Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free E-Books During December!!!

I'm thrilled to share the news that my publisher, Medallion Press, has arranged through their distributor to offer my award-winning historical adventure-romance novels as free e-book offerings during the month of December. 

From December 1 through December 15, Stolen Promise will be free on Kindle, Nook and Sony E-reader as well as Itunes.

From December 15 through December 31, Fire at Midnight will be free on Kindle, Nook and Sony E-reader as well as Itunes.

Visit my website to read excerpts from both books!

Lisa Marie

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blue Collar Fifty Shades of Grey?

There has been such a fuss over the immense success of the trilogy of erotic novels beginning with “Fifty Shades of Grey,” that my curiosity was piqued and I downloaded the trio to my Kindle so that I could decide its merits—or lack thereof—for myself. To date, I’ve read the first novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and I’ve nearly finished the second book, “Fifty Shades Darker.”

I’m not going to jump on the pro or con bandwagon or delve into any deep philosophical rumination with regard to this work. The whole “domination/submission” thing has been discussed ad infinitum (some might say ad nauseum) on Amazon, Goodreads, and even on the romance website “All About Romance,” which is considered the tour guide for romance fans looking for the next trendy property to read. Opinions concerning this work of fiction (which features aspects of the alternative BDSM lifestyle) are widespread and I can’t really add anything to the critical storm that hasn’t already been articulated in print.

Perhaps I view things too simplistically, but “Fifty Shades” seems like nothing more than a sexually amped-up Cinderella story, ala “Pretty Woman,” which certainly divided audiences in its heyday with the implicit question, “Does a prostitute deserve a happy ending?” In the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts film, Gere was impossibly handsome and obscenely rich. He had certain, ah, expectations of the heroine, and he wasn’t always nice. Setting the kink factor aside, the Christian Grey character reminds me of Gere’s character in Pretty Woman.

I think the core at the success of “Fifty” is the fascination those of us who aren’t wealthy have with those who are. If you re-cast the uber-wealthy, phenomenally gorgeous Christian Grey as a blue-collar worker of average means, many of the scenes in the book(s) suddenly became unlikely, if not impossible.

Pretend for a moment that Christian Grey teaches engine repair at the local diesel college:

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t have been an interesting interview subject for a college newspaper in the first place, under most circumstances

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t be able to fly the heroine to his lair using his very own helicopter

• Blue collar Christian Grey probably has a two-room apartment somewhere, and wouldn’t have any spare room to devote to a “Red Room of Pain,” or the means to purchase all the kinky equipment contained within said room

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t be able to gift our heroine with a new red Audi as a graduation gift, (unless a subsequent chapter in the book details his arrest for grand theft auto)

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t be able to have a corporate server wiped clean of e-mails shared with the heroine, or have the connections and power needed to stalk our heroine so effectively

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t be able to purchase the publishing firm where the heroine works just to have more control over the heroine’s lecherous boss

• Blue collar Christian Grey might be able to take our heroine gliding, but a trip to the local zoo would be more likely on his budget

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t be able to provide our heroine with a closet full of expensive designer clothing, nor would he have a “Man Friday” (Taylor) available to shop for undergarments for her at a moment’s notice

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t be able to take our heroine shopping for a new Saab after a psychotic former girlfriend slashed the tires on the Audi and covered it in white paint

• Blue collar Christian Grey wouldn’t have a fortune to drop at a charity event to outbid his competitor for a dance with our heroine

• Blue collar Christian Grey might be able to book a room at the local Super 8 motel for a rendezvous with our heroine, but it’s doubtful he’s going to be “christening” the bed of his 50 foot boat with her

Our auto diesel college teacher version of Christian Grey could potentially have an older “Mrs. Robinson” in his past, and may have any number of ex-girlfriends with mental problems, but he wouldn’t have the means to hire surveillance and body guards to protect his current paramour from said former lovers with issues.

Christian Grey in Fifty Shades tells the heroine he makes $100,000 per hour (which I thought was amazing that he manages to be so productive when he seems to spend most of his time e-mailing, stalking, obsessing over, or nailing our heroine. Plus, what about the thirteen submissives who came before our heroine? Certainly they must have required significant time and attention, not to mention all the time it takes to draft and revise those non-disclosure agreements outlining Grey’s extra-curricular activities). The auto diesel college teacher version of Christian Grey would make, ah, considerably less, and his boss would be making sure that Christian put in his forty hours each week, leaving Christian with much less free time for stalking.

In my view, the plot of Fifty Shades depends more upon the wealth of the Grey character than it does his unusual sexual proclivities. While the book contains explicit sex scenes, most of the content is fairly average by erotica standards. Fifty Shades of Grey is for the most part a variation on the timeless fairy tale of an average woman of modest means allowed to experience a world of wealth and privilege.

Laters, baby.

Lisa Marie

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's That Time Again! Help Find a Cure for Diabetes

I'm honored to be offering a partial manuscript critique again this year for Brenda Novak's annual auction to find a cure for Diabetes.

I had a wonderful experience last year providing a critique for the author with the winning bid.  It was a win-win because I had the pleasure of reading the beginning of what promises to be a very entertaining historical romance, the author received feedback she felt helped polish her manuscript, and we both felt good about participating in an auction to raise research funds for such a worthy cause.

If you're an aspiring author in search of objective feedback, I encourage you to visit the auction site and check out the authors offering full or partial manuscript critiques.   (Pick me!!  Pick me!!!)

If you're not looking for a critique, the auction is offering a huge variety of items for bid...you owe it to yourself to have a look!
Lisa Marie

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Writerly Stuff: Let's Talk About Rejection

No discussion about the writing life is honest or complete if we tiptoe around the subject of rejection.

After looking up the definition of rejection in the dictionary, it occurred to me that its antonyms may be more revealing than the definition of the word rejection itself. Words that mean the opposite of rejection include "acknowledgment," "admission," and, "confirmation." These are the very things that are withheld when rejection occurs.

There's no doubt about it: rejection hurts. As an unpublished writer, you will not avoid it. As a published author, you will not escape it. Even if you become a fabulously wealthy, bona fide best-selling, award-winning, highly successful author, you will still not be immune (although rejection may be less painful in the last scenario).

Rejection will take many forms, and it will accompany you throughout your entire writing career, so the best way to approach it is with a good helping of plain common sense. The thing to bear in mind is that rejection is simply opinion. It is nothing more, and nothing less.
Criticism or rejection of your work is an opinion of your work expressed by a reader. The opinion formed by a reader is based upon everything that makes each reader unique: education, life experience, personal beliefs and biases, and so on. A reader's rejection of your book is not a rejection of you as a person, though it might feel that way.

If you haven't been rejected by an agent or a publisher yet, you probably haven't submitted anything to an agent or a publisher. If you've had the good fortune to find a publisher who believes in your talent strongly enough to publish, market, and distribute your work at their own expense, then you may have experienced rejection in the mix of reviews that follows publication.

Only the most naïve writer will assume that the publication of their work signals the end of the rejection experience. The path to publication merely serves to prepare a writer for what lies ahead once his or her book is available for consumption. Book signings, first fan letters, kind words from reviewers, readers and other writers will bolster the ego and provide balm when rejection comes knocking on the door.

So, what can the tender-hearted (or thin-skinned) author do to prepare for the inevitable rejection that is as much a part of the writing life as fried Twinkies at a county fair? Here are some tips:

· Write the best poem, article, short story, novel, song, screenplay, etc., you're capable of each time, with the goal of having your writing get better with each new foray into the world of the written word.

· Don't dwell on negative reviews and don't give negative reviews any more weight than you do the positive ones. A glowing review full of praise can be just as misleading as a rip-your-heart-out-with-a-dull-spoon negative one. The truth is probably somewhere in between. If you allow yourself to believe only the bad reviews, you may never write again. Most writers probably aren't as good as their best reviews suggest or as terrible as their worst ones imply.

· Learn the right lessons from rejection: it's tough to keep an open mind and remain objective when the criticism is directed at your work, but if there's a lesson to be extracted from the criticism, be willing to learn it. If you committed the cardinal sin of tossing your reader out of the story, study your craft so that you don't make the same mistake again. If the contest judge who critiqued your story provided sound advice, pay attention to it, even if the delivery of the advice lacked tact and diplomacy. If your editor pointed out plot or character inconsistencies in the margins of your galleys, be grateful for the opportunity to fine-tune your novel before it reaches publication.

· Always put rejection into perspective and view it from a variety of angles. For example, an interesting thing about numeric rankings on sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing is the detail behind the aggregate ranking. At first glance, a ranking of 3 out of 5 seems dismal until you look more closely and discover that some reviewers routinely rank everything a 1, 2, or 3 (nothing higher than a 3). You'll often see the same book appear on both "Best Book" and "Worst Book" lists. Reviewers who gave your work a low rating may have bestowed a similar mark on a classic work by an author you admire. The reader who announced to the world that your book is the "worst book I've ever read. If I could give it a zero, I would!" may have also said the same of the work of Mark Twain or John Steinbeck. If that's the case, you should be pleased to have been included in such illustrious company. Don't obsess over the 1's and 2's and don't get too puffed up when your book receives the highest possible rating (although do pause to be grateful!)

In the internet age, every reader who has an opinion has a forum for sharing their opinion with millions of other readers. That's not a bad thing because it increases the odds of people hearing about your book, although the veil of anonymity provided by the internet tends to encourage no-holds-barred, sometimes brutal candor because book reviewers and authors share a similar goal: we want what we write to be read. The more sensational the review, the more entertaining it is to read (unless it's highly negative and you happen to be the author of the book being slammed).

The final decision about whether a book is "good" or "bad" rests with each individual reader. Some readers will embrace your writing and some will reject it. The ones who enjoy your writing will encourage and sustain you, and the ones who don't will find other writers to support. That is as it should be.

Rejection is nothing more than opinion, and to quote Edmund Wilson, "No two persons ever read the same book." The only way to avoid rejection entirely is to have your Mom or best friend (but no one else) read your novel. However, if you're writing to be read by a wider audience, be prepared to be both loved and loathed at the same time.

Lisa Marie

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