My avatar's name is Ava Donja of Silk and Stone.
The other me writes general market romance. I play World of Warcraft. This is where I make two parts of my life merge in sensual fantasy romance novellas.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

NOT Getting My Drink On

The other day I bought some alcohol free wine (Fre) and mixed it with Sprite for a white trash wine cooler. It had the right feel and filled a gap. The gap is really big right now. I don’t know if it’s the nicer weather, or the fact that I’m raiding and writing more consistently, but I really miss the warm fuzzy  buzz.

I’ve played with variations on Italian cream soda, mixed tonic with cranberry juice or just a squeeze of lime, and been drinking everything out of wine glasses or champagne flutes (Almond Roca syrup with soda water makes a reasonable almond champagne). Still, I miss getting my drink on. It’s not just the taste of a nice wine or the social aspect of drinking with friends. I miss the lack of inhibition and, well, being drunk. You’d think it would be easier the father removed from my last drink I got, but no. In fact, after the first month I was on a euphoric high. Look at me! I am a success story! I took control of my life and am not a loser! I stopped going to AA (I have issues with the higher power thingy and excessive hugging) and compartmentalized my alcoholism. In fact, I shoved it into a little box under the bed and pretended it didn’t exist.

But man do I want a drink. Sure, my writing was sloppy when I was drinking, but it was prolific. Words flowed from my finger tips. Words, often redundant and misspelled, but that wasn’t a big deal because I could always edit tomorrow.

This past month I have missed it all the time. It’s morning and I’m drinking orange juice and 7-Up out of a wine glass. Why? Because it feels luxurious and is an effort to patch up the hole.  Later I’m going to run FL with a pug. The last time I had a good time with that, I was shitfaced on lemonade and EVERCLEAR (yes, I was an idiot). I puked all night in various places and shook for three days. But I had a great time while raiding (horrible dps though) and I was a lot of fun on Vent. That was June 30th. Technically my sobriety started July 1st, but I had not made the final decision until July 4th (my first AA meeting).

So now, here I am, coming on 8 months. I’m not really any stronger or more sure of myself than I was on July 1st (only now I’m not shaking from alcohol poisoning.) I’m writing and don’t feel I have to rely on the freedom that comes with a  buzz to produce good work, but I still miss it. Well enough of the pity party. I have a deadline to meet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've been frustrated with the way my guild crashed and died. That, coupled with my lack of time in general, has meant less WoW time. I don't even know my main's hot keys any more. My other 85's are too undergeared to run the new content. Ach whore that I am, my ineptitude shouldn't be a reason not to play. I mean, I can still do stupid things like fish, right?

Dark Moon fair was my only glimmer of hope, but any pay off from that is way off. As a result, I'm bummed about WoW. And, on top of it, I suck. Even sober. Maybe if I got my drink on, I'd remember all the content that I blurred through in a happy buzz. Or not. Today I ran a low level raid w/a friend and just was a spas. Seriously. And, besides dying, I couldn't find my way back to the instance. Repeatedly.

This inspired the blog title, sucktastic. I think that sums up my playing ability. Screw the new raids, I can't even do lowbie ones. How do I fix this? Start to care again? Join my friends on Star Wars instead? No -- I'm jumping back into dailies to relearn my toons. The good news? I'll get a lot of leather out of it.

Sad, really. I'm much better at writing about WoW than playing it.

How's your day?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hook, Line, and Sinker Blogfest

Justin at In My Write Mind is hosting a blogfest today.

Where: In My Write Mind blog, and your own
Objective: Post your 500-1000 word hook and critique other hooks posted by participants

Suggestive topics to consider when critiquing:
  • Does the character have a personality I can fall into easily? This includes any dialogue exchanged.
  • Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they're introduced?
  • Are there secondary characters to assist with the hook?
  • Lastly, would I read more? 

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's contribution and welcome any comments on mine. Below is the first 500ish words from my work in progress Control (which I hope to have finished by the date this posts).

 She took a sip of her sparkling wine and sighed. Closing her eyes, she let herself enjoy the simple, physical delight in the way the bubbles tickled her tongue, the back of her throat. She needed this time for herself. To feel. To do. For once not to carry the burden of power or have everyone watching and weighing each action.
Tonight she was no one special. Just another mage in a city full of all walks of life. To any onlooker, she would appear as a simple human woman looking to turn off her brain for a few hours. She took another sip. Maybe she should drink something stronger.
The only way to escape her own mind was to be someone else. Instead of her usual elegant and respectable style, she put her body on display in the usual way that women do to get attention. Judging by the drink sent her way, she had done just that.
She remembered to let the smile reach her eyes as she nodded her thanks and took a sip. Sighing, she let the amber liquid roll across her tongue, enjoying the flavor, the warmth. It was too bad the drink had come with the attention of the muscular human male approaching.
He leaned against the bar, cutting into her personal space. “You looked like the type of woman who would appreciate aged port.”
“Do I?” She took another sip and avoided his eyes. It was always disappointing to see the dullness of spirit that so often accompanied attractive men. “And what does that type of woman generally look like?”
She smiled over the rim of her goblet. The man certainly did have nice arms. He would probably be an excellent companion tonight if sexual satisfaction were something that would be soothing. It certainly seemed to be something people enjoyed. She just was not one of those people.
Taking another sip she realized the young man was still talking.
“I prefer Dwarven Stout myself, but beautiful women have more refined taste. I’d bet you could probably teach me a thing or two.”
Ah, he was answering her question, and being suggestive.
“Teach you? About stout, women, or taste?”
He leaned closer, invading her space further. In any other setting she would assume he was trying to intimidate, to control the encounter by forcing her to retreat. But here in the Tavern at the Edge of the World, he was probably trying to create the illusion of intimacy – that is, if he thought about his actions at all.
He abruptly stopped whispering and straightened up, his face blank. She did not have to turn to feel the power pulsing behind her. She had another companion.
He leaned low, closer than the young buck had been. “He ordered the port because it was the special tonight.”
She smiled at the information. “Of course.” She whispered in response.
“I am surprised a woman of your power would waste her time with a talking muscle like that.”
His breath was harsh against her ear, sending a chill down her spine. Was she afraid? How exciting.

Looking forward to your comments!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bad Reviews

I have not (yet) had a bad review. I like to think that if/when it happens, I'll be mature and professional enough not to argue with the reviewer. Of course I'll probably grumble to myself about it, but I pray that I wouldn't embarrass myself by discrediting someone's valid opinion. In writing you learn that a critique is a gift -- even if it doesn't feel that way at the time.

I have written negative reviews (under a different name) and had people jump down my throat. My comments were never confrontational, just pointing out my experiences with a book. I do read indie authors. Because of the wild price ranges, I also read the reviews and the sample before buying (most of the time). Reviews effect my opinion.  These books call me to review even more than the ones I loved. Like a higher power is calling on me to state the truth to the innocent readers about to select "Buy now with 1-click." Now that I'm an indie author, I'm a little wary of giving negative feedback. What if those authors get vindictive? I've seen it happen in comments -- why not just hunt down my book and give it a bad review out of spite?

That said, I would welcome a negative review if it was sincere vs. malicious. It would tell me 1) people are reading my book and 2)my writing elicited an emotional response. To me that's a win/win. 1 star? I'd be surprised. But even if that was the case, my average would just appear more realistic. Nothing but glowing reviews tells me that the only people reviewing the book are friends of the author (I mean, seriously, if the books is that epic, why self-publish?). Of course I asked some acquaintances from within the online writing community to read and post a review. I did not stipulate that it had to be 5 stars, but I imagine they were kinder than they would have been if they were reviewing a complete stranger. Then again, if they want their reviews taken seriously they should be honest.

I started writing this series of Silk and Stone novellas with the intention of self publishing from the get go. They're novellas and could never be stand alone books. They are, however, perfect little $0.99 reads. If you read my story, write me a review. I'm a big girl and can take it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thank You for Your Reviews!

Mind, Body, and Spirit was released on 1/8/2012. I did not do any big release day, I just let my blogging go on as usual and inserted links to purchase the ebook at every possible location. I bet I have over 20 links within my blog since then. I should count them. Here are two more: Amazon US or Amazon UK. In case there is any question, yes, I really want you to buy my book. You can do it -- it's only $0.99.

Right now my book jumps wildly around on the bestseller list of Amazon's Kindle Shop. Sometimes it's 60,000th, and sometimes it's 270,000th. Doesn't seem to have rhyme or reason. There are, however, reviews (not all written by me or my friends).

Kathleen wrote, Mind, Body, and Spirit is "full of fantasy-adventure action and steamy (but sweet) romance. The author takes you away to another world with great detail and character development... perfect for a long, hot soak in a bathtub." She gave it 5 stars.

M. McKinley said, "This book brought me into a world of elves and magic that felt real - a huge feat in a short story. I couldn't put it down, and felt a connection with every character - even the bad guys! It was sexy, funny, and full of action." He/She gave it 5 stars.

Happily-Ever-After wrote, " The sexual tension is thick, the sensual content is hot hot hot... I found this story entertaining and heartwarming, and not just a little arousing. It gave me everything a romance novel promises plus the sense of magic." He/She also gave it 5 stars.

Erin, a fellow blogger, wrote that she "was able to lose [herself] in the story, loved the chemistry between Eva and Mal. [She] also loved how the alpha male fell hard when he realized what they had together and how Eva was unwilling to commit -- a little role reversal. Very romantic and very sensual." She gave it 4 stars. I was relieved by this, especially since her blogpost about the lack of quality control in self-published ebooks. I passed muster.

So far the reviews have been very complimentary. I have not jumped full force into marketing because I just don't have the time right now. I plan to attack it with a little more hutzpah when I make my next Silk and Stone novella available. As it is, right now I am very grateful to my readers for their support and their kind words.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Indie Author Tag-Party Blog Fest

Francine at Romancing the Blog is hosting this Tag-Party blogfest. I'm excited to participate.

My novella, Mind, Body, and Spirit is available in ebook from Simply click the link below (or any of the other links on my blog page). For UK readers (or US readers who want to help in the UK sphere, go to THIS link).

This is my first self published work. Ava Donja is a pen name, but she is fast becoming my alter ego. There's a certain freedom in anonymity. Yes, I still have to pay attention to my name branding, but I don't have to worry about what would happen if my Mom read my blog. Or my Mom's choir group. Or *shudder* my boss. So, I am free to be somewhat less than lady-like and it's wonderful.

Maybe that makes the real me a coward. Nah... just sensible. Or both.

My writing as Ava Donja started off as fan fiction just for fun, but quickly became something else. Yes, there are still some  hints of the original Warcraft inspiration, but they're so removed at this point that it's not worth commenting upon. I still plan to do my fan fiction for fun (and not for profit) on this blog, but my published works are fantasy romance.

When I'm not Ava Donja, I work with troubled teens. Writing in this genre is a real stress release for me and a necessary escape. When I feel the need to have a drink, I whip out my notebook and start writing. This has led to a lot of good writing time. I'm currently working on the 2nd installment of Silk and Stone novellas

I appreciate you visiting my blog. Look through past posts to get to know me better. Become a follower or not. Definitely visit my book on Amazon and vote on the tags. Right now I'm something like 147,000 on a list. I've got a long way to go. Thanks for supporting me!