Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tell Me What You're Up To, Barrie Abalard


Hi, Barrie! Tell me what you're up to.

Barrie Abalard:

Hi Giselle! :)

We finally got rid of our home in the Northeast USA and now live in a small ranch in the Appalachian foothills, far from the city. We're better off financially, have better weather and better views (LOL), are closer to family, and are part of a wonderful college town. Just a better life, although I miss a lot of people. The last few years held so much stress and health challenges that I was unable to write at all. But I'm eager to get back to it.

Giselle: Okay--I'm jealous that you have a ranch. I'm just going to come right out and say it. Good to hear you're getting back to writing, too. Got a new book out?

Barrie Abalard:

I'm planning to re-release a whole lot of old books, as well as some new material later in 2015. Most of the old material is spanking stories--some short stories, some novels, all of it some flavor of romance. I need to revise, recompile, make new covers, and so on. I'll get there. Titles include Just Spank It, Poker Brat, Licked, and my Alaska (Emily and Bear) series.

The new stuff I'm writing is S&M ish, more out there, more pain slut oriented. I've already started working on the unfinished novel.

Giselle Renarde: OMG "pain slut"... I want it now! NOW! It's just cruel, making me wait like this. *sigh* Okay, so where can we find you?

Barrie Abalard:

www.barrieabalard.com, though the site's pretty outdated. Books that I currently have available will be there with links. I'm an excessica author: http://www.excessica.com/books/. Or, you can search for me on Amazon.

Thank you, Giselle. Mwah!

Giselle: Thank YOU for stopping by, Barrie. I don't think we've had any back-and-forth in like... three or four years? Or longer? Probably around the same time I updated my Wix site, LOL. Glad I'm not the only one.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review: Brand It Yourself: The Fast, Focused Way to Marketplace Magic by Lynn Altman

Remember like two weeks ago when I said I pretty much never write book reviews? Well, that applies mainly to fiction--especially erotic fiction. When you work in a certain niche, reviewing your peers' books can get awkward. And I don't just mean if you didn't like for the book. Give a glowing review and you run the risk of being called a pusher of your cronies' fiction (or worse).


Well, I don't write marketing books and I don't know author Lynn Altman, so I'm going to review this book of hers called Brand It Yourself: The Fast, Focused Way to Marketplace Magic.

Brand It Yourself is an industry-focused (yet very approachable) book that explores brand creation/invigoration/reinvention via creative process and brainstorming. It's coming at you from the point of view of a freelancer working with major corporate clients. Whether or not this book would be applicable to and useful for someone like me--an author whose writing business consists of myself and two cats--really depends on whether or not I choose to actively translate the lessons I've learned into methods I can incorporate into my little venture.

The first thing I did when I'd finished reading Brand It Yourself was to flip back to the copyright page to see when it was written. This book felt really recent, so I was surprised to find a copyright date of 2006--nearly 10 years ago. Most industry books I've read come off dated the second they hit the market, but not this one. That's quite a feat.

I'm a sucker for a business book written in an amusing tone, and I found myself laughing out loud a few times as I read this one. It's very approachable, in that sense. Author Lynn Altman basically says, "Here's what I do with my clients" and provides a good deal of general insight for a book that's really quite concise.

If you're like her and you have corporate clients (or you are that corporate client--someone who works in a marketing or brand development department, for instance), the ideas in Brand It Yourself are easily transferable. As for myself and my business of one (where I am the brand and my books are my products), I'll have to sit with what I've learned for a while.

Often when I'm reading books on marketing, I've got a notepad beside me and I'm madly scribbling ideas. I didn't take any notes while reading this book. I just read it. Up until the penultimate chapter, it was looking like a 4-star book, but I took a lot away from "Chapter 8: Avoid the Quagmires: Mistakes and missteps based on firsthand experience." (Always finish reading the book before writing the review!) I learn a lot from other people's mistakes, and this kind of writing always assuages my fears that there are these infallible gurus out there in the world who never mess up. The takeaway is sometimes greatest when pros allow themselves to be the anti-experts.

Great tone, useful information (particularly for pros in a corporate or freelance setting), and I ate this book up even though I'm usually a slow reader, so it must have been entertaining. I'll have to sit with what I've learned before I know for sure whether I can brand myself after reading Brand It Yourself.

Brand It Yourself: The Fast, Focused Way to Marketplace Magic
by Lynn Altman
Published by Penguin
Available from Amazon



Saturday, February 28, 2015

#MySexySaturday Everybody Knows: 15 Transgender Love Stories

This computer's being a giant jerk, so I'll be brief. Lucky you!

My newest anthology is now available, and I'm immensely proud of this one. EVERYBODY KNOWS is a compilation of some of the best literary erotica I've ever written. All these stories feature characters who are trans or genderqueer.

Since it's My Sexy Saturday, you've got a 7-paragraph excerpt coming at you from the title story--one of my absolute favourites.

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post to find out how you can get a free review copy of EVERYBODY KNOWS.

Rainbow Award-winning author Giselle Renarde is back with 15 sweet and sensual transgender tales that run the gamut from romantic fantasy to true confession.

In Lust in Translation, a techie invents a new communication device to unlock his ex-girlfriend’s heart. In Hot Oil Treatment, partners explore their most memorable experiences together. Postcards from Paris follows a polyamorous triad as two dapper Doms take away their submissive’s razor. These and a dozen more round out this collection of diverse stories featuring characters who identify as gender non-normative, transgender, genderqueer, as well as those who aren’t really sure where they stand.

Challenging, amusing, stimulating and tender, these stories are sure to captivate the hearts of readers of all genders. In Everybody Knows, love is love regardless of how it’s packaged.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U01XGLY?tag=dondes-20
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00U01XGLY

Print: http://www.amazon.com/Everybody-Knows-Transgender-Love-Stories/dp/1508548218/ref=dondes-20

EXCERPT FROM EVERYBODY KNOWS

Now I’m convinced he’s staring at me, but I won’t let myself look. I wonder what he’s seeing, and my stomach starts tying itself in knots.
God, why do I always do this? I get so self-conscious, thinking everybody knows. I get so sure people can see right through my present and straight to my past.

Especially other trans people. They can see through me better than anyone.

Out of nowhere, I’m crying. I’m sobbing my goddamn eyes out, and now this guy all in black is swooping in beside me and throwing his arm around my shoulder and I’m falling against his big chest, soaking his vest with my tears. My out-of-the-blue tears.

“Sorry,” I say. My snot is on his shirt and he doesn’t seem to care. “Damn hormones. This is what they do to me.”

He nods sympathetically, and then says, “I’ll find out soon enough.” He’s trying not to smile too big.

And now he knows I know, and I know he knows, and there’s something really soothing about being the same. The same, just in opposite directions.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id971948232
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everybody-knows-giselle-renarde/1121294662
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-everybodyknows15transgenderlovestories-1753520-166.html
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/522754
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/everybody-knows-15-transgender-love-stories

REVIEW COPIES

I realize EVERYBODY KNOWS carries a steep price tag compared to... well, any book that's priced at $0.99, basically... but I want to ensure that this book is available to everyone who's interested in reading it. That's why I'm making review copies of the ebook available. You get a free book, I get a book review. Win-win, amirite?

Sign up here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WXK3S3W

EVERYBODY KNOWS also has its own devoted website:

Giselle Renarde is an award-winning author of queer fiction. Her erotica has appeared in well over 100 short story anthologies, including prestigious collections like Best Bondage Erotica, The Big Book of Orgasms, The Mammoth Book of Quick and Dirty Erotica, and the Lambda Award-winning collection Take Me There, edited by Tristan Taormino. Giselle's juicy novels include Anonymous, Cherry, Seven Kisses, The Red Satin Collection and Bali Nights.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Everybody's wondering why I haven't blogged about this...

I missed my own book release. Isn't that like missing your birthday?

Nope--it's worse. Missing your birthday just happens. Maybe you're distracted. Maybe you just don't care about birthdays.

Missing your book release happens when your distribution service takes its sweet time and you don't have purchase links yet. Not much good telling the world your book is available when you can really only find it at Amazon.

So I waited one day and *poof* problem solved. EVERYBODY KNOWS: 15 TRANSGENDER LOVE STORIES, my new anthology of literary erotica featuring trans and genderqueer characters is now available in print and as an ebook. From Amazon. And other places!

Another reason I held off announcing my new book is... ugh... complicated.

Well, not really complicated. I'm just queasy about explaining it.

My introduction to this book takes a very hopeful tone. I must have been extremely caffeinated when I wrote it, because I'm rarely so un-jaded. (What's the opposite of jaded? There must be a word for that.) Anyway, my intro explains what you can expect to find in the rest of the book and then goes into a true story of acceptance from my girlfriend's life. I wanted to leave readers with a bit of a warm-and-fuzzy feeling as they headed into the (sometimes) rough terrain of these (sometimes) challenging stories.

Want to know the first news item I heard about after I hit "publish" on EVERYBODY KNOWS? A young trans woman of colour in my city had died.

Well, that destroyed every ounce of joy I'd felt in seeing my new book come into this world.

I'm incredibly proud of EVERYBODY KNOWS, but this news is making it hard to celebrate the book's release... and now I also feel like my introduction is embarrassingly Pollyanna-ish.

You can find out more about EVERYBODY KNOWS at its devoted website:
http://transgenderlovestories.blogspot.com

But if you're only planning to click one link today, let it be this one, to a GoFundMe endeavour that seeks to honour the life of Sumaya Dalmar: http://www.gofundme.com/sumayaysl

From the organizers:
"We're hoping an additional $5,000 will allow us to start a scholarship in Sumaya's name at a local university that supports Black trans students. We all know the various challenges trans students encounter in the university -- we hope to remove some of these barriers with this scholarship."
http://www.gofundme.com/sumayaysl


I'll be back tomorrow with the typical stuff--the excerpt, the buy links, the sales pitch if I can muster it.

I know I don't say this enough, but I love my readers. I love you. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for reading my books. Writing is my livelihood, and without you what would I be?

Getting maudlin, now. See you tomorrow.
Much love,
Giselle

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#RandomBookIWrote Wednesday: Cherry

You're in for a treat this week. My Cherry is one sweet book--not in the sense of "awww that's so sweet," but more in the sense of, "my god, that's some raunchy fiction!" If you like books about barely-legal teens seducing their fathers' best friends, well...

Cherry: A New Adult Novella
by Giselle Renarde

Late nights by a roaring fire, star-gazing with the cute park ranger, lazing around the balmy beach—sounds like a perfect summer vacation, doesn’t it? Cherry loves camping so much she doesn’t even mind spending a week with her nosy parents. Anyway, camping is kind of their family tradition.

That’s why Cherry’s so upset when her father invites his recently-divorced friend, Phil, along. A geeky guest intruding on their family vacation? Not fair!

But when Phil arrives at the campground… WOW! Was he always so cool? No, definitely not. When she was younger, Phil had been just another dorky dad. Now he’s stylish and fun and even pretty hunky! Divorce suits him nicely, as far as Cherry’s concerned.

Phil is the last man in the world who should be turning Cherry’s head, but the fact that their love is forbidden makes it that much tastier. The forest isn’t big enough to keep two lovelorn people apart… even if they’re totally wrong for each other.

This book contains scenes some readers may find offensive. It is intended for mature audiences only.

Excerpt:

“Why don’t you sit here on my towel?” Cherry asked. “You can put on sunblock for me.”

“Oh, I…” Phil’s face turned bright red, zero to crimson. “I don’t think I… I’ll just get sand in it, then you’ll be itchy all day.”

Cherry looked out over the water. She’d lost sight of her mother. “You don’t want me to burn, do you?”

He didn’t answer. That’s when she knew she had him in her snare. She felt ridiculously guilty as she handed him the sunblock, because she knew this was wrong, but she kind of didn’t care. And, somehow, feeling bad for tempting Phil made her feel good about herself. It didn’t make any sense, but that’s how she felt.

Phil’s body heat blazed against her back as he knelt behind her. “Do you think you could…?”

She glanced over her shoulder to catch him fumbling with the sunblock. “Do I think I could…?”

He chuckled, red-faced, like he was scared of her or something. “Just lift your ponytail so I can get your back?”

“Oh.” She giggled, even though she wasn’t usually that kind of girl. “Yeah, sure.”

Twisting her rope of sandy-brown hair around her hand, she held it in a fist on top of her head. She felt like a pin-up girl in this position: kneeling on a towel, the sun glinting off the golden beach, toasting her skin. Her nipples peaked as she stuck out her chest. There weren’t any boys her age around, not that she could see. Just families building sandcastles and playing in the water.

“I forgot my raft.”

“Hmm?” Phil still hadn’t worked up the courage to touch her. “What did you forget?”

“My blow-up raft.”

“For a second there, I thought you were going to say blow-up doll.” His slick palms landed firmly on her shoulders.

“Eww! Yeah right, like I’d have one of those.”

He must have forgotten he was afraid of her, because he rubbed the sunblock in pretty forcefully. “I guess if you’re desperate enough…”

“What about you, Phil?” Cherry tugged on her ponytail so hard it hurt. “Are you desperate enough to fuck a blow-up doll?”

“Cripes, Cherry!” It sounded like he was choking on her name. “Next time warn me when you’re about to say something like that.”

“What?” She shrugged, bouncing his hands against her shoulders. “We’re all adults, here.”

“Adults have a little decorum when discussing their sex lives.” His hands landed flat against her back, one on either side of her spine. “They’re not crass about these matters.”

“Sure they are—well, some are. Maybe not you or my parents, but some people aren’t ashamed about being horny. Sex is totally natural. I hate it when people act like you’re evil or whatever just because you like screwing.”

Phil’s hands slid down Cherry’s back, tracing creamy lotion almost all the way to her ass. He stopped when his fingers met her bikini bottoms, and turned his hands so his palms pressed into the small of her back…

***

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cherry-Giselle-Renarde-ebook/dp/B00KSS762Y?tag=dondes-20
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cherry-giselle-renarde/1119690608?ean=2940149444922
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cherryanewadultnovella-1542566-341.html
BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/cherry-0
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Giselle_Renarde_Cherry?id=OTu_AwAAQBAJ
And from the publisher, Excessica: http://www.excessica.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19&products_id=722

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tell me what you're up to, Abi Aiken!

Giselle: Hi Abi! Tell me what you're up to... (What's cooking? Personally, professionally, on the stove, whatever)

Abi Aiken: I've been keep so busy lately co-writing with my friend in the US, Rozlyn Sparks! We're writing erotic romance stories, focussing at the moment on MFM ménage. We might just have a little bit of MFF coming up as well, but you didn't hear it from me!

Co-writing with Rozlyn is so awesome,too! The girl is seriously naughty, which helps because I am so sweet and innocent and don't know anything about anything at all. *Pouty pouty, blinky blinky*

Giselle: You and me both. heh. Got a new book out? What's it called?


Abi Aiken: Indulgence: A Valentine's Day Romance

Giselle: Never too late for V-Day. Tell me about it.

Abi Aiken: Psychology student Graciela believes she has everything a girl could ask for, including the love of the caring and thoughtful Jamie. But way down deep, she has a secret desire. One she can’t tell Jamie about. One she can barely admit to having.

Graciela fantasizes about dirty anonymous sex with more than one man. And with her healthy dose of Catholic guilt, the dream plays havoc with her mind.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, her boyfriend Jamie has organized the ultimate gift for his gorgeous exotic lady...and it won’t be flowers or chocolate.

It starts with a silk blindfold. And it ends with four strong hands, two hot mouths, and one very lucky woman.

Giselle: Where can readers buy it?

Abi Aiken: http://tinyurl.com/pvzoxc8

Giselle: Where can readers find you?

Abi Aiken:

https://www.facebook.com/abi.aiken
https://www.facebook.com/abiaikenauthor
https://twitter.com/AbiAiken

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm a sucker for a good font...

That's why it took me over a month to complete the cover for my upcoming anthology of literary erotica featuring characters who are trans, genderqueer or gender non-normative in one way or another.

It's called Everybody Knows.

I found the perfect image pretty easily. It's a simple design--something artistic rather than sexy bodies screaming SEX! Sure these stories involve sexuality, but not in a smutty way. Some are so challenging they made me uncomfortable as I proofread the book. I didn't want readers who've enjoyed my MASTERWORKS OF SMUT (like Nanny State and the Adam and Sheree books) expecting this to be that. This and that are different animals. I wanted to communicate that fact with the cover.

The other day, my sister was asking me what readers of literary erotica wanted. I told her we want to think. We want to be challenged. We want content that's not only explicit, but also difficult--intellectually, emotionally, in a variety of ways. We seek the thrill of a twist as well as the recognition sparked by the mundane. And we value diversity.

That's Everybody Knows.

Sorry. Tangent. Back to Fonts.

Like I said, I found the right image pretty easily. As you'll see in a moment, it's a watercolour splotch that transitions from one colour to another. That worked for me on so many levels. As for fonts, none of the usual suspects did.

During the same conversation I mentioned above, my sister asked how long it takes me to create a book cover. Time spent varies drastically, but I can easily spend three hours choosing the perfect font. In that time, I don't move from the computer. I can't. I'm stuck. Sometimes I get up to look at my screen in the mirror and check out my work-in-progress from different angles, but I can't even leave the room to pee until it's perfect.

The cover for Everybody Knows was on my mind constantly. I hated that it wasn't finished. I kept going back to it, trying the same-old-same-old fonts again and again. A lot of them could have worked, but I'd have been settling.

That's when Akula walked into my life.

Akula is a dry brush font that's a little edgy, a little messy, but in the best way possible. I tried it out. It was perfect. It IS perfect:



Everybody Knows is scheduled to hit the market this Thursday--that's February 26th 2015.  It'll be available as an ebook and in print.

And if you love Akula as much as I do, you can buy it at Creative Market: https://creativemarket.com/IvanirAnna/132051-Akula-Dry-Brush-Font. I'm not a member of their Partner Program, so nobody's paying me to send you their way. I just really love this font and I want the whole world to know.