Rambling, and a work in progress excerpt

After a week of vacation I seem to have been inspired to get back to writing a bit more seriously again. Today was a productive day, and that makes me feel good.

I'm a writer. How do I know I am, you ask? Because the act of writing makes me feel good. It's that simple.

But it's not all, of course. Part of being a writer is having other people read what you write. And hopefully like it. Or at least be moved to feel something by it. There's nothing worse than being boring, as a writer. As a person, really, but as a writer it touches on what makes you, you. And what makes you money, in the end, so it can be a real problem, being boring as a writer. Unnoticed. Forgotten.

Which is why you probably see a lot of writers trying to get attention. For their work if they're not too conceited, but sometimes for themselves. Those should probably just be ignored.

But the thing is, we don't know if you've seen our work if you don't tell us about it. So please do. Write a review, give it a rating. Comment on a blog post, or send an e-mail (mine is cecilialansing@gmail.com). The author will love you for it.

This author will even love you if you criticize my writing. Not saying mean things, mind you, but telling me what's wrong with my work will maybe even earn you more gratitude than gushing platitudes about my greatness. I already know about my greatness. Tell me how to improve! ;)

So here's me, asking for some attention for my work. The little bit below is an excerpt from one of my WIPs. Unedited, raw. So it has warts. Can you see the same ones I already spotted? Or have you spotted problems I've missed by being too close to the material? I'd love to know. Leave me a comment?

Excerpt

That is the end of chapter 6 of my novel–length work in progress. It's about the journey of a somewhat older man as he discovers the delights of kinky, sexy games with three uninhibited young women. And somewhere they end up on a sailing boat. With ropes and rigging and acres of lonely water.

So, liked it? Hated it? Problems? I'd love to get some feedback.

And, if you liked it, or want to read something of mine that's a little more polished, try one of my already published books:

  • First Time Fuck Buddies

    A sexy romp between a bachelor and his sister's house–mate.

  • Sister Bound

    Not officially step–siblings, but it still feels that way. But now big brother David has decided to dominate his little sister…

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Writing Workspace

I've just realized I have a problem. It's very much a first-world problem, but still.

I do all of my writing on my personal computer. My desktop personal computer, although it's actually a tower and it's under my desk. But you get the picture. I don't have a laptop. It's on my list of things I need to buy, but for now it's not there yet.

So, this means that I'm pretty much confined to writing when I'm at home. Which would not be a problem if I had a good “home office” workspace set up. But I don't. Which means that whenever someone else is in my house they pretty much are able to look onto my computer screen. From the couch in front of the TV it's too far to actually read anything or see details of pictures, but the problem is more in my mind. The feeling of someone looking over my shoulder while I try to write makes it impossible to concentrate and actually put words down on the screen.

My living arrangements are such that about 40 to 50 percent of the time there's someone else in my house. They're family, but still, it's become increasingly obvious to me that this situation is interfering with my writing time.

So, I've decided I need to fix this. What's the first step? Rearrange my computer setup so that I can “shut the door” and afford myself some privacy when I want to write. This is not too hard to do, but I need to rearrange some furniture, and maybe buy some drapes or something (I have an alcove with sliding doors, but these have windows in them).

Next, maybe rethink the priority of that laptop so that I'm more mobile and can decide to just hide out in a corner of some coffee shop and write some dirty smut there. With a nice cappuccino at my elbow of course. Maybe even a muffin or some cake. Hhmmm, sounds good…

So, fellow writers, what are your writing environments like? Have any good tips, or comments? I'd love to hear from you.

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Support indie authors

From Tessie L'Amour comes this very simple but effective way you can support your favourite indie author that won't cost you any money.

Like I try to tell people elsewhere on this site, there are tons of ways you can help out us indie authors. From a simple tweet, to a blog post, or buying our books at Amazon, Smashwords, or any of the other resellers.

But recently Tessie came up with this simple way you can help us with actual money, while not having to part with one (extra) cent of your cash.

How?

When you're about to buy something from Amazon, go through this page at Tessie's website and click through one of the links there. Choose your favourite author, or just randomly pick one, whatever floats your boat.

And then go on your merry way and buy Amazon stuff until you're blue in the face. You don't have to spend an extra cent beyond what you were going to spend on your purchases anyway, but your chosen author gets some money for each purchase you make, because you ended up at Amazon through their link. Great, huh? I actually do this already with the links on this site that take you to Amazon. This way I already made a little extra money, and from purchases that had nothing to do with my ebooks either.

So, head over to Tessie's website and bookmark that page. Next time you're feeling a shopping spree coming on, keep us indie authors in mind…

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Automated ebook conversion and Smashwords

A week ago I finally uploaded new revisions of my two ebooks, Sister Bound and First Time Fuck Buddies. I had reread them a couple of weeks ago and to my horror found a few small errors and typos. I fixed those right away in my master documents, but put off re-uploading them because I didn't want to do the whole conversion thing manually like I had been doing.

So I made a system to convert my master documents into the various formats that I need to upload to Amazon, my website here, and Smashwords. Those are currently the three places that I use to distribute my ebooks. Smashwords of course distributes to other venues, such as Diesel eBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. At the moment these are actually outselling Amazon, so I really want my books up there through Smashwords.

Big kudos for Smashwords for that.

But on the conversion front? Kudos, not so much. In fact, Smashwords is a plain bitch on that front.

Look at the stats

Time to generate one mobi document for Amazon, and three versions for my website (pdf, mobi, and epub), ready to be uploaded with zero extra work? All with the press of one button? Well, okay, a bit more: it takes me all of one mouse click and about 5 key presses to run the conversion system. But that generates all of the above formats, for all (well, okay, all two) of my ebooks.

10 seconds. I timed it. From the last key press to all done.

Oh, and that incidentally also generates an rtf file for me that I can use as a basis for my Smashwords upload. But for Smashwords I need to do stuff with it before I can upload. Copy the text over into OpenOffice and then manually reset all the styles on the different text parts. And manually build up any links I had in there. All stuff that was already in there. I'm doing stuff I've already done! Well, automated, but still… all of this was already there! Looking great in xhtml, epub and mobi. But no, Smashwords wants me to upload in a file format that has literally been obsolete for years.

So how long does it take me to reformat and prepare that rtf file so I can upload it to Smashwords? 15 minutes. Yep, that is one-five minutes! That's two or three pages I could have been writing on my next story. And bear in mind, this test was done on a short story, less than 6000 words long. For a novel length ebook this would take quite a bit longer.

So, yeah, Smashwords really sucks when it comes to its submission requirements.

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March 2012 update

It's been a bit silent here for a while. I finished a new draft on a short erotic story (actually the first in a series) a while ago, but put it aside and for some reason I haven't felt like starting up on the editing and revising process on that one. I'll let it lie a little longer.

I've also been on holiday, so I was out of the country and away from internet and my keyboard. But now I'm back, with a couple of new ideas running around in my head.

Today I found myself starting a completely different short erotic story. But the lead-up to the actual naughty bits is taking a lot longer than I planned. Not that that is by default wrong or something. But I might need to rethink the story once I get through writing down the first draft.

Anyway, still #amwriting, just not as fast as I had hoped when I started out on this adventure. But come back. I'll have something new up. Promise. Just don't know when.

Meanwhile, if you haven't already, check out my first released short story: First Time Fuck Buddies.

(add a comment)

And the price is down again

So I've had the price for First Time Fuck Buddies up at $3.49 for the last six days now, and it's going back down again. It's clear $3.49 is too high for a sale of an unknown author peddling a short erotic story. In fact, it's been down to $2.99 on the Amazon sites for more than a day now already, and that's not doing anything for sales either.

This was expected, but it was nice to see this bear out. I sold pretty consistently at ¢99 on Amazon and Smashwords, without doing much of anything to promote it. I think most sales were from people browsing and making impulse decisions to buy because of the low price.

So now the price is back down again to ¢99. Go get it at the usual places: First Time Fuck Buddies.

Of course, you can still also preview the full ebook for free here from this site…

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New Books Section

Instead of writing today (something I've been doing too little of in the last days at any rate), I added a new section to this website: Books. There's a link to it in the site-header all the way up in the top right corner. Or there should be.

Right now it's still pretty empty, as I've only published the one book: First Time Fuck Buddies.

I hope, now that I've gotten this itch out of my system, I'll finally feel like sitting down with the first draft of my second short erotic story I finished a while ago. It's been sitting in the top drawer at my bedside for a while now. Waiting for the first editing round. Soon. I hope.

So go take a look, and check back soon for new entries!

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Price is (going) back up

The ¢99 price for First Time Fuck Buddies is no more. I just adjusted the price on Goodreads, Smashwords and on Amazon. On Amazon the change takes some time, so if you hurry you may be able to snag it for ¢99 still: try Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Now, I'm doing the reverse experiment. I started out pricing it at $2. Now it's up for $3.49.

On Amazon US I did see some movement when it was priced lower, but that could also have been because I added tags just about around the time I lowered the price. So I don't really know. I've sold more than I expected. But it's still a thrill each time I see that I've sold another one, so you can imagine it's not paying my bills. Yet.

There are two things I'd like to comment on. First, I've now sold into the double digits on Amazon US, but not a single one on Amazon UK. I wonder why that is. I do admit to adding tags to the UK site later, but it's been a while now, so I don't think that's the cause of the total silence in the British Isles.

Are UK readers not that into romantic erotica? Short erotica? Erotica period? I really doubt it, so maybe the cover is wrong for the UK? Dunno. I might have to experiment with that, except it isn't possible (as far as I know) to have a different cover for different regions in Kindle Direct Publishing.

Second, my “read–it–all–first—decide–what–to–pay–after” setup seems a bust. I've seen a number of downloads (also into the double digits, in fact), but no donations. Now, that could be because all these downloaders decided that it wasn't worth anything to them. That's fine. That was the whole point.

But maybe not. I'd like to think that in a sample that size there would be at least someone who thought it was worth something to them. So, did they decide to do something else besides donate a buck to me? As I explained in my original announcement, there are lots of ways to ‘pay’ a writer for their work. So maybe they announced that they liked it on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe they made a comment on their weblog, or someone else's. If so, I'd like to thank them, but if they did, they've remained anonymous, so I can't.

Anyway, this is not a complaint. Or an announcement I won't be providing my full ebooks for download here on this site from now on. Just something I'd like to understand better.

So if you have any insight to share, or just want to comment, or want to say hi, head over to the single post page for this entry and leave a comment there. That's what it's there for! ;)

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Read the sample for ‘First Time Fuck Buddies’ right here on my webpage

This is pretty amazing. If your browser is new enough (and why would you still not be using one of the new browsers, such as Google Chrome or Firefox? If you can't use one of those, get a portable version which you should be able to run practically anywhere right here: scroll down to the “Internet” section) you should see the first page of my short erotic story ‘First Time Fuck Buddies’ in the embedded Kindle Cloud Reader here.

The actual text of the story starts on the very last page, because Amazon doesn't allow me as an author to specify where to start the sample. Which is a shame, as now you get a number of pages of front matter, and only the first four (yes, 4) lines of text from the actual story. Check it out here.

(go to the single post page to see the embedded sample)

I haven't figured out how—or even if—I can change this, because I would much rather you get the first eight pages of my actual story to sample. Removing the front matter would be an option, but not really. I like the front matter in books. I'm one of those people that will actually read those pages, so to strip them out of my own books would break my heart. But maybe that's the only option.

For now, you get the first four lines.

What? Not enough, you greedy bastards?

Okay. Okay. You win. Go over here and just download the whole ebook. How's that for a sample, huh?

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Progress and a little pricing experiment

Been silent here for too long. The problem is that there's not really much to tell. I've been working on my stories, but it's been tough going recently. That story that wanted out is now having second thoughts and playing hard to get. I'm slogging on, but I think I'll be ripping out the guts again during my first real editing round. Ah well, so it goes.

I also bit the bullet and finally went through the whole rigmarole to get my previous short erotic story (First Time Fuck Buddies) published on Smashwords. You can find it here.

As you'll see there, the price is ¢99, which is the ‘experiment’ I mentioned in the title. If you go to Amazon (US or UK) you'll see that the price there has dropped to ¢99 as well.

Yes, for a limited time, you'll be able to get my short erotic story ‘First Time Fuck Buddies’ for just ¢99!

Or you could head over to the announcement post and just download a copy there (epub, mobi or pdf).

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The Story That Wants Out

As I mentioned in my Grand Opening post, I had been writing a second story while editing the first, and had outlined a third that I'm planning to flesh out to novel length. So when I finally finished that first short story and threw it out via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (see here or get it directly from Amazon) I fully expected to dive into either one of those.

But then a completely different story invaded my mind. So I'm now writing that, first. Maybe it's because this one feels shorter than the other two on the table. I might already be addicted to the feeling of pressing the 'publish' button on KDP.

Whatever it is, I've been making good progress on this one, even though I've been having trouble staying away from the distractions on the internet. And real life issues have also taken up quite a bit of my time. But even though I've spent little time putting down the words, I think I'm already over the halfway point. And I secretly hope to have the first draft done by tonight. But then I'll need to buckle down and not get distracted by twitter, or writing entries for my website.

Let's see how far I get.

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Writers vs. Authors according to Dean Wesley Smith

If you're wondering why you should check up on Dean Wesley Smith's weblog once in a while, read his latest post about the difference between writers and authors.

You'll be back.

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First Time Fuck Buddies now available

(Not interested in all the chatter? Just grab it here immediately.)

First Time Fuck Buddies

The surprise appearance of his sister's house–mate, Amanda, at his backyard pool ends up in the best sex Brian has had in... well, forever. Amanda had sexy time on her mind, but what Brian provides her with goes far beyond the roll in the hay she had been hoping for.

Both end up with exactly what they want.

Book details

Warning: This story contains explicit descriptions of sex.

Story codes: MF, consensual.

Length: Short Story, 5300 words, approx. 15 pages.

Available now

Read before you buy

I have included the following text on the copyright page of this ebook (and plan to include it in all following ebooks too):

What that boils down to is that you can get a copy of this ebook right here, as an easy download:

(Links not working? Send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you (it's less than 100Kb). Be sure to specify what type (mobi, epub) you want.)

You're free to download it, and read it, and share it with others.

All I ask is that if you did enjoy reading this short story, that you either buy a copy at Amazon, or donate a small amount of money here to my paypal account (see here).

Buying it at Amazon leaves me with a smaller cut of your money, but will help my ebook in the sales rank on Amazon, which is worth something, too. Either choice is fine with me.

If you donate, you can choose your own value to place on the story. Feel free to donate less—or more! ;)—if you don't think it was worth the price I ask for it on Amazon ($0.99), or if you just can't afford more. I do ask you not to donate if it's less than 10 cents, as paypal also takes a (pretty small) cut.

And if you do decide to show this ebook to others, please point them to the notice I included on the copyright page, or point them at this page, so they are aware of all this.

In fact, if you don't have any money to spare, I'll gladly take ‘payment’ in the form of a bit of publicity; point people to this site or my Amazon page, link to it, send out a tweet about it, post a Facebook link, whatever. I'll take (almost) anything. Just don't annoy people on my behalf, though. ;)

Why?

Good question. I'll be delving deeper into the issues related to my choice to do this at a later date on this website, but suffice to say that before I became an author, I was a consumer of ebooks. I still am. But not thanks to a lot of the publishers and webshops selling ebooks out there.

I personally am fed up with a lot of the ways the entrenched names in the publishing and book selling industry are treating—mistreating—their customers. I think that there is a huge potential to make a lot of money in this new digital age and that nearly all ‘established’ industries (music, movie, and now publishing) have failed miserably in how they try to adapt to the new realities of a digital world.

So this is me putting my money where my mouth is, I suppose. Well, actually, not yet my money. *grin*

So, prove me right, please, and (if you enjoyed my work) leave me a token of your appreciation.

Donate
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Fail

Well, that's a good start to the new year.

January 1st, 2012: failed to keep promise to self to publish first story before end of 2011.

You know what, though?

I'm perfectly all right with that. Because the reason is that during an edit I basically rewrote the whole first half of the short story I was planning to publish through Kindle Direct Publishing. And the result is a lot better than before the rewrite.

So now I just need to go through it all one last time to get all those lingering typos squashed. Soon!

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about

I am Cecilia Lansing.

Trying out this erotica writing thing. Find links to my stories here.



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An excerpt from my novel–length wip and a shameless cry for attention.

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I'm missing out on writing hours because I haven't set up a good workspace for myself at home.



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