Friday, January 20, 2017


Yes. Yes, smarter (much smarter) people than me have been telling me I really need to get on Facebook, and I finally am giving it an honest try.  I started a page a couple of years ago, chickened out and killed it, and then asked one of these smart folks to make me a page this fall; finally, doing some research, it appears that if I'm going to run my mouth on twitter and a blog anyway FB is actually a really good idea.  People are connecting there in a way that they just don't anywhere else--which makes sense, of course.

So I joined FB.  I do not know how to tell you how to find me, but if you see a friend request from lonely lil Jorja Tabu, please either say, sure, internet friend,* or just gracefully pretend you don't see it.

Oh me oh my.  Here we go.

Important: Galaxy of Scars is still up on KDP, and is free to read for folks with Kindle Unlimited access--please go check it out!  And Blackstone Fever is due on 2/14/17.  Should be fun ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Galaxy of Scars Free on Kindle Unlimited

Just in case anybody missed this and has put this book somewhere on their 'one day' list:

Galaxy of Scars is currently on Kindle Unlimited, where you can read it for free if you have membership.  I would love for you to check it out, and if you are so inclined, leave a review.  Love love it.  This book meant a great deal to me and is my favorite, of all the ones I've written (including the half dozen or so that will never see the light of day, being early endeavors or just pet projects).  Please take a look!  It's free!  And then it will return to business as usual, not only on Amazon, but for now...

Imani Cartwright left the rough world of her childhood in Virginia almost a decade ago. Among the broken pieces she abandoned were her best friend, Monica, and the ruined young man that swore he would love her forever, Roman O'Malley. Her brother, Tyreke, a passionate advocate who turns to the UFC to save their neighborhood, can't forgive her for leaving.

She hasn't spoken to anyone back home but her mother for over a year when the phone finally rings, and suddenly the rift between the past and her new life has grown too wide for anyone to cross... But Death.

When her brother is murdered Imani has no one but old friends and enemies to turn to. Did Roman O'Malley, UFC Prize-Fighter and her brother's former best friend, kill Tyreke? What happened to Monica, the sweet young girl who was Imani's best friend? And if they're innocent, then who killed Ty?

A Galaxy of Scars spans a decade, an epic love, and contains rough language and adult sexuality and situations. It is meant for mature audiences.

Genre: literary fiction, interracial/multicultural romance featuring BWWM pairing, suspense
Length: 123,533 words

#Multiculturalromance #diversebooks #kindle #kindleunlimited

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Writer's Resolutions

Every year I make a list of the projects I want to focus on.  It is usually bombastic and slightly insane, which are words you may feel free to use in describing me, my Ukranian friends; I'm okay with that.  This year, I thought I'd rein it in a bit and focus on publishing some projects I've been working half-assedly on forever.  In addition to this attempt at direct attention I wanted to focus on heroines and heroes that are members of communities that feel under attack right now.  I'd like to think of this as an offering of solidarity, but people with more insight might just report it is straight up brattiness.  I'm also okay with that.

My proposed project list:
  • 2/14/17: Blackstone Fever
    • My latest BWWM multicultural romance!  I've very excited about this book.  Here's the cover and here is the link to pre-order.
  • 4/1/17: Blackstone Forever
    • The conclusion of my trilogy--cliffhangers can drive me crazy to read (although I adore writing them, apparently) so I am trying to get all of the books out back-to-back.
  • 7/1/17: Hard: Pearl of My Bones
    • The compilation and conclusion of Hardest and Harder, my novella/short story featuring the couple Ken Yamamoto and Lisa Tyrrell.  This is a story that people feel very strongly was waaay too short and I have chosen that to mean that they enjoy reading about the couple.  A BWAM pairing, examines social structures and cultural differences, and, like Blackstone Fever, has light BDSM (and some not-light... You know how it goes).
  • 10/1/17: What the Dark Said
    • This is the completion of the fantasy novel I started about the end of the world.  The first drafted chapter is available on my 'pages;' I'm not sure how it will fare with the readers of my usual work, but I'm going to make it permafree as an experiment and see how it goes.  Why not?
  • 12/25/17: Lord Have Mercy
    • The second book in this series.  I hesitate to talk about it too much for fear of ruining the bizarre plot (it is my book, after all, and I am, as discussed, pretty bizarre).  If I'm very, very lucky, there will be a butt-load of short stories that come out between and around these two books.  I am not often this lucky, but hey.  Like I said: bombastic and slightly insane.
Happy 2017, my imaginary friends!  Onward and upward!

PS: General update: I made three of the short stories that I already had up for years free.  I'm not sure when that will happen on amazon, but they should be free on Kobo and B&N already.  Those stories are part of the universe of What the Dark Said and Lord Have Mercy--and if you are a writer just starting out, let me warn you that readers don't give a shit about your shorts if the novels aren't already out to support them.  Just be careful with your fragile writer heart; I wasn't, and I paid for it.

Also: I am trialing Galaxy of Scars on KDP right now.  If you have access to the lending library please check it out!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Whoa! Pre-Order Update for Blackstone Fever

So, I made a rookie mistake.  I am very sorry if this disappointed someone--there were only 14 pre-orders set up for this book, so hopefully all 14 of you obsessively read my blog and know I feel like a jerk.  Lesson learned--I changed the date of my pre-order for Blackstone Fever and got a spanking from amazon.  No more pre-orders for a year.  The thing is, I did this mostly because I was thinking of the third book--not the second.  I could've totally published it on the first, but I thought to myself, hey, this is Valentine's Day, wouldn't that be cute, and that would allow me to make sure the second and third books are totally reconciled time-line wise, and and and... Completely forgetting about the punishment for changing your pre-order date and also that people who had already signed up would be surprised or hurt by it.  I'm sorry, guys.  Hopefully the full trilogy together will make it worth it.

If you're still interested after that little dust-up, click on the pic below to pre-order for 2/1/17.  Also, in case there's any confusion about it--I am still totally publishing the final book on April 1st, no foolin' (too soon?  I'm sorry).

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Broke-Ass Writer's Thoughts on Amazon's KDP Select Program, Pt. 1

I thought it might be useful for other authors to write a little bit about what I'm learning while I use Amazon's KDP Select program.  I know that there are a ton of other writers out there that have spoken on it, but I also have the feeling, having read many of them, that they are much more successful monetarily than someone like me, and that there are, frankly, many more authors that make the kind of money I do than the money they do (that's why their experiences are so easy to find).  So, without further ado, I present: A Broke-Ass Writer's Thoughts on Amazon's KDP Select Program, Pt. 1.

I used the KDP Select Program previously, in the very, very old days (not 2009, but 2011, during 'the gold rush' phase.  I did not get a lot of gold).  Basic features: 3 months exclusivity on Amazon, which allows you to use free give-aways, Kindle Count-down deals with discounts, and now includes a pre-order feature and inclusion in the KOLL library, which features KENP pages.  We'll come back to all of that.

In the beginning, the give away feature was the big trial for indie writers.  I loved giving my books away for free.  Loved it.  Loved watching the numbers climb, climb, climb, so I did it with several of my books and all my short stories.  This feature allows you to give your book away for free for up to five days, with the idea that this promotion will lead to higher rankings for the book, free exposure and carry-over sales.

Pros of using Free KDP give-away days:

  • In my case, it was primarily psychological. This helped solidify the belief that there were people out there that wanted to read my books, and so I wrote more of them.
  • For others, I believe the intended benefits worked: higher rankings, free exposure and carry-over sales.  I had a little of all three, with the most cross-over happening between Hardest and Harder (a free promo for the former lead to sales of the latter).  The most glorious outcome was getting noticed by one of my favorite writers, Theodora Taylor,* who noted the promotion of one story (Louder) as a reason to check out my anthology.
Cons of using Free KDP give-away days:
  • What I learned over time is that the majority of down-loads are not from fans of your particular niche, or you.  They are fans of free books.**  Almost every one star review I have gotten happened after a KDP free give-away.***
  • People are going to pirate your shit.  They are.  It's a thing.  But, again, every book I have put on KDP free give-away was immediately available for free on a pirating site.  Kinda undermines the promo.****
As an indie writer now, I wouldn't use the free promo days, for the reasons listed above.  There are so many free books available, yours will be lost in the swamp unless you already have a fan base baited and waiting (and kudos to you if you do!).  On the other hand, having a book (or two, or eight, whatever) that is permafree is currently thought to be a usable strategy by many authors.  Google 'permafree' to find out what they have to say, and hopefully this coming autumn I will be able to report my own findings once I kick off my fantasy series.  Note: there are a lot more non-fiction authors experimenting with this, but apparently the people with real success are building a fictional series (and making the first book permafree).  I mean, from what I gather.  Lord help you if you think I know what the hell I'm doing... But a good example would be Bianca Sommerland's series, The Dartmouth Cobras (BDSM+hockey+pretty great writing!), which has become very successful, and she is one of the first romance writers I can remember trying out the permafree model (let's never trust my memory, though).

Now, for some of my own numbers:

In 2012, I had the following return on Harder and Louder during a give-away promo:

Harder: Louder: Harder: Louder:
890(us) 1601(us) 152(uk) 265(uk)

Now, these are numbers of downloads, not sales.  And after these downloads, (I did a 3 day promo, and I can't remember if this is one day or three, but anyway) I got: 5 total reviews for both books (I can't guess how many are a direct result of the promo) and sold roughly 30 copies each in February after the promo, presumably riding the ratings bump, for a total of around $60 per book take-home profit ($120) total.  Not amazing results, I don't think.

I am not going to use the free days option again.  I re-did this experiment in later years, although I was more cautious (due to pirating) and only uploaded my short stories.  Of those, one was immediately bombed with one stars and the other two were basically ignored.  For me, a person who needed the reassurance of positive feedback and was becoming thin-skinned about critiques, it was devastating.  I slowed down my publishing and started to withdraw, not really returning to publishing again until this year.*****

Results may vary, I think.  But my experience taught me many things, primary among them that the KDP free promotion days didn't benefit me enough to balance the equation, let alone topple it in my favor.  I didn't get a substantial sales boost until I was mentioned by another (very talented and successful) author in my niche, and who's to say she wouldn't have found my book on her own?  She reads a ton of books in this genre.  A ton.

So that's my take on this feature.  I will talk about the pre-order features and others in another post.  Side-note: if you are here because you are one of my mysterious Ukranian readers, hi!  You probably don't care about any of this.  If, on the other hand, you are here because you're a big fan of multicultural romance, (MC/IR romance), googled BWAM or BWWM or some variant of those, you might like my latest series.  It's available on amazon here (and check out the cover below--do you love it?  Do you?  I do).  

Happy new year, imaginary friends!

*FANGIRL FA DAYZ.  I just re-read all her Russian books, and I tend to love her books no matter what weird ass hero she picks, and she writes beautiful, fun, fast-paced stories with heroines I universally adore.  She's just awesome.  Never a let-down.  Check her out, seriously!  And if you're into BDSM, give Game Misconduct a try, the sex scenes are crazy well-done (and it is permafree!).

**And who's not?  Really.  I am all about them freebies, so no hate from over here.

***Some of them I totally earned because people just strait hated my book.  But the timing (and sometimes the actual wording of the review will mention getting the book for free) indicates the origin of the purchase.

****There is something really disheartening about being an indie writer and having people gank your shit.  Bonus points if they have the balls to then review it, badly.  Life is strange, my friends.  Life is strange.

*****I am pretty open about the fact that I don't read reviews any more, good or bad, to prevent this spiral from happening again.  I have someone else go through all of this stuff and tell me what I need to know.  That said, if you are thicker skinned, more marketing minded, and/or a true masochist you can do whatever you want with them free days, sugar, and I will look forward to reading your blog post about it.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holy...My new BWWM IRMC Romance is #260 on Amazon!

Seriously, that's the highest ranking any of my books has hit.  It's a huge deal for me, so thank you to everyone that has scooped a copy--I can't even, dude.  I can't.

I am also dropping the cover for its sequel which is also--dundunDUN--available for pre-order now!  I seriously can't say thank you enough to everybody.  Much much xoxox on this Xmas eve.

Update, later that night: #206 in Multicultural Romance. Thank you guys. Great present :)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Playlist for Blackstone Fire, and other lil thangs--

This is it... My book is going live tomorrow and I'm super excited to be trying a bunch of new things!  Among them:
  1. Amazon's pre-order feature (Makes me feel like a grown-up!) 
  2. Writing a trilogy.  Which really means simultaneously plotting out three separate arcs and several overlapping big ole arcs... I have no idea how well I did this, but was it awesome to try it out.
  3. Going deeper down the path of romantic suspense, which for some reason lately I find really satisfying.
  4. Doing that whole promo thing.  I mean, I'm still pretty crap at it, but I'm doing more than I used to, which was... mentioning that I finished a book on this blog?  That sounds about right.
I hope I built the tension between the books well--I'll spend some time thinking about the process of writing these books and publish that later, but it's important to think of the first book as a beginning.  I love Beau and Darcy, also, but they are the easiest couple to navigate emotionally; the plot and the relationships increase in complexity as the books go on (at least, that's what I intended.  No idea on the success rate there).  I have had an absolute blast writing these, and I really hope that they find an audience.  I miss my old soap operas and I feel like this is the closest I'll probably ever get to finding a usable time machine and joining the writing staff of Passions.

If you have a moment and the inclination, please leave reviews on Goodreads and Amazon!  I'm a chicken and I can't read my own reviews, but I know for a fact that I rely on them constantly for my own reading.  It helps indies immensely to have smart, thoughtful folks take a look and tell others what they saw.  Thank you for that in advance!

And lastly... You know I had to put this up again.  I'm in love with it, so...

Seriously. CTFO.
I'm adding the playlist below and will continue to add songs as I go through my music.  One day, I might even get all extra and actually link to the songs themselves!  Let's not go crazy though.  We all know that kind of organization is above me right now ;)

Please check out my new multicultural romance!  And also, importantly: have a wonderful holiday.

Death Cab for Cutie, Black Sun
Lorn, Acid Rain, Sega Sunset, Cherry Moon, Suicide Note, The Well, No Safety on a Body... (I am probably dreaming with these songs as a soundtrack at this point)
The Weeknd, The Hills and What You Need... This poor guy, there are actually a lot of his songs I could list, but these are the two I actually listened to
Tove Lo, Habits
God-des and She, Love You Better
VAST, Touched
Mindless Self Indulgence, Never Wanted to Dance
Michael Buble/Elvis Presley, Fever (Yes you read that right)
Blue Valentine by Tom Waits (the whole album.  GO BUY IT RIGHT NOW, TRUST ME IM A GENIUS)
It's Okay, Land of Talk