Jason Bourne And Motivation

By Cynthia Sax on May 22, 2017


I watched Jason Bourne on the weekend. I enjoyed it. Jason Bourne is an awesome character and there were so many great action scenes in this movie.

But one thing really bothered me—a secondary character’s motivation. She/he was doing terrible things—killing people, putting her/his own life on the line. The reason? Because he/she wanted a promotion.

I can see working late because I wanted a promotion. I can see sucking up to the boss because I wanted a promotion. Risking my life? Killing people? No way. That’s not strong enough motivation for those actions.

And the promotion isn’t the true goal. We want a promotion because it symbolizes something to us. Maybe a bigger paycheck comes with that promotion, which allows us to pay the rent, which gives us security, our true goal. Maybe our parents told us we’d never be anyone important and the promotion is a way to prove they were wrong, to earn us their love.

The actions can’t contradict the true goal. Putting my life at risk to ultimately gain security makes no sense. Killing people might not make our parents proud of us. I couldn’t figure out why this character wanted the promotion THAT much and it bothered me.

The motivation should also ideally be personal and as specific as possible. Saving the world is a great goal but why are we saving the world? Do we want to save ourselves? That’s a rather selfish goal. Or do we want to save our five-year-old Princess-loving daughter whom we’ve sworn to always keep safe? THAT is a powerful goal. I can envision it. I can cheer for it.

The more traumatic the action for that character, the bigger the motivation needs to be. If our hero is a cyborg warrior, a being designed for killing, a being who loves killing, he might not need much motivation to end a life. He could, however, require HUGE motivation to reveal one of his possible-life-ending weaknesses to the heroine.

If there is no motivation provided for actions, they appear random. There’s a lack of emotional connection. Some readers/viewers will become frustrated and care less about the characters.

If the motivation is provided and strong enough, however, almost EVERY action can be forgivable. We can write dark disturbing characters and folks will love them. The right motivation is THAT powerful.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Fragile. Stubborn. His.

Ghost, a C Model cyborg, has disconnected his machine from his human side. Severely damaged, he knows two things—the curvy human female on his ship belongs to him and he must keep her safe. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, claim her, make her his.

Primitive. Damaged. Hers.

Lethe has seen the savage side of beings. The courageous Rebel captain has never met a male like Ghost. Overpoweringly dominant, he appeals to her on a primal level, filling her mind with thoughts of sweet surrender, hard kisses, and body-heating encounters against the warship’s walls.

They are two broken beings, one determined to protect, the other intent on flying into danger. Can love heal them both before they face their common enemy?

Ghost Of A Machine is Book 9 in the Cyborg Sizzle series and is a STAND-ALONE story.
It is also a BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ghost-of-a-machine/id1218969448

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-of-a-machine-cynthia-sax/1126040142

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ghost-of-a-machine

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/713288

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Writing – This Is YOUR Career

By Cynthia Sax on April 14, 2017

“I don’t like giving out ARCs.”

“I don’t like attending conferences.”

“I don’t like putting keywords in titles.”

“I don’t like man titty on covers.”

“I don’t like giving away books.”

Then don’t do it. Yes, it is THAT simple.

It won’t be the end of your career. Hey, it might even be good for your career. Why? Because you will be happier, care more, perhaps write more. Readers can sense that.

“But-but-but I HAVE to do it.”

No, you don’t. I don’t know one thing, outside of actually getting books written, that is essential for a writer’s success.

Sure, it helps if you have a half decent cover (i.e. a cover readers don’t wince at when they see it) but I know writers who have dreadful covers and they have found readers who don’t give a shit about that. Sure, spellchecking a story before it is published seems like a necessity but I know writers who have books filled with spelling errors and they have readers. These readers might be challenging to find but they are out there.

There are no rules. None. If you don’t like something, ask yourself why you are doing it. If it is because you think every other writer is doing it, I can assure you they aren’t.

In some ways, this makes this wonderful career more challenging. There’s no blindly following the crowd, allowing others to make our decisions for us. Everything is a decision. But there’s a reward for that additional work. We can craft the career we truly want.

The flipside of this is… we don’t get to dictate what other writers do with their careers either. If Writer X wants to give away all of her stories for free, she can. If Writer Y wants to put every keyword she knows into her titles, she can. There are no rules.

Craft the career you wish. Enjoy this wonderful experience.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Fragile. Stubborn. His.

Ghost, a C Model cyborg, has disconnected his machine from his human side. Severely damaged, he knows two things—the curvy human female on his ship belongs to him and he must keep her safe. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, claim her, make her his.

Primitive. Damaged. Hers.

Lethe has seen the savage side of beings. The courageous Rebel captain has never met a male like Ghost. Overpoweringly dominant, he appeals to her on a primal level, filling her mind with thoughts of sweet surrender, hard kisses, and body-heating encounters against the warship’s walls.

They are two broken beings, one determined to protect, the other intent on flying into danger. Can love heal them both before they face their common enemy?

Ghost Of A Machine is Book 9 in the Cyborg Sizzle series and is a STAND-ALONE story.
It is also a BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ghost-of-a-machine/id1218969448

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-of-a-machine-cynthia-sax/1126040142

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ghost-of-a-machine

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/713288

Topics: Writing Tips | 1 Comment »

Do You Need A BookBub Deal To Be A Successful Writer?

By Cynthia Sax on April 6, 2017

When I first started paying attention to the writing business, many, many years before I was published, almost every writer wanted to have her book chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. That was seen as a way to guarantee success in Bookland.

Of course, many writers didn’t have their books chosen. The odds of having a book chosen for Oprah’s Book Club was about the same as winning a lottery.

And those ‘unlucky’ writers? Some of them are huge bestselling writers today. The world didn’t end for them because they weren’t chosen. (grins) They did okay.

Today, the perceived way to ‘guarantee’ success is to land a BookBub deal ( https://www.bookbub.com/home/ ).

I often hear writers say ‘If I could land a BookBub deal, I’d have a readership and I’d never have to promote again.’ Then, if they don’t land that deal, they figure all is lost…until the next month, when they try again.

BookBub Deals, from what I hear, are great. They CAN move a writer to the next level in her career. They can introduce that book to a whole different readership. They can get a writer noticed.

(These writers still have to promote but that’s an entirely different blog post.)

I say ‘from what I hear’ because I’ve NEVER had a BookBub Deal. NEVER. I’ve applied every month for years and have been denied. I’ve tried just about everything to land one and haven’t been successful.

There’s a huge luck component with these deals. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t.

Getting turned down for a BookBub Deal doesn’t mean you or your book is bad or unmarketable. Some of the top selling writers have never had a BookBub Deal and they do okay (grins again).

That’s because they don’t pin all of their hopes and dreams on that one promotional vehicle. They know there are a gazillion ways to find readers. A BookBub Deal is an awesome route. I plan to continue applying for them. But I am also having fun with other ways

(I’m on the slow path. I think I’ve ‘talked’ to every reader who has purchased one of my books… and I’m super cool with that. My reading buddies truly are my buddies.)

There are many ways to find the right readers for your awesome new book. BookBub is merely one of them.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-thoughts-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Dark Thoughts And Writing Tips

By Cynthia Sax on April 2, 2017

I’m on Darlene Reilley’s blog, giving some tips for newer writers.

https://darwrites.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/cynthia-saxs-insights-for-new-writers/

Here’s a snippet…

There are also no lethal mistakes in this wonderful business. I’ve made a gazillion mistakes and I still have a career. One of these days, because I take quite a few risks, I’ll make a career-destroying mistake. All this means is I will have to reinvent myself under a new pen name.

Knowing that, I can be brave and try things.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-thoughts-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

When A Writing Buddy Walks Away From Publishing

By Cynthia Sax on March 29, 2017

Being a writer is one of the best jobs in the world.

This business can, however, be challenging emotionally and financially. The first five years or so of my published writing career, I spent more on writing than I made from it. The income not only didn’t cover my living expenses. It didn’t cover my writing expenses.

Success in this business is also a group thing. We often team up with other writers. These writing buddies push us to meet our deadlines, pitch in when things go wrong, help with marketing. Many of the writers in Romanceland are friends. We cheer for each other.

When one of us decides to walk away from publishing, it is challenging for the folks remaining. Like any loss, it can be accompanied by a wide range of emotions from anger to sadness. It often makes us question whether or not we should continue with this wonderful yet sometimes precarious journey.

Reasons For Walking Away

Writers have different reasons for walking away from publishing.

Some writers have a goal they want to achieve and when they achieve it, they move to different goals. Maybe they want to have a book published. That happens. Goal accomplished! Woot! Their next goal is to build their own house. That has nothing to do with publishing so they walk away from the business. Maybe their goal is to make a bestseller list or have a print book on a shelf in their mother’s favorite bookstore or… there are as many goals as there are writers.

That’s a happy reason for writers leaving the business. We will still miss our writing buddies but our sorrow is mixed with joy.

Then there are the writers who are ‘forced’ to leave. They can’t afford to continue writing, either financially, time-wise, or emotionally. That’s more challenging for the rest of us to deal with (and will be the focus of the rest of this post).

Self-Care First

Your friend has made a huge gut-wrenching decision. It might seem selfish to deal with our own feelings but we have to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of our friends.

When I hear a buddy has walked away from the writing or is considering it (once this is verbalized, I find the odds of the buddy leaving the business are pretty darn high), my writing day is done. I can’t focus on the words, not when someone’s dream is in jeopardy. The writing can wait for a day.

I talk things over with someone not in the business (often my Dear Wonderful Hubby). I ask him the questions I want to ask my friend yet know she isn’t in the right place to hear. I express my doubts about my own career. I cry. I get angry. I derive ‘solutions’ that I shouldn’t ever suggest to my friend.

I purge my emotions and then I can tackle the situation rationally.

You Are Not The Same Writer

The most important thing is to realize you are NOT your writing buddy. She made the right decision for her but she is a different person in a different situation. And you don’t know everything about that situation. Studies say that over 60% of people keep secrets from their spouses ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201406/why-we-keep-secrets-our-partners ). She’s your friend. The odds are… you will never know the entire situation.

Your writing buddy might be a New York Times Bestselling Writer but that doesn’t mean every release has sold that well. It doesn’t mean she can support her gazillion dependents on those earnings. It doesn’t mean she was covered by insurance when XXX disaster happened. It doesn’t mean she has the time to write and also care for her children and her aging parents. It doesn’t mean she can handle the harsh reviews on her most recent release, the book of her heart.

So don’t automatically think, ‘Well, if she can’t make it, I can’t make it.’ You are not the same person.

The Writing Dream Can Be Paused

The other thing to keep in mind is your buddy could return to publishing later. I’ve seen plenty of writers take breaks and then return years later, refreshed, in a better place to tackle this wonderful business.

Right now, your friend thinks she has quit permanently. Telling her that it doesn’t have to be permanent will likely result in an argument. But you can hold that ‘secret’ close to your heart, whispering in your best Arnie voice, ‘She’ll be back.’ (grins)

Communicating With Your Buddy

Once I’ve wrangled my own emotions under control, I can talk with my buddy. I’ll listen to her, offering her my support. I usually cool it with discussing my own writing issues for a while, focusing on her.

Then a week or two or three later, I’ll ask her if she wants to hear about the writing business or if she would prefer we talk about non-writing things. It can be extremely painful to hear about a dream you’ve recently walked away from. We have plenty of other things happening in our lives to talk about.

That’s how I survive when buddies walk away from publishing. Do you have any other tips?

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-thoughts-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Is The Quality Of Editing The Writer’s Responsibility?

By Cynthia Sax on March 23, 2017

I’ve seen quite a few posts from readers, reviewers, bloggers about how books shouldn’t be evaluated on the basis of editing because ‘It isn’t the writer’s fault. It is the editor’s fault.’

That’s very generous but it isn’t correct.

Bad editing IS the writer’s fault. A competent writer knows when her story is badly edited. She either hires a more competent editor if she’s self-publishing or she hires an additional editor if she’s with a publisher.

Yes, I heard those gasps. We, writers, usually don’t control whom the publisher hires to edit our stories. If we’re assigned a bad editor (and there are some of those in the business, even at the big New York publishers) and the publisher refuses to change our editor AND we care about the quality of our stories, we sometimes have to fix the problem by hiring our own editors. I’ve done this. Other writers have also.

If we can’t afford an editor, there’s always the critique partner route. Again, we have control over who critiques our stories and we have control over the quality of editing. It is our job to know the difference between a good edit and a bad edit.

Should a story receive a poor review because it has two or three typos? I read, on average, a romance novel a day and I have yet to read one that has no typos. There are no perfect stories. BUT the story should be readable. The errors shouldn’t be distracting.

There Are Different Types Of Editors

There are two main types of editors.

Content/Development Editors – These are the big picture folks. They look at our stories at the overall story and the scene levels. Does the story work? Are the main characters sympathetic? Do they have solid GMCs (Goals, Motivations, Conflicts)? Does every scene work? Is every scene needed? Do the scenes flow? Is the story structure right? Is the pacing right? Etc.

Line/Copy Editors – These are the detail folks. They look at our stories from the sentence level, hunting for typos, grammar goofs, that one wrong word choice that could change the story completely, echoes (repeated words or phrases), etc.

Some editors will do both.

It is important to know which type of editor we’re hiring. The bad editing that readers often talk about is due to bad line/copy edits. The writer will be assigned full responsibility for a bad content edit.

If you’re hiring both types of editors, I advise having the content edit completed first. It makes no sense to fix a sentence if the entire scene will be revised.

How To Find A Great Editor

The best way to find a great editor is through recommendations from other writers, preferably writers in your niche (especially for content edits). Read the writers’ books. Ensure they have the quality of editing you desire.

Editors will often ask for a few pages and give you a sample edit. This ensures they like your writing and you like their style of edits.

I changed editors a few times before I found one I worked well with (ELF – https://musingsbyelf.wordpress.com/) . That’s normal. It might take you a while to find your editor also. When you do, I suspect you’ll never want to let her go.

If you do let her go, remember that editors talk. It is an even smaller club than the writing club. Professionalism is a must.

What Editors Do And Don’t Do

Editors point out errors or places where the story can be improved. They will note these in the comments or in track changes or in a separate note/email. They rarely fix these errors. That’s the writer’s responsibility.

And we WANT this to be our responsibility. These are our stories. Our names are on the covers. Readers are buying our distinct voices. We should always have the choice of accepting or declining any changes, especially when it comes to content edits.

I almost always agree with a content editor’s suggestion that my story/scene needs to be revised. If an editor has an issue with it, usually readers will have an issue with it also. I can’t remember the last time I agreed with a content editor’s suggestion of HOW to revise it. That is our specialty, not the editor’s, and again, our solutions will be as individual as we are. How you fix the issue won’t be the way I fix the issue.

I also don’t always agree with a line editor’s suggestion. We, writers, know what words our characters would use, what words WE would use. Line editors, because they look at the story at a sentence level, aren’t always as aware as we are.

Repeated Issues

If an issue is repeated, often editors will give writers one comment about it. It is our responsibility to change the issue throughout the story.

For example, when I was a newer writer, an editor once told me to reduce the narrative in my story. I didn’t know what narrative was (sheepish grin) so I talked to a buddy (Christine d’Abo). She explained what narrative was, pointed out an example of it in my story, and suggested a way to fix it. That was my responsibility, not the editor’s.

Brand Watchdog

I’ve worked with my editor for years. She not only ensures my stories are as good as we can make them (though I tend to continue tweaking after we’ve finalized a story and that causes errors – grimaces) but she will also tell me if a new story will shock or disappoint my regular reading buddies.

A good editor, if she cares about you and your career, will ‘reject’ a story. Again, we are the masters of our own destinies. We can ignore this rejection and push ahead (I never have – I trust ELF and have completely re-written stories based on her feedback). But at least, we’ll be prepared for the reaction from readers.

Do You NEED An Editor?

There are writers who don’t need editors. They write super clean. Their stories are as tight as stories can be. These writers are rare but they exist.

I’m not one of those fortunate folks. I NEED an editor (whether paid or a critique partner). I require help with story. I need assistance with typos. I like having the reassurance of knowing someone else thinks my story is solid.

But there are no rules in writing. And, again, WE are responsible for the editing in our stories. Do what works for you and your readers and what makes you happy.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-thoughts-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Same Writing Prompt, Very Different Stories

By Cynthia Sax on March 22, 2017

AR DeClerck gave some SciFi/Fantasy writers a writing prompt and 10 minutes to write based on that prompt.

http://amyreadsandwrites.blogspot.ca/2017/03/writing-prompt-wednesday.html

As you can see, all of our stories are different and we all write at different writing speeds (I’m #1 at being the slowest! Woot!).

An original story doesn’t need an original premise and it doesn’t have to be written quickly or slowly or whatever.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-thoughts-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Guest Post | No Comments »

Talking Dark Thoughts, How To Find Time For Writing And Other Things

By Cynthia Sax on March 11, 2017

Book E Aholic has interviewed me today!

http://novascotianrantingbookreviewer.blogspot.ca/2017/03/my-interview-with-author-cynthia-sax.html

Here’s a snippet…

What drew you to the genre you write?

Cynthia Sax: I love reading SciFi erotic romance. I love the stars (all of that potential), anything about space, and I’ve always been someone who asks ‘What if?’ questions. What if, instead of sending humans into war, we designed half man, half machine beings (cyborgs) to fight our wars for us? What if our world leaders were secretly aliens? What if the Earth had two moons? What would humans look like then?

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-thoughts-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Guest Post | No Comments »

Non-Traditional Romances And Trigger Warnings

By Cynthia Sax on February 1, 2017

There has been quite a bit of talk on the writer groups about non-traditional romances. Should there be trigger warnings on books? Should these stories be in the romance category?

Dark Thoughts, my March release, is a non-traditional romance. Kralj, the hero, is a monster. He EATS his enemies. Yeah. I go there. (He’s half animal so eating his enemies, I felt, was a given.) In Releasing Rage, very bad things happen to the heroine. I wrote an erotica story long ago (it is no longer available at booksellers). That story was romantic but it didn’t have the romance happy ever after ending. They boinked and went their separate ways.

So I’m clearly supportive of non-traditional romances. I’ve also thought long and hard about whether or not we, writers, should signal to readers that our stories are non-traditional.

IMHO… the trust between writer and reader is all important. If our readers don’t trust us, they won’t allow themselves to escape fully into our worlds. Lack of trust in us, as story tellers, hampers their enjoyment of our stories.

We don’t want that. Ever.

Trigger Warnings

I believe in warning the reader about things that might traumatize them. Spoilers, however, can also ruin the reading experience. If I had said ‘(This specific bad thing) happens’ in Releasing Rage, it would have given away a major plot point.

It is also unnecessary.

We are writers. We have the gift of words. We can hint at a situation without telling readers everything. And our readers are highly intelligent. They will pick up on our hints. If they need more information, they’ll contact us and ask for it.

For Releasing Rage, I use ‘darkness’ in the blurb and my blurb ends with ‘Releasing Rage is a dark BBW Cyborg Romance.’ Dark usually means dubious consent or non-consent.

For Dark Thoughts, I say…

“Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.”

Again, I don’t say why he’s a monster or what he does. I simply warn readers that this is non-traditional romance.

Saying ‘This story is a non-traditional romance’ covers a multitude of possible triggers. Cheating would be a non-traditional romance. Stepbrother-stepsister is a non-traditional romance. Master-slave relationships would be non-traditional romance.

What about ‘romances’ in which the hero or heroine or both die in the end?

Romances Without Romantic Happy Ever Afters Or Romantic Happy For Nows

For me, as a Romance reader and writer, Romance means a Romantic Happy Ever After or a Romantic Happy For Now. This doesn’t mean everything is happy-happy, simply that the couple (or more) is in a solid happy place in their relationship at the end of the story.

One of them isn’t dead. They are together. They might not have said ‘I love you’ but they do care for each other. One of them isn’t plotting to murder the other.

But I realize some writers are questioning this definition of our genre and I respect that. We’re writers. We question everything. (grins)

If this questioning is purely about sales, I’m not certain why writers would want to put non-romance books into the romance category. My cyborg romances (which are clearly romances) sell more units in the pure Science Fiction category than in the Science Fiction Romance category on Amazon. Fifty Shades Of Grey wasn’t originally in the romance category (as I’m writing this, it isn’t in that category) and I heard it sold fairly well. There are plenty of categories other than romance that sell well. And they are often less crowded.

But if you really wish to put a story lacking a romantic HEA/HFN in the romance category, please add a trigger warning. Well, unless you have a movie based on your book (like Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You) or you’re well known for killing off the hero or heroine (like Nicholas Sparks, who, to his credit, gets irritated when publishers put his books in the romance category). Then it might not be necessary.

Again, consider making that trigger warning vague.

Consider saying something like ‘This emotionally-gripping romantic story features a man determined to die and a woman determined to stop him.’ A Romantic story isn’t a Romance. Traditional romance readers know this. A story with Romantic Elements doesn’t have a traditional Romance HEA ending either. By calling your story something other than a Romance in the description, it signals to traditional romance readers that it isn’t a romance.

Trigger Warnings And Sales

My stories with trigger warnings (the vague kind) have more sales than my stories without them. I think this is because a) there’s a healthy market for non-traditional romance and b) the trigger warnings help the stories find the right readers for them, readers who will love the story and tell their friends about it.

I wouldn’t add trigger warnings to a traditional romance. That does the exact opposite – attracting the wrong readers for the story. But I wouldn’t be scared of trigger warnings either. Make them sexy. Make them intriguingly vague. Make them sell your book.

What are your thoughts on trigger warnings?

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Three Battered Hearts. One Perfect Love

Ace and Thrasher share a special bond. They’ve never acknowledged that connection and have never fully acted on it. The Humanoid Alliance kill cyborg males like them, deeming the warriors to be defective. Now that Ace and Thrasher have escaped, they don’t trust the cyborg council and their brethren to react any differently. Physical love is too risky for them to consider.

Until they meet her.

Carys is the Commander of a Rebel Battle Station. She has dedicated her lifespan to seeking vengeance against the Humanoid Alliance and the cyborgs who killed her daughter. On her battle station, she makes the rules, and if she wants to kiss, touch, and pleasure two mysterious warriors, she will. Nothing, not even enemy warships and a mass cyborg rebellion, can stop her.

In the midst of a war, enemies can become lovers and loyalties can change in a moment. Can a forbidden relationship between two cautious cyborgs and one unbending human Commander survive?

Hers To Command is Book 8 in the Cyborg Sizzle series.
Due to the number of returning characters in this story, you’ll enjoy Hers To Command more if you’ve read the other stories first.
This is a MMF BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Hers-Command-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B01N0I7X49/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hers-Command-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B01N0I7X49/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hers-to-command/id1179869260

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hers-to-command-cynthia-sax/1125247346

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/hers-to-command-6

Topics: Writing Tips | 2 Comments »

An Introvert’s Guide To Talking About Our Books (Self-Promotion)

By Cynthia Sax on January 25, 2017

Many writers, myself included, are introverts. We prefer not to talk. Period. Talking about our books is extra painful because they’re OUR books. That smacks of self-promotion.

The issue is if we don’t talk about our books, no one will know how kick ass they are. They won’t buy them. They won’t read them. I heard in a podcast that there are over 6,000 books a DAY loaded to Amazon. It is easy for our release to get lost.

When I first sent my stories to publishers, I thought my publishers would promote my stories. I was wrong. They simply don’t have the time or money to promote every book. Even the largest, most financially successful publishers have to pick their battles. Normally, they choose to promote their bestsellers. To become one of these bestsellers, we have to either promote our books ourselves or find someone else who will promote our books for us.

Notice I didn’t say self-promote.

Because when we promote our stories, we’re not merely promoting ourselves. We’re promoting our cover artists, our editors, our formatters, our publishers (if we have them), our agents (again, if we have them). We have a team behind our stories and this team benefits from the success of our books.

When I pimp Hers To Command on a Facebook group, for example, more folks see my awesome cover. Some of these folks are writers and publishers. They might hire Amanda (from http://razzdazzdesign.com/ ), my talented cover artist. If they buy and read the story, they might hire ELF ( from https://musingsbyelf.wordpress.com/ ), my skilled editor, or Mark (from http://marksebookformatting.com/ ), my always-current-with-the-trends formatter.

These wonderful members of my team are counting on me to promote my stories. They do well when my stories do well. I can’t let them down.

This is what I tell myself as I promote my stories. I have an amazing team behind me. They deserve recognition and the best way I can give them that is to talk about my stories.

Another thing I tell myself when I promote my stories is… I’m not spamming the world. I’m telling ONE reading/writing/reviewing/blogging buddy about my story. Using the Facebook group example, I’ll look at the Members section (in the top right hand corner). Facebook shows me common friends.

I’ll focus on one of these friends. I’m not telling the group about Hers To Command. I’m telling Jannie. She likes my cyborgs. I tell her everything. And I know she’d be sad if I didn’t tell her about my upcoming release. I certainly don’t want Jannie to be sad. She’s my friend. So this post is for her. Because I love her and I think she’ll enjoy the story.

The post is no longer spamtastic. I’m not ‘bothering’ anyone (one of my great fears). I’m talking with my buddy. If someone complains (which is very rare – Romance readers love to hear about upcoming romance releases, especially releases writers are excited about), well, the message wasn’t meant for that unhappy person. It was meant for my friend.

That leads me to my final point. It is OKAY to be excited about our upcoming releases. That whole jaded, cynical, seen-it-all act? It’s cheating you out of joy and it isn’t fooling anyone.

Be happy. Tell the world. Share why you HAD to write this story, why you can’t wait for us to read it. Follow the promo rules but let your enthusiasm show. Get giddy. Happy dance.

Your stories deserve to be read. Tell folks about them!

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Three Battered Hearts. One Perfect Love

Ace and Thrasher share a special bond. They’ve never acknowledged that connection and have never fully acted on it. The Humanoid Alliance kill cyborg males like them, deeming the warriors to be defective. Now that Ace and Thrasher have escaped, they don’t trust the cyborg council and their brethren to react any differently. Physical love is too risky for them to consider.

Until they meet her.

Carys is the Commander of a Rebel Battle Station. She has dedicated her lifespan to seeking vengeance against the Humanoid Alliance and the cyborgs who killed her daughter. On her battle station, she makes the rules, and if she wants to kiss, touch, and pleasure two mysterious warriors, she will. Nothing, not even enemy warships and a mass cyborg rebellion, can stop her.

In the midst of a war, enemies can become lovers and loyalties can change in a moment. Can a forbidden relationship between two cautious cyborgs and one unbending human Commander survive?

Hers To Command is Book 8 in the Cyborg Sizzle series.
Due to the number of returning characters in this story, you’ll enjoy Hers To Command more if you’ve read the other stories first.
This is a MMF BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Hers-Command-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B01N0I7X49/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hers-Command-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B01N0I7X49/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hers-to-command/id1179869260

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hers-to-command-cynthia-sax/1125247346

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/hers-to-command-6

Topics: Writing Tips | 1 Comment »

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