interest from the cover page to the end page. Pallas, the central character, rocks!!! ~Denise Battista
This book was funny, sassy, pro-woman, suspenseful, funny, and much more. I just had to find out what was on the next page until it was finished. ~B. Decker
I devoured this book! The heroine is fun, sassy and kick-butt with an attitude that doesn’t quit. The author has a unique voice, full of wit and snap. Her characters and setting are distinctive. ~Laura Eno
Ribken’s writing is very strong, full of snarking sarcasm that made me snort and giggle while tearing my heart out with Pallas’ need to protect the vulnerable ones she calls friends. ~Patti Larsen
But like any true bibliophile, the reality doesn’t hit until I have a physical copy in my hands. To wit:
How pretty is THAT?? I just about peed my britches when the UPS guy pulled up and unloaded. “They’re heavy,” he said.
“Not a problem,” said I, as I toted the box practically one-handed. Okay, it really took two hands, a lot of grunting, and there may have been sweat involved, but work with me here.
If you want an autographed copy, I still have a few left from the pre-ordering process. You can snag one by following this button right here:
The price is $11.99 plus S&H, a dollar off the price once it goes live on Amazon. This would make a great Christmas present to the urban fantasy lover on your list!
The first two chapters and part of the third are available to sample on Amazon if you want an idea of what you’re getting. Go ahead and take a look, and while you’re there, if you like what you read please hit the “Like” button on the page (it helps with rankings so people can find the book). Every little bit helps 🙂
I am so grateful for all the support and the great reception. There’s even a bonus first chapter included of the next in the series, “Athena’s Chains”, which I hope to release in Spring 2012, the gods willing and the creek don’t rise.
Although I can’t remember the exact circumstances of our first meeting, I can say once you meet Rebecca you’ll never forget her. A fellow Aquarian, she and I hit it off from the beginning. She has that quirky sense of humor I hold so dear, coupled with an honesty that is both refreshing and bracing.
On top of that, the woman is mega-talented. Not only is she a writer with a twisted imagination I find fascinating, she is an amazing artist and the one behind the cover and the trailer for Athena’s Promise. Rebecca is fabulous to work with, and an amazing friend. Here’s a peek inside her unconventional and intriguing head. I’ll just leave the light on for you. Heh.
1. Your roots are in dark fantasy and sword and sorcery, but you work a lot in horror. What is it about horror that attracts you as a writer?
Both genres offers examinations into the human condition – touches deeper into the human psyche’s dark side. From religion or politics, to that inner monster we all possess. I don’t speak of slasher-style fiction or movies in that vein – for me, horror is more psychological than gore.
2. What do you think horror offers that other genres may not?
A catharsis, utilizing horrific imagery or words in real life instances where you’ve experience real horror, has been used in therapy. There’s also of course, the self-reflective approach. You can’t go around hurting people, so you create a character and whack them in the nastiest way possible.
3. Who is your favorite character you’ve created and why?
That’s a tough choice to make. I’ll go with what “type” of my character is my favorite, they tend to crop up in most of my stories, is the anti-hero. They tend to personify our own reality. Ordinary people who become something extraordinary (sometimes not) who do what needs to be done to “save the day”. It doesn’t mean they have to like it, or even volunteered for it.
4. What is your writing process like?
I write on regular note paper with a real pen. 🙂 Most of which are brainstorm sessions from either a notion in my mind, or a dream I’ve had. The longer I brainstorm, the more ideas generate. Sometimes it’s a scene between nameless characters, sometimes a short story. If it blooms into a novel, I create a basic structure for the plot and will fill in the gaps with these ‘scenes’. I still have “homeless characters” and situations with no story. Yet.
5. Who are your writing inspirations?
Michael Moorcock, George RR Martin, and of course – Tolkien. I will have to say however, my first inspiration – Robert E. Howard’s “Conan” – followed up with artists such as Larry Elmore, Linda Bergkvist, and Alan Lee.
Musically, very inspired by the now defunct duo Dead Can Dance, and a horde of Classical composers and music. A Night on Bald Mountain, Deis Irae from Mozart, classical music and operatic scores such as Carmina Burana almost always create mini-movies in my head.
6. What actually scares you the most?
I’ve been asked that a lot. Aside from the surface fear of spiders – the deepest fear is the inability to move, speak, see, or hear – and be completely conscious of this fact.
7. Name the scariest movie and book you’ve ever seen and read.
Vincent Price’s “Last Man on Earth” scared me as a child, and as an adult – Will Smith in “I am Legend.” Both storylines scared me, in that each character was utterly the last of their kind. And both scenes, having to kill their dog. That was just so sad..lol. I haven’t read a book yet that I could call the scariest. One scene in Raymond Feist’s “Faerie Tale” creeped me out. The parts about the “bad thing” were really spooky. But no, to date – I haven’t read a book that made me want to sleep with the lights on. I’d settle for the creep or spook factor!
8. What is your opinion regarding the indie or self-publishing movement?
I’ve been involved in the Indie/Self-Pub movement longer than most people realize. It started out for me in the early 90’s when I made a “zine” – quarterly, and accepted submissions for short stories, art, poetry. California’s had a stable Indie movement in this regard for longer. Back then, I wasn’t online – it was through U.S. Mail, including networking. I fell out of the loop in the late 90’s and about a year and a half ago – came back into the loop to see its growth through electronic media. I jumped back into the shallow end with publishing poetry I had lying around, then a short story. I’m a novelist at heart, however – and don’t have the patience to sit around waiting a year for a novel to go to print. It’s a great opportunity for writers and personally, I don’t see it any different from Indie bands who put out their own labels. If the powers that be in the “market” don’t want you – you create your market. Back then, and in the now – I think it’s great. It’s not so much the “control” and “royalties” but the creative force behind it. “It” being “your product”.
9. You’re both a graphic artist and a writer. Which appeals to you most and why?
Even though I’ve been into drawing since I was allowed to hold a sharpened pencil 😉 (age 3, my first piece of art was Flipper followed by Fingerpainting in pre-school) writing is the greater appeals. It’s easier, to tell the truth -to write down what my head visualizes, than attempt to draw it. haha!
10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I just finished type-ups on all of my handwritten mess regarding a novella turned into a novel “I Chiang”. Now I need to assemble them into chapters and do the first round of edits before I toss it to you – the editor 😉 “I Chiang” is going to be the first in a series which I’m calling, for now at least – The Unfailed Series. Each novel is planned as a stand alone with recurring characters – leading up to events that I will keep under wraps. 🙂 That part is still being fleshed out. Book 2, titled “Project 4: Unfailed” was originally Book 1, Project 4 was going to be my debut and in the middle of a second round of self-editing, the character Chiang started to talk. A lot.
I also have several short stories, some short-shorts that I’m compiling into a anthology tentatively titled “The Little Book of Weird”. They’re all supernatural or psychological horror based in and around my childhood, or simply things that came off the top of my head from mundane circumstances. One such a story, called the S(t)ink – is about a horrible odor exuding from the bathroom sink in an upstairs apartment, taking a life of its own. Another, based on where I live – called The Tenant, is about a woman who hears the veiled threats coming from the air conditioner unit outside her bedroom window. You know how sometimes, you get those evil little thoughts in your head towards somebody who peeves you? In the case of this short story, it’s our old apartment manager whose going to get it. Through a story, of course. This is why I love horror 😀 Where else can you get away with being creepy if not downright unpleasant? After the Unfailed Series I’m transitioning to my original love – Dark “Epic” style Fantasy with elements of Sword & Sorcery. (More emphasis on the Sorcery, of course) My “personal epic” – the “Lord of the Rings” in my life, is the “Book of the Accursed”. It’s taken close to 10 years, off and on – to see the conclusion.
Author Bio: I’m a writer and artist, all else is self-explanatory.
It was a really busy week last week — I had a visit from my Muffin and my GirlChild, and it was wonderful. Busy, but fabulous. Since it coincided with the launch of Athena’s Promise and Halloween, the whole week kind of passed in a blur. Which I suppose was a blessing in disguise, because otherwise I probably would have been a babbling mess obsessing over The Launch. Instead, I did my business and chased after a very active 3 year-old, who really put me through my paces.
Yep, he sure gave me a workout. 🙂
So, after a mega-busy week, what’s next?
Good question. I’m glad you asked.
In addition to a full editing schedule (my day job), I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring for NaNoWriMo in order to kick start the second book in the Aegian Trilogy, titled “Athena’s Chains”. (I’m Netta50 there, if you want a buddy.) It was a last minute decision, but I know if I didn’t incorporate some structure somewhere, I’d most likely procrastinate. I had set myself a tentative date for release of Spring 2012; now I just have to write the book. Heh.
Considering I wrote the bulk of Athena’s Promise in about eight weeks, I think I can handle this NaNo thing. That’s the plan.
Yeah, the menage a trois is kinky, but it works for us. Heh.
I have another author/artist interview scheduled for Friday with the incomparable Rebecca Treadway, and I’m really looking forward to that.
Not only has Athena’s Promise been released, six pieces I’ve had the honor to edit have also been released by Etopia Press. Some really great stories there, I hope you’ll check them out if you’re in the market for some good reads.
And last, but not least, a short word about releasing a book as an independent-type:
It’s a lot of work, peeps. I’ve learned so much from this process, I can’t even tell you. It’s also totally nerve-wracking. No matter how much you believe in your work, there’s always that anxiety about whether or not the Public At Large is going to like it or want to throw rotten tomatoes at you.
Fortunately, Athena’s Promise has already received some wonderful reviews, and not only does that make me feel proud and grateful, I’m also very appreciative of the people who took the time out from their busy lives to not only read the book, but also leave encouraging words. The truth is, I’m an “indie”. I don’t have a big marketing budget, and like everyone else trying to carve out a space for themselves, I am dependent on word of mouth to get the word out.
If you like what you read, and this goes for any independent artist you love, click the “Like” buttons on Amazon, which helps with ranking; take the time to jot even just a few words about what you’ve read; tell your friends and family about the book; Tweet if you’re a Twitter, post a link on Facebook, purchase books for Christmas gifts — in other words, do everything you can to help promote your author. YOU, the reader, are all we have, you see. In return, we will keep writing and hopefully give you more of what you love. See how that works? Because WE LOVE YOU.
There’s no way we can do it without you.
And that’s the end of the self-promotion thing, which although necessary, is also rather uncomfortable. Writers generally have a hard time with this part of the business. It doesn’t help that social media has been inundated with a whole bunch of self-promotion, where it seems people have forgotten the basic premise of social media — which is, to wit, SOCIAL INTERACTION. I’ve blogged about before. It’s a fine line, and a difficult one to walk, no doubt about it. *sigh*
In the meantime, I’m going to practice what I preach and write the next book. Pallas is antsy and she has a problem. Several problems, actually. Heh.
By the way — thanks for all the support. I am constantly gobsmacked and very grateful for it. And I never, ever take it for granted. *MUAH*