Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Was Published by Z. Allora – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Greetings! I want to thank Long and Short Reviews for the opportunity to share a little bit about me, things I wished I knew before I was published, and my new release The Great Wall. To celebrate I’ll be doing a giveaway: 3 e-books of Secured and Free, 5 e-books of Finally Fallen and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner. (Details about the giveaway are below.)

Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Was Published

1) I needed beta/critique partners.

I sent my first draft to publisher. (I know I know…) I was isolated in China and had NO CLUE on how many times you should re-read, edit, re-read a draft before you hand it off to a beta/critique partner to do the same. Then work through their feedback, re-read and do it all again before you even think about sending your work in.

2) Scrivener

This is a writing program, and at this point I don’t think I could write without it. I plot and have an outline but I have a constant rush of ideas when I’m not “writing” (aka working on the story) Scrivener gives me some place to put those notes. It allows me to label and shuffle chapters easily. It keeps everything on one screen for easy access (all my chapters, research, character sketches, world building, notes, summaries, POVs, etc.).

3) Character Sketches

These usually include: physical description, background, family situation, milestone experiences, internal motivation, external motivation, conflicts, relationships to others, and other basic information. Understanding the characters is a no brainer but a character page allows you to keep all the little details straight if you write another book with the same character. I live with characters sometimes for years but I like knowing their birthdates, eye color, and internal conflicts at a glance.

4) Publishing is more than writing

When a publisher invests in you there are things you can do to help ensure they see a return on their time and money. You need to maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Redbubble, etc. (Facebook and Twitter are no problem for me). Having a blog and a website helps you interact with readers and allows them to find out more about you and about your work. (This takes blood, sweat and tears for me to do this one). Then there’s promotion which is tough to do because it feels like you’re saying buy my book again and again, which you are but I’ve learned to do is really share pieces of myself, the story, my process, and extras that have gone into beloved characters. You need to consider attending conventions, writing retreats, festivals, Pride, etc. so people can meet you in person. The writing part is easy… it’s the sharing that can be work.

5) Branding

My love describes Z. Allora as who I am when I’m my absolute self. Meaning a 13-year old boy who loves penises, bunnies, sex, and a beret wearing LGBTQ warrior ready to throat punch at a giggle’s notice. When a reader picks up a Z. Allora book they know it’s going to be a yaoified romance with lots of sex, fluffy deliciousness, and a happily ever after. I think branding who you are is essential because buying a book is a contract between the reader and the author. You want know if you’re on the same page with someone or not. Branding gives that information.

Destiny will be decided by a battle between heart and mind….

Jun Tai “Styx” Wong loves two things: playing the drums and his best friend, Jin. But being a good Chinese son means he can’t have either—he’ll have to marry a girl of his parents’ choosing and settle into a traditional job. His move to the bigger city of Suzhou is both a blessing and curse, as living with Jin makes it harder for Styx to suppress his desires. Nearly dying while trying to eradicate his feelings serves as a wake-up call for Jin, who takes extreme measures to keep Styx safe from harm.

When given a second chance at life and happiness, will Styx be able to claim the future he wants with Jin, his bandmates, and his music? Can love and hope grow with the constantly looming threat of Styx’s parents ordering him home? Great things await—if Styx finds the courage to break down the wall that stands between him and everything he wants.

To Enter the Giveaway: Leave a comment telling us what your brand is. Maybe you’re a reader who wants to cry their eyes out but better get a happily ever after. Or someone who writes thrillers with a thread of mystery weaving through your work. Perhaps you’re a mother who will cut you if you side eye any of her babies. Or someone seeking a life of peace and serenity. What’s your brand?

Many hugs, Z.

About the Author: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.
To contact Z. Allora: E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.

Privilege and the Craving by Z. Allora – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Z. Allora who is visiting with us to celebrate the release today of her newest book, The Craving.

Privilege and The Craving
Greetings to the lovely people at Long and Short Reviews! Thank you for having me on to share about The Craving. (Psst, there’s a giveaway with two ways to win).

Privilege is a word with a lot of weight behind it these days. According to the Oxford dictionaries, “privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.”

We usually think of skin color and money allowing us the biggest privileges. Many benefits can be boiled down into those two definers. Not that there isn’t other ways one gains privilege.

The Craving allowed me to explore the concept of privilege and how it affects people’s perception and worldview.

Riva Quinton is the product of a radiated rock of a planet called Feri. He grew up with the love of his parents and siblings in a harsh environment where life was short and death expectancy was certain. He worked in unvented and dangerous mines to help his family survive.

On Feri there was a lack of everything, especially knowledge. Riva fights extremely hard to overcome everything he doesn’t know, but sometimes he can’t discern the questions he needs to ask. At times, he lacks the basic foundation in which to store the information he is absorbing from his studies and those around him.

This is an exclusive excerpt demonstrates what he’s up against:

Eros rescued him. “Also around the same age. The procedure of the ruler assigning a soul mate is in name only. This goes back to when people believed the ruler had certain spiritual and god-like powers.”

Wait! What? Riva had to state, “His Greatness does have god-like powers.” He stared at Eros, then Yoshio. They both frowned. “Um, doesn’t he?”

Yoshio nodded. “Oh, on some planets his position is still revered as destined by the universe, but—”

Riva nodded but could no longer process what was coming out of his friend’s mouth. He’d studied the sacred texts that gave the ruler supreme power over all things. Hours a day were spent memorizing the chants of gratitude to honor the shining star of the Xantha star system. When he had sung the holy words, he didn’t stutter. Wasn’t that spiritual proof? “I… I don’t understand.”

Riva stumbled over and stared out at the passing stars. How was all this not by divine order due to His Greatness? He collapsed into the softness of a chair. How could there not be some predestined order to the universe and meaning to all the suffering?

Eros rushed to his side and crawled into his lap. “That’s not to say there isn’t divinity, spirituality, afterworld, and a purpose for us all.”

Yoshio plopped down next to him.

Silence.

Riva simply couldn’t process this information. “So most other planets don’t see the ruler as all-knowing and destined to rule?”

Eros hugged him closer, giving him his answer.

Riva is tired of people treating him like there’s something wrong because he’s always a step behind. He worked hard to build the framework to understand the incredible amount of information.

Writing his part of the story reminded me how difficult it can be to walk in someone else’s shoes if you have more privilege. How easy is it to judge someone harshly because we forget they may not have had the same advantages we’ve had. We assume people in our world have the same information, skills, and chances in life that we’ve had, but that may not be true.

Thankfully, Riva has friends that don’t judge him and are willing to assist him to succeed. I’m grateful to everyone in this world who reaches out and helps those around them. Together we can make the world a better place.

The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.

Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.

Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.

Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.

Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.

Giveaway: Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.

About the Author: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after’s for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.

Email | Website | Amazon.