Billionaire Security Shifters Now in Print!

Seeing a reviews of shifter romances on the blog may have come as a surprise to some of my readers this summer. Honestly, I didn’t know I was going to dive into the genre and to continue to enjoy what I found.

As you may remember, my first journey into the genre was by reading Lila Jean’s debut The Mountain Lion’s Secretary. Soon after that I read her second book The Grizzly Bear’s Heiress. These two books are in her Billionaire Security Shifter series.

While we are awaiting the release of book three (I’ll let you know if I hear any news about a release date), I have a little surprise for those who love this series like I do:

You can now buy books 1 and 2 in print!

That’s right. You can order both of these books in print to put on your shelves, alongside your other favorite books. Kindles can’t contain these animals any longer!

You can find links to the ebook and print editions below, along with more information about each book and the author.

And in case you missed them and want to know my opinion of the books, here are my reviews:

The Mountain Lion’s Secretary

The Grizzly Bear’s Heiress

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The Mountain Lion's Secretary

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For the shifters at Grizzly Bodyguards & Security, every day is life and death.

Mara Warren is desperate. With no job, a room in her parents’ basement, and a mountain of debt right out of college, she takes the first job she can find: as secretary for the elusive billionaire, Zane Bradley. But her new boss is so much more than she bargained for. With his solid body, sexy-as-hell handguns, and the delicious stubble on his jaw, he’s too good to be true. He says he wants her, but Mara has been hurt before. With her already shattered heart on the line, Mara battles between protecting what little self-esteem she has left and letting herself fall head-first into the arms of the most dangerous man in town.

A rugged mountain lion shifter with a knack for sensing danger, Zane Bradley uses the company name as a decoy to hide his inner animal—and to preserve the privacy his animal demands. As if keeping his company running and his shifter employees in line isn’t enough, Zane’s lion is desperately craving a mate… and it wants Mara Warren. But Zane’s billion-dollar empire is threatened when he catches the scent of the werewolf that killed his brother. The murderer has come back to take out the last surviving Bradley brother, and Mara has no idea she just walked right into the line of fire.

CONTENT WARNING: This is a stand-alone mountain lion shifter romance. It contains smoking hot shifters, lip-bitingly delicious love scenes, naughty language, and a dash of violence to spice things up. Intended for mature audiences.

This is novel has a HEA with NO cliffhanger.

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The Grizzly Bear's Heiress

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For the shifters working at Grizzly Bodyguards & Security, every day is life and death.

Good girls don’t date shifters. That’s what Isabelle Hart’s billionaire father says, anyway. But after an attempted kidnapping nearly lands her ransomed in the back of a van, her father is breaking all his own rules to keep her safe. Now a muscled bear shifter is watching over her until the issue is resolved, and she can’t keep her eyes off of him. With her life on the line and no end in sight, Isabelle’s tempted to break whatever rule comes between her and Ryker Edwards… even if it means her father following through on his threat to disown her.

Ever since his best friend Zane Bradley saved his life ten years ago, Ryker Edwards has used his skills as a grizzly bear shifter to complete nearly six hundred missions and protect the wealthy elite keeping Zane’s company afloat. But when Zane calls him in on his day off, Ryker is floored to discover he’s been assigned a new mission: protect a curvy heiress from armed kidnappers. Right then and there, his bear chooses her as its mate. There’s only one problem: she’s off limits. As Ryker fends off attack after attack, Isabelle’s kidnappers get desperate. They call in help from a dangerous source that wants Zane and his entire clan buried six feet under. When the kidnapper’s identity is revealed, Ryker realizes his devotion for Isabelle may have made her nothing but bait in a sinister war between shifters.

CONTENT WARNING: This is a stand-alone grizzly bear shifter romance. It contains smoking hot shifters, lip-bitingly delicious love scenes, naughty language, and a dash of violence to spice things up. Intended for mature audiences.

This novel has an HEA, with NO cliffhanger.

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About the Author:

Lila JeanLila Jean lives and breathes sexy shifter romances. Six-pack abs and powerful alphas are her specialty, and these growly alphas answer only to the curvy women they love. Her heroines are pistols with a penchant for the wild side of shifter life — after all, a lady needs a lot of sass to handle a shifter lover. No swooning damsels here.

Armed with curvaceous hips of her own, Lila Jean played with her fair share of alpha males before finally settling down with one of her own in a tiny town deep in the mountains. Equipped with an arsenal of dragons, grizzlies, and big cats, Lila devotes her time to creating the absolute best stories for her readers.

All her novels are in a single, massive universe. Buckle in for a wild ride of the sexiest, grizzliest, most gorgeous men you’ll find in the shifter romance genre today.

Find out more:

Guest Post by @AuthorLHerman: The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

a guest post by Louise Herman

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Hello everyone, and I hope you are enjoying the week.

I have decided to take a week’s respite from writing the third book in my YA urban fantasy series, Split Blood, to catch up with author interview and guest post requests. I am looking forward to discussing my thoughts and opinions on the economics of self-publishing a bookas well as giving some advice on what aspects of self-publishing is essential to a budget and what I have experienced as a waste of time and money.

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Why did I decide to Self-Publish my books?

I would love to say it was a choice, however, after I sent a number of emails to literary agents and received no replies, I decided to close my eyes and jump straight into the self-publishing ocean.

It was nerve-racking at first because I had no idea about self-publishing but after a lot of research and learning from my mistakes along the way, I am enjoying the self-publishing journey.

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What are the common misconceptions of self-publishing?

I think the biggest misconception about self-publishing is anyone can publish a successful book in today’s technological world.

For example, you have a great idea for a story, you get so engrossed in writing it, you take the leap and self-publish it on the internet and then you sit back and wait for the big bucks to start rolling in, along with literary agents fighting to represent you, right?

Not quite!

The reality is only a handful of self-published authors break even (the total cost of publishing against the profits of the sales, after each website has taken its percentage) and if you do not have a regular presence on social media sites then you could find it difficult to be seen and network with influential people who can help potential readers find your books.

These people are bloggers and reviewers.

I have built up a good relationship with many bloggers and have added them to my list of ‘Go to People’ when I need to do author interviews (to discuss my past, present and future. This is not all about promoting my work. It is for potential readers to get to know the person behind the books), Guest Posts (topics related to writing that are important to me) and Spotlights (a full discussion about myself, my work and upcoming projects).

It’s also fun to communicate with these bloggers because it is a two way process. They advertise an author on their blog and social media sites, therefore, as an author, I also do the same (I will post the promotional item on my blog, which advertises their blog to my followers, and on my social media sites).

However, not all bloggers work the same way.

Some specialise purely in reviews but some are open to other forms of promotion.

I have found that trying to get reviews can be quite hard because many are overwhelmed with requests and often close their review request channels until they can catch up with the backlog.

While others will state they do not accept requests from self-published authors, with some going as far as to state that they have a problem with the quality of the self-published books they have previously read.

I used to find this slightly insulting but when you take into consideration that they are doing these reviews for free, they should be allowed to have an opinion on what types of books they want to review.

NOTE: Reviews are usually free and reviewers usually have full or part time jobs but review in their spare time. This means try to give at least three months’ notice to your reviewer. If you are asked to pay for a review, try somewhere else! Not only is it slightly frowned upon in the self-publishing industry but it’s just an unnecessary, extra cost to your ever rising budget!

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What are the advantages of self-publishing?

I like that I have the opportunity to learn about online publishing first hand and that I have the chance to communicate with a range of people with similar interests.

I learn something new every week to help enhance my writing and advertising skills and I really enjoy having full control over every aspect of publishing my books.

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What are the challenges of self-publishing?

Although I enjoy having full control over publishing my books, I do sometimes think that it would be nice to have a literary agent to help take on some of the advertising tasks because having full time job, restricts the time I can dedicate to writing and sometimes the advertising infringes on the writing time.

I have also found that it takes a lot of work and effort to gain a strong following. I write Young Adult Urban Fantasy novels, which is a popular genre and I have found that it is extremely difficult to get new followers interested in looking at my new pieces of work if there are no reviews to give them an inclination of how the book has been received by other readers.

There will be potential readers and followers who will read the synopsis and give the books a try but there are some who use reviews to help them decide whether or not it is the kind of story they would enjoy reading.

It is the latter type of follower that bad reviews can affect your potential sales.

Some reviews that are lower than five stars can be disheartening to an author but if they offer constructive criticism (e.g. “there was too much fighting in it”) then it could be a case of what one person dislikes about the storyline, another reader maybe looking for this type of drama.

However, if they give you one star because they “just couldn’t read it because you should never write again”, it offers nothing to a potential reader about the story and many would not take this type of review seriously.

And lastly, I have given out copies of my eBooks for a review in the past, only to be disappointed to never receive one.

It is disheartening but all these things are part of the learning process and have helped me focus on what works and avoid what wastes time and money.

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What are the costs to publish your own book?

Here are the basics of what it cost me to self-publish my first book (The Orcus Games: Blood Moon):

  • Book cover artist –  This is difficult because it depends on the type of cover you want? You can get book cover images from a variety of stock photography sites and prices vary on each site. For a basic book cover with an image that does not need to be edited and text, I would estimate between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Proof-reader or Copy Editor –  Between £600 (~$850) and £1,000 (~$1418) (depending on word count, how many hours it takes them to work on the book and how much work the book needs).
  • eBook Conversation Costs  If you cannot convert your eBooks yourselves then it might be worth getting a professional to do this for you. I convert my books myself but I have received quotes in the past for this type of work and the prices were between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Distribution costs –  (for reviewers who only accept hard copies): I have heard that some websites do give a small discount to authors who buy their own books but I am yet to find these sites. Therefore you would be paying the same price as a customer to purchase your paperback books to send to reviewers. Many authors buy in bulk for this purpose and can spend between £599 (~$849) and £1099 (~$1558) for an order of 100 books.
  • URL for website Having your own website is essential for an author and you can buy domain names from nearly anywhere on the internet at the moment.

I have a website through Fat Cow and bought my URL through them as soon as I set it up.

It cost me approximately £8.99 (~$12.75) to buy the domain name + £60 (~$85) for the year (with added extras).

However, different extensions can either increase or decrease the cost (e.g. com, co.uk, org. Etc.)

  • Publishing sites percentages
    • Amazon – There are two royalty options. (correct as of January 2016)
      • Option 1: Keep 70% of the royalties. However this option is only available to books sold in a specific territory of countries set out by Amazon Kindle. Any books sold outside of these regions will give you a 35% royalty.
      • Option 2: Keep 35% of the royalties. This is the standard royalty rate.
    • Smashwords – (correct as of January 2016)
      • “Smashwords authors and publishers earn 85% or more of the net proceeds from the sale of their works. Net proceeds to author = (sales price minus PayPal payment processing fees)*.85 for sales at Smashwords.com, our retail operation. Authors receive 70.5% for affiliate sales. Smashwords distributes books to most of the major retailers, including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and smaller retailers.  Sales originated by retailers earn authors/publishers 60% of the list price.”
    • Lulu – (correct as of January 2016)
      • Lulu prides itself on working on a 90/10 royalty split, therefore if you have published your book after 6th September 2011 and it is priced at $1.24 or higher then you can qualify for a 90% royalty revenue.

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What advice would you give to someone wanting to self-publish their first book?

There might be something I have missed out because every week I am learning something new about the self-publishing world but so far I have eight tips that would help a new author get started:

  • Test it out on free sites like Wattpad first to see if there is an audience for it and find Beta readers in these groups to help highlight elements that may need extra attention (e.g. such as continuity issues, plot holes, creating believable characters or scenes, etc.)
  • Build up a following and make amendments based on the feedback
  • Get a professional book cover artist (unless you are good with graphics software or you are a good artist)
  • Get your work proofread or copy edited
  • Publish on the main publishing sites
  • Build up a group of regular reviewers
  • Be active on social media (not just to talk about the book but share your interests and get involved in group discussions)
  • Remember success doesn’t happen overnight (it could take years), so continue with your passion and never give up!

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About the author

Louise Herman is a North London Fantasy author obsessed with pear drops sweets and 80s Fantasy films.

In between reading James Herbert novels and drinking too much coffee, she writes Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels.

Louise Herman has currently written five YA Fantasy books to date (December 2015); The Orcus Games Prequel Trilogy and The Split Blood series, which take the reader on a journey of magic, mystery, obsession and forbidden love with seductively dark consequences.

For more information, please go to: www.louisehermanauthor.com

Find out more:

All Book Covers to Date LARGER

Feed Your Reading Habit for Free…Legally

We all love books and we love to read. That’s why you’re here reading a book blog. Well, maybe you just stumbled upon this post and weren’t expecting it to be about books. I hope you stick around.

Having a reading habit is possibly one of the healthiest habits to have. However, with the benefits of a good book, comes financial burdens that put limits on what we can read or what we can eat. There is a light at the end of this tunnel though. Books don’t have to break your bank account!

It’s not a new concept to be able to read freely. Ever since the cost of producing books drastically decreased and they were made widely available, libraries of all kinds started popping up. In today’s world almost all of these libraries offer patrons the chance to read books for free. This is common knowledge, but there’s a point I’ll get to…

The great thing about living in the digital age of books is that readers aren’t tethered to the physical library any more. While the actual library is an important institution for any community (they aren’t there just for holding books, but offer many programs and events essential to their community), having libraries offer digital collections expands access and ease of patronage.

You may recall that earlier this year I finally got a library card, after being without one for many years. How many books have I taken out of the library so far? None. But, I have borrowed a handful of both ebooks and audiobooks from them. Without getting into the politics of libraries, for me, this is supporting my local branch as much as I can without transport to the building itself being easy to obtain. And at the same time, it’s access to free books to feed my reading habit.

An offshoot of the library that’s becoming more popular around the country, and I’m sure the world, is little free libraries. These are normally small enclosed bookshelves on sidewalks near a person’s home. You walk by and borrow a book and maybe add one of your own to the collection, or bring one back when you’re done reading. It’s a great way to get people reading a variety of books, and to maybe give away some books from your collection you think can find a better home through a free library. I found out that there’s one not too far from my library, in town, and while it’s out of the main flow of foot traffic, I hope it has a steady flow of readers visiting it.

Maybe libraries aren’t the way you want to go. Maybe you want to “own” books and go back to them whenever you want. Here’s where ebooks and audiobooks come back into the conversation. There are many resources online to obtain free digital books and I’ll list out a few for you to check out. And don’t worry. These are all legal sites. With a combination of using sites from this list and use of your local library, there’s no reason why piracy should look appetizing. The resources are there to read at little to no cost, so why not keep it legal.

  • PROJECT GUTENBERG – I’m sure many of you have heard about Project Gutenberg. This is the ultimate site for free ebooks online. The only limitation is that the books are all from pre-1923 (with a few exceptions). So if you’re looking for a classic book, 99.999% of the time you’ll find it here. It’ll also be in any digital format you need. The reason these are all free, and legally so, is because PG is populated with public domain (out of copyright) books. Many libraries, Amazon, and other major retailers will also have these versions loaded onto their sites. (note that this is for public domain books in the US. Each country has their own laws and I think a site for themselves. I know Australia has one with different titles than the US site.)
  • LIBRIVOX.ORG – Think of this as the audiobook equivalent of Gutenberg. This site is filled with all the public domain books narrated by volunteer readers. It’s one of the ways I’ve gotten through many classic books. And we all know how expensive audiobooks can be. Free narrations are a blessing, and these volunteers are doing readers a great service.
  • AMAZON, B&N, KOBO, SMASHWORDS, ETC -I already mentioned that these sites are loaded with the public domain books for free. And we all probably know what I’ll say next: There are THOUSANDS of free books from legit retailers, like those listed above. I didn’t bother with linking because it’s easier to let you search for yourselves. Want a book in a specific genre? Search it, and sort low-to-high by price. Want to see if an author’s offering books for free? Search the author, sort, again. It’s simply and a great way to discover new authors. I know many of my favorite authors came from discovering them randomly like this. Yes, you will have to weed through a lot of duds, however you’d like to do that is up to you. I’m not being judgmental in this post. Helping weed the garden of books is a topic for another day.
  • (Another topic for another day is subscription services. For example Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Just to touch on it briefly…don’t come to me telling me your book is “#Free on #KU” because it’s not. It’s “free” because someone paid the $9.99 each month to use the service. Don’t falsely advertise that. Just tell is like it is. *rant over*)

Are there more places to get legal free books? Of course. I only touched the major ones that I use almost every day. I barely have an income. I make a few cents a month by selling my books, when I sell them. We all need a little help sometimes, so go out and explore the free book world. I know it’s the only way I was able to jump into the book world as deep as I have. My print collection may be massive, but it was also years of work, and filled with mostly cheap used books. Nothing to be ashamed of. Reading is reading. And if we don’t feed our habits, we might do something drastic…like turn on a TV *gasp*

I went to the #library yesterday…

Yep, that is correct. I stepped inside of the local library yesterday…and I got myself a library card. This is something of a biggish deal because in the past I was never a big fan of libraries.

Don’t get me wrong. Libraries are great. They’re great for book lovers. They’re great for communities, etc. It’s just that I have this thing about not owning a book that I read. Need proof? Check out my book collection. I don’t like getting rid of them or even sharing in most cases.

Despite this, I’ve been pushing the use of libraries on many friends in recent months when spending money becomes an issue for them. I’m not a total stranger to libraries, anyway. I used them in college…to get work done, but never actually checked a book out. (Thank you internet for your research capabilities.) Now with ebooks and digital audiobooks, libraries are in our homes, and I wanted to take advantage of what more and more people are already doing.

Ebook prices for traditionally published books are out of my budget most often than not. Audiobook prices are out of everyone’s budget. (I don’t know many people who can afford to feed their book need through audio.) Libraries are our way to cut down on our book spending while reading the books we want and supporting our libraries. And don’t forget that libraries have many other resources aside from the books. Go to your local library and find out what they offer.

So now, I have a card:

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Whited out the signature just in case someone wanted to try something fishy. Not that I really needed to do that, lol. And how’s that for a well-placed sticker? Convenient for the info at least.

And now I’ll be (hopefully) reading even more of a range of books since I don’t have to worry about the financial burden of buying books I don’t end up liking. I think I’ll start testing my reading boundaries more. I have been more conservative in what I buy in recent months, which is probably for the best. There are probably books on my shelves that I won’t end up liking. Those could be viewed as wasted money, but whatever, right? I’ll find someone to enjoy them somewhere down the road, and I’ll just get less random pics from now on. I’ll leave that up to my library reading instead. And I’ll be doing even more audio that I’ve already been doing.

Sounds like a win all around, to me. And I don’t even have to step into the library again unless there’s a physical book they don’t have in ebook form that I really want to read. Another win.

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Now, how about you go check out your local library (if you don’t already). They’ll be happy to have you stop by. Mine seemed happy to have me when I walked in. And if it’s just to get a card to borrow ebooks with, that can only be good for your reading life.

If you need more info on how to borrow ebooks (and audio) from your library, go to their site to find how to do so, or walk in next time you’re around. It’s fairly easy, even if Overdrive (the way most set up their borrowing) is a little cumbersome at times.

Let us hear in the comments your thoughts on libraries, borrowing books, and anything that might help others get the most out of their library experience. I barely touched on the positives that can come from a library in this post.

 

Aged Pages: Buying Habits

Aged Pages, new banner

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I haven’t done an Aged Pages post is (looks at last AP post) a LONG time (August 2012). It’s now the end of March 2014…seems about as good a time as any to try getting the series going again. This post isn’t exactly focused on use bookstores, specifically, but it is focused on buying books and the idea for it started IN a used bookstore. I hope you’ll let it slide this time 😉

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Yesterday…I went to my local used bookstore. Big shock, right? It’s not like I go there every time I go into town or anything 😉

Since I wasn’t in a rush this time around, I figured I’d pay a little more attention to the books…and also more attention to how I went about picking the books I wanted to buy (or at least keep on my mental list for future visits).

Some people will buy books based on the covers. Others on title or the author. There are some readers who’ll grab a book from looking at the back cover (or flaps of a hardcover) alone.

I don’t consider myself someone to buys books because of their covers. This is different when I’m looking at ebooks, but I’ll talk about that a little later. Right now I’ll focus on print books in a physical store. The cover matters least when choosing books to read and buy, for me. Though, I will say that when I have the choice between a movie cover and non-movie cover…duh, I go for the one without the movie cover. Other than that, it could have anything on the cover and I don’t mind.

So, what did I find to be the influencer(s) on my choices? Book titles and less influential, author name. Like most bookstores, the one I go to has the books with their spines facing the customer. While scanning the shelves I read the titles, and some just grab me. I didn’t realize just how much a title will make me grab a book until today. One example is from one of my purchases. It’s called Perfect Reader by Maggie Pouncey. “This must be a book about books/a reader.” Books like that always sound good to me. It’s normally easy to connect with characters or the story sometimes since we both love books and reader. (That’s just a simple generalization of what draws me in.) I slide the book from between its neighbors and turned to the back cover…not the front…and read what it was about. Notice that? I didn’t look at the front of the book. What’s there for me to care about? It doesn’t tell me anything about the book like the back does. I found it interesting that I did this because it wasn’t a conscious move. But I’m pleased to notice that I did that for a majority of books I took a look at. There were a few exceptions. Those were mostly classics that had a few books by one author in them. The covers of those often list what  books are included (and the back rambles on about the author but not the books themselves).

As I mentioned earlier, ebooks are a different beast. Because of the nature of ebooks, there’s not a spine to read the title from. Books aren’t (99% of the time) on places like Amazon with just a title and author name in a big list. There’s a cover, then the price, title, etc listed next to it. But the COVER is what is seen first. It’s almost unavoidable. And you can’t even read a description until you click onto the book’s page.

I admit it, my browsing habits for ebooks are the total opposite of my print browsing habits. Does that make me a weirdo? Probably not. I’m sure I’m not alone with this. At first when I realized I DO buy due to an ebook’s cover I wasn’t too pleased. I took pride in not being cover biased. But there are reasons behind the cover bias for ebooks that I won’t get into in this post. Simply put, a print book with a blank cover (just title and author) doesn’t bother me in the least. Many of my older paperbacks (and hardcovers missing the dust jacket) are like that. But when I see an ebook with a similar cover, I normally move on to the next one. As I said, there’s a reasoning to this, but I won’t bore you with it today.

That being said, title also plays a role in me looking at an ebook. It works in the same way as it does print, but still, the cover grabs me first, then I see the title on the cover/next to the cover.

What am I getting at here? Well, it started as just a simple observation into how I find books. I was curious about it when I was in the bookstore. As I wrote this post, I noticed that I never really put much thought into these habits for print or ebooks. I only semi-consciously knew how and why I did things. It’s interesting to look into the psychology of a book buyer (even in the minimal, ramble way I did). I’m sure there are real studies on this, as there are with almost anything you can think of. Instead, I hope this small insight into my book habit at least tickled your fancy slightly. Maybe it’s even gotten you thinking about your own habits. If you’d like to share them, please leave a comment below. We’d all love to read what you have to share.

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And if anyone was curious, here are the books I bought:

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Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

Visions of Cody, by Jack Kerouac

Slammerkin, by Emma Donoghue

Perfect Reader, by Maggie Pouncey

Audiobooks – Like ’em, Hate ’em?

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Audiobooks…

Have you tried out audiobooks? Have you stayed away from them for one reason or another?

I was once hesitant to read books through listening. I never thought I’d be able to get the same thing out of the words as directly from the text. The narrator(s) would sound like a completely different person than I’d have imagined myself. (Add in all the other “cons” to audio, if you’d like.)

I was wrong…

I tried my first audiobooks a few years ago when I got my dog. I figured that now that I have to take time to walk him that I could spend reading…I could combine the two. It took a few walks to get used to, but I started enjoying it. I found that doing basic chores and activities allows for the mind to wander. When you put headphones on, and start reading a book instead, my mind can focus on the words/book. Dog walking’s a pretty simple thing to do. I’ve also done this while riding my bike (sounds dangerous, but I don’t go on many roads, just trails through the woods around my house).

My most recent audiobook reading has taken place while shoveling my driveway. For hours a day, I can be reading, all while making sure I can get out of the house and to the store the next day. Since about November, when the snows got enough to shovel, I was able to read the rest of the Pendergast series, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. I’ve also taken some time to read a few shorter books while doing work around the house. My reading time increased greatly.

So, who wants to try out audio now? I know it’s not for everyone. And there are some books that I’d rather read from the text to enjoy it in a different way. Also, there’s the fact that for a review, I’d rather read the book than listen. Audio doesn’t really factor in formatting or editing/proofreading. Those factor into my reviews though.

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I have a few resources for those who want to try out audiobooks , but can’t afford them. I know I can’t afford most audiobooks. I’d rather spend less than $5 on the print or ebook, than $20-25 for the audio. So instead, I got to the library!

It seems like many libraries have started getting digital collections in ebook and audio formats. Instead of going to the library and borrowing the book or CD, you can now download files to your computers or tablets/mobile devices, then listen or read the books. Great what technology can do right?

There might be a few apps to help you link up with your local library. The one I use is Overdrive. That’s where I first found out about this option for borrowing library books.

Another place to go, the first place I went, is Librivox. You won’t find new books here, but you’ll never pay for one either. Librivox is a place set up for volunteer narrators to record audiobooks for public domain works (most books published before 1923). Have you wanted to read a classic, but it’s a little slow to read or grasp the older writing style? Try the audio! For me, listening to many of the classics has gotten me past my hesitations about them…and I’ve started enjoying them. Just keep in mind that since they are read by volunteers, you might not get the best quality recordings of a professional studio. But there are some narrators that are also professionally employed and seem to have better equipment and also some great voices for the job.

You can also check Audible. I did mention that most books are expensive, but there’s always some discounts going around. Many audio books are discounted to anywhere between $0.99-4.99 if you own the ebook (if the Whispersync option is set up for the book. Find out more on that here.

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I think now, I’ll end the post. There’s more to discuss regarding audiobooks, but I’ll save that for another time. (Like, is it really reading? I know some people have mixed feelings about that.)

Now it’s time to hear your thoughts. Do you already read audiobooks? Do you want to try one out now? Still against it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And remember, like I just said, some time soon, I’ll be revisiting this discussion to expand on the “morals” code of books, and whether or not listening is still reading.

FREE eBooks: Castles Burning Parts 1 and 2, by Nicole Ryan!!!

Before I share Nicole Ryan’s free ebooks, here’s a little bit about the series….

Castles Burning is a series of Novellas that follows a young woman named Amber. In part one, Amber is home on leave from the Navy, hoping to spend a nice, romantic weekend with her friends. We learn that she has experimented with BDSM in her sexual relationship, but really she knows nothing about it, aside from what she is learning naturally along the way. When unexpected tragedy strikes, and upturns her world, Amber must find a way to heal while also preparing for her first deployment.

In book two we are on the ship, and Amber’s learning to love and trust again, and that of course means, lots and lots of sex. Part two has all new characters, new settings, and we even take a trip to Singapore. Amber has an instant connection with the kind, and quiet Dean Cross, but is pulled by the dark, mysterious Chief of her division, Adam, who knows more about BDSM and what Amber craves, than even she understands.

If you’re looking for a love story this won’t be for you, but if you’re looking for adventurous kinky group sex, nightclub make outs  and sex rituals that take place on a fictitious Navy ship full of hot sailors, it might be right up your alley

Part Three is well on its way, and the tentative release date is looking like early July. If you haven’t read parts One and Two, you can grab them for free on Monday and Tuesday May 6th and 7th.

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Now that you know a bit more about the books, maybe you already grabbed them over on Amazon. But if you need more convincing, here are a few excepts that Nicole allowed me to share with you all.

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Castles Burning Part One

Castlespartone

Amazon | Goodreads

Arching my back and leaning forward on my hands, I seductively slinked toward him.

“You know what really upset me?” Aden asked softly.

“No.” I said, flatly, glaring at him from beneath my lashes.

“No?” He asked lifting his eyebrows as he strode over to me. “Open your fucking mouth.”

I opened my mouth and haughtily made eye contact with him, challenging him as he pulled me up from the ground to sit back on my heels again.

“Don’t fucking look at me. You haven’t earned the privilege of looking at me yet.” He said as he took me by the back of my neck.

I looked down immediately, my legs shifting beneath me in my excitement; I ground myself against my heel, trying to find some sort of satisfaction.

“Hold still.” Aden scolded. “I know what you’re doing when you squirm like that.”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I just want you so much.” I said, meeting his gaze again, begging him.

“Close those pretty brown eyes.” He said as he hauled me forward, I inhaled deeply as he pressed my face against his soft, silky cock; it smelled of soap and Aden, delicious. I nuzzled against him and dragged my bottom lip, and lower teeth along his shaft as I clawed at his open jeans with my left hand to free him. My right arm was wrapped around his left leg; he held my head against his left hip gently as he looked down at me.

“Open.” He said, caressing my jaw, “Good girl, now suck.”

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Castles Burning Part Two

Castlesparttwo

Amazon | Goodreads

I stood stone still as he gazed at me while he still sat on the desk, and his hands reached up and unbuttoned the top of my coveralls. My breasts lifted and fell with my breathing but I made no move to stop him as his fingers found the zipper of my coveralls and pulled it down to my waist; displaying the white undershirt clinging to my body. He splayed his hand across my tummy and then wrapped it around my waist to pull me closer to him, my heart was thrumming in my chest and I licked my bottom lip to moisten it.

“You are so beautiful Amber, far too beautiful of a creature to be placed so,carelessly on display for so many to see.” He murmured.

My breath caught in my throat at his words and at the sight of his eyes roaming all over my body. His thick black hair begged to be pulled but I held my hands still at my sides, slowly he turned his face up to mine. I inhaled sharply and my eyes widened as he slid his left hand, which held no ring, around my back, inside my coveralls and up the back of my shirt. He pulled me to him, holding me close, my breasts in his face as he looked up at me. He rested his palm in the arch of my lower back, and as my breasts heaved in front of him he let his eyes drop to them appreciatively. I felt like I might fall apart.

“When a man possesses a woman with your passion, he has a duty.” He told me as his right hand sought the seam of my white shirt and lifted it slightly up to show my belly button, his delicate touches raised the tiny hairs along my flesh. He smiled brightly and his thumb caressed the skin between my navel and my pubic bone. “He must entice her. Excite her.” He said bringing his lips to my stomach, his dense stubble scratching across my sensitive skin.

Slowly his hand came away from my back and both of them slid to my shoulders as he stood up before me, his fingers under my coveralls. I looked up at him and watched him press them down my back, he stopped when my upper body was exposed, and the sleeves that were rolled up to my elbows caught. They still covered my forearms and he held them behind my back, looking down at me pensively before he suddenly twisted the dark blue material into a knot, pinning my arms together behind my back. He savagely spun me around by my wrists, planting my back against his front. I gasped as his hands found my breasts and massaged them brutally, his mouth seeking out my neck. His fingers came up to the collar of my white shirt and I saw the muscles in his forearms flex as he violently tore the material apart, and then yanked my bra down freeing my breasts over the tops of the cups.

“He must know how to bring her lust to the surface. He must be someone who understands what you crave.” He whispered, rolling my nipples between his fingers.

I panted and closed my eyes, fighting to keep myself from moaning as he tore the rest of my shirt apart, and yanked the sleeves down, tearing it free before he tossed it to the floor. He came around to stand in front of me and squatted down to unzip the front of my coveralls the rest of the way.

“Get down.” He instructed. I sank to my knees before him and he pulled my knees free from my coveralls. Again, he took them down half way, turning the legs inside out; they wrapped around my ankles as he’d done with my arms. He positioned my work boot clad feet, which only aided the bind on my ankles, behind me. He took the fabric of my coveralls and twisted it so that it pulled my feet up to my wrists. He grasped my panties in his hands and ruthlessly ripped them apart, tear by tear, at one end, then the other and ripped them through my thighs, tossing them to the floor with my shirt. I was shaking all over.

“A woman like you needs special attention doesn’t she?” He asked me.

I stared up at him wide eyed, trying to wrap my mind around what was happening,howit was happening. He gave me a look of exasperation and then reached out and smacked my right breast and I jumped before I cried out.

“Ow!” I gritted my teeth and pulled my eyebrows together.

“Answer me,” he said. “I know this isn’t your first time.” He smiled that charismatic, beautiful smile again.

“Yes, Sir.” I said looking down at his groin, my insides were aching, and this was what I’d been craving.

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About the Author:

I am a self published author, I just do my own thing, with explicit sex scenes and BDSM sprinkled about… plots are usually small and to the point, no use drawing out too long between steamy scenes, right? If you’re looking for fifty shades or crossfire you won’t find that here,they are not the inspiration for my erotica, though they have been for many others. If you’re looking for a quick, steamy read that isn’t just straight up porn, has a little bit of a plot element to it, and get’s you hot and bothered, you’ve come to the right place! I write what I was always looking for but never found, I hope I can give you what you’re looking for too! I always keep you updated on upcoming stories, and share excerpts and snippets from my stories on my website, and blog if you’d like to try a sample before deciding on a story!

Find more at the following: