#Free #FridayReads - House of Immortal Pleasures (Part 6)

House of Immortal Pleasures
Copyright © 2010 by Katie Salidas

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial
sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Showered, fed, and mentally ready for his duties, Connor waited in a darkened corner of his room: Romantic Fantasy 123.
The room was adorned in various shades of crimson. Humans loved the vampire fantasy, so the House of Immortal Pleasures made sure to deliver. The queen-sized bed, set in the center of the room, was covered in rich cherry, micro-suede fabric. Black, wrought-iron rails made up the headboard and footboard, and hand-cuffs coated in plush fabric were attached and ready for use. Drapes of red, gossamer fabric canopied the bed while various lit candles, on shelves, completed the romantic feel.
Connor tapped his long fingers on the top of a chest sitting next to his wing-back chair. The large, wooden box contained all the tools of his trade. Anything necessary to fulfill his customer’s fantasies: lotions, potions, whips, and chains. Connor was a master of each and every sexual aid created. He wondered for a moment if he would have need of these items tonight. Maybe the cat o nine tails, he mused. A sinister grin crossed his face.
His supernatural hearing picked up the sounds of people moving through the house. Sighing, one last night, he reminded himself.
Unlike other slaves in the house, he was not allowed to roam the grounds to entice customers to join him. Connor waited while his women were hand-picked by Alexander. Connor had a reputation for being the best at what he did. Alexander used him many times to up-sell customers into more expensive services.
He sat waiting, like a caged zoo animal expecting his dinner. His eyes locked on the door waiting to hear the tell-tale footsteps. It didn’t matter what customer was presented to him tonight; he knew, for better or worse, she or he would be his last.
As if he had willed it, two pairs of footsteps echoed in the hallway. The knob turned and his door creaked open. A shaft of light streamed in from the hallway, highlighting the bed.
Connor made sure to stay hidden in the shadows. He wanted it to appear as if the room was empty. It was all part of the routine. Having been instructed to play upon the vampire mystique, when it was time, he would appear in the shadows and his entrance would be grand and overly dramatic.
Alexander entered first, holding onto a petite woman. Chestnut hair fell in front of her face, creating a curtain effect that blocked Connor’s view. Not that it mattered. Ugly or pretty, he would do his duty, though he did hope she would be attractive. That would make his job a little easier.
The tang of alcohol permeated the air. He had no doubt that Alexander had coaxed her out of the shelter and relative comfort of the downstairs bar. That was his way. He never passed up an opportunity to drain  drunks of all of their hard-earned cash. If he couldn’t suck their blood, he would suck their wallet dry. That’s why he brought her to Connor. No one could say no to him.
The woman trembled under Alexander’s steady grip.
“If you will have a seat here…” Alexander used his most calming and persuasive voice to ensure her complacency. “Your creature of the night will attend to you shortly.”
Connor knew it was only Alexander’s numinous tones that kept women from running to escape his less-than-attractive visage.
As expected, she did as instructed, and perched on the edge of the bed. She made no argument or protest though her racing heartbeat and trembling hands gave away the nervousness behind her silence. She reached a shaky hand up, and brushed the hair from her face revealing beautiful emerald green eyes and lush, red lips.
Connor sucked in a silent breath.
Thank the gods for sending me such a beauty for my final customer. His eyes swept down from her face to her full breasts. Her cotton top had not been buttoned all the way, leaving a generous view of the creamy skin of her décolleté.
The woman drew in a slow, deep breath, exhaling loudly as Alexander turned towards the darkened corner. He would easily be able to see, with his preternatural vision, Connor, sitting in the wing-back chair. Fixing him with a menacing glare, Alexander nodded curtly and walked toward the door.
“Enjoy your evening, my dear,” Alexander said, stepping out of the room, while pulling the door closed behind him.

Read More Next Friday!

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When monsters appear on Earth, Maggie MacKay is on the job. No one is better at hauling the creepy crawlies back where they belong. No one, that is, except Maggie's dad, who disappeared in the middle of an assignment without a trace.
Now, an elf named Killian has shown up with a gig. Seems Maggie's uncle teamed up with the forces of dark to turn Earth into a vampire convenience store, serving bottomless refills on humans. The only hope for survival lies in tracking down two magical artifacts and a secret that vanished with Maggie's father.

Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it--until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn't stand to see one more dead body. Now they've been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world's best killing teams. 
After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed. Some enemies aren't willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead...

After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.
Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country

Three days ago, she was a wife, a mother, and very much alive... then the music called to her.
Marketing maven Claire has one goal for the Music Expo-- to land a few whales so that her boss will give her a badly needed raise. She puts on her game face and courts the industry's elite until her plans are derailed by hotness-in-high-heels.
Vampire Bette wants to find a human with untapped talents that she can mold and control. Using a haunted violin, she lures Claire in with her lilting song and bewitching smile. In that moment, Claire's life is unraveled and she finds herself with more than strange dreams and overdue bills to worry about. Much more.
To make matters worse, Claire is attracted to two unlikely people-- Bette and her hunky but pale associate, Gregor. Both can light Claire's fire, but is either of them the only one?
Unfortunately for Claire, life isn't all song lyrics and seduction. Tied to darkness by blood and power, Claire must harness her abilities if she has any hope of returning home to her daughter and regaining her former life.

Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition...that's the hard part.
Rescued from a brutal mugging on the college campus of UNLV, 25 year old Alyssa is initiated into a frightening, eternally dark world she never knew existed. The world of the vampire.
Stricken with cravings of blood, and forced leave behind all she knew, Alyssa struggles with the change. And Lysander, her sexy but aloof sire, is the only one who can help guide her.
There's no turning back now. It's either, Carpe Noctem, or final death.

#Free #FridayReads - House of Immortal Pleasures (Part 5)

House of Immortal Pleasures
Copyright © 2010 by Katie Salidas

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial
sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Two shots down, thank God. Daphne swallowed the second stinging gulp of alcohol. A warm fuzziness spread from her stomach, enveloping her mind, but it did not diminish her anxiety over being in this place. Kerri and Jamie had been teasing her for the last twenty minutes, loudly reading off more descriptions from the menu of various pleasures with feathers, leather, teeth—
“And don’t forget, deep, hard penetration,” Jamie announced so loud that a few of the other patrons turned and looked in their direction.
“Oh, yeah, she needs some of that!” Kerri responded before both girls broke into squeals of girlish giggles.
Feeling the weight of eyes on her from all around the room, Daphne tried to hide herself again behind the menu.
Though she tried to deny any interest, Daphne’s panties were soaked with evidence of arousal. The warming effects of the alcohol had done nothing to lessen the ache still pulsing and demanding attention between her legs. Daphne wanted nothing more than to go home where she could be free to satisfy those throbbing urges in privacy. She smiled at the thought of a date with trusty, old B.O.B, her favorite toy. He was the only ‘man’ who never let her down. He didn’t demand any special sexual acts. He never made comments about her body or weight. And he lived only to serve her, as long as she kept the batteries charged.
Heat flushed her face, warming her cheeks. Daphne dropped her gaze to the empty shot glass in her hand. No matter how much the thought of sex tempted her, she could not bear to share herself with someone else. Daphne knew if she let someone else in, let another man get close to her, he would toss her aside when she failed to satisfy him. Just like Ken did.
“You’re falling behind, Daphne,” Jamie slurred. Somehow more drinks had appeared on the table. Jamie licked salt from her hand, knocked back her drink, and then sucked on a lemon wedge before thrusting another shot into Daphne’s hand.
Great, now my ride is drunk. Daphne groaned in frustration. She looked over to find Kerri but couldn’t locate her. This sent a streak of worry dancing down her spine. She knew Kerri would be just as drunk as Jamie. What if some sleazy vampire suckered her into going upstairs?
Jamie stood up, shaking her hips, dancing to the music. Daphne pulled her back. “What are you doing? And what happened to Kerri?”
“I’m right here,” Kerri said, appearing out of the crowd as she walked toward them. “I brought a friend.”
Behind her, a tall, pale man followed. He looked everything like a vampire from a horror movie. Stringy, raven-black hair cascaded down from his head to his shoulders creating a stark contrast to his pale and emaciated face.
“Greetings, ladies. My name is Alexander. I am the proprietor of this establishment. I do hope you are enjoying yourselves,” he said casually. Though his appearance was lacking, his voice carried a pleasant and almost melodic tone. “I noticed you beautiful ladies have been sitting here, unattended, for quite some time.” He frowned, just slightly and turned to face Daphne. “Is there a problem? Are you having issues deciding on your entertainment for the evening?”
Jamie reached into her purse and whipped out her gold card like a shop-a-holic at a one-day-only sale. “Give my friend here the works,” she slurred as she slammed the card on the table. “Whatever she wants. I want her to come home walking funny.” She grabbed another shot and downed it, screwing up her face as she swallowed.
Daphne groaned, smacking herself hard in the forehead. “Please stop. This is so embarrassing.”
Kerri too, pulled out a credit card and tossed it on top of the first. “And if she doesn’t have enough, use this.”
“No. I don’t want this. You guys, stop.” Daphne slammed her fists onto the table. “This has gone too far.”
The gaunt man smiled, showing a hint of fangs beneath his thin lips. His eyes locked onto Daphne’s. “It would seem your friends desire you to have a good time.” The room fell eerily quiet; the sounds of the other patrons and loud music faded to a low muffle as she looked into Alexander’s eyes. The casual drawl in his voice was smooth and enchanting; a stark contrast to his lack of handsome features. “Why turn down such a generous offer?”
A thick layer of fog rolled into Daphne’s mind as she stared into Alexander’s eyes, amplifying her drunken state, making her feel relaxed. Suddenly, despite her revulsion at his appearance, Daphne felt the need to agree to whatever this man wanted.
“Please, Miss, do not insult your friends generosity,” he coaxed, gazing deep into her eyes. At the same time, he extended a hand to help her out of her seat. “I believe I know just what you need.”
She accepted the offered hand, allowing Alexander to pull her away from the table. The two girls cheered as she stood up.
Daphne glanced back nervously at her friends. Two men, no doubt vampires, were already scooting into the empty places in the booth next to them.
Alexander wrapped his arm around Daphne and escorted her up a set of stairs at the end of the bar.

Read More Next Friday! 

#Giveaway - Can an Immortyl society survive in the modern world?

Servant of the Goddess
Author : Denise Verrico
Genre: Urban fantasy

Format: Print and multi format ebook
Links to buy:

Amazon Page: http://amzn.to/K3NhVS
Servant of the Goddess Trade PB: http://amzn.to/K8uwPb
Servant of the Goddess Kindle: http://amzn.to/J0R2Id
Barnes and Noble: Servant of the Goddess Trade PB and Nook: http://bit.ly/IIz7ru


Facebook fan page: http://on.fb.me/pwZB5L
Follow Cedric on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/ozVCZq

Giveaway: Every commenter who leaves a contact email will receive a link and a free coupon code for my ebook, Annals of the Immortyls!

Building a World
So how does an author go about building a world?  First off, I find inspiration doing my research, and then I let imagination take over.  Every writer should be a reader and not just in the genre in which one writes.  I’ve done research on everything from British street slang to Sanskrit mantras.  There are so many resources available on the web and in the library from which the writer can draw inspiration.  I was on a panel recently with the wonderful fantasy author, Tamora Pierce, and she said she learns a lot about a culture from reading their cookbooks.

Any subject is of value to the writer.  
I studied costume history and design in college as a theater major, and I can’t tell you how valuable that knowledge has been.  An understanding of geography, politics, religion, art, and music can enrich a story and set it apart.  The important thing about creating a world in speculative fiction is sticking to the rules you create for your corner of the universe. 

When I started writing my Immortyl Revolution series, I wanted my vampires to be different from other writers’, but still be recognizable as vampires.  Everyone knows about old vampire legends and the movie and pop culture clichés.  Fantasy is the realm of make-believe, and there is much room for interpretation.  The Immortyls have enhanced physical abilities, can’t go out in the sun, and can drink only human blood.  Why do vampires usually choose to operate in the dark?  There is really no reason I could find in folklore, other than it’s easier to sneak into peoples’ houses and drink their blood when they are sleeping.  Vampires didn’t destruct in the sun until the film, Nosferatu, but I wanted my supermen to have their “kryptonite”, so I created a biological reason to keep them out of the sun, more in keeping with my set of rules.

My series plot, the race to capture the secrets of immortality, was inspired by articles I’ve read on biotechnology.  I opted for no magical powers in my world, except for the magic worked by a DNA molecule.  My vampires are biologically altered, not the undead variety, so they behave a lot like mortals in many respects. 

It’s fun to play around with the old myths and legends and come up with reasons behind them or find alternatives to them.

I find it a challenge to take all kinds of information found in research and throw it into the pot to concoct a completely new culture.  In any world, there are various cultures and subcultures with distinct rituals, rules, and beliefs.  Opportunities for conflict arise when these factions clash.  The trick is to give layers of detail without overwhelming the narrative with descriptive passages.  I try to use action as much as possible to reveal custom.  The way a character wears his clothes, washes his hands, or prays can reveal a lot about that person’s cultural background and character. 

The world of Immortyl Revolution brings to together many elements of research and reading that I’ve done over the years.  I’m a bit of a history buff, and writing about vampires gives me an opportunity to throw people from different time periods together in a contemporary urban setting.  Cara Mia deals a lot with Mia, the heroine, becoming a vampire and her struggle to survive as a modern woman in an ancient culture.  Cedric, in My Fearful Symmetry is also thrown into a very strange set of circumstances, where he is trained as a sacred courtesan and devotee of the Indian Goddess Kali.  My current release,
Servant of the Goddess, deals with these modern vampires confronting the tyranny of their rulers and the USA authorities as well.  Well, they still find time to have love affairs and send up some sparks.

The spectrum of speculative fiction offers many opportunities for an author.  Every writer has unique experience and knowledge to share.  There are so many worlds out there yet to discover and mythologies yet to create.  I look forward to both reading and writing about them.

Chapter Excerpt - Servant of the Goddess

Sudden shouts battled against the sound of the wind. I peered down the block. Teen-formed Immortyls, sewer rats, closed a circle around a tall male, who held his hands high above his head. From the direction of the wind, I couldn’t yet ascertain this stranger as mortal or Immortyl. Best to investigate. I ran toward the disturbance, wrapping my fingers around the Glock strapped to my hip. 
 A shrill whistle split the air. Two of the sewer rats lunged for the stranger. He crouched and pirouetted on one leg, letting loose a rapid succession of kicks that knocked his attackers sprawling onto the sidewalk. A rat named Tommy growled and launched himself at the stranger. To my amazement, the stranger leapt high into the air and hovered there for a moment like a falcon before lashing out with both feet. Tommy’s head snapped backward, and he flattened against the pavement. The remaining rats hung back.
The slender figure of a boy maybe eighteen or nineteen touched down and crouched again, poised to strike. No mortal could perform such maneuvers with this speed and agility, not to mention almost ballet-like grace. The Immortyl’s face betrayed raw emotion, indicating he was new to the blood, probably not much older than his form suggested. Eamon, the rat pack leader, drew and aimed a pistol at him. The stranger raised his hands above his head once more.
 I gave a sharp whistle for Eamon to stand down. “What’s going on here?”
Eamon lowered the gun and spit on the ground. His forever-twelve-year-old face scrunched up. “We found this one skulking about,” he said. Even after a century and half in New York his speech still gave away his Dublin origins. “Says he’s come from the chief elder’s house.”
 The wind kicked up harder. Long, auburn hair whipped about the newcomer’s face. He shivered, hugging an Indian-styled shirt around him. Traces of black kohl and sienna rouge clung to his eyes and mouth, as if he’d scrubbed the paint off in a hurry. The make-up and impractical clothing pointed to origins more exotic than the russet hair and milky complexion suggested. His story sounded plausible. However, the odds that this kid had escaped the chief elder’s compound near Calcutta and made it all the way to New York on his own were unlikely. No slave had ever left there of his own accord.
Kurt had stood trial at the chief elder’s court for inciting rebellion. He’d told me that the chief, Kalidasa, employed state-of-the-art security, as well as vampire-eating tigers. The place was a veritable fortress. Still, there was always a first time, and this newcomer had held his own against Eamon’s band.
I had to admire the kid for standing up to Eamon and his thugs.
The pack leader and I didn’t care much for one another, but he’d fought for Kurt in our recent war with a rival elder. For political reasons, I forced myself to take a civil tone with him. “Did you bother to ask his business before you ordered an attack?” I called to the newcomer, “You--come here.”
 The boy lowered his hands and slinked forward. I’d never seen a man move quite like this, with delicacy just brushing the feminine, yet suggesting coiled up, sinewy strength like a jungle cat. Instinct prompted my hand to reach for the Glock concealed on my hip. The kid had danger scrawled all over him in big garish letters.
“Is this true?” I asked.
“I ran away from court,” the boy replied, his speech tinged with a Scottish burr. “I’m seeking refuge here.”
The plaintive tone struck a chord in me. I sized him up again. His winsome looks didn’t belong to the usual brand of vampire assassin, but to a household slave chosen for his decorative value. Still, his swift feet could kill if given the chance. Wouldn’t it be just like Giulietta to send death in such an appealing guise?
 “Kurt’s counselor, Chase Powers, can vouch for me,” he continued. “Take me to him.”
 “You know Chase?”
“We met in India during Kurt’s trial. He said I’d be welcome here. Please Miss. You have to believe me. I’ve come such a long way and got nowhere else to go.” Desperation filled the spooky, green eyes. They almost glowed, more like a cat’s than a man’s. “There’s probably a bounty offered for my return by now.”
“What did you do?”
“It’s not what I did. It’s what I am.” He held out his hands. Henna tattoos snaked around the wrists and tops, elaborate whirls and spirals. “The marks of my order. I’m an adept of the ancient arts.”
 He was an adept? I’d always imagined these temple devotees and de facto courtesans as Indian in origin. I gave the boy a closer look. His clothing had seen better days, but the sinuous way he moved made them a fashion statement. You couldn’t deny the perfection of feature and figure required of his order. He stood out from Eamon’s mangy lot like an emerald in a box of Cracker Jacks.

Why book covers are so important!

Let’s face it: People do judge a book by its cover. Book browsers will only give a book a few seconds’ glance. A good cover can draw potential readers in, whereas a poorly designed cover can send them running for the hills.

This is what drives many people to pay an artist hundreds of dollars to do a cover for them. I’m not saying that’s wrong. Just please remember to keep your budget in mind when hiring an artist or purchasing your artwork.

The cover is the first thing people are going to see when they look at your book. So it goes without saying that your cover needs to be an attention-grabber. It needs to stand out among thousands of other books within its genre.

Your cover should do three things:
Advertise the book
Showcase the author
Set the “feel” of the book.

If your book catches a reader’s eye, it might get them to read the back cover (in a store) or product description (for online shopping). Beyond that, they may take a chance on a sample (online) or decide to buy the book right there. And that’s exactly what you want.

When picking cover art, you need to use something that fits within the “norm” for your genre. Look at other books and see what overall theme or style they use. For example: Urban fantasy. Lately, the trend in urban fantasy is a kick-ass female on the cover. She’s generally in front of part of a city view. How about Romance? Generally romance covers have a man and woman in an intimate setting with a scenic background. Simple enough, right?

These are the standards, and they give you a jumping-off point for searching out your artwork. You want your readers, who expect a certain look or feel, to know that your book fits with their standards. That does not mean you should copy someone else’s cover; it means, rather, that you should use it as a springboard.

*Remember this when thinking of cover design: It’s the most important visual sales tool you have, and it’s worth spending a little extra time and a few extra dollars here. Cover art and editing are the two places where most of your budget will be spent (marketing being the remainder).

Want to learn more about self-publishing? Check out my latest release Go Publish Yourself

#Free #FridayReads - House of Immortal Pleasures (Part 4)

House of Immortal Pleasures
Copyright © 2010 by Katie Salidas

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial
sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The doormen left Daphne and her friends sitting in a quiet, cozy little booth in the downstairs bar. Soft music, the clink of glasses, and a mix of chatter from the other patrons filled the room. They sat perusing the house menu. Services here were ordered à la carte, and Daphne used the excuse of needing time to choose her … services to avoid being sent upstairs. She hid behind the tall, laminated menu, hiding her face from view. All around the dimly-lit bar were vampires, both men and women, working the customers, trying to get them to go up to the rooms and enjoy their erotic pleasures.
Surrounded by her friends and not being groped or mesmerized by Fabio-esque men, Daphne felt a little more like herself. No longer dizzy, she finally found the ability to articulate the thoughts floating around in her head. She set the menu down and glared at Jamie. “I want to go home, now!”
“Not until you have had some fun,” Jamie teased, swiping the menu from under Daphne’s hand. “Now, you said you wanted to look at the menu. So, what sounds good? Maybe a little tongue lashing?”
“What! No, give me that.” Daphne yanked the menu out of Jamie’s hand.
She gasped and bit her lip as she looked over the list of services to order. There it was, halfway down the laminated page. “What the hell, it’s actually called ‘Tongue Lashing.’” She read the description.
Indulge in your most sensual fantasy as your master of pleasure, using only their tongue, will explore your most sensitive places.
 Daphne gulped down a breath, trying not to show her interest, wanting to look disgusted and repulsed. She crossed her legs and set the menu down on the table. She hoped her ruse worked. Daphne knew she couldn’t bring herself to be with another man, but her body had a different idea. Just the thought of a warm, velvety tongue lapping at her skin started warmth pulsing between her legs.
“Oh c’mon, Daph. Don’t be such a prude,” Kerri said. She took the menu from the table.
A scantily clad cocktail waitress wandered by to take their orders. “Tequila,” Jamie exclaimed. “Three shots for each of us.”
“Woot,” Kerri said in agreement as she bounced up and down in her seat. Her tight, curly red hair bounced with her as she danced in the booth. “Let’s get this party started right.”
Daphne sighed and put her head down on the table.
“Oh look, they have a virgin special,” Kerri said excitedly and thumped Daphne on the shoulder. “Fun for first-timers.” She pointed to a spot on the menu. “Don’t be nervous. We will make sure your first time is magical.” She read the description with an added flair to her voice. “Start with a candle-lit bath to help you set the mood. Then retreat to one of our fantasy rooms where your creature of the night will—”
“Stop it! Just shut up.” Daphne looked up, shooting Kerri a dangerous, menacing glare.
“Well you haven’t had sex since Ken. I’m sure you qualify for the first-timers special. Your cherry has probably grown back by now.”
Jamie and Kerri high-fived. “Use it or lose it,” they cheered together.
“That’s it. I’m going home. I’ve had enough,” Daphne said, standing up next to the table. “I’ll call a cab if you won’t take me home.”
The cocktail waitress returned with nine shot glasses, a shaker of salt, and a plate of lemon and lime wedges.
“Okay, Daphne, we’ll go …” Jamie said solemnly. Daphne breathed a sigh of relief. Jamie turned to Kerri and winked. A wicked smile crossed her face “Only after you drink your shots.”
Daphne groaned. “Enough of your stupid games.”
“Look, lady.” Jamie’s tone became serious. “It’s a seventy-dollar minimum just to walk through the door here. Let’s at least have some drinks, okay?”
Daphne collapsed back into the booth. “Fine. Hand me a fucking shot.”
“That’s the spirit,” Kerri said, sliding a glass to Daphne while picking up one for herself. “To popping Daphne’s cherry.” She held up her glass. “Again!”
Daphne groaned loudly. With friends like these, who needs enemies? She tipped the glass and swallowed the harsh liquid.

Read More Next Friday! 

5 Common mistakes to avoid when self-publishing

New authors are often chomping at the bit to get their books out into the market. I understand this. I was there once, and it led me to make many mistakes as I stumbled through the murky waters of self-publishing. Back then there were fewer resources out there to inform the new and uninitiated.  Fast forward to today, after publishing many more books, I’ve begun to share the knowledge I’ve learned through trial and error.  Go Publish Yourself is a handy-dandy little guide that can help you avoid many of the common mistakes as you work to publish your novel.

So, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common mistakes to avoid when attempting to self-publish.

1 - Forgetting To Write A Budget
Something that most new authors don’t know until they’ve already jumped in feet first; it’s easy to go broke trying to publish your first book. So before you take any steps in the production of your book, sit down and create a budget.
Your product (your book) is a direct reflection of the work you’ve put into it and the money you’ve put into producing it. While it is important for you to produce the best-looking book you can, you still have to remain cost-conscious. You have to find the balance between quality and affordability.
Though self-publishing suggests DIY (Do It Yourself), most of us are not able to do all of the things required to create a book. That’s okay. In most cases you won’t be able to do it all, and for some things, like editing, you shouldn’t. You’ll probably have to contract out for things like cover art, editing, layout (in some cases), and so on.
All the money you spend toward the production of your book is a gamble. Remember this. There is no guarantee your book will sell, no matter how much money you throw into it. I’m not trying to suggest that you won’t make any money on your book, but you do need to be very realistic in your goals and keep a very level head where costs are concerned. You should never go into these separate contract works with a blank check mentality. Spending $500 on a book cover might not be the smartest decision, even if the artwork is spectacular. That $500 will have to be made up in sales (along with all of your other production costs) before your book can begin to make you money. All costs need to be weighed out carefully. You should always be on the lookout for “the best bang for your buck.”

2 - Skipping The Editor
Self-publishing originally received its dirty image because of the lack of quality associated with it. In the early days of self-publishing, access to quality editors was expensive. Authors who couldn’t afford good editing couldn’t produce a nice clean product. That reflected badly on the author and self-publishing in general. Now that self-publishing has become more popular, so too have freelance editors. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Quick Tip - Don’t use a freelance editor who doesn’t offer a free sample. If you can’t “try before you buy,” then don’t use them.
And, No, your mom, sister, friend, critiquing partner, or beta reader, no matter how much of an avid reader they may be, is not an editor. Hire a real editor.

3 - If You’re Not An Artist, Don’t Do The Cover Yourself
We’re writers; that doesn’t mean we’re graphic artists. It’s okay to NOT be a graphic artist. If you don’t have the skills to do it, don’t do your own cover.
Yes, people do judge a book by its cover. Book browsers will only give a book a few seconds’ glance. A good cover can draw potential readers in, whereas a poorly designed cover can send them running for the hills. It is for this reason alone that you should consider hiring out for the cover art work.
You could purchase a royalty-free photo and slap your name and book title on it, but is that going to wow a reader who is browsing book shelves? 9 times out of 10 the answer here is no. And that’s ok. Just like with editing, cover art is a lot more widely available now. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to get a beautiful cover.  And again I’ll point you to my handy website guide.

4 - Forgetting The Marketing Plan
Who are you going to get to buy your book? Friends and family will only take you so far, and many of them are more moral support than financial. Don’t be surprised if only a select few members of your friends and family actually purchase your book. Hey, it happens.
Forgetting to write out a plan of action leads many new authors to using the spam approach in their efforts to reach new readers. That kind of marketing just pisses people off. This is why you need to sit down and set out guidelines, on paper, to establish who your audience is and how you plan to reach them. I do offer a sample marketing plan in Go Publish Yourself!

5 - Hanging Your Hopes All On One Book
Not every book is going to be a bestseller! Let’s just rip that band-aid off right now. That means that no matter how much you throw into a book and its marketing, it may not make it big. Try your best and do everything you can, but don’t sink all of your hopes into just one book. An author’s career is based on all of their work, not just one title. So keep on writing while you work to promote your first book.

To learn more, pick up my latest release, Go Publish Yourself!

Go Publish Yourself!
Self-Publishing made simple. Get your polished novel ready for Kindle, Nook, or Print in thirty days or less.

Avoid the common stumbling blocks and get on the road to successful self-publishing. This handy dandy guide, filled with insider’s tips and tricks, will unscramble the world of self-publishing into simple, easy-to-follow steps.

What’s in the book?
Common Misconceptions
The Business of Self-Publishing
Basic Costs & Budgeting
Publishing Formats: Epub, Kindle, Smashwords, & Print
Cover Art
Interior Layout
Printing and Distribution
Marketing Basics: Platform Building, Book Signings, Blog Tours, etc.

And much more!

Don’t make rookie mistakes. Learn from an insider!
Katie Salidas is an author with several successful self-published titles. Each of her titles was created in the DIY (Do It Yourself) style, without the aid of author service companies. Through trial and error she has gained the knowhow to successfully publish print and ebooks. Go Publish Yourself! has that knowledge assembled into an easy-to-use format, packed with no-nonsense tips and quick and dirty tricks, so you can take your novel to the next level.

So, what are you waiting for? Go Publish Yourself!

Writing In First Person

Love it or hate it you’ve probably got an opinion on first person point of view. As an author, I do too.

With first person I feel that I can give you, the reader, an in-depth view into the main character of my work. It can be argued that the same effect can be achieved with a limited 3rd, but I just don’t feel like it has the same intimacy, and since I’m writing a “pro first person” blog post, we’ll just run with that for today.
With first person I feel that you are right there, inside the mind of the character. You see what they see, you feel what they feel first hand, without the added narrative voice clogging things up. You are the character instead of being told what the character is doing.

Example from Soulstone

My eyes burned as if I had looked directly into sunlight, but no warmth hit my skin. In an instant, my vision failed. Everything became white, and for a brief moment there was complete and utter silence. Not even the chirp of a cricket could be heard. That moment was shattered by a loud explosion and the thunder of frantic footsteps heading my way.

In this example, in first person, you experience everything the character is experiencing. Your eyes are burning with my character. You’ve gone blind and must now experience things with your other senses.

The down side to this perspective is that it is flooded with too many “I” statements. “I did this, I did that.” That’s one of the main reasons people get annoyed with this perspective. It can become too reflective and those times where a character is “I-ing” too much become a bit stagnant.
The trick to working with first person and not hitting that stale reflection is to pepper it in among action and interaction.

Example from Soulstone

I pounced, jumping onto his back, tackling him to the ground. The heel of the rifle in his hands came back and smacked me in the chin, snapping my jaw closed. My eyes watered with pain, but I held on tight to his back. He squirmed and tried to roll and knock me off, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I clung to him tighter, like a rodeo cowboy riding his bucking bronco, while I looked for a good place to bite down.
I bent down, to the crook of his neck, finding my target. My teeth made contact, sinking like a knife through hot butter into the soft skin of the soldier’s neck. His adrenaline-fueled blood gushed into my mouth. He moaned in pain but quickly went limp under me.

Here, I gave a lot of those “I” sentences, but they are intermingled with the action of taking down a soldier and drinking his blood. There is cause and effect, the rifle, the struggle, and finally, the biting down into his soft flesh. All of this is wrapped in with those pesky “I’s.” The trick is to blend them in well enough to make them not feel annoying while giving that extremely personal experience that I feel only first person does.

If I were to take these from a third person perspective, instead of enjoying the soldiers adrenaline-fueled blood with the character, you would only hear about her enjoyment. And that’s why I chose this perspective for this particular story. (I have other works written in third person)nNot that I want you all to enjoy blood, unless you happen to be a vampire. What I want is for you to get close with my main character. It’s her story and if you read it long enough, yours too.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to check out my latest release you can find it online at the following sites.

Book 4 in the Immortalis Series

Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soulstone-katie-salidas/1109708735?ean=9780985127787&itm=1&usri=soulstone

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Soulstone-Katie-Salidas/dp/0985127783/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1332655040&sr=8-12

Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Soulstone-Immortalis-Vampire-Series-ebook/dp/B007OZDJCU/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332821870&sr=1-10

It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone.

Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Her clan, the Peregrinus, have all but given up hope. Only Alyssa still believes her lover can be released. In despair, Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum.

The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.

#Free #FridayReads - House of Immortal Pleasures (Part 3)

House of Immortal Pleasures
Copyright © 2010 by Katie Salidas

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial
sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Just past twilight, Connor rose from his daylight sleep to the sound of his boss, Alexander, yelling and pounding on his door.
“Get up you, lazy piece of meat.” The brothel owner’s voice carried clearly through the thick, wooden door. “You have a job to do.”
With a heavy sigh, Connor stood. He chose not to bother with clothes; he had nothing to hide after ten years of servitude in this house of ill repute. He strolled over to the door, stark naked and opened it to face his soon-to-be ex-master.
“It’s my last day, Alexander. I expect you to remove my restraints.” He pointed to a thick, metal collar around his neck. “Before sunrise.”
“When your services are complete, I’ll remove it, and not a moment sooner.” He waved a hand dismissively at Connor. “Don’t make me go to the council and inform them you’ve been acting out again. They might just lengthen that sentence some more.”
A low, feral growl rumbled in Connor’s chest. His lip curled to a sneer, revealing one of his sharp fangs. He turned and slammed the door.
“Be ready for customers in one hour,” the owner shouted. Loud, quick-paced, clomping footsteps told Connor that Alexander was already on his way to harass someone in another room.
Connor hated being an indentured servant to the House of Immortal Pleasures. A cruel punishment sent down from the leaders of the vampire council. Since they had been discovered, vampires and other supernatural beings had attempted to merge with normal society. Killing was strictly prohibited. Because of an accident—one small lapse in self-control—he had been sentenced to years of hard labor.
He could still see her face. Her deep, mossy green eyes; they had their own captivating power, though she was no immortal, and never would be.
She had been a beautiful woman. The only one he’d allowed himself to get close to after being turned. Guilt pulled at his heart. He’d never meant it to go that far, but he couldn’t resist the temptation. Her blood was like sweet honey. As a newly-made vampire it had been such a struggle to abstain from drinking too much. She’d begged him to taste her; kept urging him to drink as they made love. He knew better, but in the throes of passion he’d let his guard slip, and drank too much.
It was a cruel but fitting punishment that he’d been sentenced to the House of Immortal Pleasures as his penance. He had learned quite a bit of control over the last ten years.
Connor stepped into a shower, letting the hot water run across his body. His muscles relaxed and he sucked in a deep, calming breath. Showers were his private sanctuary, the only clean and pure thing in this ill-gotten place. He reached for a bottle of liquid soap and lathered his chest, arms, and legs.
Taking special care to thoroughly clean all of his important parts, he reached down and stroked the length of his cock a few times. Tiny ripples of delight ran up his body as his cock thickened—inflating in his hands. Water poured down from the shower head, raining teasing drops on his sensitive tip. He sighed with contentment, squeezing tighter with each stroke as a wave of pleasure rolled through him. One more night, that’s it. Just one more and you’re free, he thought.
Images of the various women and men, he’d been forced to service, flashed into his mind. He deflated in his hands. Groaning loudly, he leaned his head into the tiled wall. He didn’t want to do this anymore. He could not stand this life. Connor would rather meet the dawn than be forced into more years of pumping the morbidly obese, bi-curious businessmen or housewives with their ‘bite me in the neck’ fantasies.
He knew the owner of this house, Alexander, was not ready to let him leave. That greedy bastard would find any excuse to make him stay and serve him and his customers forever. Connor had to force himself to do this one last time. He would give Alexander no reason to make him stay. No unsatisfied customer, no complaints would stand between him and freedom.
With his dick now limp in his hands, Connor silently whispered a vow. This night would be his last night. He would either be set free, or he would meet the dawn.
He squeezed his limp shaft again and slowly stroked himself. Concentrating on the feelings of pleasure his hand created, he pushed down the repulsive images trying to leach back into his thoughts.
His body responded, shaft thickening and lengthening again, becoming almost painfully hard. He thumbed the tip of his cock and filled his mind with images of big, beautiful tits and a tight, warm, wet pussy. Gently he stroked himself, increasing the pressure of his hand with each movement. Imagining himself thrusting into a beautiful woman his strokes became faster. Pleasure coiled tightly in his abdomen, ready to explode. He stroked harder, squeezing tighter, until a powerful climax forced a feral growl of pleasure from his throat.

Read More Next Friday! 

Vampires Can Be More Human Than You Think

We all have our niche. Our thing we really like to write about. It may be broad and encompass an entire genre. Some people like to explore the depths of high fantasy and create whole new worlds. Others may take a different approach and focus on a specific type of creature. I fall into the latter group. I find vampires fascinating. In fact every story I’ve written has included those creatures of the night in one way or another.
Vampires are the most chameleonic of all the supernatural creatures. They can be anything from the dangerous predator stalking you in the night to the sexy bad boy you wish would take a nibble at your neck, and everything in between.

So, what kind of vampire did I choose to write? The human kind.

In the Immortalis series, I took the vampire and gave them back some of their humanity. In fact you might find them to be the most human of all the supernatural creatures, often having the capability of being more caring and compassionate than the humans you’ll meet in this series.

Rather than make them simple bloodthirsty monsters, I wanted them to rise above it. I wanted them to deal with their very real need for blood (yes they do have to kill to survive), but not let it make them a slave to their cravings. Alyssa, the main character for example chooses to hunt criminals (rapists being her favorite midnight snack). While she feeds as often as she needs, she still manages to maintain a real friendship with her human friend Fallon. Beyond the blood lust, my vampires are capable of very strong emotions. Love being quite intense. It’s that intense love and connection that Alyssa (the main character) feels for her mate that is central to the plot of my recently released, Soulstone.

In Soulstone, Alyssa must fight her clan, and the Acta Sanctorum to save her mate’s immortal soul. It’s a battle that begins at page one and doesn’t end until the last page. All the while, you’ll be taken on an adventure with the wolves and witches of Boston, break into an old church to steal an ancient magical tome, and fight alongside the Olde Town Pack to take back their territory from the Acta Sanctorum.

As you can see, writing about vampires and making them my own is both fun and fulfilling. I can live the fantasy as well as shape it. It’s the best of both worlds. The biggest payoff though, is seeing others fall in love with my vampires as much as I have.

If you care to read more, why not check out the Immortalis books HERE

#Free #FridayReads - House of Immortal Pleasures (Part 2)

House of Immortal Pleasures
Copyright © 2010 by Katie Salidas

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial
sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

“Nope. Sorry, Daph. No can do,” Jamie said. A wide, ear-to-ear grin spread across her face. “You’re not leaving here until you’ve had some fun.”
Bitch! The thought flowed easily from Daphne’s mind, but she couldn’t summon the voice to say it. Shock choked back the words in her throat. Her friends were cunning little vixens. They took her out to the middle of nowhere, where she couldn’t run, to satisfy their deviant plans.
The car rolled to a stop under a large, ornate porte cochere. Thick, marble columns framed a large set of stairs leading to a double-door entrance. A well-dressed man stood at the curb, ready for the group’s arrival. He looked into the passenger window with piercing, electric blue eyes, and then reached out with a muscular arm to open the car door.
“Welcome to the House of Immortal Pleasures, ladies,” he said in an enchanting, Old-World accent. “My name is Michael.” He smiled wide enough to show off his sharp fangs.
Daphne knew of this place. Jamie had mentioned it to her many times. The House of Immortal Pleasures had been around for ten years, reigning as the most famous sex house in Nye County, Nevada. And, from what she had heard, probably the whole country because of one simple fact: it employed real vampires.
Vampires were all the rage when they first showed themselves to the world, but that was a long time ago. To Daphne, they were just as normal as anyone else. But normal or not, to the rest of the world, they never lost their sex appeal. Men and women both lined up at the doors of this prestigious house to have their necks bitten and their fantasies fulfilled.
Daphne sat frozen in the car. She trembled with anticipation, and let out a small squeak of anxiety, unable to summon her voice to make a protest.
Michael offered his hand to escort Daphne. He smiled, showing only a hint of fangs, while his mesmerizing eyes beckoned her to follow.
Enthralled by the vampire’s gaze, Daphne barely heard the excited cheers and squeals coming from her friends sitting scant inches away from her. Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. She looked up nervously at the athletic, hard-bodied man, who appeared every bit like the men on the cover of romance novels: long, wavy, blond hair, tied neatly at his neck, chiseled jaw, wide chest, and thick corded arms. Slowly, she reached out, taking the offered hand, and extended a shaky leg out of the car.
What the hell am I doing? I have to get out of here. I have to demand they take me home.
“I do hope you will enjoy your stay here tonight,” Michael said, bringing Daphne’s hand to his lips. He placed a feather-soft kiss on her knuckle. “A beautiful woman such as you deserves the kind of pleasure only we can provide.”
Daphne shivered as the predatory gaze of his eyes roamed the length of her body. Nothing could have prepared her for this. She swooned, nearly collapsing on the spot.
Michael caught her in his arms and held her up.
Her heart pounded fast, beating like a drum roll. Suddenly lightheaded and weak, she leaned into Michael’s strong body for support.
Michael waved towards the door and three more men, all like renditions of Greek gods, came to greet the ladies.
“Careful with this little one, she’s a bit excited.” He handed Daphne over to a dark-haired demigod of a man.
“Is this your first visit, ladies?” the dark-haired man asked.
“Yeah,” Jamie responded eagerly. She weaved an arm around the thick muscles of her escort, snuggling close to his hard body. “But we’re only chaperones. Little Miss Light Headed over here needs the attention tonight.”

Read More Next Friday!