Plum Flabbergasted

The crazy train is still going full tilt and I have to admit the ride has been phenomenal and a little overwhelming.  I know I’ve used the term overwhelming quite a lot in the past few weeks but the word is the best way to describe the incredible well of emotions that have been front and center since June 20.

For those of you who may be new to my little world, I’ve been pursuing my dream of becoming an author for a few  years now.  I won’t bore you with the hows and whys – I’ve already blogged about it before.  However, in this pursuit, I’ve written five books within three different genres.  I have a set of three wolf shifter books that I wrote first and published and have since pulled for a revamp.  At the time I was so proud of myself for accomplishing a goal.  The series has a small following and I get questions from time to time on when I will finish out the series with the final offering.  As always, the answer is “soon”.  I do have a final manuscript about half finished but ran into some snags.  I have plans (ha! – Rufus is still lurking out there darn him!) to finish it before the end of the year.

Then along came Reclamation.  I never worked so hard on one manuscript in my life and that includes my time in college.  Reclamation is urban fantasy / YA / Christian fantasy.  At the time I didn’t know exactly why I was writing it but in retrospect, I see it as a way to cope with family issues at that time.  I won’t go into that either – I’ve blogged several times about that dark time in my life.  Through Reclamation, I was able to experience the pleasure and the pain of traditional publishing. That, in turn, caused a huge learning curve in my writing.  Even I could see the improvement in my craft.

So that brings me to the latest offering – Protecting Joselyn.  Once again, I jumped the genre train and went into contemporary / suspense / military romance.  I have made it no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Susan Stoker.  (Again, if you like this genre, I urge you to check her out.   http://www.stokeraces.com) She has a Kindle World and graciously allowed me to write in it. At first, I was going to wait until I finished the final book in my shifter series but the idea wouldn’t leave me.  So, I gave in and wrote the book in 27 days.  It was one of the most fun I have ever had and one of the most nerve wrecking moments of my life.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself nor damage the trust from Susan.

Pardon my Southern coming out here…  Ya’ll, I was plum flabbergasted.

There was a snafu in the publishing making it late to come out on the promised June 20th.  However, Joselyn hit the ground running and when the ratings came out I was completely floored. She hit number FIVE in Kindle World Romance.

I thought that was the best I could hope for – NOPE.  She clawed her way to 4 and then latched on with both claws.  Holy Crapadoodle!

Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve watched her stick around the 4-7 marks almost exclusively until July 7th.  With the release of eight new novels in Operation Alpha, I prepared to kiss that top 10 spot goodbye.  It had been one heck of a run and I could be nothing but proud of it.  Unknown to top 5 in any genre in Amazon is stinking amazing to me.

But no!  Joselyn exhibited the same tenacity that got her through her on trails and refused to give up her place.  I have watched as she has dropped and rebound.  Dropped and rebound.  Each time I think, Okay, this is it.  She’s done – whew.

Nope.

A few days ago, I held my breath as she slipped to the number eighteen spot and I decided this was it.  Goodbye old girl.  It’s been one hell of a ride – time to get Saving Olivia finished and hope for lightening to strike twice.

The dear hubby asked me where she was in the ranking yesterday.  I hadn’t looked  in over 24 hours so I went and checked her out thinking she probably in the hundreds by now.

4

Wait.. WHAT?  Four.. Is she back in the top 5?  She is! HOLY HANNAH!!

Just under a month since release and my girl is still holding on by her fingernails.  I’m overwhelmed.  OVER. WHELMED.

This past week, Susan Stoker’s book “Claiming Grace” hit the number 1 spot on Amazon. She expressed her amazement on Facebook.  It’s well deserved – her books are awesome.  I may not be in the top ten on  The Big List, but I think I know how she feels.  She’s a big fish in a big pond.  I’m a little fish in a little pond.  I’m happy here.  Not to say I wouldn’t love to take a dip in that bigger one but if it never happens, I can look at Joselyn and be content.

As I write this, Joselyn has slid back to number 9.  I’m not saying she’s on her way out because she loves to prove me wrong.  Either way, it’s been one heck of a ride and one that isn’t possible without my followers.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It’s an incredible gift you have given me.

Time to get back to Olivia. She has her own voice and demands to be heard.  So, lets see if we can make magic again.  I’m shooting for an August 22 publication date.

TOOT TOOOT – Crazy train now boarding!  Hang on folks, lets see what Olivia can do!

–Melissa

Sex sells – what are you buying?

Now that I have your attention… Sexy books-  Yes or no?

Some call these “hot romances” or even “erotica”.  I’ve seen the term “smut” thrown about as well.  To me, the last term has a connotation of underhanded, filth and lechery.  That’s not always true.  I will concede there is a ton of erotica out there and not all of it good.

I have a lot of authors that I enjoy reading on a regular basis.  Susan Stoker and T.S. Joyce are two of my favorites.  I also love Celia Kyle, Carrie Ann Ryan and Roxie Riviera.  There are a score of others that I watch for but for the purpose of this blog, I’ll focus on those five.

If you are not aware of these talented ladies, let me introduce you.  Susan writes what I call “man in uniform” books.  SEALs, Delta Force, Police, Firemen.  You get my point.  T.S. Joyce and Celia Kyle are in the shifter worlds.  Carrie Ann Ryan handles mostly tattoo artists (Got to love those Montgomery men!) and shifter as well.  Roxie Riviera has a fantastic series involving the underbelly of Houston – Russian mob, fighters, loan sharks, etc. All of these different stories have two things in common.  Alpha males protecting the women they love and sex.

We live in a society that sexual innuendos and situations have become the norm.  Watch a television show and you get bombarded with sexual references followed by 5 minutes of sexual advertisement.  Movies?  Sex, sex, sex, violence, potty humor and sex.

I’ve often said I was born in the wrong decade.  I prefer movies that told a good story.  The musicals of the 40s and 50s are my favorites.  Give me Gene Kelly dancing across the floor or Ginger Rogers gracefully moving in perfect synchronization with Fred Astaire.  The music had heart.  The comedians knew how to turn a phrase and not one single “f” bomb in existence.  Toilets were non-existent and one didn’t even hint that more than one person may possibly sleep in a bed at a time – except for babies or small children. It was a more innocent time.  A time that will most likely never return.

Entertainment has taken a drastic turn in the years since.  I’ll give you an example.

In 1969, the movie Easy Rider was released. At the time, the blatant sexuality and hardcore subject matter earned it a scathing X rating – AFTER several scenes were cut.  I’ll let that soak in a second… The movie had to be re-edited to qualify for an X rating.  In the mid 80’s, that rating was changed to R.  A few years later, it was downplayed to NC-17.  Currently, there are 2 versions.  One is still NC-17 and the other is PG-13.  If I am correct, the original too hot for the public version is now NC-17 and the one that barely qualified for X is now PG-13.  Of course, I realize that some scenes are cut and some censoring is in place in order to be played on national television, but still the subject is the same.

When I was a teenager, I got my hands on a book that would have gotten me grounded had my mother knew I was reading it.  I can’t remember the name nor the author but it is what is known as a “bodice ripper”.  Regency type novel full of fighting, intrigue and sex.

I discovered something from reading that book.  I liked the story.  It was amazing and I read it several times between 15 and 19 when it finally disappeared.  (Maybe my mother found it?)  However, I didn’t really understand why there was so much graphic sex in it. I was both intrigued and scandalized.  I blushed at every mention of the hero’s “mighty flesh sword” or the woman’s “tender dainty pearl”. It seemed silly to me to throw all that other stuff in.  The story didn’t need it.

Over the years, I got into a habit.  With the first mention of “love buttons” or “steely shaft” I would become embarrassed and skip over the following passages until the story picked up again.  This is something I do today. So, even though I do love my fabulous five ladies, I skip over the juicy parts and concentrate on the story line only.  It’s a personal preference. There is nothing wrong with the hot to trot parts, it’s just not ‘me’.

When I first started writing, I was told to write what I read. So my avoidance of the steamy parts has become reflected in my works. This has lead to something of a controversy lately.

Because I wrote Protecting Joselyn in Susan Stoker’s Operation Alpha Kindle World (still bouncing in the top 10 Romance – YAY!), I believe readers expected to have steamy parts in there.  This belief is somewhat validated by one of my reviews:

Truely one of the best in kindle world. This book has alot of love and family togetherness. I love it. I feel its missing the love making scene. But other than that its awesome. Great job!! Melissa!!

This review has been bothering me since it appeared two weeks ago. Was I doing a disservice to my stories by avoiding the sex?  Then again, since I didn’t really read the sex scenes in other’s books, could I even portray one effectively?  I have been back and forth on the fence about this.  Should I try with Saving Olivia or just keep going with what I know?

Today I got another review:

This is a great little read.
I enjoyed both the main characters, their reactions felt realistic with no to stupid to live moments. This had no sexy time, while unusual, it was not missed. The story is plot and character based and didn’t need anything else to enhance it.
I truly cannot wait for more from this author.

I have asked the question about steamy scenes to many people.  They all say the same thing – be true to what you know and write it the way you would read it.

So, I’ve made the decision to stick to what I know.  That means no steamy sex scenes.  Perhaps I will change my mind at some later date but I relatively confident that won’t happen.  If I haven’t found the need to read hot scenes for the past 35 years, I don’t think that will change in the next 35.

However, if you see something written by Savannah Storm in the erotica section… don’t hold it against me.  If I do try at some future date, I’ll go incognito.

— Melissa

 

Eight Days Gone

I’ve been very lapse in my blogging.  Good intentions don’t always follow though.  Having said that, I’m going to try to do better than once every few months.  Please don’t hold me to that.  Once again – good intentions…

It’s now been eight days since Joselyn was released. May I say, “WOW”?

When it debuted on the chart, it popped in at number 5 in kindle world romance.  It completely stunned me.  I sat here, staring at my computer, with my mouth open like a fish out of water.  I knew when I decided to write in Susan Stoker’s Kindle World, Special Forces: Operation Alpha, I would enjoy a bit of success just from some of her fans wanting to read from her universe.  But this was more than I could ever have hoped for.  I was overwhelmed.  I watched it drop to 11 and thought to myself, “Well that was fun.  I had a book on the best selling list for a few hours.”

Now, I sit here eight days later as Protecting Joselyn is once again sitting at number 5.  It has hovered there for the past week.  Once the reviews started coming in and posts on Facebook were written, Joselyn made a resurgance, topping out at number 4 several times.  It has dropped a few times over the course of the week but never any lower than 7.

Stunned has turned into overwhelmed.

Even before seeing what these number translate into as far as sales figures, it is already my best offer to date. I won’t know what those sales figures are until August 1.  Kindle Worlds is different than KDP.   It’s a drawback but KW has allowed me to reach a new fan base that I hadn’t before. I am grateful.

Now, I am off to work on the next book in this series, Saving Olivia.

Thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for taking a chance on my work.

Just – Thank You for being your awesome selves.

-Melissa

Protecting Joselyn is LIVE!

Hello everyone!  Protecting Joselyn went live this afternoon.  So far, it is being extremely well received.  So well, in fact, that it is currently sitting at #5 on Amazon Kindle Worlds Romance. This makes me an Amazon Best Selling Author!

This couldn’t be possible without your support.

I am so overwhelmed and externally grateful.  Thank you!BestSelling JOselyn

Protecting Joselyn

JoselynCoverLg

Coming June 20, 2017

Protecting Joselyn

After four years in WitSec hiding from a serial murderer and rapist nicknamed ‘The Gardener’, Joselyn Kendrik can breathe again. With his death, she finally picks up the pieces of her life and pursues her dreams. A year later, with her career as an author on the rise, she receives a sinister gift eerily familiar to those sent by The Gardener. The police are sure it must be a copycat but she isn’t as confident. Regardless his identity, she knows her stalker is closing in and she will not survive once he decides to strike.

Maddox “River” Benson is looking in the rear view mirror at a twenty-year career as a Navy SEAL. Contemplating an uncertain future, River jumps at the chance to assist an old friend in the New Orleans Police Department. An unknown stalker with nefarious plans has zeroed in on an innocent young woman. Though the police’s hands are tied, River isn’t as restricted.

Juggling Joselyn’s schedule as an upcoming author is a nightmare to River’s strategy for her security. The feisty woman struggles to balance her budding career with River’s need to keep her safe. Then there’s the growing attraction between them creating an entirely different set of problems. He has to keep his mind on guarding her body and not taking it for his own.

When her stalker becomes bolder, does one ex-SEAL have what it takes to ensure Joselyn’s survival?

This book is a part of Susan Stoker’s Kindle Worlds.  I’m so excited and honored to be allowed to participate in her universe!