Friday, July 22, 2016

#twrp Spicy Summer Treats With Pineapple And More! #eroticromance

Welcome to the Summer Treats and Read Blog hop 
presented by The Wild Rose Press. 

Grand prize: A Kindle Fire via Rafflecopter below
My Prize: Leave a comment to win a $5 Gift card and choice of e-book. 

One of my favorite summer treats is pineapple. It's cool, sweet and tangy all at the same time! I visited an organic pineapple farm in Costa Rica a little over a year ago, and it was amazing to see how they grow. I'm pretty smart on how things grow, but I wasn't sure what to expect. I was quite surprised!

Here's a field to get an idea of how big the plants are. Each plant grows one pineapple. It takes two years for the plant to mature and grow a fruit.

Here are some neat rows of pineapples. All of the things you do to "test" if a pineapple is ripe is false. They should be picked ripe and do not ripen after picking. 

 And a little baby one! Pineapple is a Hawaiian fruit but Costa Rica has the perfect weather to grow them. I saw a site that said they grow 60% of the world's pineapple supply. I'm not sure if that's true, but we had fresh ripe pineapple right out of the field and it was the best I've ever had. 

Tasty Summer Treat: Pineapple Upside Down Cake
My favorite pineapple recipe is Pineapple Upside Down cake, and this one actually comes from the side of the Duncan Hines box. You make it in a skillet and I actually substitute a cup of pineapple juice from the can instead of using water. I've never made it with fresh pineapple. I'm inserting the link to the recipe here: Duncan Hines Double Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Tasty reads: 
This is an excerpt from Exceeding Boundaries, my first book! Adam is trying to bring Megan out of her sexual shell and decides to use pineapple for his lesson in seduction. Warning: This is SPICY, so if you're not into that, just scroll on down and do the prizes. 

An Excerpt From Exceeding Boundaries by Mia Downing
Adam nuzzled under her shirt—his shirt—and let his tongue warm a path across her stomach, ignoring the patch of curls he wanted so much to dive into. “A woman can’t talk about anal sex like that at dinner and not offer a man dessert. Do you have any suggestions?”
“There’s fresh fruit in the fridge.”
“That could be refreshing.” He nipped her belly and rose to investigate. Sure enough, there was a plastic container with watermelon and pineapple spears. He grinned, anticipating the fun he could have.
“Do you want a plate?” she offered, sliding forward to get one.
His grin widened as he realized she had no clue what he was going to do to her. “Nope.” He took out a piece of pineapple and took a bite. Sweet, succulent juices trickled down his throat, though they weren’t anywhere as sweet as the juices he wanted to taste. “You want some?”
She grabbed a napkin and wiped the juice his chin and jaw. “Not now.”
“You sure?” He pulled her closer and dabbed the spear to her lips and then kissed the juice away, his tongue lapping a path down her chin, along her jaw. His teeth nipped at her lower lip. Satisfied, he pulled back to watch her reaction.
He loved the way innocence tore away as she realized his full intent. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly. She bit her lip, and the hand on his chest trembled. He took another bite of the fruit and this time she leaned in, tentatively, and licked his mouth, his chin. Her gaze returned to his, as if seeking approval.
“Not bad?” he whispered.
“Better than I expected.”
He chuckled. “Always hard to please, you are.” He unbuttoned her shirt and smoothed the cloth away from her perfect breasts—not too small or large. “Maybe this will meet your approval.” He dabbed the spear on her rosy tipped nipple and then devoured the juices eagerly, his tongue lapping the hard peak. Then he sucked, enjoying her soft moan, his other hand sliding to her other breast to flick that nipple with his thumb. He broke the suction and reached for another slice of pineapple. “Lean back.”
She didn’t look too sure as she did as he asked, bracing her palms behind her. He vowed to make her very sure as he nudged her thighs wider and drew a line of juice from her navel to top of the curls between her legs. His tongue then followed the path in a quick swoop, enjoying the salty tang of her skin mixed with the sweetness.
He sat in the chair and drew another path from her knee along her inner thigh, following right behind with his tongue, ending at the juncture. She jumped a bit, and he blew a breath across her clit. He glanced up and met her gaze as he slid the spear to her clit, then downward, pushing just the tip into her pussy.

She gasped, and he chuckled. “See, getting your two servings of fruit a day doesn’t need to be torturous.”

Visit My Author Pages for More Summer Reads...
I have excerpts and links above to all of my books, but you can also visit my author pages for a fun summer book to read!
The Wild Rose Press:
Amazon page:

Don't forget to leave a comment to win my prize: $5 Gift Card and an e-book of mine.
Use the Rafflecopter for the Kindle Fire. 

Check out all the fabulous writers and their blogs
in the SUMMER BLOG HOP below!

Sorchias Wild Rose Summer Treats Post | Visit blog
RV Memory | Visit blog
Tricia Schneider | Visit blog
Anna Durands Spunk & Hunks | Visit blog
Judy Ann Davis Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Spicy Summer Treats with Mia Downing | Visit blog
Linda Nightingale. . . Wordsmith | Visit blog
Jana Richards - Journeys with Jana | Visit blog
Summer Memories of books well read @ Peggy jaeger. com | Visit blog
Summer on Cape Cod ~ Kathryn Knight books | Visit blog
Summer Fun at the Beach, with Katie OSullivan | Visit blog
I Believe Ill Go Canoeing - C. B. Clark | Visit blog
Summertime Love is Sweeter with. . . Frozen Mango? @ Kimberly Keyes blog |Visit blog
Wild Rose Summer Treats Blog Hop @ Brendas Blog | Visit blog
Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Midsummer Magic on the Isle of Skye! | Visit blog
My Guilty Summer Treats from Lori Sizemore | Visit blog
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Hywela Lyns post for the WRP Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats & Reads | Visit blog
Camping is a Recipe for Summer Treats and Reads | Visit blog
The Snarkology | Visit blog
Summer Survival Tips @ Nitty Gritty Romance | Visit blog
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Nell Castle - Summer of the Sweat Lodge | Visit blog
Myth, Magic & Wonder Susan Edwards, Breathing Life into the Past | Visit blog
Romance with Spice, Sydney St. Claire | Visit blog
Author Kat de Falla | Visit blog
Anni Fife. Exciting new author of Steamy Romance with Irresistible Heroes | Visit blog
Summer Vacation, Victorian-Style, AND a Giveaway | Visit blog
Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos - Author Susabelle Kelmer shares how she keeps cool in a climate that is on fire! | Visit blog
Casi McLeans recipe for Hot Reads and Cool Treats | Visit blog
Cool Summer Reads: Jeannie Halls Romantic Suspense Blog - Where Hearts Tremble From More Than Attraction | Visit blog
Summer treat - Adult Slushie | Visit blog
How to Rediscover the Magic of Bicycling | Visit blog
Charlottes Tips on How to Stay Cool in HOT New York City | Visit blog
Caryn McGill | Visit blog
Hywela Lyns Inrerplanetary Summer | Visit blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway ...

 Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Devaluation of Books, One Bundle At A Time

As you know, things are not good in the publishing business, and everyone blames Amazon or piracy. I truly believe a perfect storm of crap lead to this point, but there is one piece left out that no one seems to blame. I point a finger at the big book bundle offered for .99 or free. Authors are up in arms because readers expect free or cheap. Well, authors are conditioning readers to expect just that with big book bundles.

And this isn't a rant against readers. Why wouldn't they want free or cheap if it's there?

Big bundles came along about the same time as Kindle Unlimited and other things we like to blame for the plummet of sales. You've seen the bundles--a herd of authors offering full-length books for a steal. I just saw a bundle of 51 books for FREE, another for 48 FREE books, and heard of another big one (over 40 books) for .99. After I typed this, a blogger sent me an invite to pimp a 24-book bundle for $.99.

How do these bundles help our industry? They don't. They're great for the reader. They're great for those authors wanting a bigger newsletter pool or hope to hit a NYT or USA Today list because readers are downloading their bundle. Authors think they're going to boost sales on their next book or their backlist by partaking in a bundle, by gaining a "best seller" title. But it's not working. Readers don't NEED to buy books anymore. If you count it up, in the past week alone I could have gotten 163 free books. IN ONE WEEK.

These bundles are bad for all authors--self-published, small published, traditionally published. Gone is the day when $2.99 was considered "cheap" and a way to get around traditionally published books with a higher price point. Now, why would anyone pay $2.99 for a full-length book when they can get all that for cheap or free with one click on a bundle? If they read one book a week, that 51 book bundle is basically their year's reading right there. They're going to click on that and save their money for the big authors they've been waiting for, meaning the middle author is left out in the cold. That means most of us aren't going to be read.

At $2.99, an author will make some money. Amazon pays 70% royalty for books over that amount. Under that amount, Amazon pays 35% Obviously, big bundle authors make nothing on free, and they're going to split that $.35 from Amazon between them on each sale of $.99. Each of the 24 books for .99 authors are making less than a penny per book downloaded.

Do we authors honestly value our work at $.01 per download? Because I sure as heck don't.

I understand having a sale now and then. I support that. I support giving away books. I give away a lot during promo events. But when FREE or CHEAP becomes the standard to get numbers, everyone loses. The quality of product decreases. How can the quality of editing and cover art stay high when authors are making nothing despite the success of downloads? It simply can't.

If we authors wish to be valued again, then something has to change. It needs to change within OUR community. We need to look at what our work is worth and price it as such instead of giving it away. Garbage collectors don't work for .99 or offer a FREE bundle of streets! If you asked for that, they'd go on strike. They should! They collect their money, and they do their job. Entertainment is a worthy business, but we do our job first. Now it's time to put value to our time and efforts again.

And no, this isn't me being jealous of those bundle authors. Yes, I've been in a bundle, but it was reasonably priced for the amount of books we had in it and it sold well. I'm not a huge seller or one-click author. I'm okay with that, and my career will move forward when it does.

I'm going to continue to write because I love it, and I have to put the voices on paper. However, I'm incredibly discouraged with publishing. It's one thing to fight piracy and complain about Amazon. But no one is addressing the big bundle situation, and it's really time it happened (without being mean or nasty or taking screen shots and calling names).

This post took a lot for me to write. But as an author and an editor, I had to write it. Everyone in the publishing industry is pointing fingers at someone other than themselves. It's Amazon's fault. It's piracy's fault. Nope. It's OUR fault for devaluing our work. We did this. I was raised to take responsibility for my actions, and when I see the publishing world pointing fingers instead of banding together to make an industry standard, it makes me ill.

There is no them and us anymore. It doesn't matter if you're traditionally published, or self published, or published with a small company. We're ALL taking the hit. When I started publishing books under this pen name, a lot of authors were making money. Things were good. Four years later, few are seeing any income. We broke the gravy train, authors. And somehow, we need to fix this.

The question

Saturday, April 2, 2016

More About Twisted Luck #amwriting

I have been a busy beaver in the past few weeks and I'm thrilled to say I actually have author news. 

Don't faint. A hunk will be around with smelling salts for your safety.

First, I'm excited to announce Juno Publishing has approached me and my publisher about translating at least five books into French. The expected release is 2016/2017. 

I'm so excited about this. A friend is published with them and loves working with their staff. Her covers are fabulous. I'm thrilled and honored to think a country wants to read what I write in their native language. 

The second, is I've FINALLY finished a novel.  (Again, don't faint. Mr. Sexy will be around again, I promise.) 

It's so different than what I usually write, and I'm so thrilled. The beta readers have had glowing reviews. It's m/f paranormal contemporary in 1st person, and I have no clue when it will be released since I'm trying something a little different. But here's the blurb and a picture of Leo for your enjoyment.

Twisted Luck 

All I wanted was luck. Now that he owns my soul, I’m going to need it.

Olivia Denning has had crappy luck. She’s lost her job, some jerk emptied her bank account, and she caught her best friend screwing her fiancĂ©. A pity party leads to a little too much tequila and a steamy encounter with the hottest figment of a man her mind has ever conjured. The next day, she wakes to discover she's won an all-inclusive trip, the bank has tracked down the thief, and oh yeah... Mr. Figment is real, he's about to become family, and he's purchased her soul for the price of luck...the good kind. 

Her soon-to-be stepbrother, Leo Weston, is a sexy, soul-stealing scoundrel in cahoots with his father. Olivia's mother is next on the demon duo's exclusive list of pure souls, and time is running out. Unfortunately, Olivia is forced to go deep under the sheets with Leo until she can find a way to save her mother from the same fate. But one taste of his brand of heady sin had gotten her to sell her soul...will the luck she gained in the bargain be enough to save her mother and protect her heart?


Let me know what you think! Bacon for everyone! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mia's 12 Steps To Self-Editing Success #writingtip #amediting

So I've been quiet for a while, because I'm almost done with a new book, a m/f paranormal. Right now, I'm doing a run of self-editing before I send it to my editors. I would be a rich woman if I had a dollar from every author who asked, "Why? Your editor will catch your mistakes."

The absolute bottom line is this... The more time I spend making my book perfect, the quicker it will be published. The more time I spend self-editing, the more mistakes my editor will catch. The more time I spend correcting my own crap, the easier it will be for my editor to catch inconsistencies and areas that need more work.

There is no downfall for taking the time to self-edit. And when I'm done with that, it will go to a friend for a copy edit so it's even cleaner.

So what do I do when I self-edit? Here are 12 steps to consider.

1. Run a spell check. 

Such a simple thing that so few authors actually do. A spell check will also catch some words that are used improperly, extra spaces between words, wrong punctuation, and more. You'll find it in Word under the Review tab, all the way to the left (most versions, anyway.) You can always Google it for your version or word processor.

I wouldn't rely on spell check for grammar. Word often tells you to use wrong words and it has have no clue how to use commas or a semi colon. So don't even look at that unless you KNOW your grammar like a pro.

2. Look for "filter" words

I'd never heard it called this until I had a chat with my senior editor. I try not to use these as much as possible, but some authors will use them for the rough draft and replace them during editing. I'm lazy, so I just avoid them.

Filter words to look for: Realize, thought, knew, saw, wonder, look (I HATE THIS WORD), feel/felt, can/could, decided, sound/heard, touched, was, MOVE.

Example before:
I saw the train moving along the tracks as I was standing there on the tracks, and I wondered if I should move. I heard the whistle blaring and felt scared.

Example after:
The train thundered along the tracks, the ground shaking as the whistle blared, practically bursting my eardrums. My heart pounded, my palms sweating as I leaped out of the way.

3. Brush up on your grammar and punctuation! 
If you don't know the rules to good grammar, now is the time to go revisit them with a cup of coffee and a biscuit (I'm hungry.) Commas are a big one, so if you can only focus on one, start there. A clue--if you don't know what an Oxford comma is, then you need to study. If you have absolutely no clue how things are punctuated, there are websites and books that help.

  • Most publishers follow the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), and you can purchase the book or go to their website and use the online manual. You can also get an online subscription for a year and access all of the web stuff.  
  • I love Grammar Girl, a blog that gives lots of quick and dirty tips. You can Google that stuff and get a gold mine of advice.
  • Grammar Bytes! is a fun site with a lesson and grammar games. You get to win fake diamond rings or if you lose, get eaten by alligators or hit by a speeding meteor. 

4. Zero in on repetitive words
Look for words that are repeated over and over. There could be several on a page, there could be just plain overuse. Some of these are filter words, but they're also repetitive. In a love scene, you'll want to vary body part usage so it's different. Some repeat offenders: Push, pull, reach, move, felt.

5. Put a halt to the pronouns
In sections of the book that have a lot of cause and effect (like sex scenes) you'll want to look for too many sentences that begin with pronouns. She did this. He did that. They did this together. And opting for a character's name does NOT fix the issue. The sentence will need to be rewritten.

She finished dinner. He smiled. They both enjoyed their meal. (If you look, these are also the same length sentences, which makes it choppy. This short passage also lost the POV character in the monotony.)

Example: With a sigh of contentment, Tanya placed her napkin on her lap, happy and satisfied. How long had it been since Bill had smiled at her like that? She couldn't recall, but that tell-tale crinkle around his eyes said he enjoyed his meal, too.

The next few checks aren't as easy to fix as the above, but they are something I do check as I go along.

6. Vary your sentences! 
Sentence lengths should vary in the book, and can be used to convey pace. So a longer sentence slows things down, and a shorter sentence speeds thing up. However, you want to try vary this so it's nicely balanced. Too many short sentences make the story choppy. Too many long sentences tends to feel monotonous.

7. Set the scene 
I'm a very visual writer and reader, so I want to know immediately where the scene is set, who's there, what they're doing, how much time has passed since the last scene or chapter, how they all got there. In a movie, you see all those things, so it's good to know immediately so you can picture the scene.

Even if your chapter is merely a scene that's been broken up to start a new chapter, you still need to set that new scene. Though we like to think everyone turns the page, the reader may have had to feed her kids or run to the bathroom. I hate picking up a book and having no clue where I am, and I hate going back to see.

Also, you want to set the scene in the new point of  view character, you'll want to set the scene from their eyes, so we see it as they do.

Finally, when you introduce a character or location as a scene shifts, you need to give the reader a picture of that again even if you'd done a description before. So Johnny walks in, what is he wearing and what's his state of mind? Is the fountain behind him off or on? Are the lanterns lit, or is the sun high in the sky? These little details matter.

8. Too much is NOT a good thing.
I tend to write a lot of dialogue and then sprinkle in the introspection and stage direction as needed. Others like blocks of narration. However, there are some warning signs to look for.

Too much dialogue with no tags or stage direction.
This becomes "talking heads." That means the reader just hears the dialogue and forgets what the background is. Are they in a restaurant? At the zoo? On a space walk? Sprinkling in these details along dialogue can help ground the reader and help see more. The POV character can also give some internal dialogue about events going on.

Too much narration between dialogue lines in a dialogue scene.
Good flowing dialogue should zip right along. If there's a line of dialogue, a paragraph of narration, then a line of dialogue and another paragraph of stage direction, the pacing will bog down. Try to put dialogue close together, and then put narration in a spot where the character isn't required to answer or the dialogue isn't closely linked. This will help with flow.

Too much introspection or narration. 
Dialogue moves the story forward, and narration slows it down a bit. Too much narration is not good. If you look at your book and notice a lot of pages with no dialogue, there's probably an issue and the story is going to bog down in pacing.

9. Read your story aloud. 

Reading your story aloud will catch any missing words, pacing issues, and dialogue issues. You can also read it backwards.

10. Print your manuscript and go old school. 
Sometimes, changing from a computer screen to a hard copy is enough to catch those last minute mistakes.

11. Change fonts or read on your e-reader. 
Lastly, you can catch mistakes by changing fonts or loading the document to your e-reader.

First, simply changing fonts and margin sizes makes a huge difference. We catch a lot of mistakes during galleys (the last print proof before publication) because it's in a different font or format. I always write in a different font, then change it to something else when I edit, then use TNR for the publisher.

You can load a Word document to a Kindle by emailing it to your Kindle's email address (located in your Amazon account if you don't know it.) I'm not sure if you can do the same for Nook, but it's very easy to make a PDF for any reader. You may need to download Adobe (it's free.)

12. Fix your formatting...
This last one is important, because all of this stuff takes time. If you can learn to set up your document in a professional manner, you won't need to go back and fix things. Word sometimes does funky things with a new document, so you end up with huge spaces between paragraphs, end up having to tab your paragraph indents or worse, five spaces... And perhaps you're still from the typing world where two spaces after a period is the norm. It's no longer correct, so you want ONE space.

Quick look at formatting (because I could be here all night):

  • 1" margins, readable font, 12 or 14 point, double spaced
  • Indent paragraph spacing to .5" DO NOT TAB OR DO SPACES
  • No block paragraphs or spaces between paragraphs
  • Remove double spaces after periods by doing a FIND (hit space bar 2x in the field. It will be blank but your cursor will move) and then REPLACE (hit space bar 1x.) Do this a few times to get rid of extra spaces. 
  • For the love of small creatures, use a Page Break at the end of each chapter. DO NOT do a section break. DO NOT hit enter until you think it's great. Go to the INSERT tab, then hit PAGE BREAK. 
  • Don't use fancy bookmarks, fonts, colors, underlines. Someone has to take all that crap out to publish your book. Just don't do it. 
Here is my handy formatting screen shot to show you how to do this stuff!! The HOME page in Word is where you find all of this formatting goodness. Go to the paragraph part part right below, and click the arrow. That dialogue box will pop up. Make your box look like mine. You'll click the boxes to get what you want. But everything should be set at 0 on the left, SPECIAL click FIRST LINE, BY is the default .5", then set to double spacing. 

If you've done these steps, you're ready to send your manuscript out into the big, bad world. Congrats! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

@NationalBubbleBathDay Come Get Soapy On The Splish-splash Page Hop! #NGWNGroup #eroticromance

Contest Closed! selected Jackie W to be the winner of a $10 gift card! Congrats! I'll be emailing that out 1/12/16.

Bubble, bubble, toil and...welcome to the trouble!

It's #NationalBubbleBathDay, and I'm joining my #NiceGirlsWritingNaughty sisters all weekend long to help celebrate with a steamy fun PAGE HOP! Hello there. I'm Mia Downing, and I write hot-hot-hot stuff. Check out my books page above for some steamy reads.

As part of the Page Hop, I'm giving away A $10 Starbucks Gift Card to one lucky winner on Sunday! All you have to do to enter my giveaway is comment below about YOUR fantasy bath mate, so I know you've been by!

After you're done, hop on to the next Naughty Girl waiting to say hello to you!

Next on The Splish-Splash Page Hop:

Check out Mia's FB Author Page and give me a like!