I’m not really a resolutions kind of gal. I think they’re wonderful, but I want to live life to the best and make the best changes for myself all the time – not because I randomly got an idea and wrote it down. However, I keep seeing people talking about words they’ve selected to live by, and I think that sounds like a wonderful new thing to try. So here goes . . .
For 2019, my word to live by is VISIBILITY.
I feel invisible on a daily basis. Not in a depressed variety, but in an actual “I don’t think I’m noticed” way. On social media, my posts are often left ignored – giveaway posts where I’m offering something free for just writing “yes” or something of that nature. Yes, not everyone is going to engage with every post, but when I see others with multiple entries, lots of engagement and fun social media following, it gets to be a bummer. It lends to making me feel invisible.
I’m always on my author account. I post, I share, I engage on other people’s posts. Yes, I have an author one because I write under my maiden name and wanted a place for my readers to engage with me beyond my page. I wanted an account where I could use my married name as well because most people I meet in my day-to-day know me as Lexi Bissonnette, not Lexi Ostrow. Even still, on my profile, if I post book-related stuff, out of over 1000 friends, maybe three are interested in what I have to say.
I send newsletters that are almost 100% unopened – even when the subject line indicates I’m giving something away for free. No, I don’t spam. I send one out every Sunday – which I note on the sign-up form. I tweet with little to no engagement, and my Instagram is largely a vast empty void.
Yet, even with FB algorithms, I don’t seem to be the fun person that people want to engage with or the author anyone is interested in getting free reads from. Now, this isn’t a pity post, it’s me explaining where my word to live by came from. Yes, it’s of course possible I’m boring, and my books suck – but I’d like to hop it’s not that.
So in 2019, I’m going to focus on making myself more visible. More Facebook engagement, back on the blogging train – because I say that every year I’m going to be more accountable this time – more teaming up with other authors whether it’s box sets, release parties or something entirely new and finally, more time with readers at events.
Did you make it this far through my borderline whine/rant? If so, I want to start your new year off with a free read! Any ebook from my list, you name it and email firstname.lastname@example.org, and it’s yours!
Happy New Year’s Eve – now comment here, what’s your word to hold yourself to for 2019?
So I tried really hard last year to blog monthly . . . I didn't realize how incredibly HARD that was going to be! I had an infant, a new city, a full time job and a social life. Blogging was hard. Why was it hard? Because I had no clue if people were reading it. Sure, I can look at stats, but that just means someone opened the page and scrolled down. I didn't see any comments, and it let me slip into a "boo hoo me" moment.
It's a horrible excuse, but if I'm honest, it's rough putting yourself out there and not knowing if you're getting your links out in the world. And since I know my books reach people, I dove headfirst into writing my stories and focusing on that. I'm back now - because I miss blogging and communicating with potential readers! So as a mea culpa for everything, simply comment on this blog post to win a free copy of my newest release!
Now, that I've apologized and enticed you with a freebie, let's talk releases! I used 2017 largely as an experimental year. I was apart of multiple boxsets, wanting to reach new readers as well as partner with some of my favorite authors. Seriously, boxsets are the coolest way to get to know an author because you learn about their process and get a free read
I am so excited that I did because I learned so much from the process and gained so many new author friends. If I reached even a few new readers, that's for sure a win! So what is 2018 about, now that we're almost 2 months in? Well, it's a combination year. I still have a few box sets to participate in. I have series that I KNOW need my attention and new series to start. So without further ado, let the release schedule roll!
While the goal was to focus on open series and finish them, I did have a few stories slam their way to the front, pushing my two favorite series out of the publication list this year. But don't worry - the Guardians and Alliance stories are outlined and WILL be told.
**Cogs & Corsets - RT steampunk set, information not yet set
**Clockwork Wings - April 3,2018
** Gaslights & Graves - featuring City of War - May 18th, 2018
** A Heavenly Kind of Love - July 9, 2018 to coincide with an in bookstore event!!!
** Historical set - featuring Weaved in Time - August 14, 2018
**Cogs & Corsets - RT steampunk set, information not yet set
**Clockwork Wings - April 3,2018
**Gaslights & Graves - featuring City of Light and Steam - May 18th, 2018
Hopefully, with my little man getting older, I'll have more time to myself to maybe even sneak something else in.
So don't forget, comment away for your free ebook; no limit on the number of winners. Catch you all on the flip side . . . aka the next blog. Or keep in touch sooner, head on over to my street team!
Who am I kidding? The shock has absolutely NOT worm off, and I'm totally okay with that. After a morning of refreshing the list over and over, yesterday around noon CST I saw the most amazing post in my box set group.
I hadn't even read any further - my heart stopped pounding and I am not even sure I was breathing. I didn't get even to check the post myself because I saw this pop up before I could look away from the screen:
BOOM! Just like that, I was a USA Today Bestselling Author. I'd love to say I took this professionally. That would be the biggest lie I've ever told. I jumped out of my office chair and went shouting "We did it! We did it! We did it!" all the way up the stairs.By the time I reached my room at the top of the stairs Aidan (my 11 month old) was sitting up giggling and grinning like a loon. I picked him up and tossed him a little like he loves while still chanting and he just kee grinning and laughing. That moment with him, seeing him so happy purely because I was, was almost better than the list. Almost.
I was so blessed to be invited to work in the boxset, but even more blessed with the friendships that were made along the way. 19 other women and I share a bond that will never be broken, and a friendship that was only made stronger by the news of all our hard work and countless effort paying off in the most wonderful of ways. We've talked non-stop, celebrated and been generally glued to conversations together more so than before it happened.
So what am I doing now? I'm getting ready to do a HUGE sale on my books. To be the first to know about it, sign up for my newsletter. There's much more coming from me this year, and I feel this amazing honor only solidified my drive to turn out the best work possible. So keep sticking with me on this journey! My next solo release is June 25, 2017 and it's the next book in my Guardians series, Forgotten Worlds. I'm so excited to give you Jameson's story - because he hasn't shut up since I met him when I was in 7th grade!
See you all soon!
I skipped writing the blog last week because I knew I had big things to discuss this week - and really - I had no idea what to write about as my creative juices were on a vacation while I took care of Aidan during his second cold (which we actually found out today was just a nose virus, but it was still so rough to see him all congested and suffering). I promise, this blog is a wallop of information coming at you to make up for it!
I'm going to start with the small announcement to build up the anticipation for a monstrous sized one! I have a fun new author logo! A little bit ago I'd expressed how I wanted to create a fun and quirky logo that represented me, if not all of my novels. I knew this was going to be rough since I play in so many different sub genres in the romance world. My tagline "Making Worlds Collide" fits all my novels, but I knew a logo designed to reflect me specifically would not. I'd been trying to figure out how to have a steampunk octopus holding a book with my logo and tagline properly written out. Well, the amazing Nancy Colbert of Colbert Creative came to rescue. Say hello to Theo! I love him to bits and am so excited to put him on pretty things!
Now for the really big announcement. I have parted ways with CHBB Publishing and imprint family. It was a very hard decision, and I am so honored and grateful to the woman and company who gave me my dream of being a published author. I will, as I did before being signed, continue to support them from the sidelines and cheer on my amazing friends and wonderful authors no matter what. I know the house will continue to go onto amazing things.
What does it mean for me? It means that starting in a few days, my CHBB published titles will not be available for a period of time. My planned release of Prison Drop is pushed back slightly to make certain my books are down first so I do not break the In Service contract. After that, I will be deciding what to do on a case by case basis with my series books - though I'm more than positive I will take the self publishing route rather than shop previously published titles to agents and publishing houses as I know it is a long shot and I'd prefer to only show fresh works.
Thank you to everyone at CHBB for all their support and the chance at my dream. Thank you to all my readers for falling in love with my worlds and I hope you will all stick with over the next month or so while I make my way into the self publishing world full time. I'm grateful for every step of this journey that began with an acceptance letter in February of 2014 and I can't wait to see where the journey takes me as I turn to this new page.
Keep up to date with everything on my author page and I'll see you all on the other side in just a few months!
This week's blog might seem a little bit down in the dumps - it's not meant to be. In fact, I'm actually very excited to be discussing a topic that I myself am struggling with - fanbase. With over 20 released novels, 2.5 years in the industry and plenty of interaction on my fan page, one wouldn't think that I'm having any issues, but looks can be deceiving. Just like with this post; because despite a harrowing subject, I don't let it get me down! No one should, whether they're an author, editor, cover artist - or any other arts creator.
I spend hours struggling to find the will to set my adorable 8-month old down and write. Why? Because it's hard to want to meet deadlines when you feel like you're all alone and not making an impact. Sales aren't everything, despite what some people think. Many authors, myself included, simply want to help readers find a few hours of blissful entertainment in the pages of books. That's what reading has always been for me and it is what I've always dreamed I achieve anytime someone reads a book, review or not, and continues to follow me on my journey. Am I doing it? Not that I can tell . . . not yet.
After 2.5 years in the writing business I have to hunt for reviewers every single book. I have to post in groups, message to bloggers and spam the request all over my social media and ya know what? I'm lucky if I can find 5 people interested in reading my book for free in exchange for posting an honest review to Amazon. Does that burn? Abso-fucking-lutely. Each time it happens I feel like burying my head in the sand. I have so many amazing supportive people that help me share around my releases, but none interested in reading them. My newsletter is pitiful, no many how many free reads or exciting things I offer, the list never grows. (on the plus side, no one unsubscribes and my open rate is 83% woot!) My friends seem nice enough when I have a book, but none of them review, which is kind of an author's bread and butter, not the sales. My street team is filled with an amazing group of ladies and a gent, and without them I don't know where my reviewers would come from. They make me find the strength to continue because I know that no matter how small, there are people that find joy in my work.
But can such a small number really be enough to validate my publisher keeping me on (dear lord I hope so LOL), or my personal life taking a backseat to the characters who would be just as content if I closed my eyes and imagined their stories instead of writing them down? Does that make me a failure? A lesser author? Someone who should learn when to quit and throw in the towel?
I may not have found my fans on social media the way many authors have (and many more still struggle to). My books touch people. Do I have hordes of fans gnashing their teeth to get my next book? Nope, not yet. But they are there and they do review when they happen to stumble across my work. I will continue to share the craziness that falls out of my head until there isn't a platform for doing so.
To all those that might be in a similar position to me, I urge you not to give up. Ignore all the doubt and anything that makes you feel like you aren't as important as the other indie authors in your library or your friends list. Keep pushing. Keep weaving incredible worlds, make dazzling promo and soon enough, we'll all have left our mark in whatever way we wish.
There is a common phenomenon that occurs to authors that I thought I was immune from — the characters behaving in ways that you didn't even think possible. By this I mean that I have read a handful of teasers of mine and realized, I didn't remember writing the passage. Not a single word, not a single page of some chapters. It was almost as it the characters pushed me out of my mind to write their own stories.
Yes, I know many authors say this happens. However, as someone who needs everything to be just so, I had always assumed that while the characters could control my flow, they couldn't ever have me write something I was unaware of. I bet you're thinking, "oh she's probably only just had it happen for the first time." Ironically, it's been happening since the very first story I ever completed, Torn Between Two Worlds. If you read through any of books, there should be a word utterly absent from them, pussy. I personally cannot STAND that word. It is just unclassy to me, no judgment to anyone who loves it, just a personal thing. So when I was doing re-edits, my jaw dropped so fast it made my head spin when I saw this passage from Stryder.
A second finger joined the first, and her hand wrapped around his shaft, pumping the thick erection in time with his strokes. She cried out when his fingers slipped free of her body seconds before she was about to shatter. She opened her eyes to look at him and went to grab his head when she felt the scruff of his unshaved face brush against her inner thigh. His tongue rasped across the sensitive flesh of her clit, and her thighs squeezed together. His erection slipped from her hands as she was lost in sensation.
Mewls of need and desire escaped from her throat as he alternated between long licks across her pussy and deep thrusts of his tongue inside her. Her hands were fisting in his hair, tugging him closer, pushing his tongue farther inside.
"Stryder!" His name a desperate cry on her lips, and she felt him laugh, the vibration causing her hips to buck and impale deeper on his wicked tongue.
She was almost to the point of thrashing about as he licked her, putting more and more pressure behind each stroke of his tongue. Ciara bit down on her lower lip as her orgasm shot through her and she tasted blood as she tried to stop her shout from being heard by all awake. He continued to lap at her until she was shaking. When he retreated from between her thighs, he grinned wickedly at her.
"Oh no, you don't get to do that to me, to torture me and make me come like that without some of your own, Guardian." Sliding off the counter to sink to her knees, she heard a chair scrape across the floor as he pushed it back and sat down, the smirk still on his face.
The issue didn't stop with Stryder, though it wasn't occurring every book. Worlds on Fire passed uneventfully. Julian and Serena were exactly who I wanted them to be, exactly who they wanted to be. Then came Lucius, in Nightmare in Steam. There cannot possibly be a better example of a character taking over. Lucius was always meant to be cowardly. As a hero, he had to be sexy to an extent, but I'd never intended for him to behave in any manner that he did, but he was determined to be the best (and hottest) male ever for his Eliza. Five books later, he's still forcefully shoving himself into the Alliance of Silver & Steam stories, often making himself the undeniable hero, stealing the spotlight from the actual hero. Curious what I mean? Read this steamy slice, when Lucius first told me "there is no way in hell I'll be anything but the fucking best in bed."
As she stared out the window, she saw his hand raise and land slightly above hers on the solid glass window. She must have touched it to confirm it was truly there. His low growl in her ear as he nipped the bottom of it sent wetness between her legs. She squirmed, pushing her backside against his cock and shuddering when he reached between them and held himself. She could feel him stroking his shaft, feel as his hand stroked up the thick length and bumped the small of her back.
“Come now, Eliza.”
His free hand wrapped around her waist and turned her to him. Her startled gasp changed to a sigh of pleasure as he turned her and ran a finger along her clit. Her hips bucked, even as her hand fell off the window as she turned to him. The motion caused his finger to slip inside her folds. His growl was more like a purr as he stroked along her inner core.
“Damn, Eliza, you’re wet enough to bring me to my knees to taste you and see if you taste of chocolate to match your smell.”
Her head fell back as he used his knee to push her legs farther apart. She trembled under his touch, shook with need and longing to complete what she wanted. Sex. It was a dream, no one would ever know, and she wasn’t a virgin anyway. She wanted it all with Lucius, and she wanted it in this dream. The heat, the desire, the pulsing of her sex when she came screaming his name.
Small whimpers escaped from her as he rubbed the head of his cock against her entrance in small circles that had her seeing a multitude of colors instead of him. Reaching down, she ran her finger slowly down his cock before wrapping her hand around him. She could hardly close it around his thick cock, and the thought sent a wave of liquid between her legs. He grunted and pushed her until her arse pressed against the cold window.
His hips bucked against her, and he dragged his teeth along her neck before he swirled his tongue over the same spot. Her cry was a tangle of pleasure and need while his fingers stroked her. The head of his prick nudged her entrance, and she spread her legs wider, sliding down a little as she got lower to the ground.
He hesitated as she pushed against him, taking him deeper. His groan echoed in her ears, and he took control back again as he buried himself balls deep inside her. His hand traced a path down her chin and pulled her eyes to his. She rolled her hips, urging him forward, knowing that if he stopped, she would shatter with or without him.
Book after book, I've noticed small instances where the characters pushed me out of the way and not only told their story but did so in ways I didn't think I could have been the author of. Some things were far too profound for me to believe I wrote, others were emotions I've never felt, yet wrote so spot on I can't figure out how I did it. Which lead me to the final realization that the characters were not only telling their stories, but they were doing so in such a way that I was channeling things I should not have been able to, making the stories perfect in a way I could never imagine.
What the Steam Brings tackles not only a genre I wasn't overly sure I could do, but a topic that needed to be handled delicately. I wrote the story in a little over 3 hours and had no idea until I began to record the audio, that I had written one of the most tragically beautiful pairings ever. It was a romance that transcended time, and one that made me rethink the next steps for the series because Tristan became so much more than I'd ever intended, there is simply no way Isabella can continue being the female romantic lead as the series continues, as I'd originally intended.
“Mi amore,” Tristan said as his mouth closed over hers.
Passion flooded through her, as white-hot and strong as it had been the final time they’d touched in that manner. Her body was slowly turning to fire, remembering the play of his fingers over her bare skin, and the way his prick felt as it drove in and out of her body.
“You have not given anything to the mages for this? No payment, no servitude?” He searched her eyes pleadingly.
She shook her head, feeling the tears slip down her cheeks. “Much is different in this life now. The mages won the battle. Their services are charged to those that can afford them, but they were not without kindness. Those of us widowed in the battle were granted much, including a dalliance with our lost love. Even if it could only last but a short time.”
“If all we have is precious moments, I do not want to squander them speaking of silly changes. I will spend them in your arms, in your body, reminding you of all the love you still have, even if I am not by your side to give it.”
His mouth moved over hers once more as he pushed the fallen strands of hair from in front of her face. He greedily deepened the kiss as his hands wound around her back. His touch was as it had always been. The same as if they had not been separated for so long and he weren’t simply a spirit.
From Rise of Silver - where Layel grew to be a character I have never imagined despite having had him in 4 other books - to my most recently finished piece, Something Borrowed, it happens time and time again. And so I've learned that not everything is in my control. I think it's better that way - that the characters can take over so completely I'm in awe of scenes when I read them back. It's somewhat frightening to be at the mercy of them in so many ways, but I absolutely think it makes for better reading. So until next week's blog, I'll let my newest set of characters take the wheel and tell their story.
Hello, hello! I hope you are all having a wonderful day 2 of 2017! I know I've been unforgivingly quiet on this blog - but I have a fairly good excuse, and a promise that it will not happen again.
2016 was a wonderful year - I welcomed the birth of my first child, Aidan Cain Bissonnette. Isn't he too adorable to not drop in a photo collage of him? He was 7 months old on Christmas and we're still having all sorts of wonderful adventures. Unfortunately, along with being a new mom, I've suffered from quite a few post-partum complications. In an attempt to keep my books on schedule for my wonderful readers - my website and newsletter took a backseat. If you follow on me on Facebook or Instagram, you likely didn't even notice I took a small hiatus because I'm always updating those!
2016 was also he's a rough year for the family. In early November, Tweedle passed away surrounded by myself and Nova as he took his final breath. He was one of the hardest "sells" of my life, as I had convinced my parents almost 16 years ago that we did indeed need a third dog. Tweedle was a fierce protector , lover of butt scratches and giving kisses. His loss hit me hard, as he was technically my dad's dog when my father was alive.
Now that I’ve got your attention, how about a little bait and switch? This blog is about historical sex, but in the writing zone. As a writer of erotic romance a HUGE chunk of my books is my characters getting down and dirty. But, I bet you didn’t know sex throughout genre’s and period pieces changes. You might read a steamy contemporary and see words like “cock”, “penis” and (my personal most hated) “pussy”. But, if you were to pick up a historical or a steampunk those words would be inaccurate and likely damage the quality of your novel. I get lost in the language all the time and it took setting up a style guide to remind myself when my characters are seductively sucking on a dick or gently cradling someone’s arse. You might have to get creative and do some research but there’s nothing stopping good old historical sex from lighting a fire on the pages too.
Drawing the line between the two can be difficult, especially if you bounce back and forth between genres as I do with my release calendar. One minute someone will be ripping off a sequin dress and sinking into the folds of a willing woman and then next my characters are fighting off corsets and petticoats. The most important thing to remember is always do your research. Sex in the modern age can be almost anything you want it to be – on a plane, with vibrating toys and even for a movie. Anything goes and the number of words you can use to vary your descriptions will have you chortling with glee. We certainly have no lack of words for body parts now – “dong”, “pecker”, “chub”, “va jay jay” – you name and you can probably get away with using it.
Excerpt – Torn Between Two Worlds
Her hand cupped his cock at the base and her other hand pumped up the length of it. Once. Twice. Three times. She slowly and gently licked across the bead of cum at his tip. Swirling her tongue under his head and playing with the tender skin she sucked him deep into her mouth. One hand pumping his length near the base and the other massaging his balls. Stroke after stroke, she took him inside her until she could tell by his noises he was coming close. Grinning wickedly, she pulled him out of her mouth with a popping sound.
"Now, now have some patience. You got to play with me and I'm going to return the favor until it's you screaming my name." Rising up a little, she pressed her arms together, squeezing her breasts together and letting his cock run up the crease and slip between them.
She used her own body to move her breasts up and down his cock, letting her tongue flick out and lick the tip each time it came near. She locked her eyes with his and saw the battle he fought, presumably not to flip her over and drive into her, which was almost what she wanted. She cried out when Strider's finger pushed its way inside her again in her distraction. She was so wet and ready it took all she had to not come undone when he slipped another in. Placing her arm on his wrist she slid his fingers out of her.
"Not that I don't approve. But this is my turn and I want you in my mouth, I want you to suck you till you lose control and come."
When you write in the past it can almost be like hitting your head against a wall. You gain clothing barriers, cultural barriers, clothing barriers and word barriers. There are a million things you need to think about or explain. A woman can’t just screw a man – something needs to be explained that she’s already been married, maybe she’s a lady of the night or maybe she’s just promiscuous. Either way, the first step is making sure it’s plausible. Then you need to wade through the undergarments. Can you have a lady without them? Sure thing, can you without explaining why – I wouldn’t. If those precautions aren’t enough writing erotically becomes hampered by language. You need to make sure your references are period and culture correct or all you’ll succeed in doing is pulling your reader out of the story.
Excerpt- Nightmare in Steam
Her body crashed into his and she felt his hands tear the shirt away before they grabbed onto her breasts and began to knead them. His hands, the ones that had seemed so small holding the glass, were perfect and warm as they touched her. He shuffled slightly, his prick dragging across her breeches and she bit her lip to not scream with need. He stopped then, his body a warm wall of heat behind her and tugged her backwards him to him. Her arse hit his shaft and she realized suddenly that she was naked and froze for a moment.
“Shh, shh now. It’s all a dream. Of course you’re clothes are off, Eliza. I want them off. I need them off.” His mouth trailed close to her ear and she wanted to turn and claim them, take control of the situation because she felt so helpless, so lost in her need for this Lucius.
But he hadn’t kissed her again, not yet and she whimpered, wanting to feel his mouth on hers again. His breath was warm against her neck. His lips were soft, barely a whisper along her skin as he kissed a fiery path. He placed gentle kisses along the long column of her neck. He was so cold, so brutal and calculating out of this dream, she could tell from the soulless look in his eyes, the look he sometimes got when he thought she wasn’t looking anymore. Yet here, in this dream room, he was heat and desire as he stood behind her. Match for match as her own selfish heart called for his touch knowing that this was nothing more than a dream. She didn't let the details concern her as she felt him press against her, naked flesh to flesh. His erection, a rock hard reminder of what would come, pressed into the small of her back.
Now that you’ve seen a little preview of both, what do you think you’d find harder to write? Which do you prefer to read?
525,600 minutes...how do you measure, measure a year?
Today is a day that I never dreamed I would see. Exactly one year ago, my first stand alone novel, Torn Between Two Worlds, hit digital the shelves of Amazon.com. In that time I have accomplished so much more than I ever would have dreamed possible, ever would have dared to imagine was possible. Since July 15, 2015 I have released...well why I don't show you! Look at this sexy image!
I cannot even begin to fathom how my muse wrote all but one of those, in a year. Alongside being blessed for a publisher, amazing cover artist and awesome editor, I'm blessed with a muse that doesn't know how to shut up and fingers that type literally 86 WPM! This journey would be so incredibly different without all of those things. I was also honored beyond my wildest dreams. Nightmare in Steam won an award and Torn Between Two Worlds came in as runner up! I cannot feel anymore humbled than that. On days when my sales suck, I remember that somewhere out there were people who not only voted for them to win, but loved them enough to nominate them to begin with. There can truly be no more rewarding of an honor on first and second novels released. (don't mind the fact that this darn image won't resize and is gigantic! Keep scrolling, it'll be worth it!)
If that wasn't, before the end of 2015 I will be releasing 3 more anthology stories (as editor and compiler of the anthology), another Alliance series, another In Service series and another Christmas Wish series. My world has been a constant whirlwind and I cannot be more grateful for the journey I have had and the people I have met along the way.
To celebrate, I have a few things going on! The first is this amazing Rafflecopter giveaway! 6 HUGE prize packs, just waiting for you to enter!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Then, there are these fantastic sales!! **If you don't see the FREE books up just yet, check back. Amazon is super slow with those because of Prime Day - silly holiday mooching on my book birthday! Click on any of the book titles under the photo to buy them!
99¢ - Cop Shot FREE- Demon in Steam
Nightmare in Steam Sinking Ships
The Assistant's Christmas Wish
Torn Between Two Worlds
Thank you all for all of your support, your time and falling in love with characters as much as I have. I love you all!
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!