Category: Ravel

Weapon of Mass Destruction [Ashton & Reese]

Published / by R. Phoenix / Leave a Comment

This is an unedited short set in the RISQ world, approximately after Temper in timeline but without spoilers. 

Ashton glowered at the four-legged master of mass destruction in front of him, watching as it wagged its tail–and then promptly hopped behind Reese. The little furball yipped happily and darted forward, running between his lover’s legs–which was his territory, thank you very much–and then going straight for Ashton’s ankles. This time, Ashton was the one to yelp as he nearly fell over, trying to get away from the creature.

“What is that?” Ashton demanded, jumping up onto a chair instead and staring down at the beast on the floor.

Reese, who had spun around to watch Ashton leap away from the animal like a gymnast playing leapfrog, was trying to hide a smile, but Ashton knew him well enough to where he wasn’t keeping any secrets.

“It’s not funny, Reese!”

From behind him, he heard his best friend’s voice remark, “Actually, I think it’s pretty fucking hilarious.”

Ashton would have turned to look at Leo, but then he would have had to take his attention off of the miniature monstrosity that was now yipping away in front of his chair, small claws on huge paws scrabbling for purchase on one of the bottom rungs of it. “You. Hush,” he chided, flinging his hand in Leo’s general direction.

“Me. Leo.” Leo mocked him, and Ashton could hear his friend’s footsteps as he walked into the kitchen. They were so heavy in comparison to Reese’s, but then, he didn’t know a single human who could out-stealth a werewolf.

Even a former thief like him couldn’t pull that off.

“This is a dog, and I thought you’d like him as a pet,” Reese admitted, stepping up behind the thing and picking it up.

Ashton shuddered as the creature’s tongue ran along his lover’s neck. “I am never kissing you there again,” he announced when Reese made no move to avoid the molestation. “Not even if you scrub it with bleach. And that’s not a pet. What you have there is a ball of noisy fluff. That licks. And pisses. And destroys things.”

“So basically, you’re afraid your role in this household is going to be usurped,” Leo said, stopping just within Ashton’s peripheral vision as he hopped down–warily–from the chair.

“His name,” Reese said, his pale blue-grey eyes sparkling, “is Thor. Can you hate Thor?”

Ashton glowered at him. With the amount of times he’d compared Reese to a Viking or some sort of Norse god, he couldn’t exactly claim to hate Thor, even if he wanted to.

Badly.

“Not when I’m calling you Thor,” he huffed. “But it’s a dog.” Which he said like he was talking about a nuclear explosion, because as far as he was concerned, he was. It was only a matter of time until the fluffball exploded all over the place. “And I’m not cleaning up after it.”

“Him,” Reese pointed out dryly. “He’s definitely a him.”

“I’m sure the dog is secure enough in his masculinity to where he doesn’t need you to defend his manhood,” Ashton informed the werewolf in the room, scowling at him.

“Ash,” Leo said, his voice sounding strange enough to where Ashton turned his head to look at his friend–who was trying so hard not to laugh that the syllable came out strangled.

“Oh, sure. Just laugh it up,” Ashton replied irritably. “Some friend you are.”

“I’m a fantastic friend. If the little tiny ball of fluff your boyfriend named Thor like he’s a badass goes for you, I’ll have his phone ready to take pictures.” Leo grinned, leaning against the wall. “But don’t mind me. I’m just here to watch.”

“And mock,” Ashton grumbled.

“That, too.”

Ashton looked for something to throw, but his knife-throwing skills weren’t particularly up to par, and he opted to pass on throwing sharp objects at his friend.

There were plenty of other ways to get him back.

Blog Tour, Days 1 & 2

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Here are my first four blog tour spots! I really tried to vary these and break them up, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed putting them together.

7/1: Joyfully Jay: wherein I write about my love for villains + exclusive excerpt

7/2: The Dark Arts Blog: Spotlight post

7/3: Lily G. Blunt’s Blog: Author Interview with some very interesting questions (and hopefully interesting answers) + exclusive excerpts… including a brief one from my contemporary WIP.

7/4: Attention is Arbitrary: nerd words, or why I name my books what I do + exclusive excerpt

Promo Spots

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Okay, so! Rambling post about promo … things. Keep in mind I’m brand new at all this, so it might be good, and it might not. 
The short version: a) Authors: there’s a sale and here are two sites for paranormal-related books. b) Readers: there are two sites that offer 2 free reads EACH a day. THESE ARE NOT M/M SPECIFIC.
 
I Love Vampire Novels is having a sale for Mother’s Day on ad spots, so I went and checked it out… They have this newish affiliated site (I think), Reign of Reads, and their newsletter spots were only $10 (Free Read) and $15 (Featured Read). ILVN’s spots are $14 off if you go through their newsletter links.
 
So I whipped out my handy-dandy credit card (*cough*) and requested slots for Bought (Free) and Ravel (Featured/Regular Price of 2.99). Figured hell, I’ll try closer upcoming dates just to see what happens. If they don’t have ’em, they don’t have ’em. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
 
Submitted RoR requests at 9:18 and 9:24, requesting spots for Bought and Ravel for the weeks of 5/9 (Bought) and 5/23 (Ravel).
 
Received a response at 9:48, confirming bookings on 5/11 and 5/23. Really freaking fast. I’m crossing my fingers and toes; they say they distribute to over 16k readers. (2 Free/2 Featured in each newsletter.)
 
…Oh, and while I was at it, I also bought a discounted Featured Ad spot for ILVN for Recoil, which my credit card also provided the funds for. They distribute to… a lot of people. A LOT. (2 Free/6 Featured in each newsletter.) Yeah. I have so much restraint.
 
I opted not to discount either Ravel or Recoil for the simple reason that I do giveaways all. the. time. I can’t even tell you how many copies of them I’ve given away. (Plus I feel guilty when people buy things at full price and then I offer them for next to nothing later, because it’s frustrating as a reader sometimes. I bought a book for like $6 a while back to support an author and it was maybe a few hours later or the next day, and it was on sale for 99c. On my limited budget, that stung a little.) So it might hurt, but it might not. We’ll see. They recommend a price point between 99c-2.99 anyway.
 
If any authors take advantage of these deals, might want to split the payments up so you get the redirect pages. I didn’t get one for ILVN. I sent them an e-mail, though, so we’ll see.

Queercentric Review of Ravel

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Ravel!

Ravel: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix was quite the surprise. The previous book was a dark twisted tale about mind games, manipulation, and sadism. Ravel, on the other hand, was the complete opposite.

THERE IS STILL ENOUGH LIGHT TO LET LOVE SHINE THROUGH

One might think the author throwing something completely different into the series would be a deterrent from continuing with it. I disagree. I loved the change because it centered on two new characters and expanded the RISQ world.

Even though there is darkness in the world R. Phoenix creates, there is still enough light to let love shine through.

R. PHOENIX RIPPED THE PROVERBIAL RUG OUT FROM UNDER ME

When Reese, a werewolf, was first introduced as a giant of a man towering over young Ash, I feared that Ash would suffer the same fate of Jace in the first book. However, R. Phoenix ripped the proverbial rug out from under me and had me stunned.

Reese is nothing like the other supernaturals that follow the status quo. He sees something of worth in Ash, even though he’s human, where other supernaturals would have only seen trouble.

Ashton, a human, is a smart-mouthed thief who is just trying to steal enough to be able to bribe a doctor to help his sick friend. Luckily, Reese finds Ashton’s inability to keep his mouth shut amusing and doesn’t call the enforcers on him.

HE BRINGS AN ELEMENT OF HUMOR TO THE SERIES

Ashton is one of my favorite characters so far in the RISQ world. He brings an element of humor to the series that was obviously lacking in the first one, and I appreciated the change of pace.

Though I’m sure many readers of the series will be shocked with this second book in the series, I believe the refreshing angle into the RISQ universe deserves the 5-stars I gave this book. The characters are a delightful surprise in this sequel and I loved being able to glimpse the other side of the status quo.

These two seemed perfect for each other and their attraction sizzled. I cannot wait to see what surprises R. Phoenix has for us in the next book!

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 75 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/1WTvG5Y
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1W2c81c

Guest Post on Kimi-Chan Experience

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“The RISQ works center around characters who put themselves on the line and against the status quo. “Love is a weakness,” a character remarks in the first book. “Everyone claims they’d do anything for it. Let’s test the theory, shall we?” And that’s really what the books are about at their core. What would you do for love? Would you risk everything? What horrible things would you put yourself through to have even the chance for love in this sort of fucked-up world?”

Read more at the Kimi-Chan Experience!

Diverse Reader Interview

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The fabulous Meredith King has featured me on her blog for an Author Spotlight. She asked some great questions, and I got to ramble about Brandyjo and how much help she’s been to me. If you want to see the answers to these questions (as well as some of my random thoughts)…

  • You classify yourself as an M/M paranormal romance/ erotica reader but you’re also a writer of what you read as well! What intrigues you so much about erotica?
  • When did you know erotica/romance was where you wanted to take your writing?
  • You’ve written 4 books in your Ripples in the Status Quo series. You’ve worked your ass off with them between writing, editing, all of it. Tell us about this series and what we can look forward to?
  • You’ve been posting pictures on Facebook of sweet little critters, and they are so cute!!! This is a side of a dark erotica writer I wasn’t expecting…lol… Tell us a little bit about Raissa from the light side?
  • You write in a genre that is filled with a lot of adversity. How do you combat it? What message would you get out to the masses if you could?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world for book research, where would you go?
  • What is your favorite childhood book or books?
  • What were you like as a child?
  • Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
  • How can readers follow you? Twitter, Facebook, website…

So yeah! If you’re interested (or if you just want a shot at a free book), check it out here: Diverse Reader Saturday Author Spotlight.

Writing RISQ Stories

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I’ve been asked a few times lately how I write short books. (Which, hell, if you’ve read any of my rambles, it’s no shock that you’d wonder how I can manage to write anything under 200k epics.) So I thought I’d give explaining it a shot, even though this might be a bunch of incoherent rambling.

Okay, so, I write a series dramatically called “Ripples in the Status Quo” (or for those of us who are lazy, RISQ). In this world, supernatural creatures have taken over and turned humans into playthings and food and, well, whatever else they want that day. Humans have no rights unless they’re owned by a “supe.” And then they don’t really have any rights, but they’re protected like my car or your inflatable sex doll might be. Anyone who shows free humans too much favor runs the risk of being considered a sympathizer.

And this is very, very bad. Sympathizers run the risk of being deemed “legally human.” If that happens, they’re enslaved or executed. There’s no mercy, and it’s extremely brutal. Ten years after the Takeover, no one really speaks out against it any longer. But that doesn’t mean they’re all okay with it. They deal with it in their own ways, and it affects them in profound ways… which is what gives me my story.

Each “story” (novelette, novella, whatever) addresses what happens when characters end up faced with the SQ. The best way I can think of to explain it is that I write how the plot defines the characters rather than how the characters define the plot 75% of the time. It sounds boring when I put it that way, but it is what it is. I’m planning to write several books, so I’m in no hurry to get through the main plotline. I have four completed so far, and they’ve more or less introduced the world and some of the characters. (And though it isn’t obvious in the books, they each take place about a week apart.)

The first “major” plot point comes in during book four. Up until that point, we’re just learning the characters and the world, which means we’re seeing snippets of their lives. Each story is a character arc, though they become increasingly tangled with one another as things begin to shift.

I’m rambling, and I still haven’t gotten to the point. My process goes like this:

I get an idea. This is a spark of a character–a line from the story, a scene I want to write, a quote, or something. I start writing. Sometimes it’s the beginning, and sometimes it isn’t. I write until I run out of steam, and then if I get another idea, I don’t worry about “finishing” a scene. I mark that it isn’t done, and I carry on.

So I pretty much end up with a beginning, a middle, and an end. From there, I have to go back and flesh it all out. It’s sort of like having a jigsaw puzzle where you put together the outside first and then go back and do the center pieces. I know where the confines of my story is. I just need to go in and actually fill out what’s within the frame. From there, I write until I feel like I’ve satisfied the plot.

When I feel like I have all the pieces in place, I go back and re-read. I try to find any contradictions or repetitions, I smooth out edges, and I add details where I feel details need to be. I turn it over to my beta readers and let them rip it into shreds, and then I put it back together again.

Basically, in the whole thing, length is irrelevant. I want to tell the story of two characters and how their lives interact, usually through alternating POVs though that’s changing a little the more I write. But the focus is on their story, and the plot just happens to come along for the ride.

I have no idea if I’ve managed to explain it, but let’s see:

Bought (12,600 words) is a novelette that explores what happens when a werewolf is deemed legally human and is purchased by a witch. It introduces the world, and it follows Jace from when he’s purchased by Elias until the end of their first, ah, encounter. It’s about his journey; the plot is what he and Elias are doing and why, and it’s setting up for later books.

Ravel (23,600 words) is a novella that forces two characters to see what the world is like for each other. On one hand, you have a human thief who’s struggling to survive and resents the supes who won’t speak up for them, who really wants more but knows there isn’t much of a chance for that. On the other, you have a werewolf who’s hiding away from the world and refusing to see what’s in front of him. When those two things intersect, that’s where my story comes in. It ends where there’s a pause of, well, here we are. We’ve got a good start, and now… what do we do? That’s material for later on. It has a nod towards the characters in Bought, but it’s a stand alone.

Recoil (28,300 words) is a novella that brings in a vampire who isn’t all that thrilled with the SQ and a human who’s involved with the Rebellion trying to take it down. Khaz is still annoyed that the SQ made his life more difficult, and Noah has been raised to hate supernaturals with a passion. Khaz only has a certain amount of time to break Noah so he can be sold off as a slave, so you’re automatically given boundaries in terms of timeline. It does have a nod toward the characters in Ravel, but it’s a stand alone.

Owned (37kish words, still in final edits) is a novella that starts to bring the smaller pictures together. We get characters from Bought and Recoil, and there are spoilers, but this is the first book where the overall plot actually slams into the characters. It’s still technically a standalone, and I did have someone read it who hadn’t read Bought and they were still fine with it. It benefits from having read the others.

Book 5, Go, is in progress. It’s bringing in new characters, but it’s going to draw back in Reese and Ashton from Ravel as well as other characters from the earlier works where their lives intersect.

You might ask why I don’t just put them all together in one larger work, and the simplest answer is because I don’t want to. I know, it sounds childish, but it’s true. Beyond that, though, it’s about organization and style. I like that each story is the focus of a week, even if it isn’t really clear unless you know that outside of the story; I can fade in and out and tell the interesting bits without having to focus on the parts I don’t want to write–and I think that might be where some of the extra words come in. We feel the need to tell things all at once, and I don’t really like doing that.

I’ve had some criticism because I very, very slowly dangle pieces of information in front of people like fresh lettuce in front of a leaping duck (seriously, you’ll lose fingers that way). I’ve had beta readers who want me to explain things right at the beginning, but I leave things for later.

All in all, I have no idea if I’ve answered any questions. *sheepish*

Tl;dr:

I write a frame to contain myself within and fill in the frame.

I have a larger world, and I let that world define the characters most of the time.

I let things happen really slowly, because I like writing about the people.

I’m not plot-centric, and I don’t want things to happen too swiftly.

I only write what I want to. >.>

I’m not sure how I’d bring in the first four sets of stories. They are actually stand alone works, and I want the plot to develop around them rather than limiting myself. (i.e., if I write all of Jace and Elias’s story, then I have less wiggle room with how they might interact with other characters)

It’s basically a contained way of switching POVs, because the whole time, we’re getting the world from these characters’ eyes. Who’s to say that’s really how it is?

Okay, I’ve rambled enough. 🙁

Self-Publishing Update #3

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Kobo rejected Bought (inappropriate content–shocker), but approved Ravel for pre-order.

Smashwords accepted Bought into their premium catalog and “shipped” it to iTunes. I went ahead and decided to use their distribution service since it’s free anyway. Waiting on iBooks to add it (or hell, reject it based on inappropriate content…!) Apple got back to me and updated my profile so I can use the DBA I created instead of my legal name, but it takes time to update. Once it does, I’m going to play around with it and try to figure out the rest of iTunes Producer and see if I can get Ravel in progress. (Since I’m using a pre-done .epub, I’m not using their authoring program, though I may play with it later.)

Smashwords distributes to Barnes & Noble once a day at 2 a.m. PST Monday through Friday, and then it takes a few days to show up. It’s looking like I might be able to start promoting Friday, which will put me on track to do releases once a week. With pre-orders, I shouldn’t have to worry about all of this–I don’t mind doing the legwork, but the 1-3 business days and 3-5 business days and up to 48 hours and up to 72 hours thing is a pain in the ass (in the not-fun way). This means I can’t do edits until the last minute if I want the right version to go live. Siiiiigh.

Barnes & Noble accepted my vendor account, so I’m going to try to figure out how to get Ravel up for pre-order once I’m done with other things today.

I sent an e-mail to Amazon this morning wanting to know what the fuck is up with their page count. It matters, even in the pre-order. I need this to be accurate, because there’s this division about the 100 page mark. If it turns out it’s about file size and not word count, I’m going to be one unhappy panda. It’d explain why people do huge fonts and insane spacing, though.

Bought (1st edition): 36 pages. Story Word Count: 9,083 words (252 words per page). Total Word Count: 10,381 words (288 words per page). (Difference of 1,298 words.)

Bought (Revised edition): 43 pages. Story Word Count: 12,630 words (293 words per page). Total Word Count: 14,423 words (335 words per page). (Difference of 1,793 words–now have a short acknowledgment page and short blurbs for my other books in the back as well as an excerpt from Ravel.)

This means that SOMEHOW the addition of 3,547/4,042 words resulted in a 7 page increase. (Approximately 1 page per 506 Story/577 Total words.)

Ravel (1st edition): Per Amazon: 70 pages. Story Word Count: 20,879 (298 words per page). Total Word Count: 21,937 words (313 words per page). (Difference of 1,058 words.)

Ravel (Revised Edition–Up for Pre-Order): 74 pages. Story Word Count: 23,636 (319 words per page). Total Word Count: 25,619 words (346 words per page). (Difference of 1,983 words–now have a short acknowledgment page and short blurbs for my other books in the back as well as an excerpt from Recoil)

This means that SOMEHOW the addition of 2,757 Story/3,682 Total words resulted in a 4 page increase. (Approximately 1 page per 689 Story/920 Total words.) 

Recoil (1st edition): 62 pages. Story Word Count: 19,496 words (314 words per page). Total Word Count: 20,671 words (333 words per page). (Difference of 1,175 words.)

Owned (1st edition): 112 pages. Story Word Count: 37,471 words (334 words per page). Total Word Count: 38,523 words (343 words per page). (Difference of 1,052 words.)

This can’t be about word count, which makes it even more distressing.

On that note, I have house things to do.

And then, after all of that, I’m going to work on Recoil. I have an idea for an additional scene to expand it past just the apartment, by sending Khaz out and maybe even giving Reese and Ashton a cameo, plus I need to complete edits on chapters 3-5.

Plus I need to update the Books page of my website. *cough* It’s outdated as fuck.

I actually had an idea for another scene in Ravel, but I need to stop fucking with it. (Actually, I wonder if I could work it into Recoil…Hmm. Something to think about while I do cleaning things.)

Self Publishing Update #1

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Bought: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story is back up for sale at All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords! I have it submitted to Amazon as well, but we know how Amazon is; Smashwords will be distributing to Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, so those are pending.

Previous Word Count (excepting front/back matter): 9,083
Current Word Count (excepting front/back matter):12,630

I would really, really appreciate it if y’all would pick up a copy at ARE to boost me up a little. 🙂 I hope y’all like the changes as much as I do. 😀

I’ll post when I have all the links, but I’m super excited. If you find problems… please let me know. I went over it several times and had several others do so as well, but things slip through. We switched up the cover from Owned…but the other three are completely new. I can’t wait to show them to you. They’re gorgeous! I put an order on them, and we’re starting with Bought. Still, the first three can be read as stand-alones. 😀

###

When he agreed to take the fall for his pack leader’s failed attempts to help the Rebellion, Jace knew he wouldn’t live long enough to regret it. However, instead of the noble end he envisioned for himself, the werewolf finds himself at the mercy of a witch and his depraved games. Though he clings to his conviction that he can withstand anything his new master can dish out, it isn’t long before he realizes pride has no place in his life as the pet of the controlling Elias Ivers.

###

The Ripples in the Status Quo works are set within a world where supernatural beings seized control from humans and relegated them to the bottom of the food chain. Used for food, entertainment, and worse, nothing protects them from the hands of those who claim them as slaves. But not everyone adheres to the status quo the world at large has accepted…

Please note that the RISQ world has little place for humanity–and the author’s idea of romance may not match yours. As such, there are no guarantees of happily ever afters, and content may be offensive to some readers.

The suggested reading order is below, though these works can be read as standalones.

1. Bought. [Dark Erotica]
2. Ravel. [Romance] (Pending Re-Release)
3. Recoil. [Dark Erotic Romance] (Pending Re-Release)
4. Owned. [Dark Erotic Romance. Follows events in Bought and Recoil.] (Pending Re-Release)

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-boughtaripplesinthestatusquostory-2001906-351.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624507