Dicey Updates: Comic Cons, New Covers, New Audiobook, New Poster.

Update #1: If you’re in the Houston area, stop by Space City Comic Con May 27-29th (this Friday through Sunday) and geek out with me at booth AA-258. This will be my first 2016 4 x 6 flyerappearance at this con, hopefully, not the last. I’m looking forward to taking lots of photos, hanging out with old and new fans, discussing my favorite shows, movies, games, and books, and debuting my new comic posters. Angel Comics artist, Rod Thornton, did a fabulous job bringing some of my characters from THE NARCOLEPTIC VAMPIRE SERIES to “life”. You can see his artwork on my new flyer to the left.

Space City Comic Con will also be an opportunity to meet some of the actors from one of my favorite shows: Sons of Anarchy. I talked about how much I loved it back in 2012 here. As you can see, I survived the show ending in 2014, though it was hard to let go. *sniff* I’m planning to take the SoA poster off my wall and get the cast to autograph it. That should lift my spirits. *fingers crossed*

Update #2: I’ll also be at Comicpalooza for the 4th year straight, June 17-19th. I reaaally enjoy my time there every year. I’ll be in good company with Norman Reedus, Kate Beckinsale, Carl Weathers, and other favorite stars. *Reminding myself to take the 10 Sherrilyn Kenyon books off my shelf to see if she’ll sign them when I see her.* I’ll provide my booth assignment and panel info later. Just know, I will be on 4 panels this year, moderating 2.2015-203 HANDOVER Ebook

Update #3: My first novel SHAMEFUL (taboo) has been converted to my first audiobook, and has already received 2 reviews. Give it a listen and leave yours. It’s available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.

This is probably a good time to mention that SHAMEFUL has a new book cover as well. ‘Cause when you know better, you do better.

Hope you like it. 😉

Okay…what’s next?

Update #4: I have a new book cover for SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 1).

SleepyWillow'sBondedSoul.EbookYes, the book that started all my gory, sexy creatures-of-the-night drama needed an update as well. So here’s the 5th and hopefully, FINAL cover for this book.

Ahhhh yeaahhh. My cover model, Jaies Baptiste; photographer, Tim Rogers; and designer Najla Qamber hooked that ish up. Contact them for bookings. They are each good, fun, professional people to work with.

Are you tired of my updates yet?

No?

How ’bout one more?SleepyWillow'sRedeemedSoul.Ebook.Amazon

 

Update #5: Here’s the cover for SLEEPY WILLOW’S REDEEMED SOUL (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 4).

When I first posted it on my FB page, I got a private message from someone cussing me out about the book not being ready yet. *pouty lip* I’m so sorry. I’m trying. I only want to give you my best, and I don’t have my best ready yet. The whole novel is not ready for release yet BUUUUTTTTTT I plan to reveal a teaser for the book within the next few days. Can we call that a compromise? Thanks for your patience and support, beauties. And thanks for following my blog and keeping up with my updates. Love you.

The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 3.1 Coming Soon.

By now, you know Dicey likes to shake things up. Cross boundaries. Throw the formulaic BS you expect to read in a book out the motherfreaking window, and hit you with things you never saw coming. Well, you think you know…but you are NOT ready for what I have in store next.

Volumes 1-3 of The Narcoleptic Vampire Series have caused quite a stir. Some readers have become hardcore fans. Others have thought I needed to be institutionalized. Fine. I knew what I was getting into when I embarked on this sexy, wild, daring, risky author brand. So, let’s be clear. I take the risky part as seriously as I do the sexy, wild, and daring parts. I’m rolling the dice again. What’s coming next is strictly for fans of my series. Those willing to see how far I’m willing to go. Ohhhh, I’m willing to go far AND I’m not so disillusioned that I haven’t considered there will even be a divide amongst fans this time. Some will love it. Others will wonder whether my parents dropped me on my head.

What am I rambling on about?

Vol. 3.1 of the series. Zeek’s love story.

If you read Vol. 3, Sleepy Willow’s Loosed Soul, you know Zeek had MANY challenges in her human life. Now that she’s a vampire, how will this affect her perspective? And given the worldwide event at the end of Vol. 3, who would make a suitable mate for her?

Thorn, that’s who. He. Will. Be. Bringing. It.

Vol. 3.1 will be about newly-turned vampire, Zeek, finding love in spite of her abnormality, in the most unlikely suitor, in the most unlikely situation. It will also be about Zeek learning how to balance this love with her bonded duties to her maistress vampire, Willow.

My working visual prototypes are Brazilian supermodel Lea-T for Ezekiel (Zeek):

Lea-T

And actor, choreographer Columbus Short for Hawthorne (Thorn):

Columbus Short 2

This book, which I’m intending to make a novella, will be a departure from my first person narrative. It will be written from Zeek and Thorn’s perspective in third person, focusing primarily on their romance.

If you met Zeek in the last book, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m about to pull, and how well I can pull it off. Oh, believe me–I find Zeek and Thorn challenging to write. But just as my character with multiple personalities, and my vampire with narcolepsy, I’m having SO much fun doing it. I’d love to share more of what I’m writing for them, but I can’t without spoiling Zeek’s special quirks and what her love interest, Thorn, is bringing to the table. All I can say, is…

GET READY.

Don’t worry. I’m not abandoning Sleepy Willow. She will be back in full effect after I write romances for some of her grooms.<–That will confuse you, if you haven’t read Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul (Vol. 1) , Sleepy Willow’s Heartless Soul (Vol. 2), and Sleepy Willow’s Loosed Soul (Vol. 3) of my series yet. So read them. Volumes 1-3 are from Sleepy Willow’s perspective. Vol. 4 will be from her perspective too. And I’ll try to make it where you don’t miss major events in Willow’s world if you decide to skip Zeek’s story because of her “issues”. 😀

I’ll be traveling a lot over the next few weeks and may not post anything new until I return. It just depends on how accessible the internet will be. With that mind, I wish you all a very wonderful and safe holiday season!

Where Are The Black Men In Your Book?

I’ve been delaying commentary on this question/criticism for a while, but it’s time I address it. Each time I’ve been asked why there are no black men in Sleepy Willow, the reader has first said he or she LOVED the book but…where are the black men. So, I’m not sure if this is really criticism or just an observation. A somewhat inaccurate one. Nevertheless, I’ll try to answer the question thoroughly.

First–Punch is a black man. Remember him? The HUGE black man in my story? He looks something like bodybuilder Ulisses Williams, Jr. in my head:

Nice, huh?

But, I get it. Punch is not the main love interest for my heroine. That’s really the issue, isn’t it? The romance is between Willow, a black female vampire and Remi, who is…not black. So ladies and gentleman, what we have here is an interracial relationship, right? Willow’s maistre vampire, Maximilian, is…not black. That’s another one. Willow’s boss, Franco, is…not black. Another one. Willow’s nemesis, Agent Monroe, isn’t either. I could keep going down the list, but by now, if you haven’t read it, you’re beginning to understand that this is not an African-American novel. It is a multi-cultural one.

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing those who asked about the absence of black men within the story are wondering why 1) the lead female doesn’t have a black love interest since she’s black, and/or 2) why there aren’t more black men because…I am a black woman author. As in, why would a black woman author not have more black men in her books, like Terry McMillan or Sista Souljah or Zane.

It’s simple, really: it’s already been done a million times or more and I strive hard to make my books unique. I’m leaving the AA fiction to the women listed above and delving into more risque’ material. More controversial stuff. I’m adding several layers of wild and daring, not just one. I’m going beyond an older woman, younger man scenario (McMillan) and drugs and abortion (Souljah) and threesomes (Zane), though I applaud these women for writing books I’ve enjoyed immensely.

Secondly, I did everything I could to make each part of my book a surprise. When you find out Willow’s black–surprise. And when you find out everyone else’s race, religion, love interest, supernatural gift–surprise.

Willow + Punch = predictable. Predictable–> Boring.

I worked hard to keep my book UNPREDICTABLE. (Side note: I’m overjoyed that most of the reviewers respected this and posted non-spoiler reviews. Thanks!)

The Narcoleptic Vampire Series is not the only one featuring an interracial relationship, but you’ll be hard pressed to find more than a handful of paranormal romance/dark urban fantasy stories with a black female lead (first hurdle) who has a non-black romantic interest (nearly nonexistent). And that, my friends, is one of the reasons I wrote it that way.

But that’s not all.

Truth is–in order to answer this question entirely, I’d have to reveal more secrets of my creative writing process. And you know how much I hate doing that. *Being sarcastic, of course.* But seriously, you’d need to know where my ideas come from and how I develop my characters to understand how each one is written the way he or she is.

In this old post, I discussed how Remi’s character was inspired by Nir Lavi. In this old post, I discussed how Joe Manganiello inspired my character Dario. I get inspiration from random input and I run with it. Lots of times, it comes from watching a movie, developing a very short-lived crush on a character or actor, and allowing my imagination to run rampant.

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you know Tom Hardy has recently inspired a character or two. For sure. But I have to write my thoughts out now before I lose interest. There will be another flavor of the week really soon. Which means I’ll be inspired to write about different characters with different story lines. I’ll have to chuck the deuce to Tom and welcome my new inspiration.

More so than that, I have a nondiscriminatory policy. I like and dislike men equally. White, black, yellow, green. Doesn’t matter, as long as something stands out about him.

Hey, I just had an idea for a good green character. Wait a minute. I think Laurell K. Hamilton did that in in her Merry Gentry Fae series.

Anyway…

I have to write about whatever I feel most drawn to at the moment. Whatever is churning around in my brain and won’t let me rest until I’ve written about it…him or her–that’s how it works.

I’ve had crushes on Shemar Moore (until I met him in Atlanta while he was filming Diary of a Mad Black Woman. He was gorgeous and nice. I just lost interest after seeing him as a mere mortal), Vin Diesel (not sure he’s black, but he keeps popping up on black men lists), Tyson Beckford (gloriously chocolate), Taye Diggs (wowsie!), Morris Chestnut (I mean, did you SEE him in The Best Man?), Blair Underwood (holy moly), and Will Smith (when he’s not being silly). Just to name a few. But I can no longer write about a character based on them since I don’t feel passionately drawn to them at the moment.

Now you know the method to my madness.

I have a black man at home. A good-looking, athletic one. He’s agreed to pose for an upcoming promotion for Sleepy Willow part 2, by the way…but damn. I’m rambling today. My point is–I have a black man at home so I probably won’t develop a crush on many. Why? You got it–because that’s not different. A Brit with tats, an accent, and THOSE lips…that’s another story altogether. Yeah, I’m talking about Tom again.

Funny thing–other than Idris Elba, Denzel Washington, and Will Smith, you don’t see a lot of black men featured in sexy roles on the big screen much at all. I may have to go on a hunt and find one to base a character on, after all. Any suggestions?

I may have just wasted my time and yours trying to explain this because what you could have been asking was: “Dicey, I just love your book so much and love the characters and I’d like to see more men like Punch in your books because he’s totally hot and I love reading about black men and since you wrote one awesome black male character, I was hoping you’d write more.”

Okay. I’ll do my best. Let’s see how the mood/inspiration strikes me. 🙂

Revenge.

I’ve been chitchatting so much about my vampire novel lately, that the characters in my novel SHAMEFUL are feeling left out. I’ve had to explain to them that their story is a tougher pill to swallow for readers. That some are offended by merely the subject matter alone. That I have to ease it on folks. I mean, it involves statutory rape and infidelity, for goodness sakes. I’ve also explained that paranormal escapism is typically more fun than stories based in realism.

I think Joanne and the gang are finally understanding why they don’t get as much attention as Sleepy Willow and her gang. Nevertheless, I promised to mention something about them today.

That damn Joanne finds herself making some bad decisions in SHAMEFUL. And, as she finds out, bad decisions have terrible consequences, just like in the 1990 movie Revenge. I’d say Joanne gets off easy considering all the things that could have happened. That being said, she in no way rides off into the sunset to live happily ever after without her share of suffering. Her story is a character study about seeking fulfillment, making tough decisions…and living with consequences.

In Revenge, Kevin Costner plays a man who knowingly, willfully, and recklessly enters into a forbidden romance with the wife of a powerful Mexican. The sultry wife is played by Madeline Stowe, and it’s a good thing, because a viewer has to believe Costner is stupid enough to risk everything for this woman. They are drawn to each other like buzzards to a carcass, and that’s too bad for them because her husband does not play that sh*t.

By the end of the movie, a viewer may actually root for the couple even though they were obviously wrong to begin their affair. It’s obvious their love is strong. Stronger than her love ever was for her husband. Not dutiful, but passionate. Costner’s character goes through hell and highwater (given the circumstance, as well he should), to get back to her, if only for the briefest, most tragic of reunions.

Oh, yeah. They have real love for each other. But the movie doesn’t make it easy for them. It doesn’t glorify the affair. It’s about real love. But it is not about love conquering all. When your love hurts people, you get hurt.

I like that the movie characters, like mine in SHAMEFUL, do what the spirit, soul, and body wants regardless of what they know is right. I also like that they don’t get away with it.

What Happens After The Day The Sun Stops Shining?

Kneeling down, I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the God I’d always believed in. As a human. And now as a vampire. But it was no use. The time had come. The time to atone for my sins. To face my maker. To give an account for what I’d done with my life…and afterlife.

It didn’t look good since I’d traded my soul for “immortality”. For the chance to exist without my illness. The illness that made me weak. Helpless. Vulnerable. Oh, yeah. I’d given it all up to be free of narcolepsy.

Too bad turning hadn’t cured me.

And too bad, I was about to be punished for it all.

I had no idea when my number would be called. When I’d stand alone before the all-supreme being and finally be cast in the lake of fire along with my boss, Franco. And that motherfucking maistre vampire of mine, Maximilian.

At least there was some justice in that.

But still.

I was scared shitless. Because my time was coming.

It was now dark as smut. No sun. No warmth. No chance of either returning. Although I could see fine in the dark and my body temperature was not affected, it was still scary. For one, my lover–the insane one with several faces–would be judged as well. But which face would be judged? We had no way of knowing. And I loved him so much, it pained me to think he may end up in the same place as me. Because of me.

Damn.

I did love him.

And it was too late to tell him. Them.

Aaron, Remi…I love you.

~Sleepy Willow~

=========================================================

This is a little goody I wrote for fans of my novel Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul: The Narcoleptic Vampire Series and to announce my participation in the The Day the Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour.

Fellow author and blog participant, Kim Koning, explained the tour:

There will be giveaways, interviews, contests…

Do you write or read dystopian, fantasy, paranormal, horror or science fiction?

Follow this tour…sign up if you are a writer…

Don’t miss out…it might be your last chance…before the sun stops shining…

End of the year? End of daylight? End of the sun?

Let us tell you what might happen after The Sun Stops Shining…

So, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming blog posts where I feature other indie authors particpating in the tour. There will be interviews, guest posts, and excerpts. Stay tuned.

If you dare.

Writing Sex Scenes Part II.

I’ve only completed two novels–that’s the disclaimer. Readers have commented on how much they love the sex scenes in my books–that’s my validation. That’s what qualifies me to give tips. I don’t purport to be an expert. I don’t pretend these will work for everyone. I’m sure others write better scenes…or ones more suitable to particular tastes. But I have had some experience with it. And since I’m still a lowly indie author, I’ll actually take the time to share my techniques with you.

WARNING: This is another post for the grown and sexy. Do NOT read further if discussions about sex offend you…and you happened to have missed the title.

Last week, Thomas Bryant and I discussed writing sex scenes. It was short. It was funny. And it was a good intro to today’s tips for writing sex scenes. You can read it here.

After said post, fellow indie author, Alesha Escobar, had this to say: “Okay, I confess I’m still a wimp when it comes to this. If I’m feeling awkward, it’s going to come across in the scene–then I just look like a dork. I know I’m supposed to stay away from purple prose and laughable metaphors. So any advice? :-)

Thomas Bryant’s advice: “I did mention a bottle of wine, didn’t I, Alesha?”

I agree with Thomas. Wine does help.

Here are some other tips for writing sex scenes:

1. Enjoy sex. Enjoy talking about it. Enjoy watching it. Enjoy reading it. Enjoy writing it.

Why? Because…

a. If you enjoy sex and make it a daily part of your discussions, thoughts, and lifestyle, that passion will translate on paper.

b. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll hurry through a scene. You’ll have a bunch of words with no depth. You’ll just be going through the motions and so will your characters.

c. The more you enjoy sexy situations, the more you will write them. The more you write sex scenes, the better you get at sex writing sex scenes. 🙂

Downside: you may go overboard. I have been told by one reader to tone DOWN the sex a bit. So, take my tips with a grain of salt. Decide how important your sex scenes are to your story and prepare accordingly. My characters are sexy, wild, daring, and risky. So sex is pretty integral. I keep the characters in mind, not readers. My target audience will love the characters AND the sex scenes.

Which leads me to…

2. Forget everybody else. If you’re thinking about what your mommy, preacher, children or whomever are going to think, you won’t be able to let your characters go in order to do what they want to do. You’re writing fiction. Later for whoever doesn’t get that.

3. Get in a sexy mind frame before you start writing a scene. If you’re doing #1, this will be easy. And this is where Bryant’s suggestion of wine helps. I like to create a sexy atmosphere. Visualize what my characters are going to do. Then describe it as if I am in the moment with them. Freaky? Maybe. But it works.

4. Read lots of sex scenes. Figure out who writes the ones you enjoy the most. Figure out why. Learn from that author.

I’ve read LOTS of books. Discovered I liked books with sex in them the most (which is why YA is not my favorite genre). Disliked the overly sappy ones. Disliked the solely erotic ones. Enjoyed a good plot with good sex scenes the best. Once I started reading J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, I was ruined for other authors. I discovered I liked the choppy style. The fast-paced, raunchy way of describing the acts. And that’s where I adopted my style from. It’s uniquely mine, but highly influenced by hers.

Find your influence. Roll with it.

5. Don’t be awkward. Be fun. Be sexy.

How?

Remember that sex is a natural part of life. As far as I know, we all come with genitalia and the urge to use them for more than bodily functions. In fact, with nearly seven billion people in the world, it’s obvious there’s a lot of sex going on. It should be celebrated. Revered.

Don’t feel embarrassed. Don’t feel shy. Keep in mind you’re writing about something everybody does…or wish they did. It’s what people do behind closed doors. And that’s where they’re going to read your books with YOUR sex scenes.

6. Write the scenes as your characters would experience them. You’re just the narrator. They are the participants. My character, Joanne, in Shameful does some bad stuff…but none of that is as bad as what my character, Willow, does in Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul. Why? Because Willow’s a vampire based in fantasy and Joanne’s a wife and mother based in reality. Willow and Joanne both have sex, but their experiences are very different because of who they are.

These are tips from the top of my head. I’ll do a Part III when I think of more. If you’re an author with a tip to share, by all means–leave a comment.

Fetish Fun Or Extreme?

My character, Sleepy Willow, works at a fetish club where all kinds of interesting things take place. Readers are forewarned about the grit and gruesomeness of featured fetishes because some may find it offensive. But do not be mistaken. It DOES take place. Take this November 17, 2011 KHOU headline, for instance: “Houston man who mutilated girlfriend sentenced to 30 years in prison.”

Well, he mutilated her, so he deserves to be sentenced, right? How about if the mutilated girlfriend testified FOR the defendant? What if she insisted it was just a sex game that went too far? And that she didn’t want him punished for what she CONSENTED to?

Ring any fetishism bells? A sex game where one enjoys being beat and the other enjoys doing the beating? Where humiliation, degradation, and power are turn-ons? Where the lines between pain and pleasure are blurred?

That’s sadomasochism (also commonly referred to as BDSM), ladies and gentleman. Or aggravated assault, according to the jury.

Why aggravated assault? Doesn’t it make a difference if she consented to the abuse? If she begged for him to beat her and burn her and mutilate her? If the pain brought pleasure to her as well?

Not legally in most of the western world, since no one can consent to grave bodily harm. She is still considered a victim and he is a felon.

Well, what constitutes grave bodily harm?

Though usually left to a reasonable person standard in many U.S. courts, I think it’s safe to say the following are universally considered grave bodily harm even to the most liberal of folks: breaking bones of another, inflicting wounds that require sutures, causing injuries that result in disfigurement, and causing prolonged or reoccurring unconsciousness.

According to KHOU: “Prosecutors said Longoria tied his girlfriend to a bed and beat, choked and burned her for more than 15 hours back in February of 2011.”

I’m pretty certain a 15-hour sex game that involves beating, choking, burning, and results in permanent disfigurement would not turn me on in the least. And I’m preeeetty sure most people are going to consider it grave bodily harm no matter how much the submissive enjoyed him or herself.

For those who enjoy being beat or beating those who “consent” to the beatings, how much is too much and therefore, punishable by law? Is it fair for the legal system to step in and decide?

While I am all for freedom in sexual self-expression, I am glad the court intervened and imposed this sentence. In THIS particular case. Why? Because after following some of the testimony, I wasn’t really convinced she actually consented.