SaturdaySpotlight: I Wanna See You Be #BRAVE #MyWANA

Saturday Spotlight

I’m trying something different here at Behind Closed Doors. Instead of the usual chat about my writing or having a guest author share their new release, I’m issuing a challenge.  I want to see this meme take off. No it’s nothing like Grumpy Cat or Six Sentence Sunday. The idea came to me while listening to the radio in the car on the way home from work today.  The song, Brave by Sara Bareilles came on and of course I cranked up the volume. Have you listened to the words of that song? They’re a challenge to stand up for yourself and speak your mind.

“Let the words fall out.”  

How many times have you sat back and kept to yourself, afraid to stand up and be counted?  Have you remained silent while others around you have behaved badly? Can you honestly say you’ve never held your tongue when a friend or family member did something you knew would end in a bad way?

I did it for years.  Not anymore.

not remaining silent

All too often we keep to ourselves and allow bad things to happen to good people because we’re afraid to get involved or worse yet, be ridiculed for voicing our concerns. We live in a society where the squeaky wheel gets all the attention even if it’s not deserved.  We’ve all seen it.  I can think of a half dozen examples right off the top of my head and they all involve customers complaining about the service they’ve received or not as the case may be.  People nowadays think if they bitch long enough and loud enough, they’ll get their way whether it’s a free meal or veterinary care.  I mean, come on! If you have a problem with a meal, you don’t eat the entire thing, make the waitress jump through hoops to get you want you ask for to then stiff her on the tip and demand to see the manager to complain about the service. 

doormat

How many of you have put the needs of others before yours time and time again hoping that one day the kindness will be reciprocated?  Go on now, be honest.  I know I have and at this point in my life I’m tired of being a doormat. I’m always the one asked to work extra shifts or even switch my entire schedule around to accommodate another. After years of this, I finally asked to have the schedule that would be best for me and was told no.  Yeah, that’s right. NO. Those who benefited from my sacrifice over the last five years weren’t about to switch things back for me, even though it was promised at the time I agreed to the switch in the first place.  

rainbow silence

I sat back when some of my gay and lesbian friends were struggling to find their place in this world.  For far too long I remained silent while our government interfered in our personal lives, denying basic rights to same sex spouses.  It wasn’t until I married my husband that my eyes were really opened. As a military wife, I’m entitled to many spousal benefits that my same sex counterparts were not up until the last few months. I couldn’t sit back and not lend my voice to support these families. It broke my heart to hear their stories.

“Let your words be anything but empty.”  

That’s what my challenge is for all of you. Write on your own blogs or here in the comments section one instance where you’ve stayed silent for too long and now you’re speaking up. There are so many ways for us to make a difference in this world, for ourselves and for others.  We don’t have to sit back and let bullies scare us away from living our dreams.  Don’t be the silent minority and just go with the flow anymore. Stand up and be counted. Tweet about it using #BRAVE hashtag. Use it on Facebook too. Put your thoughts in the comments below and other’s will share the entire blog. 

I WANNA SEE YOU BE BRAVE!

~Tammy 

#Reblog: Get Your Fingers Out of Your Ears and Listen Up! from @mtnmoxiegirl

The following is a portion of a blog that needs to go VIRAL. Much too often Indie and self published authors get accused of publishing poorly edited books. Either they didn’t bother to get an editor or thought their best friend from middle school could handle the job since they got all A’s in English back then.  Well, news flash! That sort of thinking won’t cut it in this business. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to invest in yourself and in your work.  Finding an experienced editor in your genre is a MUST. If you end up with one you clash with, then maybe you need to search for another. You need one who will be tough, but fair and help you put your best work out there.  I did a blog post about it on Writer’s Words of Wisdom a few weeks ago. Click HERE to read that. 

Today’s reblog is from Amber Lea Easton’s Kisses, Caresses and Whispers in the Night.  Read it and take the advice to heart.  Bad or self editing will earn you a horrible reputation as a writer. Great editing will teach you so much more than you ever thought you knew about your book, writing in general and yourself.  What have you got to lose besides sales of your books?

~Tammy

Get Your Fingers Out of Your Ears and Listen Up! 

Future Stubborn Know It All Writer

Future Stubborn Know It All Writer

In addition to being an author, I’m also an editor. I’ve heard it all or so it seems. Lately, I’ve been involved with some aspiring authors, though, who are astounding me with their inability to accept feedback of any kind. During the past few weeks, I’ve heard comments like “grammar doesn’t apply to fiction writing”…”I never listen to feedback, it’s my story and I’ll do with it as I please”…”that’s just your opinion” (yes, it is, but it’s based on a successful track record and years of experience)…”no one can tell me how to write”…”I’m self-published so am an expert in publishing”…”feedback is for the insecure.”
Nah-nah-nah-nah! It’s like dealing with pouting toddlers!

Well, I can’t listen anymore. I started out as a journalist too many years ago to admit. I had editors who would scream–literally scream with their faces turning red and veins bursting at their necks–and I knew I had to take it because I was paying my dues. At the television station I worked for, our news editor kicked a trash can across the room at least once a day. Did any of us dare utter any of the phrases above? Hell, no! Guess what? I learned along the way. I didn’t know it all.

For more of this blog click HERE

An author’s rant (#Reblog) And Other Musings From @dochappycamper

I found this blog today and just had to share.  Samantha Pleasant said everything I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks. Make sure you check out the full article. It’s spot on!

This last week the stress of writing under three pen names, running a fledgling publishing house and working full time as a veterinarian has caught up with me…big time. I’ve had to rethink my priorities and that included marketing and promotions. I’ve looked at my twitter feeds and all of them are loaded with promo. Where did all the fun go? I’ve missed tweets directed at me from my friends and it appeared I’ve ignored them. That’s not true. I just didn’t see them in the feeds.

Even with TweetDeck and notifications to my phone, I’ve still missed messages and interactions with new readers. I don’t want to be an impersonal spam bot promo machine. I want to be there for my friends and fans and make new ones. I want to share the excitement of my new releases and the pitfalls of my works in progress, but I also want to share the rest of what makes me who and what I am.  There is more to me than just veterinary medicine and writing/publishing. I love crafts of all kinds, reading, The Real Housewives of any city, Duck Dynasty, and helping out my friends and family when I’m able.

closeup lighthouse tropical

I lost sight of all that in the crazy world of writing and publishing. Listening to people who say I have to get the next book out as fast as I can to keep the readers interested has left me spinning my wheels and digging myself into a deeper hole. Now I’m paying for that with my health.  A few days ago I met with my new doctor and had a complete physical including blood work, updating my tetanus shot and a boob squishing mammogram.  The results of the blood tests show I’m now a type II diabetic. I had to pick up my glucometer today.  As someone who is a major needlephobe, you can imagine what poking my fingers daily is going to do to my psyche. 

Along with the diabetes, I’m at least 100 pounds overweight—morbidly obese. The doctor also put me on a diuretic to help lower my blood pressure. Whew!  All of this seems a bit daunting but actually I feel relieved.  I’m relieved to know I do have a doctor now who’ll support me through all of this. I have a goal and plan to get healthy again.  You can say I have a fire under my ass and now I’m ready to fight.  Check out my weekly feature on Not Enough Time in the Day called  Memoirs of A Forty Something Fat Chick. I’ll be sharing my journey there from now on.

banner for Forty Something Fat Chick

As for my writing, I’m never stopping that but I may push back a few deadlines. In order to be the best author I can be, I have to reconnect with myself and with my fans, friends and new readers. You’ll be seeing a change on my social media soon. Of course I’ll still share the blogs from my fellow Triberr groups/tribes, but you’ll also see more of me around too.

Until next time,

~Tammy

 

 

That’s it I quit. As authors we say this quite often.  Not because of the writing aspect, not even because of the editing issues, heck we even can get through the rejection letters like pros. Some find them a cheap alternative to wallpaper. While others find it a mark of a real author to be rejected. Whatever your poison it’s not the writing that makes us want to quit.

What is it? You ask. The marketing.  Are we under exposed? “You have a book out?” to which the author smashes his or her head against the table because they’ve only posted, tweeted, tumbled and invited this person to multiple events through social media.  “Yes, it’s new.” Or has been out for a few years and you even liked the cover art. 

We don’t want to bombard people to the point they no longer want anything to do with us. …

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#SaturdaySpotlight is On @HouseofTaboo And Her New Release #erotic #paranormal #LGBT #shortstory

Saturday Spotlight

 

Welcome to Behind Closed Doors! This week has been a flurry of activity in my household. Between edits on The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3) and publishing my alter ego’s very first short story I don’t think I got very much sleep. Trying a new genre frightened the daylights out of me, but these characters just wouldn’t keep quiet.  I had to tell their story. Well, I should say LIA had to tell their story.

For those of you stopping in for the first time, I should explain a bit who Lia is. You see, she’s me and I’m her. Lia writes the M/M and menage erotica and erotic romances while I (Tammy Dennings Maggy) handle the poetry, M/F and F/F erotica and erotic romance. There is one more alter ego, Stephanie Ryan. She’s in charge of  the “good girl” genres including YA, NA, mainstream romance and mainstream fiction.  She’ll get her moment in the spotlight in a few months, but for now it’s Lia’s turn.  Let’s take a look at the video Sassy Vixen Publishing made up to introduce her and her blog The House of Taboo.

 

As Lia, I get to have all sorts of naughty fun and explore the more taboo characters and tales. Through her I’m able to go a bit deeper into the minds of “our” characters. With Forbidden Destiny and the full novel Call of the Thunderbird, I found within the Native American culture, LGBT individuals were historically honored, revered and respected by all members of the tribe. Called “Two Spirits” these beautiful people were not male, nor female but contained the spirits of both. As such, they could connect with others and the Great Spirit and a different level. Because of their spirituality, many were looked to as healers and shaman within their communities.  Unfortunately, when the New World was conquered…errrr..colonized, Two Spirits were attacked. The Europeans imposed their morals and beliefs onto the Native Americans. Some tribes ended up shunning the very people they once held in high regard.   Sound familiar?

 

In Forbidden Destiny, we meet Abraham and Ethan. Both are Two Spirit but live completely different lives. Where Ethan grew up accepted and encouraged to be whoever he wished to be, Abraham did not. He had to keep his true self hidden from his family and the local tribe members.  Even though Abraham’s tribal Elders embraced the old traditions, his parents didn’t.  Because he didn’t want to bring shame to his family, or make trouble for them with the Elders, Abraham did as his parents asked and tried to fit in with the non-Native community.  

Forbidden Destiny cover 1BLURB

Ethan Quaderer is the Great Thunderbird, the creature of Native American legend. From childhood, Ethan soared high across the land, as one with the majestic bald eagles—only larger and more powerful. Great Thunderbird has one mission, to save the Native American people. But first, he must find his Chosen, his soul mate.

Abraham Tuttle grew up in a household where being different was unacceptable. Forbidden. He hid his true nature, a Two Spirit—not male or female, but both. For many Native American tribes, being Two Spirit is a blessing, one to be honored and revered. Not so for Abraham.

Through the Thunderbird dreams each finds the happiness they long for. One dreams of the Great Warrior who’d someday rescue him. The other dreams of the one he’s searched for through many lifetimes.

Dreams turn into reality when both men come face to face in the real world. Can Abraham find it within himself to let go of his past and embrace his future with Ethan, or will his doubts and fears of who and what he really is cause him to lose the only one who could ever complete him heart and soul?

 

 

Want to find out more? Get your own copy of Forbidden Destiny for only 99 cents from All Romance ebooks, Smashwords, and Amazon.

 

About the Author

black and white of The Vixen

Lia Michaels is the alter ego of bestselling poet and erotic romance author Tammy Dennings Maggy. With so many characters clamoring for their stories to be told, the job became a bit overwhelming for one sassy vixen to handle. Lia “volunteered” to explore the world of M/M erotic romance as well as menage. Tammy will still tell the M/F and F/F stories but don’t be surprised if the two of them collaborate from time to time. With Lia, very few topics will be taboo so look for more fantasy and paranormal tales from her. She’ll leave the more contemporary stuff to Tammy but still encourage her to push the limits!

Where to find Lia

The House of Taboo (Website/blog)

Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC

Amazon Author Page

Smashwords Author Page

Facebook Fan Page (House of Taboo)

Facebook Author Fan Page

Facebook Personal Page

Twitter

Goodreads

Intrigue, Deception, and Fraud OH MY! Who Can You Trust Anymore?

sick-cat

Welcome back to Behind Closed Doors. This week has been a a whirlwind to say the least. Getting sidelined with a virus wasn’t in the plans at all, but here we are just the same. Many items on my “To Do” list have had to be postponed a few days while I get back on track, but there is one thing I had to come out of my sick bed to address.  You know I can’t sit back and not comment when authors behave badly. I just find the whole thing sad and more than a little disheartening.

Sock-puppets

Goodreads is yet again in the middle of the quagmire. Apparently, an individual has opened no less than 153 fake/sockpuppet accounts. All of them gave high ratings to one particular book and then proceeded to attack the “competition” with one star ratings.  To add further insult, these 153 accounts all mysteriously voted for the same book on a few of the lists, bringing it to number one.  Now, all of this is done in the three days since the book was released.  For more details, please check out this article by Travis Luedke, complete with screen shot of the fake accounts. 

This is not a new trend. There are many others doing the same thing. It was one of the reasons Amazon started removing author written reviews from their site. One unscrupulous author created multiple accounts, gave himself 5 star reviews and then trashed his “competition.”  Now because of that man, readers who also happen to be authors, may have their reviews of books removed even if they are raving 4 and 5 stars.   I know of at least one other person, a former connection on Facebook, who has done the same thing. She has created at least ten other accounts and continues to give low ratings to those authors she has a beef with or she feels are her direct competition.  

This whole thing boggles my mind. We’re supposed to be professionals and it appears many of our community are not.  While it looks like the “crimes” are being perpetrated by a “newbie” authors, there are a few instances where it’s been done by authors who have a few books under their belt.  While I’m just as angry at this behavior as anyone, I find another feeling crop up.  I’m in awe of them actually. How do they find the time to create all these accounts then go around and rate, review and vote to bring their peers down and push themselves up the ranks?  It’s all I can do to juggle real life issues in order to find any little bit of time to write.  Maybe instead of using their time to commit fraud, they could oh I don’t know, WRITE ANOTHER BOOK?

The flip side of this drama? It takes our attention away from our writing and networking. Who the hell has the time or the energy to go after these idiots? I would much rather spend my time writing then be worried about these trolls. Yes it hurts like hell when they attack your work. I’ve had it done to me and you better believe I flipped out.  I complained about it in private and a little bit online, but then let it go.  Yes, report these deceptive and fraudulent accounts to the admins of the sites involved. Keep reporting them.  The more complaints logged, the sooner the investigation can take place and the offenders removed and banned.

career-adviceMy advice to my author friends: don’t let the actions of a few idiots take you away from your writing. Don’t get caught up in the intrigue and media firestorm that will no doubt surround all of this…and there will be a HUGE backlash in this one case of the 153 plus accounts.   The author, blogger and reader community is always on guard for this sort of thing.  

My question to the person or persons who set up the whole thing: did you really think you’d get away with it?  I mean, COME ON!!! Readers caught other authors low balling authors from the same publishing house, It was another reader who found the author who plagiarized the work of several authors in one book and tried to pass it off as his/her own.  It’s readers and fans of authors who have rallied and come to the defense of their favorite writers when it appears they’ve been attacked unjustly.  Think about what you’re doing to your own career. Is getting to the top of a list on Goodreads important enough to throw it all away?

Until next time,

~Tammy