New books available on all platforms

Posted by on Oct 22, 2017 in #thriller, #writing, News, novels, readers | 0 comments

New books available on all platforms

I’ve recently released a set of books to multiple platforms, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

So, from today, available on Smashwords, Nook, iBooks and Kobo – The Millersburg Quartet, Shades and The Offering Museum.

You can also get all of them on Amazon, as usual.

 

Read More »

#MeToo – Abuse, Domestic Violence, Rape ‘fantasies’ & Trigger Warnings

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in #erotic romance, #erotica, #mondayblogs | 0 comments

#MeToo – Abuse, Domestic Violence, Rape ‘fantasies’ & Trigger Warnings

Synchronicity is a strange animal. The Michael Weinstein exploded about a month after this was posted. Prior to that a question had come up on Facebook – in books where a primary part of the plotline is abuse, domestic or sexual violence is it necessary to start with the gory details?
On another thread a rather harsh discussion took place regarding rape in an ‘erotic’ novel. The quotation marks around erotic are deliberate – and pertinent to a recent change on Smashwords as recounted on their blog. Because of the increasing tendency of sexual violence in novels, Smashwords – notoriously intent on being open to almost anything – felt it necessary to define what many vendors consider acceptable or not.
Especially ‘non-consensual’ sex where consent is questionable aka dubcon – dubious consent – by law when it’s questionable when the victim said no or is incapable of answering the question. Unfortunately, this is honored more in the breach than the observance in courtrooms because of the notion of rape fantasies. “She wanted it, she just couldn’t admit it.”

Given that October is Domestic Violence month it seemed like a good time to talk about it.

First and foremost, there is nothing about rape that’s a fantasy and the reality is not a bit romantic. It’s brutal and cruel. Even victims who are incapacitated by drink or drugs know they have been violated. Conscious victims suffer bruising and internal tearing. Someone who commits rape has a psychological problem that cannot be cured. There’s no way to soften it or make it ‘right’. It’s not.
Yes, there are women who have fantasies of being dominated, but that’s not the same thing.
An editor at my mid-level publisher (when I was traditionally published) took one of my stories and ‘improved’ it by adding ‘conflict’ – a scene that if it hadn’t been a paranormal – would have met the legal definition of rape. When the publisher went on to approve ‘rape fantasies’ written by both women and men, I left. That publisher is no longer in business. And thanks to that experience and the preponderance of the usage of bad behavior on the part of what some call alpha males, I stopped writing erotic romance.

As a writer and a survivor/thriver, I understand those who want to write about domestic violence. It’s cathartic. The urge to shine a light on the darkness, to expose the ugliness, is strong.
In a strange way, though, it’s become a romance writers ‘trope’ – like the Julia Roberts movie ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ – where the battered victim flees/escapes and finds love.
However, the writer may not be doing a service to their readers by starting their book with it, at least not without a ‘trigger warning’ – because it may make them relive their trauma.

It also doesn’t address how or why they became part of that relationship or the long-term effects of having survived. All of that is important background. As in Sleeping with the Enemy, many abusers can be at least moderately good-looking and even charming, if overprotective. That over-protectiveness can seem loving and reassuring, like Prince Charming ready to defend his Maid Marian. On the opposite side there are some romance novels where the ‘alpha male’ is dismissive, unreachable until the woman gives up on him, and then he’s interested again. Both are classic manipulative behavior, but many women mistakenly buy into it – he’s just ‘misunderstood’ and if she just loves him enough, he’ll come around. Or he loves her so much he can’t bear to share her. And a lot of writers sell those ideas. He can be redeemed, saved. There is no evidence to support that and it’s a dangerous concept.

The truth is this – rape is horribly destructive to the victim, taking away any and all sense of safety. Domestic violence is just as damaging because it’s committed by someone who supposedly ‘loves’ his victim. That possessiveness, though, doesn’t go away. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a woman. She has a one in three chance of being killed by her abuser. In one case that I know of, her ex-husband waited for years, broke into her home, then killed her and her new husband.
Rape for titillation is allowed by few vendors.

If you’re going to use either in a story, think about what it tells readers – that it’s okay to be mistreated, manipulated?Don’t romanticize it and do include a ‘trigger warning’ in your description for those who experienced it. You might lose some readers, but you won’t traumatize them again by catching them unprepared. If they choose to continue, that is their choice.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/09/smashwords-erotica.html

Read More »

Song of the Fairy Queen – New Cover

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in #epicfantasy, #fairy, #fairyqueen, #fantasy, #female protagonist, #SongOfTheFairyQueen, #SongOfTheFairyQueen #cover, News | 0 comments

Song of the Fairy Queen – New Cover

When last I posted, I didn’t know what the new cover would look like. I loved the old cover and wasn’t sure what to expect from the new cover. I didn’t know if that cover I loved so much could be matched.
It was not only matched, it was exceeded, and I’m not the only one who thinks so! What do you think? Isn’t it incredible?

I said then that I would name the cover artist when I saw the new cover.

Major Kudos to the folks at Damonza.com!

You can find the new edition at
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004774N2S

Read More »

Song of the Fairy Queen – New cover?

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in #cover, #epicfantasy, #fairy, #fairyqueen, #fantasy, #female protagonist, #SongOfTheFairyQueen | 0 comments

Song of the Fairy Queen – New cover?

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

So, like most writers, that’s what I did. 
I love fantasy but I’d run out of books I wanted to read, stories of action, adventure, magic and – yes – passion. Something between Stardust and Game of Thrones. I love Gaiman’s mix of adventure and romance, and I loved G. R. R. Martin’s political intrigue and action. What surprises and puzzles me is the criticism I get for putting moments of positive romance/sex in my books, but no one has a problem with Martin’s incest/rape storylines. (I understand why he did it, btw.). 
What I didn’t want were helpless heroines who needed to be rescued. I wanted strong, capable heroines like the Queens in real life. No one could say that Elizabeth I was a shrinking violet, that Catherine the Great didn’t earn that honorific, or that Victoria wasn’t able to lead her country through difficult times. Or Elizabeth II for that matter. And while some did it alone, others found a partner to stand beside them.
I wanted to write about the price of rule, the sacrifices good rulers have to make for the sake of the people they serve.

I wanted to write about people who struggled to find balance, who succeeded or failed, the repercussions of their actions, and – for one character – his redemption.

In other words, people you could know or relate to, people you could care about. Or hate.

That’s what I wrote. Whether I succeed or not, I’ll let you decide.

What inspired me to write the book? The statues of Nike of Samothrace and another called Night Descending – it was as if she was coming to a landing – and suddenly the first chapter was there in my head. I had no idea what would happen next, I just followed that winged muse until the story was written.

So I gave it to an editor and went in search of cover.
Old cover
At that time, it was difficult to find a good cover artist – so I made my own. I once was and still am a portrait artist, but with so many selfies, there’s less demand. Apparently, I was a good enough cover artist, my first cover for Song of the Fairy Queen won an award. Unfortunately, it just didn’t quite convey Kyriay’s sheer badassery, her strength and courage.
By that time, the Coming Storm fantasy series and Song of the Fairy Queen were doing well enough that I could afford to invest in professional covers. So I hired a company to do one. Their covers were amazing, including a few by other writers I knew. It was a lot of money for me at the time, but once I saw what they created for me, I knew it was worth it. That cover was perfect.
Current cover

So, imagine my sinking heart when, after nearly seven years, someone told me that the same image was on another cover. I knew it was stock art and anyone can buy stock images, but mine had been chosen for this book and the other cover was almost an exact copy except for the title. In a way, it’s a compliment to my good taste in covers, but it might explain some of the confusion about elements of the book – the other author writes for a younger audience, or at least that book was.
I was heartbroken. That cover was so good. And I’d paid what was for me, at the time, a lot of money for it.

All that aside, the person who’d brought it to my attention asked if I or the cover artist knew the image had been used on another book and was it proprietary?

I thought the cover artist had the right to know so I emailed them. I explained to them that I would understand if it was a stock image.
They told me it was, but if I wanted a new cover they would create a new one for me for a discount. 
Now that’s class and professionalism. (I’ll name them with kudos once I see the new cover.)
At first, though, I have to be honest and say I resisted. I loved that cover. It’s so good, so right for the book.

The quality of their work, though, is incredible. (They’ve come up with some other covers for me since then.)

Given that quality and that they offered a new cover at a discount, made it impossible to turn down. 

Now I can’t wait to see what they come up with this time!
Song of the Fairy Queen  – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004774N2S
For all my books – https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Douglas/e/B0036POJZI

Read More »

Valerie Douglas, Author is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache