The Amazon Iowan

Blog of Author Heidi Cullinan


Leave a comment

KA Mitchell is giving away more stuff, we’re all reading everything, the boys are still chatting, and small side note about sadists.

First the admin stuff:

  • KA Mitchell is still having a buddy read. We’re sliding slowly into book 3 (I’m still behind, but I’m catching up today). She’s still taking questions, and so are all her characters. We’ll start book 4 Tuesday when it releases!
  • KA Mitchell is giving stuff away. A $10 certificate and a $25. One contest is fast, the other gives you some time to enter.
  • There’s a Tough Love buddy read. Please come join those chatting. I’m staying out of it until they drag me in, which they did because they wanted to talk about Gordy, and fuck, I wanted to talk about Gordy.
  • I extended the Special Delivery character interviews because I had a rough day yesterday and didn’t get to respond. They’ll be there through the weekend, so stop by and ask whatever you like.
  • The blog tour has had some interviews and guests posts on it, including one where I talk about drag. Also tons more chances to win Tough Love. (Some of the links haven’t been updated yet—Dan does that, and he’s been working and taking care of me as I feel lousy. Sorry.)

Speaking of Tough Love

I’ve been trying to think of how to say this, and I can’t ever find the way to climb on top of it gracefully, so pardon the sight of my slip here. What I want to address is the dichotomy of responses I’m getting from reviewers and readers. As always it’s a spectrum, but this time it’s really something amazing to behold, and it keeps bringing me to my knees, more easily probably because I’m tired and a bit sick again and all my emotions are on the surface.

Reactions to Tough Love so far seem to be somewhere on this line: readers either instinctively know they need to give this one a pass, but many are frustrated because they feel like they’re being left out of a party. Some of those then end up reading, and they merge with the next set, the ones who thought they’d read my kink before and would be fine and found…whoa, hey, there’s the edge of my comfort zone. Some of you went over, some of you kissed it. Beyond that are the readers who discovered a third wall beyond the edge of the boundaries they thought they knew, and they seem to be mixed on whether they’re excited or freaked out or both or IDEK, I need to lie down now.

A whole, huge pack of you flat-out loved it, maybe didn’t like some parts which is normal, but mostly yay, book, boys are back, new boys, YAY!  A step further than these people are the hard-core kink lovers, who grunted and RAWR’d and called for more right now please, thanks. Some of you waxed poetic about your love for this kind of book, some of you just made incoherent noises. Loved all the responses, so thanks.

But then there is the last land of responses I’ve received, and they knock me over, make me shake. They’re actually the people I wanted to write for all along. I wanted a story for everybody, but what I really, really wanted, was to write to a group of people who aren’t usually heard, who are usually written off as freaks or bad guys or both. Who have to hide who they are and what they love. What I wanted to do above all was write for you, to show you that I love you too and you too deserve happily ever afters and fiction which represents you.

And the thing is, you sadists, you pain kink-ers, you edge play people–you keep writing me, you keep messaging me, and you make me so glad I went here.

This is the kind of moment that’s hard to explain to media when they ask me about what I write. Usually someone is trying to get at the titter-worthy angle, the nice little mom in Iowa writing erotica, and isn’t that funny—but sometimes media actually ask me about what my work means, and it sucks because I don’t know how to describe this.  I do my best, but whenever I write to a group and they tell me they felt heard, I usually cry, and it’s like something in my soul eases into place.

I think it’s because when I was young, the age my daughter is now, I felt cripplingly alone, unheard, unloved, and lonely. I don’t feel that way now, but I will never forget what that pain and isolation felt like. And while it’s true that mostly what I want to do is write love stories and give readers a good time, a part of me is always reaching for another group or even single individuals who haven’t been asked to dance. Who would love to have a party and yet nobody ever comes or even sees them there with a basket of streamers and drinks. I have been that person, and I think I’m both trying to honor that pain and erase it by helping others not feel that lousy.

In Tough Love, several of you have had to give it a pass or say, “this one wasn’t for me,” and that’s totally, utterly okay. I hate that it’s your turn to feel left out, but for each one of you who’ve had that reaction, I’ve had at least one, sometimes two basically say, “You just heard me.” Sadists especially, they don’t get a ton of leading roles. Masochists some, but sadists usually don’t get to be–and if they do, they’re the bad guy or they’re cured. Pain kink is similar, but sadists, man–they don’t get a good shake almost ever.

The sad thing is I don’t know if I did it right. I did my best. I researched like all hell and had tons of smart people read and react, but I’ll still fall short even for those I most wanted to write for. It makes me so good, though, to hear that I did at least some of it right for some of the people. Those were hard places to go–not so much because this is or isn’t my kink. That has nothing to do with it. I mean, I’m not a 19th century gentleman, or a stammerer, but I wrote those people too. Nope, I’m not a sadist, or a masochist, or even in the Lifestyle. I’m not even really a tourist. But Tough Love challenged me because I knew how important it was to get it right, to not be another fuck up writing a sadist wrong. I didn’t want to accidentally further marginalize a group that gets too much flack as it is. Add in Gordy, who was supposed to be a sweet, sad puppy and then became a monster, and….yeah. I wrote most of that book thinking I’d throw up. So fucking nervous.

I love writing all my stories for you, but this one was extra special to me, and basically a whole bunch of you have told me you appreciate what I did. I wanted to acknowledge you, to thank you right back, and I wanted to share this too in an effort to further validate you, to let some of the frustrated/left out people see why I pushed so far this time.

I feel like I’m cycling now, so I’ll stop and just hug everybody, and let Ethan have the last word. Because this was his quote, to Chenco in Tough Love.


30 Comments

From Atlanta With Love: GRLs Supporting Authors Have a Present for You, and Now So Do I

ETA: I’m expanding this contest until the swag packages arrive from Atlanta. So you can still enter, and spread the word if you’d like to.

The other day I was happily scrolling through Facebook when I discovered a post from K-Lee Klein, one of the supporting authors at GayRomLit. Look what they’re doing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00019]

This is Cate Ashwood’s brainchild: she was trying to come up with swag, and since everything she’d ever heard or read said her work was her best advertisement (wise, and true), she set about making a sample booklet to be given out during the Supporting Author signing.  She asked around her fellow supporting authors, and this is the list of who took the bait:

  • Simone Anderson
  • Cate Ashwood
  • Heidi Belleau
  • Lex Chase
  • Jacob Z. Flores
  • M.C. Houle
  • A.J. Kelton
  • Venona Keyes
  • Pearl Love
  • Edmond Manning
  • Anna Martin
  • Rowan McAllister
  • S.A. McAuley
  • Madison Parker
  • Tali Spencer
  • Lily Velden
  • Lynley Wayne
Back Blurb:
Writing is a solitary activity, and yet authors would be useless without readers to devour the words they create.  GayRomLit brings the two together; a community made up of people with different tastes and styles, from all over the world, all with one thing in common: a passion for romance.
From science fiction to urban fantasy, from historical to paranormal to contemporary, enjoy an eclectic collection of stories and excerpts from eighteen of the supporting authors attending GayRomLit 2013 in Atlanta.
Here’s what Cate had to say when I asked her about it:
“Each author has at least one excerpt or story in the book, which ended up being 180 pages, and we’ll be giving them out to readers for free. L.C. Chase did the cover for us (and I think she did an absolutely fantastic job) and I’ve ordered 200 copies. They should be arriving at the Melia sometime before GRL, and I was hoping to have a pile in the swag room, a small stack with each of the participating authors.”
Here’s why I love this so much.
Cate’s right: putting the work out there is the best ad, because the hands-down best way to make sales is to get readers talking about you. I did all manner of promo and ads and work for Special Delivery at its release, which had absolutely zero effect. It wasn’t until readers began to pass it around that it took off. Which is why my biggest promotion is to be liberal with bloggers regarding ARCs (and why one of my firmest contract points now is that I’m with a publisher who provides them).  But what I love most about this is these authors actively taking advantage of their showcased opportunity.
The supporting author signing is Thursday morning: this is the time when attendees rove the swag room, hungry to make contacts and find authors. Rather than being lost in a sea of one hundred, the supporting authors are showcased at this time. Contact with them can be intimate and lengthy–these are the rising stars, authors with only a few books under their belts. I know a lot of these names already, and I can tell you, they’re people to watch.
These seventeen authors took their highlighted status and used it to make a gift to readers. Yes, it’s promotion, but it’s the best promotion: here we are. Try us out. I seriously love this so much I can’t even talk about it coherently.
I told them I’m totally down for a copy and I’m happy to boost their signal. I think they’re considering making it available electronically after the con, but in case they’re not, I’m going to try and let those of you who can’t attend still play along.
Leave a comment on this post to win one of three GayRomLit swag packs, with all the goodies I can find from the swag room, including three (signed, of course!) copies of this booklet. This is an international contest.
I’ll leave this contest open until the day I come back: October 20  the swag packages arrive from Atlanta, which will probably be around the 25 or 28th. After they arrive, I’ll pull names and mail them out. Now, if I can score a book or two, mine or otherwise, I will, but I can’t promise that. I’ll put some of my own stuff in there as far as swag, but the what exactly will be a surprise.
Authors, if you read this and want to hand me signed swag or something ready to ship, go ahead and plan on that. You don’t have to tell me, you can just get it to me there.
So long as you’re signed in to wordpress, you don’t have to leave your email, just your name. If you’re worried about making sure I have it, email me, though still leave your comment here because I’ll just random number generate it from the comments. Feel free to spread the word however you like.
Later this weekend I will do one more behind-the-scenes post for Love Lessons. It was due today, but I am still behind. In the meantime, check out these authors, and get yourself entered in the contest.


Leave a comment

Love Lessons: We’ve Got Talent

Love Lessons is my next novel, set to release on October 1. Some of you are counting the days and entertaining me greatly with your animated GIFs. Thank you for that. Love Lessons is my first New Adult title (official one—technically many of mine qualify, at least sideways), and though I know that’s not a requirement of the genre, it ended up being significantly tamer than my previous books. Though might I remind you that I thought Dance With Me was tame also, and everyone looks at me funny when I say that.

There’s a lot of promo coming over the next few months (not all the time, no worries) but in all kinds of ways and places. Some of them are quirky fun: for example, if you’d like to officially mark the torture countdown, there’s an animated countdown widget, designed by my assistant Viviana Izzo. I can’t post it here because WordPress and flash don’t get along, but she has it on her blog in the sidebar, and any day now it will be on my website too (Mark is fine-tuning as only Mark can). If you want it too, you can have it: there’s a frozen frame on FB, and if you PM me, we’ll get you taken care of. Alternately you can shoot me an email (heidi@heidicullinan.com).

This post officially kicks off an every Friday series of behind-the-scenes information about Love Lessons, though you can also find this stuff regularly and in archives on my  Facebook Page. If you’ve already added it to your list of likes, thanks and awesome.  I’ve been posting daily and sharing some ‘insiders info’ with everyone from the Love Lessons playlists (Music Mondays)  to snippets on Teaser Tuesdays. Here’s some samples of the latter look like:

Teaser Tuesday 6.18.2013 Love Lessons.jpg Teaser Tuesday 6.25.2013 Love Lessons Teaser Tuesday 7.2.2013 Love Lessons Teaser Tuesday 7.9.2013 Love Lessons Teaser Tuesday 7.16.2013 Love Lessons Teaser Tuesday 7.23.2013 Love Lessons Teaser Tuesday 7.30.2013 Love Lessons

Then of course there is Eye Candy Wednesdays. This is truly the best kind of eye candy; allergy FREE, Calories FREE and Fat FREE!!  Granted, this doesn’t have anything to do with Love Lessons per say, but both Walter and Kelly know when a guy is Talent, and I believe they would agree with the selection thus far.

IMG_0830This segues into my first behind-the-scenes tidbit for you: the origin of Talent, a term I blatantly stole from Damon Suede and used liberally in Love Lessons. I don’t care if we’re in an airport, on the streets of Atlanta, or wandering Target, Damon can spot it at twenty paces and tells me so. Once I even got a text that he was “sitting next to Talent” on the plane. This is a game he plays with a local friend, but somehow I got into the fun as well. And I certainly don’t mind at all.

Walter isn’t a carbon copy of Damon, but they’d certainly cut up a dance floor well together and work a room until it hurt from awesome. Giving the Talent game to Walter was a nod to one of my best friends, my partner in crime, my papi. Come to think of it, neither one of them can resist a shy boy, either. Huh. The more I think of it, the more I realize that whole character was a love letter.

Well, papi, hope you enjoy Walter. And thank you for sharing your talent, in every way that you do.

(Side note: He has a release coming this fall too, which I’m sure you’ll be hearing about shortly. It. Is. Fantastic. In the meantime if you haven’t read Hot Head or Horn Gate, you should.)

But wait, there’s more.

2013 has been officially been declared the year I hire experts. I told you in the last post about my new web guy, and above I mentioned my assistant Viviana. In addition to Heidi-Wrangling she and her company Enchantress of Blog Tours is helping me with an official blog tour and promo push for Love Lessons.  There are 3 different ones:

Promotional Spotlight Tour Banner

Promotional Spotlight Tour occurring every Thursday, now until Sept. 26.
To participate, fill out the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rrFTw3g-puwocDCGkhROZZiZ5PY1d5MgCak7i8Z95UQ/viewform

Love Lessons Release Day Blitz Badge

Release Day Blitz on Oct. 1, 2013
To participate, fill out the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rGornvmKeGb8xzpfppRmrnprKz198HqjiTYb0p4cTo/viewform

Love Lessons Blog Tour Banner

Love Lessons is also going on the official, traditional release tour Oct. 8 through Nov. 5. We’ll have guest posts, author interviews, reviews, and more. Who knows, maybe Kelly and Walter will also participate.

There’s plenty of room at this party. If you’re a blogger and want to participate, fill out the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1la9KsnlZq0zd05bKMmpf47JzH9iQCTHwfZ7JCM0MP6w/viewform

It also so happens that August 25 is my fortieth birthday. It’s a milestone, and I had this idle thought one day that I should do something for it like have a reader party or something, but I got overwhelmed just thinking about it, so it was going to die in committee. Except the committee now contains Viviana. All I said in email was something like, “So it’s my fortieth birthday, and I thought maybe we could do something, but I don’t know what.” Next thing I know we’re doing this:

1097043_10151594743746247_866293679_o

You’ll need to visit the Facebook page to participate, but basically there’s a giveaway either every day or darn close to it. Many incredible thanks to my friends who donated prizes. I feel all verklempt. It’s already started, so hurry on over and get yourself in line for the Rafflecopter.

In the meantime, yes, the promo machine for Love Lessons continues merrily on. If you haven’t already added it to your Goodreads’ “Want to read” shelf“, I certainly won’t stop you, and if you post a GIF I’ll probably come back often to squee at it. While you’re on Goodreads, if this is one of your most anticipated gay romance books to be released this year, then cast your vote on “Can’t Wait M/M Romance of 2013.” It will make Viviana (and me) very happy.

Remember, you can pre-order Love Lessons now:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Lessons-ebook/dp/B00CZ8MCG0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371569999&sr=8-1&keywords=Love+Lessons+by+Heidi+Cullinan

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-lessons-heidi-cullinan/1115456471?ean=9781619218277

Samhain: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/love-lessons-p-73022.html?osCsid=8d59710925d3a81f39636bcbe92504c5 (I think it’s still wishlist there, but I know some of you want to buy direct, so you can at least add it that way if you want.)

ALSO. Last night I discovered something amazing on Amazon. Look, will you, at this (Click to make bigger):

amazon screenshot

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?! Oh my god, I went crazy, adding authors to get email notifications from. I literally shook with excitement. Who hasn’t gone mad trying to make sure they haven’t missed something from their favorite author? You can click the like button too, which is fun, but mostly I’m all over that email notification.

Now, I think, authors, this means we have to remember to add our books to our author page, and we have to have an author page. R. Cooper, I despair. I wanted to add you…

In closing: Facebook page. Lots of blog tour stuff. Giveaways. Preorders. Email notifications. And Talent.

IMG_0928

Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan, RT13


28 Comments

Many assorted things, but mostly CONTEST, FREE BOOKS

I am back from Romantic Times. It was truly amazing. And if you’re looking for the panel I did with Damon Suede, ZA Maxfield and my own dear Marie Sexton, look for that here.

I am utterly exhausted. More on that in a bit, but for now:

  • Last week’s blog hop entry is here. Only one more week yet and then we pick the big winner of the $200 gift card! Get your name entered.
  • I won some nice things while I was hurrying off to RT: Joyfully Reviewed’s Best Romance of 2011 for Dance With Me and Best Book of 2011: GLBT-BDSM for Nowhere Ranch at The Romance Reviews. Thank you very much to both blogs! The boys and I are all honored.
  • Dear Author reviewed A Private Gentleman

It also occurred to me to let you know what my travel plans for the rest of the year are, since I have many of them. Places you can see me in 2012:

  • The CARAS conference in Chicago on Thursday, May 24 (I hear there will be a webinar of the panel)
  • RomCon in Denver from June 21-24
  • RWA National in Anaheim from July 25-28, public booksigning on the 25th
  • GayRomLit in Albuquerque from October 18-21

But what you really want is a free book, right? Or maybe three? My next book, The Pirate’s Game, is out April 24 from Loose Id. Blurb, excerpt, trailer, and buy link below.

Enter your name in the comments below for a chance to win the whole series or whatever books from it you’re missing. More chances at Stumbling Over Chaos, COP, and of course I always pick a winner from my newsletter. Have you subscribed?

Contest will close April 23.

***

The Pirate’s Game

As the love slave of the captain of the pirate ship The Merry Sue, Charles Perry, professional mess and reluctant god, is at last reunited with his lover Timothy — partly, at least. Somehow Timothy has become implanted in Captain James Gibbs’s mind, and for the right sexual favors, the pirate will grant Charles’s lover a few moments at the helm.

Three square meals a day, endless pirate fantasies played out in real time, and more Timothy than he’s seen in months. How can Charles complain?

Of course, trouble always manages to find its way home to Charles. The Pretender is still trying to kill him. His cousin is in a funk and shocks everyone with the reason why. But the most worrisome part is that Charles has realized he’d trade all his god powers and most of the world he made to have Timothy back with him for real — and he’s finally figured out how to do just that.

Find out more about the Etsey Series

 Read an Excerpt

Buy the Book

 


27 Comments

More tour, plus win a copy of A Private Gentleman

 

This week Ellis Carrington hosts, and I confess how I don’t have enough snow and wish I were in Yellowknife. You can as always enter a comment for your chance at the grand prize of a $200 gift card. (Woo-hoo!)

In the meantime, you can enter HERE to win a copy of my next book, A Private Gentelman. I’ll pick a winner on the 13th and get it to the lucky winner that night. (The book is out on the 14th.) If you’ve already pre-ordered, you can still enter and give one of the copies to a friend.

Now you will have the usual cover, blurb, trailer, teaser, excerpt and buy links. Enjoy.

A Private Gentleman

 

Available February 14 from Samhain Publishing

Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orchid sighted at a local hobbyist’s house, though, he girds himself with opiates and determination to attend a house party, hoping to sneak a peek.

He finds the orchid, yes…but he finds something else even more rare and exquisite: Michael Vallant. Professional sodomite.

Michael climbed out of an adolescent hell as a courtesan’s bastard to become successful and independent-minded, seeing men on his own terms, protected by a powerful friend. He is master of his own world—until Wes. Not only because, for once, the sex is for pleasure and not for profit. They are joined by tendrils of a shameful, unspoken history. The closer his shy, poppy-addicted lover lures him to the light of love, the harder his past works to drag him back into the dark.

“That is the tale, my lord. I am a whore who can no longer fuck, and I don’t know why. I’ve had no one in well over a month. Since you, dear Albert. No one since you.”

Wes wanted to press the issue, but he knew a brick wall when he saw one. And notes could only be so persuasive. He turned over the first piece of paper and wrote again. I want to help you.

 

 Read an Excerpt

Preorder now

 

See more book trailers at my YouTube channel

 

 

 


3 Comments

BYWBBT: Intro post & how to beat the blues

Be sure to head over to Coffee & Porn in the Morning today to see the Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour kick off. This is your first chance to enter to win the grand prize of a $200 gift certificate to the e-retailer of your choice. Go here to read the horrible truth of how I actually love winter (and find out who else does too).

Here’s one way to beat the blues. (After the cut because the boys are being a bit naughty and not wearing clothes. That’s a warning for you too, Mom.)

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,466 other followers