Category: RISQ

RISQ Changes

Published / by R. Phoenix / 1 Comment on RISQ Changes

First off, thanks for the interest, comments, questions, and support about the Ripples in the Status Quo (soon to be renamed to The Fate of the Fallen) series. I love playing in the world and tormenting the characters, and it’s a major compliment to hear any of these things. Very much appreciated. <3

I’ve been promising to write a blog post on what the hell I’m doing, because there’s been some back and forth and waffling. I truly apologize for the confusion, and thank you for sticking around while I figure it out. If you want to skip the rambles about the series in general to the changes to the books, I totally don’t blame you. There are some asterisks to mark where I started rambling about that.

When I first started writing this series, it was meant to be two trilogies: Khaz and Noah’s story, and Ashton and Reese’s story. They were going to be in the same world, but their paths weren’t going to cross except for maybe a cameo. Elias and Jace were meant to appear in a single book and that was it. These were the first books I wrote and published, and I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t want to venture too far out of my comfort zone, so of course I went out in left field.

As I was writing, I realized I had strong ideas for where their stories would collide. I got feedback along the same lines as my thoughts. And I was addicted to writing Elias and Jace, who I knew could be major catalysts along the way.

So Bought, Ravel, and Recoil were now part of the same series. I wrote Owned (which is my favorite of the series, in no small part because my best friend edited for me and helped me make it what I wanted). I switched to self-publishing, revised the first three books, and went about my business. It took me awhile to realize that it wasn’t the best plan in the world, because the three books have vastly different tones, they have different characters, etc.

But it was a little late at that point, unless I wanted to do total rewrites. I had a lot going on, and I wanted to keep moving forward to see what would happen. I wrote Temper, which… is not my favorite for a lot of reasons. I’ll get into that a little later in this post. I got the idea for Puppy and knocked it out in a ridiculously short period of time because it was just fun. I wrote Refraction.

The series has never done particularly well, and I’ve thought about setting it aside several times. Each time, I came back to it because at the end of the day, this is a story I want to tell. I was offered a publishing contract for the French language rights to the series. And that was when I started to mess up. There were some other things going on, but essentially, I considered this a chance to try to fix the problems I knew were there.

I was really excited about it. I had a lot of ideas, and I was sure I could make the series better and potentially more approachable. I started working on it, but I had a lot on my plate. (This is the part where I cackle maniacally, because I have no idea how I was handling it all.) It got pushed back, but I really wanted the re-release out on a certain date.

Then I had a crisis in my personal life, and I’ll admit my heart just wasn’t in it. I knew better, but I released it anyway because I had committed to it and didn’t want to be wishy-washy. I was disappointed in it, feedback was not good, and I just didn’t have the time or energy to put in the work that I’d intended to.

So I made the decision to pull down the rework, which I considered a failed experiment. Instead, I decided to just revise them and put them back up one by one when I was happier with them. Not a perfect solution. Not a solution I really wanted. But it was something. I commissioned new covers for them anyway because of some issues with not having the original files and needing them for the French translation and a few other things, but that’s going to take some time. Eventually, they’ll go into print. They’re short, but hey. I’d like to hold copies of them anyway.

At this current moment, Bought, Ravel, and Recoil are back up on Amazon. Unfortunately, their rules on updates aren’t very friendly, so I can’t get the content pushed out, and I don’t even think you can request it. If you have the originals and you want the new versions, let me know and I’ll get them to you. You can do it now, after I have the new covers, both times — I don’t mind. Just send me an e-mail at raissa(dot)phoenix(at)gmail(dot)com or send me a message on Facebook.

Owned is next up for edits, then Temper and Refraction. The covers are in process. I owe my cover artist some images, and she’s working on one. I’m (slowly) working on getting the paperback versions done. It’s not hard, but it’s time-consuming. I want to work on my outline for the series and take some notes on things I want to make sure I don’t forget to go back to. I have an idea for an Elias/Jace book between Bought and Owned, and I have plans for the 7th book (tentatively titled ‘Sanguine.’). At some point, probably once the covers are done, I’m changing the name of the series to ‘The Fate of the Fallen,’ which I think fits better. So there’s a lot going on there, it’ll take some time, but I’ll be happy at the end of it all. Hopefully. 😉

*****

All of that said, here are the quick (haha, right, like that happened) notes of what has changed and what I expect to change. Note that the expectations may well go out the window when I sit down to actually do the work, because I’m apparently a masochist. I am revising all of them for content, clarity, and overall feel, and I’m correcting typos and errors as I go. (And probably making more.)

Bought:
*Removed the Jace/Spencer flashback scene. The information in this scene is still ‘canon’ to the series, and this scene may find its way in at a later date. Either way, I didn’t feel like it benefited the book to have it in. (It’s far more fun to drop in little hints and clues over the course of the books than to tell everything at once!)
*Rewrote the Elias/Spencer scene. The original scene didn’t convey what I wanted it to, and I wasn’t that happy with it. For what it’s worth, I absolutely love the rewritten chapter.
*Adjusted the timing for the rework… and then promptly left it so vague in the edits  that I don’t think it’s obvious how much time passes. We’re going to say this was intentional, ‘kay? (Nah, I’ll answer this when I finish playing with the outline. I’m not a huge detail person, in case you haven’t noticed that, but I know it matters, especially if I work on the book between Bought and Owned with those two lovelies.
*Added more internal conflict for Jace.
*Smoothed out a few things with Elias that were somewhat contradictory.

Ravel:
*Rewrote the first part of the first chapter. This was originally done for the ‘rework’ to account for continuity between the books, but I ended up liking the rewrite a lot better, so I left it in.
*Removed the first sex scene. Yes, yes, I know. I’ve already been fussed at. But for your amusement (or at least mine, but I’m easily amused), I will share the (somewhat spoilery) gist of the conversation I had with a friend about it that led me to make the decision…

“…This doesn’t even make sense. How even? The way Ashton throws himself at Reese? Nope. I mean, okay, hurt/comfort, but it doesn’t work. And because I took out a lot of the ‘insta love’ elements, it doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s like… ohai, obligatory sex scene…! Seriously, wtf? How the hell do I even fix this? AND! He doesn’t shower first! He came from the slums! He’s filthy! WTF Reese! Make him bathe!” And then a lot of whining.

*As said above, I removed a lot of the ‘insta love’ aspects. During the reread, they didn’t feel right, and I think with the changes, it’ll read more organically. The road will be a little longer, but I think the journey will be better and they’ll have a healthier relationship because of it. (And, seriously, we need a healthy relationship in these books.)
*I smoothed out some of Ashton’s back-and-forth in his head. His issues with supes aren’t terrible, but they are there, and I think they were a little too contradictory at times. Hopefully it’s better now.
*The, er, scene. Big spoiler here, so I don’t want to come out and say it. But you know how he does a bad thing? I tried to explain that a little better.
*Holy crap, people. Typos. TYPOS. That’s all I’m saying. Ahem.

Recoil:
*There were several references to things that happened off-screen, and it was a dynamic I loved. But it was almost solely telling, not showing, and I opted to alter the dynamic in the existing scenes some instead of doing a ton of rewriting. (Noah and Khaz getting under each other’s skin. It’s still there, but I don’t think it’s as ‘hey, you didn’t see it, but it totally happened.’)
*Added a Noah scene to smooth out continuity — again, addressing the telling, not showing, thing. I felt like there needed to be a chapter from his POV sooner in the narrative. I had wanted to add another scene with him (right before Khaz’s POV with Mays), but it wasn’t really working so I left it out.
*I felt like Noah’s shift was a little too abrupt, so I moved some things around and reworded, added, etc. I think it makes better sense now.

Owned:
*I don’t anticipate many changes. This is my favorite book of the series, and I’ve been really happy with it. But this is me we’re talking about, so who knows? 

Temper:
*This is where the major changes come in. Some of the things I did in this book were because I felt obligated to for various reasons. I stalled out several times writing this book, and it was because I was trying to write something I didn’t really want.
*I think a certain event was unnecessarily detailed, and while I’m not taking it out, I am going to try to work with it until I’m happier with it. This graphic scene wasn’t meant to be sexy, and a lot of it can be condensed and referenced. I don’t want to back off completely, but I think it’s excessive as written.
*I was actually appalled by the victim-blaming comments on this book. One of my biggest goals is to try to figure out where I went wrong.  I don’t want to spoon feed, but at the same time, I’m doing the series a real disservice if people are coming out of this book feeling that way about this character.
*There’s a Khaz/Noah cameo in here, and while I know exactly where it is in the timeline, I know it’s not super obvious. I’m going to see what I can do here, which may be a grand total of nothing.

Refraction:
*This one’s still pretty new, and I was very pleased by how it turned out. I like the tone, the style, the feel, the story, the characters… I had a lot of help with the more fast-paced actiony scenes, and I think it paid off.
*I plan on adding 1-2 Elias/Jace scenes. I had one written in the original draft, but I took it out based on some very good feedback that basically amounted to, why the hell are you condensing all of this into one chapter? This could easily be 3-5 chapters of the next book and deserves that attention! And since I love those two… I didn’t replace it at the time, because I didn’t want to add in something rote just because. Based on the changes to Bought, I have a few ideas.
*There’s something that happens at the very end that I questioned a lot when writing the original draft, then again when editing.  It was pointed out to me that it was too soon, and I went back and forth and decided to ultimately go with it.  Now, I realize I shouldn’t have. So chances are, Khaz’s confession is coming out.

…Phew. Okay, if you read this far, I commend you. I swear, I’m going to be keeping this just as notes to myself so I don’t forget things. So. Er. Yeah! I look forward to sharing all of this with you.

With all my heart, I thank you for reading the books and reading this.

<3

R.

Refraction

Published / by R. Phoenix / Leave a Comment

Coming Soon…14114659_10153694832546750_2121602117_o

“I am afraid, Julian,” she whimpered, and in her mind’s eye, she saw the stars winking out, one by one, as the world began to destroy itself from the inside out. “I am afraid. You call me insane; you all see me as a madwoman, but I know enough to be afraid. I am afraid.”

Julian was silent. The confession was something new; she had never dared admit it. For a vampire of her years to be afraid… She could only imagine what he might be thinking, and she clutched harder at him.

“You know not what you’ve done,” she whispered, pleaded, somehow. “Tell your brother… Tell him, Julian. You must tell him.”

“What do you want me to tell him, Desideria?” he inquired, smoothing his fingers through her tangled hair.

“Tell him…” She hesitated, because these words would be the most important she had ever spoken. “Tell him — I don’t know. Julian, I do not know. There’s so much blood, the slaughter of innocents and not-innocents, and I want it. I want it so badly, but it’s… It’s all wrong now, somehow. The world is awash with blood, and we’ll glut ourselves into extinction.”

She laughed, high and wild.

“Perhaps it’s too late,” she said, not knowing if she was laughing or crying as Julian’s lips brushed her brow. “Perhaps we’re already there.”

 

Coming soon…

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 Owned

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Owned!

I was on the edge of my seat reading Owned: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix.

I WAS ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT READING OWNED

We get to see what happened after the cliffhanger we were left with from Recoil. I must admit I was relieved to find Noah still alive, although still incredibly annoyed with his ungrateful attitude toward Khaz after his memory is restored.

He’s the one who BEGGED Khaz to keep him. Grr

SOMEONE HAD ALREADY PUT IN A BID FOR THE REBELLION SLAVE

Khaz made the choice to turn Noah at the very last possible moment, only to learn that apparently, someone had already put in a bid for the Rebellion slave.

YEAH, WE GET TO SEE THAT SADISTIC BASTARD AGAIN.

Guess who that was? Elias Ivers. Yeah, we get to see that sadistic bastard again. He apparently has done quite the job of breaking Jace down and making him into a good pet, as Elias proves during a meeting with Khaz over the loss of his human slave.

Noah, upon awakening from the change, doesn’t have his memories and turns to Khaz for guidance. He and Khaz grow closer as Sire and child, until an encounter with Elias and Jace makes Noah see things differently causing a rift to form between Khaz and Noah.

THE PLAY FOR POWER WAS SO DELIGHTFULLY FOUGHT

I loved how two couples from different books were thrown into one and the play for power was so delightfully fought.

There was Elias, who is sure he is unstoppable and believes everyone lower than himself. And then there is Khaz, a whore vampire who lets others believe he is complacent and has no real strength.

It makes me wonder what is going to happen in the future when Khaz finally has enough of the crap treatment from others and proves everyone wrong.

Another 5-star rating on this one. There’s a little something for everyone with the love growing between Khaz and Noah and the bond between Elias and Jace getting stronger.

Also the biggest surprise of all was the slight shift in the POV of the story that included a chapter by Jace. It was a HUGE shock to see what happened to the wolf.

Never saw that coming!

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 111 pages
Release Date: April 29, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

All Romance Ebooks: https://goo.gl/P5kYIR
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/LXAkxx

Queercentric Review of Recoil

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Recoil!

Recoil: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix straddles a middle line between the feel of the first book and the feel of the second.

It’s got a slightly sinister vibe that carries through the whole story.

A SLIGHTLY SINISTER VIBE

Noah is a human, part of the Rebellion, who was captured. He spent a week being tortured, with his captors hoping to eventually auction off as a compliant slave. They just have to break him first. When a werewolf specializing in breaking slaves has no luck with Noah, he offers a vampire a deal to do it instead.

Vampire Khaz, a whore in this new world of the status quo, takes the offer and thinks it should be a piece of cake. Man, was he wrong. Nothing turned out the way Khaz thought it would. Struck by the beauty of the human slave, he slowly chips away at Noah’s defenses and learns more about his captive.

TRAINED IN RESISTING THE MOST GROTESQUE FORMS OF TORTURE

Noah is trained in resisting the most grotesque forms of torture, but his training didn’t cover how to resist sympathy from a supernatural. Noah spends most of his time ignoring Khaz while healing, but somehow Khaz sneaks in and lowers his defenses anyway.

THEIR CHEMISTRY WAS UNDENIABLE AND EXTREMELY PALPABLE

Noah was actually pretty annoying. He was fickle when it came to Khaz. Their chemistry was undeniable and extremely palpable in the story and the ending just about freaking killed me!

Really R. Phoenix?

A TOUCH OF SINISTER UNKNOWNS SWIRLING AROUND THE BACKGROUND

Though more of a grey area in the RISQ series, this book was full of sexual tension, secrets held by both of the MCs,  and a touch of sinister unknowns swirling around the background.

This series is incredibly addicting because there is no warning as to what is coming next. Will it be another semi-sweet romantic build? Or will it be mind games and manipulations likeBought was?

I cannot give this enough stars! I’m already twitching, waiting for the release of the next book. I’m mildly worried about what it will contain, but want it anyway.

I highly recommend this series to those who have grown disenchanted by fluffy M/M romances. There is none of that in these pages.

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 96 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/1MQP0AF
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1qyfhtL
(*cough* You leave my Noah alone.)

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