Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

Category Archives: writing

Letting it Go

My personal philosophy is to just let things go. There are few things I get worked up about. Not throwing stuff away ranks high on my list of things to get worked up about. It can be a big issue in my relationship. My husband would just rather throw stuff out. I’d rather donate it, give it to someone or sell it.

This has been my philosophy when it comes to publishing as well.

Right now I have a review for my book Love Can’t Wait on Amazon KDP that says the book is horribly edited. It says words are missing, the book needs to be spell checked. I panicked because this book was professionally edited. I formatted it and I’ve looked at it (not on a Kindle because I do not have one) on my tablet. It looks fine to me.

When I read the review I panicked. I opened the file and ran a spell check. I was going to comment back, because I think it’s a formatting issue. I don’t know. I decided to just let it go. I don’t know if it’s the right or wrong thing to do. The other review is positive. If there were several comments on the formatting problem, I’d reformat and re upload. (If anyone has read the book and notices similar problems please comment here or email at asrai.rd@

I also noticed that despite my price being changed EVERYWHERE my book, Complications Over Coffee, is sold to 2.99, Amazon has it discounted to 2.99. Annoying? yes. Worth my time to email them? Maybe. Worth their time? Not likely. I checked ALL my others sales channels, it’s 2.99. I don’t know where else it’s discounted. I’ll watch it for right now, if it doesn’t go up, I’ll ask where their data is coming from.

The last thing I’m forced to let go but is really irritating me is Smashwords distribution lag. Any book that’s distributed already goes up fairly quickly. But my last two releases Love Can’t Wait and When Love Knocks claim to have been distributed the last three weeks. They are not up on Barnes and Noble, Apple (Apple doesn’t have Second Chance Romance either) or Sony. The latter two aren’t a big deal, I don’t sell much on either. But I sell a lot of books on B&N this delay is costing me tons of sales. TONS and therefore Smashwords is losing out as well. I have people waiting for it.

I wrote Smashwords an email, but they say they have a backlog for service help. They are hiring more staff it says, but expect to wait 2 weeks to hear from them. I told them I didn’t expect to hear back, but that I wanted my frustration noted. I’ve heard of people waiting 4 months for distribution. Frustrating. Especially if you are a non-US resident, Barnes and Noble won’t let you in without Smashwords.

I love all that Smashwords has done and I’m not going to abandon them during these growing pains.

All of this reminds me that I need to write a letter to the editor of my local paper telling him that I’m thankful he doesn’t get to make the laws on abortion. (I’m very pro-choice and if that alienates you- GOOD. One woman, one brain, one choice what to do with it.).

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Stalled before I start

I am putting it off. I am waiting for the moment to be right. I am waiting for me to stop being scared. I am waiting for permission. I am waiting for my muse. I am waiting for a good night’s sleep and a day where my son isn’t whiny.

I am waiting to start my next novel.

I’ve got the basic pre-plan on file. And then i just write, but I haven’t started.

I think because I am not excited about this one yet. I want to write it, the hero needs a chance to redeem himself. And yet, I want to write about sexy encounters on the beach with men with freckles who kiss like a fantasy.

I want to write about heroines who think they might like to be literally tied down. And spanked for fun. Heroines who appreciate dominate men who have strict rules about behavior and decorum. And dress. And sex. Of limits tested and stretched further than you thought you could go.

I want to write about falling for the wrong person at the right time, or the right person at the wrong time. I want to write about taboo seductions and clandestine relationships that walk the fine line of hot and just plain wrong. (Nothing illegal this has been something I’ve wanted to write for years).

I want kisses and bodies brushing together, moaning and panting breath that meet between two bodies, mouths that suck and tease, fingers that caress and stroke and orgasms for everyone.  And people who roll over and say “I love you” even though they’ve only been dating for five days.

I want love at first sight and happily every afters forever more.

Maybe I should write those things instead. I think the muse and I will be much happier. I will come back to the hockey later. I’m still mad at the hero for his past.

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Social media is not for marketing

We see this all over the media and on blogs.

Social Media does not help you sell things.

And I’m kinda like DUH!

Social media is for interacting. For making friends, having conversations, getting feedback, responding to feedback, CONNECTING.

It is not passive. People are not sitting around waiting to be told what they want on social media. They are engaged.

It is not for marketing. Not for small marketing. People who have an established brand like Kim Kardashian or whatever, they can use twitter to sell. For the small and medium sized peeps: very little chance.

You are not going to sell to thousands. Social media moves too fast for that. It’s like a bunch of ADHD people on speed.

If I don’t know you, I really don’t care what you have to say. That’s why spammers don’t get anywhere. I don’t want to read your blog, I don’t want to read your novel, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.

I have a core group of friends on twitter and around the blogs I connect with on a regular basis. I talk to people about Dragon Age and other video games. I have a group of writers. I have my editor on there and I tweet how happy I am with her edits. I realized a few weeks ago a good friend went MIA and I am sad and a bit worried as he had a bit of depression (going to send him off an email). I have far too many hashtag searches.

And I do get tweets from fans. (Okay the best thing about this whole writing gig is I get to say I have fans. Me. Who woulda thunk it?) I get to thank them for reading, talk about characters, and let them know when a new book should be heading their way.

If I wanted a quick way to market, I’d buy an advertisement on Facebook. But I’m not in a hurry. I am sticking around and writing more words everyday. And as I sit at home writing in my room late at night while my family sleeps I realize it’s a lonely business and meeting with people on twitter and Facebook fills the social gap.

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The state of the world

Well, I am still busy catching up on my RSS reader backlog. Under 400 now. Not a lot to report.

The Damn Fine Words writing contest is open again. You have until Sept 3rd to submit your entry. This time they highlighted this is geared towards business owners who need to write better for their business. I might throw my hat in. I haven’t decided.

I am still waiting for Love Can’t Wait to show up on B&N. Come on Smashwords.

Problogger had a series recently on niche blogging. And it brought it up in my mind again. I love the idea, but I find it hard to tie myself down. What do I chose? They had 3 suggestions video gaming (love, but I don’t have the money to spend buying a new game every week, nor the time to play a new game every week so I could review it. Maybe I could just have a Bioware focused blog?), pets (nope, I can’t wait til I have no pets) and weight loss (I’m underweight from nursing but I eat like shit so I could go that direction).

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Self epublishing: the good and the bad

So my newest book featuring Amy Black (if you recall Doug Black from previous books, this is his younger sister) and Scott Jones. Amy is in the middle of a messy divorce from her professional hockey cheating bastard of a husband. She meets Scott Jones at the bar and they have a one night stand.

The following morning, Amy discovers he’s not her ex’s team mate, but her brother’s best friend. When she needs a favour to board her cat temporarily she turns to Scott. And when he gets injured, he asks her to pay in kind. Before long Amy is wondering if moving back to Ontario is in her best interest.

Before I get to the rambling and cover, I give you ze links. Smashwords:



It is a bit higher on Kobo because of my paranoia about Amazon price match, I set a bit higher price so I wouldn’t have an issue. If you want the 2.99 price go to Smashwords.

Everywhere else, I don’t know yet. Keep looking for it.


So the good is that I can now upload directly to Kobo and have it appear in 72 hours instead of sometimes a month or longer. Amazon takes 12 hours to approve.

The bad is, being Canadian, I still can’t upload to B&N. Which actually is my biggest source of sales. I got a review back from Smashwords premium catalogue and the cover wasn’t right, so I’m  hoping it’s good now and I can get approved ASAP. I’ve heard of people taking over a month. I think Complications over Coffee took ages. Anyway, I digress.

The delay with Smashwords to sony, apple, and Barnes and Noble, makes me wonder if I should send out a newsletter announcement right now or wait til it can be found more widely.

Really drives me crazy because I suspect I have a large percentage of my tiny email list who is B&N buyers, who will have to wait if they want a copy from said retailer. And then I have to rely on them remembering to download me. I dunno about you, but if someone tells me do something later, I forget.

My take on fan fiction

what Nick thinks about fan fictions xD

what Nick thinks about fan fictions xD (Photo credit: ♥//BrendaJonas)

I’m going through my 1000+ posts on Google reader that I got behind on over my vacation and then writing a new first draft to get these characters out of my head.

I know you all are thinking: Mark them read and move on to the new stuff.

Granted I’m skimming, but a few things have caught me my eye about fan fiction. My guilty pleasure is reading Dragon Age fan fic. Passive Guy had some comments from various authors back in July about how they feel about fan fiction. I found on, one fine day, that certain authors have requested users not be allowed to post their fan fiction.

On the other side, there are content creators who encourage and occasionally even spotlight Fan Fiction of their works.

I came across Colin Falconer’s post about where Shakespeare got his idea for Romeo and Juliet.

Basically, old man William wrote fan fiction. The poem he based his play on,  “The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet” by Arthur Brooke was written about 30 years prior, based on another piece of work written 30 years before that. I found an essay comparing Shakespeare’s version to Brooke’s version.

If Shakespeare had done this in modern times, there would have been an outcry. The characters were Brooke’s intellectual property, no wait, he would never have penned his poem because he stole it from someone else.

It started me thinking about how almost everything Disney has ever done has been derivative, excepting they used fairy tales whose origins went so far back no one knows where they first came from.

My most recent first draft was inspired by a piece of fan fiction. Of course, it doesn’t resemble the original work whatsoever. Other than a May-December type romance and a love triangle.  But I’ve read fiction that doesn’t resemble the orginal other than character names and maybe characterization.

I’m considering writing some fan fiction, but it is alternative universe. I could just as easily write it with other character names, give it an orginal title and cover and no one would be the wiser as to where it came from.

If anyone wants to write fan fiction using my characters, feel free. Just let me know where so I can squee about it.

What ‘s your opinion on fan fiction? Do characters belong to the creator? Have you ever been so inspired by characters or plot you didn’t want to the story to end?

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Help me out: sharing with family


When I got my cover for Second Chance Romance I was so freaking excited that I shared it on my personal non-author Facebook profile. Everyone was excited about it. When I saw my aunts this summer they questioned me about this whole self-publishing business: hiring editors and cover artists, and how they could read my book.

That’s all well and fine.

Someone told my grandmother, 82 years old, about my book. She calls me up the day before the 10th anniversary of my 21st birthday. (Had to sneak that in) and congratulates me. And then she asks where she can get my book. Since she can barely operate a digital clock, she doesn’t own a computer. And I plan to do a createspace version but I haven’t yet. I told her I’d bring her a copy when I got one done up, but it would be a while.

A while later I texted my mom and told her about this incident.

Me: So Grandma called and she wants a copy of my book.

Mother Dearest: Oh Shit. What did you tell her?

Me: that I’d get her a copy when I did print, but it would be a while.

[long break while I mention this incident to someone else, who says my Grandma will be proud of me]

Me: Grandma does know I’m a grown woman now.

Mom: you’re right there.

Aside to readers: she has 10 kids, she has had sex. She reads quite a bit. I think she can handle the grown up parts. Not sure about the anal sex and vibrators, but you never know. It’s not strictly smut, it’s a romance with explicit sex.

So, should I share Second Chance Romance with Grandma?

Would you share a novel with explicit sex with your Grandmother?


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Beauty and the Werewolf: a review (small spoiler)

I don’t know how to word this spoiler. The book is easy to figure out, if you want to read the book, skip reading reviews on it and just read it. My criticism in a nutshull is the book lacked tension.

I’ve given up on the 50/50 challenge. I don’t have the will to watch movies. 2 hours of unblocked time? haha, that’s writing time baby, and blogging and social media. If there really is 2 hours of time that I don’t have someone demanding something of me. And if it weren’t those, it would be housekeeping.

But I’m still reading at least a book a week these days, I just haven’t been tracking them. I asked about fantasy suggestions a while back and one from Karen J was Mercedes Lackey and my library had one of her newer ones in the electronic lending library so I downloaded it. Beauty and the Werewolf, a romance. And a new take on Beauty and the Beast, with a dash of Little Red Riding Hood.

It was fast paced and a page turner. I suspected who it was half way in but had to read frantically until i got the the end and found out the villain.

But at the same time, I was left feeling a little unimpressed. I raced to turn the pages. What went wrong?

Lack of tension at all.  The only reason to turn pages quickly was to find out if I was right or not and looking at it, of course I was correct, there was no other option. There were only three characters in the book.

For a romance, even as a subplot, there was no romantic tension. Until the scene where the hero and heroine did something other than try to find out how to break the werewolf curse, there was no mention of any attraction whatsoever, it felt tagged on as if Lackey remembered this was supposed to be a romance. She had more page time with his invisible servants than the hero.

Even Bella’s raging against her three month imprisonment incase she turned werewolf felt half-hearted.

It’s a reminder to me, that tension needs to be on every page. I’m going to see if I can read the rest of the series, because I love a good rewritten fairytale.

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Writing outside my comfort zone

I tend to write characters who are similar to myself. At least the heroines are. Low maintainance, down to earth, a person you could talk to anywhere.

I’m writing the fifth incarnation of Doug Black’s little sister. My last draft she was a bit of a princess, and the feedback was “make her a full out princess.”

I am going to struggle here, because the character I need to write is going to make me want to stab her with a pen. Or a rusty fork. I mean she’ll have a nice arc where she becomes likeable, and I love my hero who is going to go through hell with this woman.

I need to write this out there and I want someone to poke me every once in a while and keep me accountable on keeping the character to the plan.

Have you written a character that is outside you comfort zone? How did you handle it? How about reading characters that aren’t entirely likeable? Especially as a major character?

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Thank goodness for spell check

So every time I type because it comes out ‘because’ unless I’m deliberately trying to mistype it of course.

I don’t know when it started. I suppose I could go check my old internet blogs and website, and I’m so not telling where those are. I was 18 … I’m 30 now. Yeah nuff said. And you’ll never find it. And if you do I will deny it was me.

All I really have to say is thank you for in-browser spell check. I now get those wiggly red lines under all my misspellings and can correct myself before I hit the submit button and forever embarrass myself.

My daughter just finished 4th grade. She was tested last year at a 8th grade level for spelling. They didn’t do this here (she was tested for reading speed and she reads like triple what she should be at with a 90% comprehension for silent reading, and double for reading aloud). Anyway, she spells better than me with spell check. If she hadn’t been so nervous at her spelling bee she would have gotten higher than 6th out of the entire school.

So anyway, spell check is a necessity in my writing life. Or my life in general. I was looking at my WIP and I had to turn off the spell check so those wiggly red lines wouldn’t glare at me. My fingers go faster than my brain so it looks like a fucking landmine hit my draft. Misplaced final consonants and transposed vowels. It’s first draft, if I stop and fix all my typing and spelling I will have no words left on my backspace button from overuse. Also they love to yell at me for being passive.

I am waiting on my final edits, yay, to be returned then I will do formatting for my latest Up In Flames series, tentatively called “Loving Again”. I have a theme going here with single parents, should I keep going on it? I should have a cover for everyone who has asked about my next novel.

I’m going to shoot for after the weekend, but no promises, I’m on a new babysitting venture a few days a week, and I have to have my niece over before they leave on holidays, otherwise her life will be in ruins because she didn’t see her favorite person on the planet, my son. (She is 12 and has Down Syndrome and she loves babies more than anything, and my son, who isn’t exactly a baby, in particular).

It’s long weekend in Canada? What are your plans?

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