Joseph Clay – Author

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Archive for the tag “Erotica”

What Happened – Writing is the Easy Part – So I Thought (WU #14-17)

UnGlued

What’s up friends? I have a couple of reasons for asking. The first, I want to know and the second, I have no idea what is up with me. So I’m hoping someone knows what is going on. I feel like I’m running in a hundred different directions and not getting nothing done at all. Most of the time my writing keeps me half way sane, but lately it’s driving me crazy, as the characters are taking over and taunting me.

I’ll start with the writing updates. Below is the progress made since the last blog was posted on 5-4-2017 titled “Want to be a Published Author! (WU #13-17). Reading it may shed some light on the updates and blog below.

Working Projects

Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: At last post I had no idea the status of this project. I’m happy to report it has been completed with the exception of the credits at the end. The video is awesome, Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC., did an excellent job. Since the restructuring and forming of ThunderHorse Publishing, the logo for the company will need to be added to the credits also. The Logo should be completed within two weeks. However the video will be held from public view till Witch’s Dilemma has been pulled from the retail market and republished under ThunderHorse Publishing.

Writing Projects

[No book will be released until after the Publishing company is up and running. My goal is to have all the projects ready for publishing when that happens. I uses a 7 stage system in my writing process letting me know at what stage each writing project is at.  Her is the numbering system explanations; 1-Write * 2 – Manuscript Review * 3 – Rewrite * 4 – Edit * 5 – Proofread * 6 – Book Cover Art /Illustrations/Format/Book Trailer Video * 7 – Publish. I have listed the projects below in order of expected release.]

Thunder Bear: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/100%, 2/100%, 6/25%, Book Cover Art is complet.) Clare at Human Voices and I are wrapping up the discussions on the changes that need to be made to the manuscript, this includes story line adjustments and formatting.

The Bet: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/75%). This will be a love story with an erotic twist that came out of no where after arguing with my characters. I’ll explain how it fell into place in the blog below.

The Erotic Tales of Joe: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/25%). This book of erotic short stories has been through same changes since the last blog. The word count of 76,770 has declined to 64,023 and the total of stories went from 7 to 6 but two poems were added. The reason for this will be covered in the blog below also. At this time the book contains these completed tales and poems. “To a Princes” (Poem) * “Masterful Tongue” (Poem) * “Across the Hall – One Door Down” * “Paula’s Second Chance” * “Professor Rothschild – Cougar 101” * “What Damn Day is it Anyway” * “I Love Them Both” * “Making a Last Ditch Effort”. I would like to have twenty stories in this book putting the word count somewhere around 150,000 and 200,000 words. I have seven more stories outlined, so will need to come up with another five or six tales and/or poems.

The Tales of Joe: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/20%). This book hasn’t got much attention. At this time the book contains six stories which are titled. “Bloody Waters of Wahoo Creek” * “Death of a Soul – Birth of a Killer” * “To Die in Peace is to Rest in Peace” * “Night of Dreams” * “The Birds of Peace” * “Cursed; To Be or Not to Be”. Like above I would like to have twenty stories in this book putting the word count somewhere around 150,000 and 200,000 words. I have two outlined, which means I need around twelve more.

Demons of the Jungle: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/100%, 2/100%). If that title looks familiar it should, it’s my first published novel. Demons of the Jungle will lead us straight into the blog.

Blog #14-17 Pic1

Writing is not easy, buy a long shot. But I feel compared to all the other hats an independent author wears it is the easiest part. But sometimes due to the authors ego and stubbornness it becomes difficult which leads to everything getting crazy.

[For more on what an independent author does read my post “A Glimpse into the Glamorous Life of an Independent Author”.]

Demons of the Jungle is my baby, as it’s my first published worked and is in eBook and Paperback format. There has already been one major revision to the book as I felt it was not my best work. Read “When is a second edition needed?” That blog will explain my line of thinking on that re-write. The second edition was an improvement over the first from book cover art to story. However people either like it or hate it, and the written reviews are harsh to say the least. The first and second editions were done by different editors. The editor I use now, Clare at Human Voices, who is not one of the two mentioned above, is top notch and the best in the business. As I have said a thousand times I trust her completely with my writing career. I had her do a manuscript review on the second edition. We will get into what she found in the next blog as we cover the rewrite in depth. Maybe the old saying, the third time is a charm will hold true here.

How The Bet came to life. I love Edgar Allan Poe and remember in his The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, the tale titled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, had a sequel to it titled “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” From the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment I had to cut a whole chapter due to content and I needed to also get rid of some characters. That chapter dealt with two lead female characters that played off each other and intertwined through the chapter. The chapter was too long to be a short story. Then my brain kicked in and I snapped my fingers as I thought, That’s it, I’ll break it up into two different stories, similar to what Poe did. As I was celebrating my genius of an idea, my gut was telling me, nope that will never work. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story”, would be the first story with “The Secrets of Delilah” being the sequel. I finished “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” and placed it into The Erotic Tales of Joe short story collection and began working on “The Secrets of Delilah”. The stories were tying in great and I was laughing at my characters as they were telling me I was no Poe and what I was doing wasn’t going to work as they needed to stay together. Laughing at them was a mistake. Once I got to the end of “The Secrets of Delilah” the struggle became real. Although the stories had meshed and “The Secrets of Delilah” was a sequel of “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” the ending didn’t feel right or end the way I wanted it to. The characters started taunting me each day, to put it all back together and make it a novel. This battle went on for weeks until I gave in and reevaluated the situation as I realized they were right and one of the story’s endings had to change to make it work. I walked away leaving it to simmer for a couple of more days before returning to it. The characters had calmed down by then, but were ready to do battle again if I didn’t see the light. I was shaking my head in less than a minute. There, right in front of me, was a chapter that had all the components of a great erotic love story. All it needed was a few tweaks and the word count would come out around 75,000 words with the ending the way I wanted. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” was removed from The Erotic Tales of Joe leaving the book short a story and about 12,000 words. The writing process started over with the chapter intact bringing to life the love story titled The Bet.

[Note: To find out what happened with my first ever manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment; read my blogged titled “Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing.]

Till next week,

-JC-

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Writing Update WWU #10-17 and Writing Tips

WWU 10-17

Oh yeah, welcome to Friday my friends, I can smell the weekend, what about you? I can also see the spring on the horizon and summertime is not for away. We know what that means, time to get that swimsuit body into shape!

I got a lot to cover so let’s get straight to the updates.

  • Thunder Bear Book Cover: The polls are still open so there is time to cast your vote for the book. Not sure what I’m talking about read ‘Help Me Choose a Book Cover’. The tally is as follows. TB-1 (20) votes, TB-3 (30) votes, TB-4 (10) Votes, and TB-5 (30) votes
  • Thunder Bear: down to the last two or three chapters, I have it scheduled for completion for the last of the month.
  • Tales of Joe: This is the short story collection. I finished a re-write of a story I originally penned back in 1978 titled The Bloody Waters of Wahoo Creek. For my friends who live or have lived in and around Sargent Georgia, this tale comes from the folk-lore of the headless woman in search of her husband. That makes a total of five stories so far. The book also includes the following tales. Cursed; To Be or Not To Be, Death of a SoulBirth of a Killer, Night of Dreams and The Birds of Peace.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: At this time this book still has only one tale, a poem titled To a Princess. The good news is there are two stories out lined. The exciting news, I have solicited the help of two excellent erotic writers to write the female point of view in these tales. The first titled Getting My Mojo Back will feature Ava Bell as a female co-lead and G. Michelle as the other female co-lead. Me of course, I’m the male lead. Yeah I’m a lucky guy. The second title Lust Verses Commitment will be feature G. Michelle as the female lead.

That covers the updates.

I have read a couple of books from independent authors over the last week who didn’t have their work edited by a professional editor/proofreader. They made several  common new author mistakes. So this week I wanted to share a couple of writing tips. The excerpts that I will use as examples are from my manuscript Witch’s Dilemma.

Line Break

The line break is used for:

  • To change Point of View (POV)
  • To show an amount of time has elapsed since the last sentence read.

There is no right way or wrong way to insert a line break. However to help your reader follow the story it is essential that one is used. I use a space, *** centered, followed by another space, and no indention for the  paragraph following the ***. Like you do at the beginning of a new chapter.

Example:

 “I agree. I’ll be in around two to go over your discussion material for the conference, that give you time to get a shower and regroup?”
Megan nodded as she picked up her bag, along with the pink pieces of paper that had her messages on them.
Sandra knocked on the door before she stepped in. Megan was leaned back in her chair, eyes opened, with her ear buds in place. “Meg, you ready to get started?” Sandra inquired as she walked closer.

Now if you read the whole chapter you will see that this conversation wrapped up around one o’clock and Sandra is going to come see Megan at two. Without the line break it appears that Megan followed her to her office, but yet that was left out of the story.

Now read it with the line break inserted. 

  “I agree. I’ll be in around two to go over your discussion material for the conference, that give you time to get a shower and regroup?”
  Megan nodded as she picked up her bag, along with the pink pieces of paper that had her messages on them.

***

Sandra knocked on the door before she stepped in. Megan was leaned back in her chair, eyes opened, with her ear buds in place. “Meg, you ready to get started?” Sandra inquired as she walked closer.

Next the reader doesn’t need to know every move the characters make, or do they want to know. If the characters actions are not moving the story forward, well to put it in the words of Elmore Leonard, its Hoopte Doodle and needs to go.

Never Trust Auto Correct or Spell Check

When writing a scene in a book the writer tends to be focused on what is in their head and not on what they are putting on the screen which will transfer to paper later. If you depend on auto correct and spell check too much it’s going to bite you sooner or later.

Example:

   Levi was removing the ear buds from his ears as he spoke. “With all due respect, detective, this is a free country, once they walk out of here they have the right to go where they wish and will (excursion) that right, please don’t tell me your department has a problem with that.” Levi stated as he took a step toward the detective.

The word (excursion) is spelled correctly but is not the word that was meant to be used, (exercise) is the proper word. When typing ‘exercise’ it was misspelled and auto correct changed it to ‘excursion’.

Text and Background

I write an article for Live, Laugh, Love Nashville who has a blog and Facebook page. These articles are for a feature called Music Mondays. It is an informative article on the local talent here in Nashville. When you write an article on someone whether it be an individual or group three reputations are at stake. They are listed below in order of importance.

  1. The person or group the article is about
  2. The person who writes the article
  3. The person or group who posts the article.

The rules to follow are simple and will give you a professional looking piece. For starters, the person or group is the main focus of the article, not the writer or the organization posting the article. Do not misquote them, if you don’t understand an answer, ask, and if you don’t get a reply leave it out. The lead in to the story, if not about the person or group, should be no more than two lines, one preferably, as they are the feature of the article. Nothing is to draw attention away from the article and the stars of that article. This includes but not limited to, a flashy back ground that covers text or headers, some text centered, while other text is left or right justified, using a dark background and when text is cut and pasted, it has a white background. With all that said here are some basic tips to follow.

  • Use a white or light-colored back ground for your text, which should be black. Makes sure your blog background doesn’t interfere with the text by distracting from it.
  • If you are cutting and pasting a piece written for you, make sure you keep the paragraph structure correct.
  • If you are writing the article, have it edited and proofed, and if at all possible let the client read it before posting.
  • Use pictures sparingly one or two at the beginning of the text with one or two at the end. It’s recommended not to break the text up.
  • Make all text the same, left, right, or center justified, do not mix.

Besides this blog I have an obscure one that holds all my book reviews, interviews and the articles I have written for Live, Laugh, Love Nashville. I use it to lay the articles out to visualize what I think they should look like. None have been published but I decided to publish my book review with Nashville Author G. Michelle as an example of a journalistic piece. You will notice the clean white back ground with black text. No it doesn’t have a lot of color or bells and whistles in the blog background, but that allows the person or group and the article to be the center of attention.

Book review: Promise Me Always by G. Michelle

Till next week keep reading, writing and dreaming,

J.C.

 

 

 

 

 

From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author. Weekly Writing Update #4-17

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I hope everyone is having a good week and has recovered for Super Bowl Sunday. Why they don’t make the Monday following the big game a holiday is beyond me. No matter if your team won or lost I think we all can agree it was one of the best Super Bowl games in recent years.

Before we get into the writing updates, there is a few things about the websites I need to let everyone know about. If you will remember in From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author. Weekly Writing Update #2-17,  I changed the name of my official website to Joe’s Bookstore and More, making it a store and my official page. Well that didn’t go over well at all, so I had to drop some cash, to solve the problem. Oh yeah the problem, it appears people who want to shop, that’s all they want to do, they don’t want to know about the author, how to order books for their store or schedule a book signing; this also worked in reverse. I began the task of separating the two.

I can’t tell you how many times over the weekend I heard, “Steffon, it’s your Franklin, and I charge by the hour, you coming to bed?”

“Not now, Guinevere, got to get these websites separated and operational.”

“I’m going to start with out you.”

“Go ahead Guinevere, what I’m doing is a little more important.”

Once the weekend was done so were the websites and Guinevere. The websites or etched in stone now and are as follows.

Now on to the writing updates:

  • Upcoming Book Review: The G. Michelle book review of Promise Me Always: Gabe & Evie (Bayou Romance Book 1). Has been written and will be sent to the editors over the next week. I have it scheduled to post on Friday February 24, but I’ll try to get it sooner.
  • Upcoming Interview G. Michelle: The questions are still with the G. Michelle. I talked to her yesterday and she apologized, but had good reasons why she wasn’t finished with them yet.
  • Upcoming Interview Tiffany Miller: I have begun working on Tiffany’s twenty questions about marketing and the services she provides. Tiffany is a go getter so, getting her to sit still long enough may be an issue.

Joes WIP:

Tales of Joe – A compilation of short stories that have been written over the years, some dating back to 1977. At the present time the manuscript has five stories in it, with a total word count of a little over 30,000. Once I hit between 50,000 and 75,000 words Volume One will be complete. The titles so far:

  • Memories
  • Night of Dreams
  • Death of a Soul – Birth of a Killer (This tale is one of the darkest I have every written, and I can get pretty dark. It was so dark and twisted I let a few people read it including my editor. People either hate it, or they love it. I got the go ahead, with a few modifications to leave it in the book.)
  • The Birds of Peace.
  • Cursed; To Be or Not To Be. (This one is my favorite to date)

The Erotic Tales of Joe – A compilation of short stories that have been written over the years, but mainly scenes that were removed from manuscripts that editors and publishers deemed pornographic, and had to go. So I pulled them and filed them away hoping one day to get to use them again. See this is the reason you never throw anything you write away. I have begun pulling those files, cleaning them up and writing stories around them. At this time there is only one story in the book. How ever fans of erotic not to worry, if  I had to, I have enough material to write this one in weekend if necessary. Like with the Tales of Joe once I hit between 50,000 and 75,000 words Volume One will be complete. The lone tale so far:

  • To a Princess (I wasn’t sure which book this one went in, so my editor read it and decided The Erotic Tales of Joe was where it belonged.

Rise from the Ruins – This one should be headed to the editor soon and will be the first one to come out this year. This manuscript has been through the wringer so to speak. So next week’s blog will cover this one in detail.

Till then keep on smiling, makes yourself and others feel good along with making a few wonder what you have been or what you or up to.

Joe

Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing

In Elmore Leonard’s book Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing one of the rules is, “Never open a book with weather”. Well, the weather plays an important role here, but this isn’t a book and I’ve already opened with Elmore’s rule about the weather so I’m covered. I will also try my best to break some more rules as we go along, such as the one about no backstory.

The summer of 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee was a hot one, with a stretch of 28 consecutive days – June 13 to July 10 – having warmer than average high temperatures. The day we all almost died was June 29, when the high temperature topped out at 107°F. (For reference, on that day the average high temperature is 88°F.) That type of heat, combined with a job as a Senior Service Tech for the steel industry, took its toll on this old man, who had always lived, worked and played hard, and whose body was showing the signs of his lifestyle.

Backstory: September 27, 1977. Location: Interstate 85 north bound, north of Newnan, south of Atlanta. Age: 17. Event: Honda 350 versus tractor trailer carrying a tanker full of peanut oil. Winner: tractor trailer. Injuries suffered in defeat: left leg suffered traumatic injury. The tibia and fibula suffered compound fractures. The tibia was ground down two to three inches by the asphalt as I skidded up the pavement. The fibula, when it snapped and shot through the skin, removed half of the left calf muscle. The left ankle was broken and crushed. The impact of the front bumper and fender of the tractor trailer severed the left leg four inches above the ankle. Three inches of skin was all that was holding the left foot to the leg.

I spent the next 8 months flat on my back in a hospital as they reattached the foot and let the wounds heal. Over the next several years I went through reconstructive surgeries that included bone grafts, rods and, later, a plate to hold everything together in my lower left leg. I had toes pinned and a wedge of bone removed from my left foot. Now I wear a size 11 right shoe and a size 9 left shoe – that foot never caught up with the right as I continued growing, but thank God I still have it. While I was being repaired I finished high school, went to tech school and college.

Back to the summer of 2012: I love the summer, the hotter the better. The heat doesn’t affect my joints like the cold does. I function better in the warm months than I do in the winter, point blank. That’s the reason I knew something was wrong; as hot as it was, I shouldn’t be limping around so badly, and my knees and ankle shouldn’t be giving me fits. The right knee, which had taken all the weight while the left leg was being reconstructed, had already been repaired once. I decided it was time to go see an orthopedic doctor. What I had suspected was true: the right knee had torn cartilage and tendons, the left knee needed to be replaced. Then I got the shock of my life. Before they did any type of surgery they wanted approval from a heart doctor, since I had a scar that ran down the middle of my chest from open-heart surgery.

Backstory II: Heart attack #1, 1993, aged 33. Heart attack #2, 2003, aged 43. Quadruple bypass. Heart attack #3, 2009, aged 49, Stent. That bring us up to date with what this blog covers, but wait, there is more. May 2014, cardiac cath, diagnosed with 37% left ventricular ejection fraction. Heart attack #4, 2015, aged 55. Removed clots and inserted stent.

With my heart history, the heart doctor decided that before he would give his approval he needed to do a stress test. Well, like all tests, I flunked it. He put me on some new medicine to try to fix the bigeminy and other issues that I was unaware I was having. The heart and orthopedic doctors consulted and came to the conclusion: no need to put new wheels on a car when the motor is going out. Their consensus: I needed to find and pursue something I was passionate about, within the next couple of years, to avoid any further damage to the leg. If the ankle fusion gave away then it could not be repaired and the foot would have to be amputated; this would also save wear-and-tear on the knees until they got the heart condition under control. The heart doctor interjected that, whatever I chose to do, I should stay away from stress. I had been juggling several projects for the previous 35 years. That and stress was all I knew.

I took my summer vacation to think about what the professionals had told me; I don’t always listen to doctors. Nina the Kat and I crunched some numbers, she concluded I could retire, I decided I had to find a way to beat this. I had to work as long as possible. So I sat down and decided to write a blog about the ordeal. I had started Am I The Only One Not Insane? Mind over Matter: My Mind is the Only One that Matters in 2009. When I pulled the blog in 2013 (at an editor’s suggestion: you don’t want your personal opinions offending someone who may buy a book), I had 3,000 plus followers. I wrote about controversial issues that included politics, sex and religion – you know, the three things you never discuss on a date – plus other topics. While I was writing the blog on my health I realized something: I loved to write, even though I couldn’t spell a lick. I thought what the heck and decided to write a novel.

I continued to work, as I needed to eat, and began my writing journey. I spent my vacations, holidays, weekends and other spare time I had in front of my computer screen, writing my masterpiece. To me the process was easy. The book went through many titles: A Bullet Mends a Broken Heart, Noon Judgement, West on the East. It wound up going to the editor’s under the title West on the East – Noon Judgement.

The basic plot follows the life of Levi West a young man who suffered sexual abuse as a preteen, along with his best friend Elena, at the hands of the ranch nurse Charlotte. Levi has lost all his family – mom, dad, grandma and grandad – to freak accidents that he is sure were in fact murder. To top all that off, he suffers panic attacks along with showing signs of mental disorders, paranoia and schizophrenia, all while dealing with paranormal activities at the ranch. Since Levi is a minor, Carven Smith, the cornerstone of the ranch and Levi’s confidant, asks the lawyer John Basham to allow him to be Levi’s legal guardian until he turns 18, at which point the trust, which Carven is also in charge of, will make Levi a billionaire. Levi’s job is to take over the ranch, but he bucks at the thought, wants no part of it and would rather be a cowpoke with a real job. That is when the story begins.

The book was packed full of characters, major and minor, protagonist and antagonist, and alongside the main plot I had written in several minor subplots. It was a complicated tale I had woven.

Once it was finished in late October of 2012, my search began for a publisher. I was visiting a good friend, John Cannon, a local artist here in East Nashville, when I noticed a bookstore in the Idea Hatchery complex into which John had moved. I walked down the way a piece and stopped in the shop called East Side Story, where I meet the owner, Chuck. He explained that his shop only sold books by independent authors that were located in the Nashville area. I explained to him what I needed and he pointed to a flyer that had pull-off tabs on the bottom of it. My excitement was growing; I had found a place to sell my book and someone to edit it. I had taken the bull by the horns and was well on my way to author status and living the good life. Back home I called the number on the tear off. A deal was struck: this company would do a manuscript review for 100 bucks. If they liked the book they would edit and publish it, taking a percentage of the sales until the publishing fee was paid. I sent the manuscript to them and waited. With the holidays over November and December, it took a while.

The first week in January 2013 I got the reply I was waiting on. I eagerly opened it. The email gave me some pointers that I needed to follow, which are listed below.

  • Most new authors don’t start by writing a novel that is over 100,000 words. Reasons are as listed: with that many words it’s hard for new authors to hold the reader’s attention, as they have not learned the art of showing instead of telling. Your plot, although strong, was overshadowed by some of the subplots, which were also strong, taking away from the main plot. This manuscript had too many subplots; it would have worked better with one main plot and two to three subplots – no more than that.
  • Your manuscript was written more like a screenplay than a book. Once again, we feel this comes from telling the story instead of allowing the reader to visualize and feel they are in the story by using the five senses. The below suggestion should help in this area.
  • Take a creative writing course to learn the basic principles of writing.
  • Like your plot and subplots, your characters are strong, but there are too many of them in this book.

“Mr. Clay we believe you have some of the traits that good authors have. This manuscript proves that. However, until you hone your skills we must reject your manuscript at this time due to the above, and due to the sexual content that borders on pornography. We have made suggestions throughout the manuscript, highlighting your strong points and weaknesses, along with suggestions. Please contact us if you have any questions on those mark-ups.

“We have an idea that you may want to consider. Since the characters are strong, we suggest you hang on to this manuscript, pull two of the characters out of it and write a short story around those two people. We would make it a standalone story, fewer than 50,000 words, that doesn’t have anything to do with this manuscript. Once you have penned that story, come back to this manuscript, pull two more characters from it and write another story with a word count no more than three times the first story, 150,000 words maximum. Once that is complete, once again return to this manuscript. Divide it up into two, three or maybe four books and make it a series.

“When doing this, keep in mind to use only one major plot and no more than three subplots. Sexual scenes are OK in a book, but they must be limited, not one after the other, or your book will get tagged as erotica, which will kick you out of the mainstream market. We suggest doing some research on the difference between erotica and pornographic material. If your book gets labeled ‘pornographic’ it can only be sold on certain internet venues and in print at adult book stores and truck stops. The reason we bring this up is that some of sexual scenes were written well, and with some modifying of slang words they could be used in a story that would pass in the mainstream marketplace. Also, one of the biggest selling genres on the internet is erotica. You could pull the sex scenes from this manuscript that are not used in the series of books or the two previous stories, and write in that genre. Once again, you would need to tweak the wording a little. We have pointed these areas out in the manuscript critique. Thank you for giving us a chance to review your work and good luck in your endeavors.”

I pondered their suggestions for several months, trying to decide whether this was really what I wanted to do. I still had my day job and I hadn’t planned on hanging it up till the end of 2015. I discussed it with Nina the Kat; we both asked ourselves, what could it hurt? I decided that I wouldn’t give up, but that I was not going to spend all my spare time writing or worrying about it. During my summer vacation that year, 2013, Nina the Kat had a brainstorm to get me on track; you can read about her writing exercise in the blog ‘Birth of the Demons’.

If you refer back to Backstory II, you’ll see that I wasn’t able to continue working to the end of 2015. In May 2014, the same month that my first e-book, Demons of the Jungle, was published, the heart doctor highly suggested that I change careers, as my line of work and environment were not doing my heart any favors. I continued till August of that year before hanging up my hard hat and pursuing writing full-time.

Below are some excerpts from the West on the East – Noon Judgment manuscript critique. They are funny now, but back then they pierced my heart like an arrow.

  • “Everything needs to be broken up into paragraphs and the dialogue needs to have quotes and attribution. ‘Blah blah,’ he said.”
  • “This could all be its own chapter and told from the point of view of Remington as a child.”
  • “This reads like erotica. That’s fine if that is your intention. You will have limited options for publishing if you keep this in, but there are online options for erotic literature.”
  • “You’ve switched to Bethany’s point of view, but the rest of the novel is from Remington’s point of view. Need to pick one and stick with it. Or each character can have a chapter.”
  • “If you want to refine this to publish as erotica, some of the slang would have to come out. Otherwise it’s really more just pornographic.”

As you can see from the above, there was really nowhere from me to go but up.

Thanks for stopping by, and never give up. I can attest that doing something you love really isn’t work.

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

Book review: Miles from Home & the Tabu series – 1) C/curious, 2) A/awakening and 3) S/submit, by Ava Bell

[Author’s Note: This blog was originally part of the Q and A with Ava Bell. After her first free book, C/curious, promotion was over, I felt that I needed to break the two apart. As my followers know, when reviewing books I discuss what I have learned from that particular author. I left that out of the original to keep it short, as the focus was on the interview. But thinking about it, I had cut the author and my readers short by leaving this section out and not revealing what I picked up from her style of writing. With that said, enjoy this full-length version of the blog and the reviews of the books written by Ava Bell: author.]

Hello again, everyone, welcome to book reviews from an author’s perspective. Last week I interviewed indie erotic writer Ava Bell (link to interview below), so now I’m back with my reviews of her books. She has written four books to date, three of them are in the Tabu series. This will be the first time I have read and reviewed four books at one time, but I had some time on my hands, so I headed over to Amazon and purchased Ava’s books; all four were under $14.00.

  Books by Ava Bell

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 Miles from Home

Joe’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 Miles from Home is a tale of two young people, Maggie and Sam, escaping their pasts in pursuit of a brighter future. They meet by accident on a stretch of lonely highway and the story escalates from there. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, something else happens to one or the other. The dreams of one come true but at a cost, while the other has to give theirs up. This story will pull at your heartstrings to the point of making you tear up. The sexual content is added at the right times and is appropriate and steamy. Don’t let the book being categorized as erotic fiction turn you away from reading a great book, written with feeling that will touch your soul.

The Tabu Series

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Joe’s Average Rating for Tabu Series: 5 out of 5 stars

 The Tabu series consists of three books: 1) C/curious, 5 out of 5 stars, 2) A/awakening, 5 out of 5 stars, and 3) S/submit, 5 out of 5 stars.

511h2SuLaQL._AA160_  51Hc+-6HF-L._AA160_  51ywArGsjgL._AA160_Emma is a dedicated mother to a couple of teenagers, Maddie and Luke, along with being a wife to Daniel, who is any woman’s dream husband. However, Emma is lost; she no longer knows who she is or her purpose in life. After noticing one of her friends reading mommy porn, she decides she too can write books of that nature. With Daniel’s approval and encouragement she starts on the path to becoming an author. Emma wants her book to be realistic about the alternate lifestyle of the BDSM community. Once she starts her research her world begins to change and she finds out she may not be who she thought she was. Will Markus, a man she met on a BDSM social site, be her mentor and give her the answers she needs to write a story that is both fictional and true to the lifestyle?

The characters in this series are strong with distinct personalities, and they guide each other through the twists and turns of heartache, passion and forbidden pleasures. I love the way book three, S/submit, ends with the phone buzzing. I found the conclusion to be appropriate and surprising.

This series is excellent as it gives the reader a glimpse into an alternate lifestyle that few can understand and fewer dare to talk about. Ava pretty much nails it. This set of books reminds me a lot of the series by Penelope Syn, one of my favorite authors, Reform School Sex: The Collection – not the stories, as the plots between the two are totally different, but in the regard that in each series you can pick up any one of the books and it stands alone. There is no need to read the others as each has a beginning and a definite end. However, with Ava’s books, trust me, you will want to read all three to get the big picture of this type of lifestyle.

What Did I Learn from the Author?

As you know I write these reviews from a writer’s perspective so, as a writer, what did I learn from this author? First off, Miles from Home, her first book, is as close to flawless as one could hope for. Ava did not make any of the new independent author mistakes that so many do. She followed the correct path from the start by using professionals to edit, create cover art and format the book. Miles from Home has spectacular color inside and out and is readable on whatever device you are using. You have read from me over and over that, if you are an independent author, please don’t think you can do it all – you will just wind up releasing shabby work that hurts us all, and it will take you several books that are well done to recoup any readers you have left. Nothing can be perfect, but you can get it as close as possible, as Ava did, by hiring the right people. (Up at the top of this page is a tab, Joe’s Book Team – if you are in need of an editor, illustrator or cover art designer, the team I use and their contact info is located there.)

Next, although Ava is considered a writer of erotic fiction, I was shocked when I read her stories and they were not what I expected. I have read other books of an erotic nature and it’s one sex act after another, with a plot so thin you can see through it. First off, Ava’s stories have strong plots and excellent characters that carry the plot through the story at a good pace, with lots of twists and turns. Ava is writing about the troubles, curiosities and desires of everyday people and how they cope with those feelings. If we stop and think about it, sex happens – not as much as some of us would like, of course, but just the same it’s a fact of life. Ava builds the sexual tensions and adds the sex at the appropriate times, using terms that are not vulgar, but you still get the point. She paints the scenes with such skill that it allows the reader to feel the desire and passion the characters are struggling with and/or acting on. Not everyone can do this; here is an example.

My first novel I wrote back in 2014. That book is still buried deep in my computer and was rejected for its sexual content, the use of sexual slang, along with a list as long as my arm of other things that needed to be corrected. The editor basically stated that, if I wanted the book in a store that was not in the back room of a truck stop or porn shop, I had best clean it up. My first published book, Demons of the Jungle had some sexual overtones, but nothing you could call erotic. My second book, A Witch’s Dilemma, which is at the editing stage with a new editor, is another example. The main character has a breaking point – that breaking point is when her and three of her friends are almost raped. The editor was fine with it during the manuscript review, but I made the revisions and made the scene a little rougher, since it is an intricate part of the story, and I sent it back for the first round of edits. When she got to the new chapter she withdrew from the project due to its violent sexual nature. That put me behind, but I understood; not everyone can handle sexual or violent content, and I don’t want anyone doing anything they makes them feel uneasy.

I believe that, after reading Ava’s books, which I suggest everyone who reads this does, when needed I can write a tasteful sex scene and that the editor won’t shout about the slang,. I hope I can transfer the passion of the characters to the readers. I’m positive they will not be as good as the ones in the books above, but we all have to get our feet wet sooner or later by taking baby steps.

Ready for a couple of treats, Ava agreed to answer twenty questions in a Q and A format. One of the last questions dealt with advice for others, and part of her answer was write what you know. To me that was profound. Think about it, write what you know. Don’t write to try and please the fans of the latest trend, simply write what you know. I’m just speculating here, and I know in my case this is true, but if you write what you know, you most likely have a lot passion for that subject, and that passion will transfer to the pages of your book, allowing the reader to feel what you feel.

To read the interview with Ava click here, Q and A with Ava Bell – Author

The next treat is a free giveaway, that’s right free. The second book in the Tabu Series, A/Awakening. Click on the picture of the book and boo-yah your there to claim your free copy. This is a limited time offer, running from March 20 through March 25, 2016.

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All of Ava’s books can be found on Amazon.

You can connect with Ava on the following social media sites:

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Joe is also an independent author and you connect with him on the following sites:

Official Website of Joseph Clay – Author (The only place to buy autographed copies of Joseph’s books.)

Official Blog of Joseph Clay – Author (You are here now.)

Facebook

Twitter

G+

Goodreads

Amazon

Smashwords

Bookstore without Borders

Pinterest

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