Hi kids, it's me the Angry Old Fat dude comin' atcha once again.

I've got some more installments of my little online series The God Emperor of Soon lined up and ready for your perusal - or ridicule, or whatever. Haven't gotten any feedback on the current two installments, so I don't know if you like what you're reading or not. Alls I know is, a little more exposition in the third installment, then finally action starts on the fourth one.

ANYWAYS...

Good news on the Olivia Outlaw front. She's finished up her Seducing the Guardian series of gay romance, and the latest book is now available (as always) on the Amazon Kindle and compatible devices! YAY!

I've also updated the website to show the book, Enticing Duty, in the sidebar and on the List of Books by Olivia Outlaw.

So hit one of those links above, get the book, and get to reading! Don't make me go get my belt...

My original Facebook page will be fading away soon.... and I have a brand new Facebook page to share.  But first, of course, I have a story. (Otherwise, this would be a really short blog post!) My story begins a couple of months ago, when I decided to do a "boost" or Facebook ad campaign to promote one of my Olivia Outlaw Books.  I did the post, clicked to boost it, it started boosting and then - the boost was rejected.

A few days ago, I decided to try again, because I've run FB ads before and found them a great way to promote books for a reasonable cost.  Again, it got rejected and this time I got messages about "explicit content" and violating FB ad policies.

Seriously?

Well, okay, perhaps Facebook has hangups about Male/Male Romance and I was trying to publicize one of my Olivia Outlaw books.  So, I tried again, with three - count 'em THREE- of the books from my Mary Anne Graham "Forever" series.  Nada. The same result.  I beat my head against the brick wall, and grabbed my computer guy hubby and slammed his face against it for a while.  More nada and managed to royally perturb computer guy hubby who recalled anew his wife's technical stupidity.

While hubby cooked breakfast - yum- I had a "light bulb" moment.  Maybe I needed to do a full reboot.  After all, my original Facebook was created before FB had some of the tools to help authors create pages.  So, I slogged off to create an AUTHOR page.  Added each book series to PHOTOS and plan to give each book/series its own FB page.  (It'll take a while, people, I'm on the last book in my Seducing the Guardian Series and hope to publish soon).

For now, though, I have a brand new author page and am running a promo of my "shop now" button which connects to my list of books on this blog.  If you've wandered over here from that shop now button/promo - HI!  *waves*

Be sure to check out the new FB page and give it a like while you're there!!

 

 

I write contemporary and historical romance as myself, "Mary Anne Graham" and I write erotic romance as "Olivia Outlaw." I don't write erotica, although some people make a bundle of cash writing that genre. Why don't I write it? Isn't it essentially the same as erotic romance? I don't write erotica because it is not romance and if it's not romance, then I don't write it.

Both erotic romance and erotica include explicit sex. Neither genre will attract the shy and retiring. The difference lies in what role sex plays in the story. In erotic romance, sex moves the story. Sex between the lead characters changes them and changes the course of their lives in some fundamental fashion. Erotica, however, is all about the sex. Erotica requires no relationship and no happy ending. It requires only hot sex.

Don't get me wrong, writing hot sex is fun, and I write it in romance and erotic romance, but I write it to tell the character's stories. I can only read and write romance where character is king. Whenever my bank account motivates me to consider writing sex for the sake of sex (erotica), something - thankfully - stops me. This time it was a story about making money writing erotica for Kindle.

Perhaps the Broadly story was intended to have the opposite result, and for some folks, it might.  Read it for yourself and decide.  This is the paragraph that stopped me cold:

So much volume requires variety. Johnson is a gay man, but like Sethline, he writes stories with all kinds of gender configurations. "It's not really that different," he said. "The niche matters more than the gender. I find it hard to write ABDL [adult baby diaper love] erotica, whether gay or straight, because it seems so silly and pointless—I can't even pretend to think diapers are sexy. But most other hetero erotica is easy as pie, even if I have to pretend I have a vagina."

The stop sign for me: "Adult baby diaper love?"  That is a thing?  For a crazy duck lady who pens erotic love scenes in all of her writing, I am, perhaps, a bit TOO sheltered.  I blame that on my writing.  It's kept me from all of the meandering around the internet that would inform me of such fetishes.  I consider that a good thing. There are fetishes I'm happy to never discover.  "Adult baby diaper love" would have been one of them, but sadly, I've now seen those words.  Writing in a genre that people will read because of "diaper love" is not ever going to be something I can do.

I find it sad that men and women feel financially obligated to write under a pen name that disguises their genre.  Unfortunately, I know that sometimes occurs in romance, where men say they can't sell unless they write under female pen names. To all quacking readers, I say - buy a book because of the story, not because of the author's gender.  In time, I hope, that readers won't spend a second considering whether they want to read a romance or erotic romance written by a man instead of a woman.  It should be a non-issue.

So, we've established that my writing road map will not include a stop at erotica.  Where does my map take me next?  I'm presently writing the last in my Olivia Outlaw  "duty" series.  I hope to have it finished and published within the next couple of months, and hopefully sooner.  Once it's done, I'm definitely going back to do a "Mary Anne Graham" romance.  It'll either be Vlad's story from my Forever Series, or a "the rest of the story" contemporary romance.  I started Vlad's tale and am debating my direction.

As many of you know, "A Fairy Fated Forever"- the first in that series, is a "the rest of the story" book which tells my version of what happens after the events in the famous Fairy Flag of the Clan MacLeod legend.  I have another one of those things doing a duck dance around my brain.  Duck Dancing is damned tough to ignore.

Still, Vlad may be able to overcome the dancing duck.  We'll see where that goes after I finish the last Olivia Outlaw "duty" book.  I'd welcome any of your thoughts, of course.  The one thing I can say with absolute confidence is that I will NOT be writing in any genre where diapered adults inspire readers to say anything other than_ "ICK!!"

 

Writers tend to adore their characters, and I am no different. While Vlad's story incubates in my head, he and the other characters from my "Mary Anne Graham" Forever Series (A Faerie Fated Forever, A Golden Forever, A Sixth Sense of Forever and a Magical Forever) have not languished. They appear regularly in my Olivia Outlaw Isle of Bliss Books (Sultans Toy - Captured, Claimed, Coupled & Consumed; Carnal Collateral - The Devil's Deal, Devil's Demand, Devil's Delight; and Seducing The Guardian - Tempting Duty and Scandalizing Duty - so far).

I'm working on "Enticing Duty" for the Seducing The Guardian series. It occurred to me that fans of my forever characters might not be aware that they can catch up with them in my Olivia Outlaw books. The socially elite of London's Ton are a lot like locals in Myrtle Beach - a small town hidden within a bigger city. So, it's only natural that the Forever folks would interact with the Blissful Beaus, right? Of course it is!!

So, if you're a fan of the "Mary Anne Graham" Forever historicals, consider picking up the Olivia Outlaw erotic romances. They're all available at Amazon.

I just started Book 3 of the story of Adam & Evan (My "Seducing The Guardian" Olivia Outlaw Series). This one - at least so far - is titled: "Enticing Duty." I finished Book Two and published it almost 10 days ago, but Book Three lurked in the barely begun stage for days. Why? Because starting a book is hard. It wouldn't be nearly as hard if I were a planner.

See, writers of fiction are commonly divided into two species: planners and pantsers. Planners will have a full outline of a book completed before they write the first word. I admire them greatly and can only imagine how organized their lives must be. I bet they have neat underwear drawers and matched socks - if such thinks actually exist. (They seem more like unicorns to me!) Other writers are "pantsers" and they just set down and start typing. These folks are reckless daredevils who will make a dish out of tofu and turnips because it's what they have - and then serve it to their husbands for dinner. There's another category of writers that people don't talk about. These are the insane folks keep a stuffed duck named Woodrow beside their laptop. Yes, you guessed it - I'm in that group. We won't start a book until our characters start telling us their story.

What should we call the writers like me? (Okay, okay - hush out their in the peanut gallery. I will NOT put those words in my blog.) I think the best category would be: Writers directed by the voices in their heads. Because these folks - me, myself and I included - can not write until our characters are good and darned ready to reveal their tales. Sometimes, they do it in drips and drops. Other times, they talk so fast that my fingers can't keep up. But either way, if I get ahead of them or ignore them, the story won't flow. If I misunderstand and take a slightly wrong turn, sometimes the characters sulk and won't talk to me for a while. (Vlad, from my "Forever" - Mary Anne Graham - series has been sulking lately. I think I understand the overall arc of his story, but I got the angle wrong in the beginning. Soon, he'll forgive me and talk to me again, and I can make some progress on that one).

Adam of Seducing the Guardian hasn't been sulking. He and I both knew where part 3 of his story would start because he mentioned it at the end of part 2. Well, we knew the emotional direction and general tone of part 3, but only Adam knew what happened to make Evan re-appear in such a dramatic fashion. Today, Adam finally decided to share --- and we're off, finally beginning. It'll be a while yet before we get to the other hard part - the ending. Just yet, I don't even know if Book 3 will end Adam and Evan's story or if they may have another book to go.

Endings are hard for a lot of reasons. It's like the day before the last day of a vacation you've really enjoyed. Just the thought that it ends the next day can send you off to book another day or two - that you probably don't need and can't afford. But those extra days are easier than facing the end, aren't they? But when you get to the end, you start on the beginning of your journey home. You know what happens then, right? You're anxious to get home. You remember that you love your home and your life and you can't wait to get back to it. That's the moment, the emotional space, that the whole trip has been about.

For a writer, the moments after the end are about the next beginning. And I'll love it. I will love my new characters or revisiting someone from a past story who needs his or her tale told. But to get there, I have to end this story - and endings are emotionally draining and just hard. Just as a character has to tell you where to put him to start, he must tell you where to put him at the end. Since my books tending to have big, over the top, emotional rock-'em, sock-'em endings, it means I'm going to have to let my hero go to the end of his rope and past it, to the point where the knot he's tied is starting to unravel. Of course, then comes the good part, the happier ever after part. It's why I write, just like that "I can't wait to get back home" feeling is why I take a vacation. None of that makes endings easier.

Right now Adam and Evan's new tale is past the starting line and the end is nowhere in sight. It's the sweet spot of writing and - if I do it right and don't let the story I want to tell get in the way of the story my characters want told - then it'll be the sweet spot for my readers too.

I was never published by Samhain Publishing, but was saddened by news of its decision to close.   Samhain published romance and one of the things I love about romance is it usually sells even when nothing else does.  My recent experience has already made me question that, so I searched the news stories to learn what the publisher said about the brand's decision to cease operations.  Their reason confirmed my experience with the current state of e-publishing, which is this:  Amazon is the only game in town.

Yes, I realize other vendors do business nominally, including Apple.  That fact led me to leave the Kindle Select program when my books aged out - around February 9th.  I left them for sale on Amazon, of course, but also distributed through Draft2Digital.  Sales have been abysmal within the exact definition of that word - "extremely or hopelessly bad."  That's bad for my finances, especially at a time when hubby and I are "all in" and trying to save up to purchase an RV type camping trailer for hubby's home away from home.  It will save him 5 hours of driving a day, which is an insane commute to work.  My leaving Select to increase sales has hurt our effort, and we can't take the hit for much longer.

I was already wavering on whether to stay with wide distribution or go back to Select, when I read about the death of Samhain.  The owner of the brand, Christina Brashear, wrote a letter explaining the decision.  It blames steadily declining sales and specifically notes the following:

We’ve tried to renegotiate terms with Amazon in order to buy better placement within their site and perhaps regain some of the lost traction from the early days but have been met with silence. Other retail sites are trying, but the sales have never risen to the level of Amazon and are declining as well.

Amazon has been busy building its Kindle Unlimited service, and, I expect, would lack the financial stake to motivate it to highlight the Samhain books.  But, basically what we have here is a publisher  saying that so much of its sales base was through Amazon that even a boost from other retailers couldn't sustain its business.  Why? Because the other retailers are struggling with sales too.

Authors need to stay wide to keep the market healthy, but the market can't stay healthy if customers only shop from one site.  If every single citizen of Town America buys groceries at Shop All,  soon, the grocery stores who are not Shop All will go out of business.  Then Shop All becomes the only game in town.  If Amazon is not at that point already, it's very, very close.

I'll likely leave my books wide for a few more days, and if sales do not improve, I'll take them out of wide distribution and enroll them in Select and go back to being exclusive to Amazon.  If customers don't vote otherwise with their dollars, then Amazon will own the entire market.  And Amazon is a great site.  I shop there a lot.  Heck, I'm a Prime member.  But the market does best when it stays varied, because that allows customers to control the market.  When there is only a single vendor, then that vendor controls the customers.

In the recent publishing war, it appears that Amazon is the one tin soldier who survives the battle and rides away.

 

Hi to all demented duck-loving QA, MAG & OO fans!  I have emerged from the corner of oblivion where I've been lurking lately.  I'd taken everything off of everywhere to join Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program.  Participation requires that books be exclusive to Amazon.  Why would I do that, you ask?

It's all about the Benjamins.  Sales had slowed everywhere, so I stowed my principals and hid under the wings of Mother Amazon.  It was quiet and comfy... too quiet.  There were no highs or lows, just getting paid about 1/4 of a penny for every page read.  A pittance, you say?  Yes, it was.

I've now come out of hiding, and all of my titles as Mary Anne Graham or Olivia Outlaw are or are about to be available everywhere, save for a bundle or two.  I'll get all of those up, eventually, but for now, all the single titles are out there, boldly going where no KU Select book can go.... For how long, you ask?

For as long as you buy them.  So, faithful Quackers... please, go to Apple, B&N, KOBO, or your favorite e-tailer, and pick up my books.  I'll ride the wave of freedom for as long as the budget allows. If you want me and other writers to keep our work widely available, you need to support our work.  Amazon won't conquer the literary universe if you help writers earn enough to keep their writing as free as their thoughts!!

Do you KU?

If you do, whether as a reader or a writer, then I bet you've heard of the best thing since dark roast coffee - KENP.  It stands for Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count and it's the way Amazon now measures page reads by Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. Beginning July 1st, writers with books enrolled in Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program will not be paid per borrow, they'll be paid per page read, meaning, per page as pages are counted by Amazon. It's created a whole new obsession for writers.

Beginning in the wee hours of July 1st, KU authors were huddled over their keyboards with their screen locked on the Amazon KDP reports page, clicking one key, just one key.  Y'all know what that was, right?  Refresh... refresh... refresh.

Yes, my creditors and I are most interested in seeing those page reads rack up.  We don't know what the Zon will pay per page. It will be a rolling target like the old pay per borrow system.  But what we do know is that our payout will be based on pages read. So, like I said, the goons... err, bill collectors... and I have a very vested interest in seeing those KENP numbers rise.  But I've got a secret that I keep from the goons. I'm gonna share it with you, but you've got to promise not to tell them, okay?

I'm really most excited by the new KENP system because now I can see that readers are READING my books.  It's why I write, after all.  I can tell my stories to myself in my head where I see them play out on my inner movie screen.  And after I get to the happy ending of one tale, I can begin to tell myself another. I think we all do that, to some extent, don't we?  Perhaps not, and it's uniquely a "writer's thing." I wouldn't know for sure, having only ever lived in my head. But I choose to believe that many people create stories for their own inner consumption.  What makes a writer is that some of the inner tale tellers aren't satisfied unless they share their stories with other people.

I'm one of those people driven by a rather terrifying need to share my stories. And it is terrifying.  Although the wee, small sane part of me knows that not everyone shares my devotion to over-the-top love stories that are bigger than life, the bad reviews (all writers get them) used to hurt a lot.  The only way to survive the process, for me, has been to stop reading reviews altogether. Oh, I'm not perfect, so once in a while I'll take a quick, quick glance at the top two or three reviews on my "Mary Anne Graham" and "Olivia Outlaw" author central pages at Amazon, but by and large, I've learned not to do that.

KENP gives me the carrot without the stick. I can check and see the pages read adding up and feel a bright, shiny, inner glow.  And I can do it without dreading the people too sane to enjoy a crazy duck lady's stories.  It's all the good with none of the bad and there are very, very few things in life like that.  The only problem with KENP is that it's addictive - surely getting that wild rush from seeing that readers are reading my stories beats any drug ever manufactured legally or illegally. So yes, I admit it --  I'm Kookoo for KENP.

As addictions go, it's not a bad one to have.  This one makes me some money and gives me some happiness.  There's only one thing that would make KENP even better and that's seeing the numbers rise higher, and higher and higher.  It would let me know that more and more and more people are reading my work.

If you're a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscriber - and really, everyone should be - then here's your new mission --- READ.  Yes, read more.  Read a lot.  Read every page ever written by Mary Anne Graham and Olivia Outlaw.  And once you have, then you Tweet and Facebook and blog about how everyone else should do the same.

It's time for KU subscribers to realize what VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE they are and to understand that they need to cease doing all the things limiting their reading.  I mean, if you're a Big Enough VIP to be a KU Subscriber then you have more important things to do than go to work, go to school, study, cook meals, clean your house or do laundry.

If you're a KU Subscriber then you're a READER and readers should be READING.  Just print off a copy of this blog post and give it to your boss, your spouse, your kids, your boyfriend or girlfriend or your professor.  They'll understand that you're a reader who has found his or her destiny.

And I only have one thing left to say to you.  Why are you still here?  Go - read, read... and then, read some more.

It's been a bit since I've blogged because I'm presently writing TWO books.  Yes, I know, lots of authors juggle books frequently, but I generally do them one at a time.  This period right here - this is an exception.  There is a single reason for this:  my muse is in hyperdrive but my bank account is not.  That's why I'm presently writing Vlad's Story (A Forbidden Forever) and part 2 of Adam and Evan's Story (Scandalizing Duty from my "Seducing The Guardian" series).

My bank account is also the reason I've backtracked from a prior position.  I've re-enrolled all my books in Kindle Unlimited, making them presently exclusive to Amazon.  While this drives Mr. Duck mad to some extent - he puts up with me.  (Maybe I should name him Saint Duck?)  The fact is, like almost (I'd say "all" but nearly nothing is always true) so, like ALMOST all self-published authors, most of my income is from Amazon. Despite that, I don't like the exclusivity and therefore bailed after one term in Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program.  I've backtracked because in reviewing the books, I see that I made MUCH more money in KU than out of it.  I think a lot of that is because KU offers the opportunity for promotion - like giving away "leading" books in a series free for a certain number of days a month.  If I do that, then readers are more likely to buy the other books in that series. It adds a lot to the bank account.  Because we're presently bailing out of credit card debt and the baby duck will start college in the fall - the bank account matters.  I apologize if you read books on another device and - I hate to sound like a shill for Amazon but - I suggest you download the Kindle App for whatever device you use and buy your books at Amazon.  There's not another place on the planet that equals Amazon's selection.

Above, I mentioned how my unpredictable and often insane ways torment Mr. Duck.  I know they do, but he puts up with me because he's probably AFRAID of what I'd do if he tried to leave.  (Parts of him might make it.) Seriously, I ADORE my hubby and although there are a billion and one reasons why - you only have to look around this website to get a good look at one of them.  Mr. Duck has put in a LOT of work to revamp the site. Not only have his efforts made QA a thing of great beauty, Google now thinks so too because it's mobile friendly.  With everyone reading so much on phones, tablets, etc., QA needs to be easy on all those eyes, and Mr. Duck's efforts have made that happen.  It's why he's my favorite digital delight and the best technical wizard on the planet - IMHO, anyway.

As I also said a bit ago, my baby duck is getting ready to do the most unbaby-type thing:   yes, QA readers, the SAM duck is about to graduate from high school.  On June 4th, he'll be wearing that black robe and the funny hat and walking across the stage.  Watching the baby duck change his tassel from one side to the other will be his proud parents, his elder brother (the Zack duck), his proud grandparents, and possibly his proud Aunt Jen.  It's a workday, so Aunt Jen may not be able to make it, but she'll be with us in spirit.  We might've had a bigger crew but we only get 8 tickets.  Although his insane-duck-Mother will be prouder than proud, I do expect to shed more than a few tears.  It's not that I don't want him to grow up and become the BEST HISTORY TEACHER ON THE PLANET but - he's doing it too fast!!  He needs to go back, start Kindergarten and do it one more time.  After 12 more years, I might, MIGHT be ready for him to graduate -- or so senile that I wouldn't notice.

It's a busy time at the duck pond, but hopefully, there will soon be a new Mary Anne Graham book and a new Olivia Outlaw book.  Before that, we'll have a graduated duck named Sam and Mr. Duck will have earned several new Sainthood badges.  After all, post-graduation, the Sam duck is flying to NY State to spend a month or so with elder duck Zack.  During that time, Mr. Duck will get ALL my attention and all my worry.  Come to think of it, maybe Mr. Duck should earn more than Sainthood badges. Hmm.....I'll have to see what kind of special reward I can come up with for the King of Duckland.

In the meantime - read a lot, love a lot and DEMAND happy endings!!

Hello my little chitlin's, it's your big daddy Angry Old Fat Man here.

First off, Happy Mother's Day to all of y'all with rugrats, or former rugrats like ours. Remember, if Mama ain't happy, NOOOOObody's happy.

And now the business at hand.

It seems the website for Quacking Alone Romances needs to be brought properly into the 21st Century. I got word the other day that Google is going to start ranking pages according to their ease of use on mobile platforms, like smartphones and tablets. Of course I ran the website through its paces in the Mobile Friendly Test Tool that Google provides and it came back with abysmal results. Not surprising, since smartphones were barely a thing when we first started this romance-writing-and-selling business.

But now, with everybody and his brother, aunt, uncle, and teapot Chihuahua using iPhones and Samsungs, AND with Google busting our virtual balls, we're forced to update the site. Luckily, I decided to give the heavy lifting of the website coding to WordPress early on in our business start-up. That decision will allow one dude, moi, to update the entire site in a matter of days if I simply find the right theme to institute and tweak.

So that's the big announcement. Look for huge changes soon in the website you're looking at right now. And in the meantime, buy Olivia Outlaw's latest same-sex romance Seducing The Guardian, Book One - Tempting Duty.

Over and out, kiddies.