I <3 K. Vale: A First-Time Self-Publisher’s Lament

 Young man

A First-Time Self-Publisher’s Lament

by Kimber Vale

 

I did it! Someone pinch me and then hand over that fifth of whiskey because I desperately need it.

I’ve officially plunged into the self-publishing waters, ladies and gents.

Now that I’ve acclimated to the unexpectedly agonizing temperatures, and my eyes have adjusted to the murky view beneath the surface, I think it’s safe to come up for a deep breath and report back on my experience.

Wow. I really fucking hated it.

There. I said it. Okay, I’ll admit that some aspects were enjoyable. I loved the cover art process. I chose my models and photos and basically asked my artist, Dana Paige, to create what was in my head. She did so with aplomb, and that cover makes the pain all worthwhile (I keep telling myself). After I did a ton of research, and hemmed and hawed about who to use for editing and what I could afford to pay, Notes on Vellum was a joy to work with and gave me exactly what I was looking for.

The rest of it, though?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like learning new things, and I generally throw myself into DIY tutorials with exuberance, but the learning curve for self-publishing was a bit demoralizing for me. I did my own formatting and uploading, figuring I’d sunk a good-sized chunk of silver into the book bucket, and here was one thing I could do myself, because, hey, I can fucking follow directions like no one’s business, right? Right?

I’m getting chest pain just thinking about it.

It was time-consuming and tricky. Nothing worked on the first (or second, or third) try. Smashwords didn’t like my initial upload, and I ended up taking the nuclear route which involves axing all of the book formatting and hand re-inserting it (yes, it seems I use way too many italics when I have to comb through and put them all back in. One. At. A. Time.). If ever those uploads go through to the Smashwords premier catalog thingy (I thought my book was being evaluated, but then realized there was a final submit button I needed to click even after my successful upload to the Smashwords site—start that one-week clock all over again, Sam) the formatted versions on their affiliated vendors will look different from the Amazon and All Romance final copies.

Too bad, because I figured out how to put photos on the Amazon version. There were instructions for inserting graphics in the Smashwords rules bible, but by the time I got to that ever-lovin’ page, I didn’t want to add any more potential fuck-uppery to my process. I just wanted the torture to be over.

Anyway, sorry for the whine. Here, have some cheese:

Hey! My book Crossed Hearts is out! Hells to the yeah! Boom shakka lakka lakka. Read the blurb down below. Grab a sample off Amazon and see if it shakes your groove thang. It’s the first in a planned series of three stand-alone books, and I am so looking forward to tackling self-publishing again!

The process will come easier next time around, I’m sure. Totally convinced. Probably. I think.

Sweet mother of mercy, I hope so.

If not, my liver probably won’t survive the experience.

Blurb:

One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.

Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.

As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.

His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.

Kory’s blemished history and his donor’s spotless past are far from ideal matches.

As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?

Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Crossed-Hearts-Scars-Novel-ebook/dp/B00W0IJW1I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429875422&sr=8-2&keywords=Crossed+Hearts

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crossed-Hearts-Scars-Novel-ebook/dp/B00W0IJW1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430495267&sr=8-1&keywords=Crossed+Hearts

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Crossed-Hearts-Scars-Novel-English-ebook/dp/B00W0IJW1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430495320&sr=8-1&keywords=Crossed+Hearts

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/Crossed-Hearts-Scars-Novel-ebook/dp/B00W0IJW1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430495411&sr=8-1&keywords=Crossed+HEarts

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Crossed-Hearts-Scars-Novel-ebook/dp/B00W0IJW1I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430829152&sr=8-2&keywords=Crossed+Hearts

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-crossedhearts-1795672-149.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/538603

Open book and magical background

Bio: K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at http://www.authorkimbervale.com .

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimber.vale

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kimber-Vale/311761975532531

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimberVale

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5343495.Kimber_Vale

Email: kimbervale@hotmail.com

Kimber has a $20 Amazon gift card giveaway going on!

Rafflecopter link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7d5bb789338/

Thanks so much for hosting me, Heloise! XOXO

You’re always welcome, K! XOXO

Happy Release Day!! Crossed Hearts by Kimber Vale

Crossed Hearts

One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.

Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.

As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.

His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.

Kory’s blemished history and his donor’s spotless past are far from ideal matches.

As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?

fashion

Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.

Young man

http://amzn.to/1DqXPpf

Review: To Touch the Sky by MA Church

ToTouchTheSky

My Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I like this story, though shifters aren’t my thing. It appeals to me because I really like the idea of becoming a bird and yet retaining the human side in order to remember the experience and think about being alive on those terms.

Hawk has been a shifter since before the Europeans came to the Americas, and he lives alone on forest preserve land. He owns a bar, and he has a hard and fast rule about not taking home any man more than three times, and never, ever, a blond.

There are other animal shifters in this community, as they all once belonged to the original Native American tribe, The People. There is more to their story in “Shadows in the Night,” and both these books comprise the Leap of Faith series at this point. The shifters are friends Hawk can count on and who also depend on him. Hawk doesn’t like to have anyone depend on him, because his history contains a story of his failure in that regard. Thus he lets no man close to his heart so he won’t end up being responsible for them and letting them down, letting them die. But he needs to find his mate, as his inner hawk totem nags—reminds him. I liked this bit of play between human and totem and shared consciousness.

Simon hates being called a twink, but he is cute and blond, a “toppy bottom” as Hawk eventually teases him. Though Hawk needs to change and grow in order to claim his mate, it’s Simon who changes the most, in my opinion. Both men have to reach beyond their ordinary lives and the ruts they’ve fallen into in order to be together and thrive together. Hawk carries the story, but I loved the scenes with Simon accepting the paranormal into his life and the change in him.

Highly recommended.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6219

Review: The Truth As He Knows It by AM Arthur

TruthAsHeKnowsIt-The300

My Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This is a sinuous, sensuous story in which Shane and his brother older brother Jason are working two and three jobs each, desperate to get out from under a mountain of debt. They are so close they can almost taste the freedom, but still not close enough. How they came to be in such debt is a slow and serpentine reveal, a trip to very dark places for vulnerable human hearts to survive.

Noel is new to Stratton, PA, a policeman but not out. The Cost of Repairs series is set in the same town, but this is a standalone. (I have put this series on my TBR pile, yes, indeed) Late one night, Noel answers a loud disturbance call and finds Shane, working as a stripper, drugged up and tied to a bed; the women at the party are apparently clueless as to how he got that way. There’s something about Shane he can’t get out of his mind, and Shane is having the same problem about Noel.

Noel has a few dark spots in his life, also. His friend Tristan resides in a long-term care facility because of a gay bashing. He barely escaped with his life but totally lost his short-term memory. He has to constantly write things down in order to keep up with the memory fade that occurs every fifteen minutes or so. Noel visits him once a week and is a good, supportive friend, taking him out for day trips and lunches.

On one of these outings, Noel runs into Shane again as he works his second job in a local deli. Meeting him again reinforces their initial attraction, and they end up getting together. At first their sexual encounter seems exactly the right thing to do, but later they both start to regret it. It’s awkward, and there once had seemed to be potential for more. Slowly they begin to build towards trust and a relationship, but Shane’s situation starts its downward spiral when his brother becomes ill. Removing the debt becomes the most important thing right now, more important than relationships and love. Despite Shane’s determination, Noel isn’t ready to give up on him and despite his own damage. Thank goodness.

This was a great story, dark and complicated, just the way I love it. Deeply layered and well plotted, the writing clear and tight.

http://amzn.to/1AWjicX

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5326/the-truth-as-he-knows-it

New Release and Interview: Night Vision by Amelia Bishop

NightVisionFS

Theron Antonopolis, a strige, feeds on human emotion. In a tranquil suburban neighborhood, his best meals come from a quiet systems administrator who’s become more than a source of nourishment for Theron—Alex Rowler is an obsession. Theron can no longer remain in the shadows. When they meet, any attraction Alex feels toward the sexy monster is overshadowed by his anxiety and distrust of Theron’s supernatural powers. But sensing the underlying arousal, Theron begins courting his human.

As months pass, Theron falls deeply in love, and the need to complete the strige bonding ceremony with his human lover becomes overwhelming. But a permanent commitment is too much, too soon for Alex, and he delays the joining, despite Theron’s insistence they are running out of time. As an unbonded pair, however, Theron and Alex draw the attention of the Midnight Parliament, and the lovers are brought to trial to determine their fate.

Buy Links: Amazon • Dreamspinner • AllRomance

Amelia Bishop links: Twitter • Facebook • Blog • Amazon • Pinterest • Goodreads

INTERVIEW WITH AMELIA BISHOP

What are some of your favorite books from your childhood?

I remember falling in love with The Chronicles of Narnia. Deeply in love. My aunt gave me the box set for my 10th birthday, and I remember walking around in a daze for months, just absorbed with the world and the characters. I’d always loved to read, but reading that series was the first time I was aware of how powerful and magical a fictional world could be, and how much it could influence my life.

I also loved The Wind in the Willows, The Indian in the Cupboard, A Wrinkle in Time, and anything by Judy Blume. One of the coolest things for me is re-reading these stories with my kids, and seeing them get caught up in fiction. It’s beautiful.
When and why did you decide that you wanted to write M/M Romance?

I was having a hard time finding books I liked in the m/m genre, this was probably in 2008 or 2009? The kindle was fairly new and there wasn’t a ton of m/m out there. I very quickly read most of the offerings. There was no m/m at the library, and very little non-erotica m/m at the bookstore. Over the next few years, I watched the genre blow up, and I loved it! Finally there was a large selection of Romance with gay MCs!

When I started writing in late 2012, I wrote bisexual menage erotica. Again, because there wasn’t a ton of it available, I wrote the stories I wanted to read. But one story (“Honest Desires,” part of a trilogy I have since unpublished) was mostly m/m, and very romantic. It was by far my most popular title. I got so much positive feedback on that one, I decided to write another m/m story with a HEA, and it kind of snowballed from there. I gradually moved from writing erotica, to erotic romance, to Romance, but I stuck with m/m.

Who are some of your favorite M/M Romance authors and why?

I love Harper Fox, for her lush sensual description. I love Damon Suede for his fun, unique voice. I love Abigail Roux for her funny characters and snappy dialogue.

Describe your writing place (photo if you like).

I write at an old desk in my bedroom, which is constantly cluttered with notebooks, water glasses, papers, pens, and random toys from my kids. I also often write on my chromebook, while standing at the kitchen counter and binge eating. Not a recommended writing method, but I do it J

What makes you want to write?

I think most writers have moments where they feel like giving up (at least I hope I’m not the only one!) and when I feel that way, I often receive an email from a reader. It’s like magic! I don’t know why it happens and I don’t want to know. I am grateful. Those e-mails are what keep me going.

It’s also great to dream up stories, and so fun to write when the words are really flowing. But without people telling me they enjoyed my work, I don’t know how long I would continue.

Thanks for dropping by Amelia! 😀

Best, Hel