Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Fast forward again to me stumbling upon The Wild Rose Press, and lo and behold they accepted it. Before I signed the contract I bought a few of their romantic suspense stories to see what they were like (quality, etc), and while most of them were okay, one was so good I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. The book was City of Secrets, and right from page one I thought Now THIS is a writer. I'd be proud to be published alongside someone like that. So I accepted the offered contract and e-mailed the author to let them know I thought their work was awesome.
A day or two later she replied thanking me for my kind words, and said she'd look for my book. I never thought she'd actually read the thing, but to my surprise I got an e-mail a few weeks later from her saying how much she loved OOHL. I was tickled pink, to say the least, but then she said, "You know, I think I remember seeing this story before". Turns out she had seen it in the Amazon contest. Small world, right?
I went back and looked through the comments people had left during the voting portion of the contest. Sure enough, there was my future CP listed with a glowing review of my opening pages. Unbelievable! Anyway, I kind of fell in love with her just because she's so freaking talented, but also because she's such a sweetie. We hooked up as CPs last year, and not only has she been an invaluable resource for my writing, she's saved my sanity a hundred times over. Without her encouragement, I might have stopped writing a few months back. She's the reason I'm still plugging away, and I can't thank her enough.
So here's to you, hon! You know who you are :) (*waving and blowing kisses*)
You never know who you'll meet out there in cyberspace, so Saranna's earlier post holds a very important lesson. Always be professional and treat others with respect, because the publishing (and especially e-publishing) industry is shrinking all the time. And who knows, you just might make some of the best friends you'll ever have.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I wasn't sure what I was going to blog about today. It's been one of those weeks. But an issue came up when an author asked me about an experience I had with a certain e-publisher. It wasn't a good experience and I wouldn't want to see a new writer get taken advantage of, if there's something I can do to help. See, we're all in this together, so we have to stand up for each other.
It should be an easy call, right? Wrong. We all have our reputations to worry about as well. You can't spew negativity all over the place and not expect some kind of backlash. More and more publishers, editors and agents are googling you when you submit to see just what sort of creature they're dealing with.
The key? Professionalism. It's like you're always on for a job interview. You can say why you left your other job, but if you do a big bash and slam, it just makes you look like someone they don't want. There's honesty and then there's honesty tempered with cherry flavoring, kind of like medicine. It helps it go down on both sides just a little easier.
No matter what you're dealing with in your chosen profession, always do your research and look out for yourself. Don't be afraid to say no if you'd don't like something. Just because you're new on campus doesn't mean you have to drink the Kool Aid when know there's a roofie in it that will result in unprotected violation of yourself or your work.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I've got a new release coming up in a month's time, so the publicity angle of being an author -- especially an e-pubbed author -- rears its time-sucking head yet again. So far I've got five scheduled guest blog posts or interviews to write, and although that doesn't sound like too much of a time-drain, believe me, I spend hours trying to craft them so I don't come across like a raving loony bird or someone who's a bit freaked, or perhaps even jaded, by all this publicity stuff.
I'm incredibly proud of Let Sleeping Demons Lie, my new Red Sage novella. And of course I'm thrilled to bits and beyond to be handed the opportunity to talk about it -- what author isn't happy to wax poetic about her latest baby? But trying to make sure each post conveys my enthusiasm without blathering on and boring the heck out of everyone, while still giving the information that's needed to hook potential readers, isn't exactly easy!
And then there's always the distinct possibility that *horrors!* not a single person will leave a comment and I'll feel like I've let down the blog owner who invited me as a guest on their blog. Not to mention it'll be horribly embarrassing!
Of course anyone who has their own website/blog knows from their website stats that comments left doesn't necessarily equate with numbers of people visiting. And a guest poster could potentially draw lots of visitors, and yet not have a single comment posted.
But the poor old guest poster doesn't have that kind of info at her fingertips. To her, the measure of her guest blog's success is probably seeing the number of comments on her post. And a poor showing is likely gonna make her want to curl up beneath a blanket and scoff all those Easter Eggs she's stashed away in the cupboard for the kids.
Now I gotta admit, I'm guilty of lurking. I subscribe to a number of interesting blogs via RSS feed or newsletter. I read just about every post from those blogs, and the ones I don't read, I definitely skim through. But honestly, with the number of emails coming through my RSS feeds, Facebook and email loops on a daily basis, if I personally commented on every single blog post brought to my attention it'd be a full-time vocation. Like most authors involved with social networking these days, you simply have to exercise some discipline and limit your time, or you'll have no time for doing what you're supposed to be doing: Writing!
That said, personally, I rather like reading author interviews because the Q&A structure allows me to get a sense of who the author is, and get inside his or her head a bit more -- especially if the interview questions are quirky and clever! And I do really love it when I scan the comments and see that the guest blogger has checked in regularly and responded personally to comments. But that's just me.
So here are my question(s):
When it comes to author's promoting new releases, what kind of guest post makes you want to read the entire post and afterward, leave a comment?
Do you prefer:
a) Standard Q&A author interview type scenario.
b) Interview where the author is asked some "out of the box" fun and quirky questions, and goes "What the hey!" and gives some fun and quirky answers.
c) Interview where a character (or characters) from the book being promoted are answering the questions.
d) Standard guest blog situation, where the author gives a brief introduction, quotes the blurb, an excerpt, and details of where his/her new release can be purchased etc. (In other words, the blurb and excerpt speak for themselves.)
e) Guest blog situation where the author shares her inspiration for her new release and discusses her characters etc., as well as giving the blurb, excerpt, purchase details.
f) The main drawcard is that the guest blogger is offering a giveaway of his/her new release to one random commenter.
g) The guest blogger is offering a giveway of his/her new release but also encourages participation with commenters by asking them a fun or thought-provoking question.
h) Any other scenario I haven't thought of!
Would really appreciate your feedback!
(who, just quietly, will be holding off writing her guest blog posts until she sees what y'all think!)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
My birthday is coming up in a few weeks and lately I’ve been reminiscing about what life was like when I was 21. The only thing I owned was my car, I could pick up and travel when I wanted, and hell, my body had the elasticity of a 21 year old. That alone is enough to make me miss those days. ;) Last weekend the hubby and I spent our anniversary at Panama City Beach. (We didn’t realize it was Spring Break, but that’s another story) As I was looking around at the 18-21 year old college students stumbling around on the beach at ten in the morning either still drunk from the night before or on their way to getting there, I was thinking how much I did NOT miss being that age. My husband beat me to the punch though and said it before I could voice it aloud.
It got me thinking that sometimes the grass often seems greener on the other side of the fence, the wall, the whatever example you can think of. Usually it’s not. As I’ve been struggling through some rejections, etc. in my writing life I’ve been questioning decisions I’ve made. Over the last weekend I realized I can’t focus on the past, but have to look to the future instead. Even though some days I miss what writing was like before I sold or became agented, I can never go back to that. I’ve grown too much and learned too much. It’s easy to tell myself that life was easier when I didn’t have deadlines, etc. but the truth is if it’s easy, it’s not worth it. I came to a nice realization this weekend and it really put things in perspective. Looking backward is only going to drag me down and stop me from focusing on my dreams/goals.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Warning: Jenn is coming up to full ranting speed.
If I see one more person post on the Internet that buying books is a waste of money I'm going to flip my stalker switch to on, hunt them down and take a chunk out of his/ her arrogant hides.
Know-it-alls tick me off.
Are many books available at libraries to borrow for free? Yes, absolutely! But in case you haven't been to one in awhile, libraries are struggling. Mine cut hours back and is now closed on Friday and every other Saturday. In Charlotte, twelve library branches are closing down.
Is it true that most people will only read a book once, so paying anywhere from $6.00to $24.00 is excessive spending? I guess it depends on your idea of excessive. For me this could be a big thing but I clip coupons, bargain shop clothes off season to afford myself this luxury. To me, the written word is worth it. And the authors I do auto buy I trust to deliver a product I will enjoy more than once.
Reasons to buy books:
1.) They are a cheaper form of entertainment than cable.
2.) Many books are still printed in the good old USA. I don't know about you, but I always check to see where something is made/grown/produced. While I do buy things that are made in other countries, I'm more likely to buy it if it was manufactured here.
3.) When you are done, you can either re-sell in a yard sale or donate to the library, they would appreciate it.
4.) Sets a great example for children. Don't you want them to grow up to be well read? The best leaders lead by example.
I could keep going, but I've had my say. Do me a favor, next time one of those yahoos on yahoo or msn post that books are a waste of money, point them to this list and let 'em know they don't know it all.
And I extend the invitation to all of you, to join my book group Show Some Spine on my wordpress blog and Facebook.
Our first read is Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. Discussion begins April 1st. Happy reading!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Pixie’s Playmates is my first truly ménage story. I struggled with this one in ways that I never have with my male/female stories. The simple logistics of a ménage require that I slow down and try to keep track of who’s hands and …..er… other parts are where at all times. I also had to make sure everyone got their share of the fun. All in all, it was an exhausting but exhilarating venture into previously unchartered territory. Now, I just have to sit back and chew on what’s left of my finger nails while I wait for the reviews to come in!
Title: Pixie’s Playmates
ISBN : 978-1-60521-405-4
Themes: Ménage, Elves, Dragons and Magical Creatures
Release Date: March 18rd, 2010
Publisher URL Changeling Press - Erotic Fiction
When Bedtime Stories Press' review coordinator, Pixie, calls reviewer B.J. Smith into the office to discuss a bad review, she finds out "she" is two males. Very drool-worthy males.They are adamant that the book they reviewed was too vanilla for Bedtime Stories Press. When the discussion on what they felt should have been included in the book turns into a kinky demonstration of assorted toys, what's a pixie to do?
Pixie stood and sighed. Willafer could be such an Elf at times. Grabbing her tablet and stylus, she headed down to confront the unfortunate Ms. Smith. She paused at the doorway to plaster a pleasant smile on her face. It would be best to get past preliminary introductions before she ripped the hapless reviewer’s self-respect to shreds.
Satisfied that she looked like a harmless pixie, she sashayed through the doorway. “Good morning, Ms. Smith…” Her voice trailed off and she stared in confusion. Two of the most mouthwatering men she’d seen in decades stood as she entered the room.
One dark. One blond. Tall. Muscular. Rugged. Those tight muscle shirts really didn’t hide a lot, did they? And those faded jeans? Practically molded to the wide thighs and narrow waists. Pixie swallowed hard, all her righteous indignation evaporating in a rolling wave of lust.
“I’m sorry. You must be the new cover models Troll was expecting. I’ll just go check with Willafer and see which room my party is in.” With a sigh of regret, she turned to go.
The blond put a hand on her shoulder to stop her, his mouth twisted in a wry grin. “We’re not cover models. We work for the construction crew down the road when we aren’t busy reviewing books. We’re B. J. Smith.” He nodded at the dark-haired man. “That’s Bill and I’m Jake. B.J.”
Pixie tilted her head and tore her gaze away from the wide shoulders and six-pack abs. Damn, someone should put more clothes on these guys. Or maybe not. “You two men are the reviewer B.J. Smith? The one who thinks Conquistadors in Space is too vanilla?”
Jake grinned, a sexy stretch of lips over gleaming white teeth, and she felt flames of pure lust licking their way down her spine. Even that slightly embarrassed shrug of his shoulders looked sexy. “Bedtime Press Stories sets high standards for kink. While it was well written and a nice story, we felt the work should have been spicier.”
The darker of the two chimed in. “Much spicier. I could have read that to my mother without blushing.”
Pixie looked over at Bill and blinked, attempting to focus on something higher than the intriguing bulge in those tight jeans. She struggled to remember the plot of the book in question. “As I recall, there were two shape-shifters having rather gymnastically inclined sex in a zero-G chamber. At least four different sexual positions were involved. You wanted more?”
Thursday, March 18, 2010
My mom sent me a copy of an email currently doing the rounds. You know the kind: funny, outrageous, sometimes shocking, often more urban legend than truth. Most likely devised by some wag with far too much spare time on his/her hands.
Anyway, she showed this one to a group of her friends and it was generally the subject of much hilarity. Except on the part of an older woman who simply nodded her head in agreement and didn't see what was so amusing at all. Oh my.
It's supposedly an actual extract from a sex education school textbook for girls, printed in the U.K. in the early 1960s. And if it is a genuine extract, then personally, I find it both amusing and quite disturbing at the same time. DH felt exactly the same way, amusement tempered by a degree of horror. This is only 40-50 years ago, after all. Thank goodness times have changed!
"When retiring to the bedroom, prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance, your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom, as he would have to do for his train. But remember to look your best when going to bed. Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face cream or hair rollers, wait until he is asleep before doing so, as it can be shocking for a man last thing at night. When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband, it is important to remember your marriage vows and in particular, your commitment to obey him.
If he feels that he needs to sleep immediately afterwards, then so be it. In all things be led by your husband's wishes. Do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy. Should your husband suggest congress then agree humbly, all the while being mindful that a man's satisfaction is more important than a woman's. When he reaches his moment of fulfilment, a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had.
Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices, be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance by maintaining silence. It is likely that your husband will fall promptly asleep after relations have concluded, so once he is fast asleep, adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night-time face and hair care products.
You may then set the alarm so that you can arise shortly before him in the morning. This will enable you to have his morning cup of tea ready when he awakes."
Yikes! Let's hope it IS just a hoax, right? Though I'm saddened to think that although this might be meant in jest, from what I've heard of sex education and expectations surrounding women in this era, it also might not be that far from the truth.
On a lighter note, let's imagine, just for a minute, that one of our modern sex education textbooks somehow time-traveled back to the 1960s and ended up in the hands of an impressionable young woman, who then showed it around her friends. Or even better than a boring old texbook, one of those sexy romances we love to read. Say, a novel by Angela Knight, or Stephanie Laurens, or Emma Holly.... Oh, the thought-provoking conversations that might ensue! Once the innocent young ladies gotten over their shock, of course. The mind boggles. Or at least, mine does, anyway.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It occurred to me that if I'm tickled pink by a note of appreciation from a reader other than friends and family (I have all three of them saved in a special folder, lol), then other writers might be too. Yeah, the big names probably have an assistant to read their fan mail, but the average author isn't making enough money off their royalties to pay someone to do that, so my guess is that they read their own e-mails :)
If you've never sent a glowing e-mail to an author you love, why the heck not? On the whole I think most writers are pretty insecure about their work, and pray someone out there will love their characters and stories as much as they do. Jeez, I know that's the case for me.
So if your heart's pounding or you have tears in your eyes when you finish reading that last page, for crying out loud take a few minutes to let the author know how much their work touched you. Writing is a tough, lonely job, and once the work is published an author is left open to public criticism--good and bad. So please, if you love something, tell the author. You never know, that one little e-mail might be all the validation they need to crank out their next book instead of throwing in the towel. It might even be the nicest e-mail they receive all year!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When you read or write a book, is it your hero that's always in need of redemption? What about when it's your heroine?
In my WIP How To Lose An Angel in 10 Days, my heroine was kind of Baddy McVillain in the last book. She's got some serious issues, some of them are self-esteem, validation, and so forth, but nobody wants a whiny heroine. She's still strong, she's facing up to what she's done and paying the price for her Second Chance.
Sex never meant anything to her and she used it more as a weapon than for pleasure. She's learning and growing, but I'm not sure if that's a journey that the reader is going to want to take.
So, I guess what I'm asking is if it's okay to have an anti-heroine. :) What do you think?
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Have you ever pressed Send on an email or a comment, and immediately wished you could take it back? With comments at least, often there's a chance to edit or even delete entirely. But sometimes there's no option and whatever you said is "out there" forever. Scary thought.
And have you ever posted something and then gone back and tweaked it? And tweaked it again. And then thought about how something you've written might be taken the wrong way, and gone back and edited it again. And again. And again. And then still had that sick feeling in your stomach that you're going to offend someone?
And what about if someone does take umbrage? Do you feel physically ill and horrified and take it extremely personally, even though it's only one person's opinion and you're smart enough to know that not everyone will agree with you, and that you can't please everyone?
I'm guilty of all of the above. In spades and then some. To the extent where my post might be already published and then is edited a number of times before I reluctantly leave it be.... at least until the next day, when I re-read it and blanch at a particular phrase and tweak it again.
I entered into a discussion yesterday and now I'm kinda wishing I hadn't. Because sometimes, no matter how carefully you craft that post or that email or that comment, you're going to rub someone up the wrong way. And inevitably, as more people enter into the fray, your original post gets taken even more out of context and your original intentions are overwhelmed by the juggernaut that is going public on the internet.
When am I gonna learn to keep my mouth shut (or my fingers off that Send key) so that the only people I unintentionally annoy end up being a fictional characters in my current manuscript?
Well, hopefully one day I'll learn. And perhaps I'll end up being the perfect woman, like the one in this video:
And yes, actually I do love little kittens!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A couple weeks ago I started lifting weights to mix things up. When I say lifting weights I’m not talking about two-hundred pound barbells or anything because first, that’s more than me and I don’t think I could anyway and second, I don’t want to look like a sumo wrestler. I got one of those exercise balls to balance on while I’m writing and while I was shopping I decided to pick up some four pound hand weights. I’ve been working out with them and while I can’t actually tell a huge difference in my arms, I feel better and more limber and all because I added a little change to my workout routine. I also think my posture has improved but that’s thanks to the giant exercise ball I’ve managed to master. Sort of. I still fall off it sometimes ;)
As a reader and a writer, I like to mix things up. I definitely have my go-to authors that are on auto buy (Lisa Marie Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon) and there are certain genres that I’ve been reading since I was nineteen (romantic suspense) that I can almost guarantee will always top my book buying scales. But, if I read a good review or a friend recommends an author to me that’s not in my ‘normal’ reading genre, I’ll give them a try. I’m rarely disappointed.
A couple years ago I discovered erotic science fiction, something I NEVER thought I’d read and now Nathalie Gray is one of my fave authors. If you don’t know who she is, she’s got a little something for everyone so check her out pronto! For a while I contemplated trying to write a short story in that genre and even though I think it’s important for authors to break out of their comfort zone once in a while, it didn’t feel natural so I tucked that dream away for the time being. Instead I decided to combine my two loves: romantic suspense and the paranormal. Even though I’ve got a paranormal werewolf series at Ellora’s Cave (under my alter ego), they’re all novellas, so I’ve recently started working on a single title in the same genre (not erotic romance though). It’s off to a good start (or I think it is) so for now, I’m enjoying stretching my brain muscles ;)
What about y’all? Have you ever picked up a new genre to get out of a reading slump? Did it send you running back to your faithful genres or did you discover something new? What about you writers? Did you try something new and discover a new love?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Those two little words strike fear into my heart every year. I love the look and smell of a clean house, but I'm usually too busy --i.e. lazy-- to put in the elbow grease. Okay I'll be honest, most of the time I would rather eat the prepackaged salad directly from the bag so I don't have to wash anything but a fork.
I wish I were more like my laundry hag heroine who attacks grime like a woman on a mission. After this particularly harsh North Carolina winter, I'm ready for spring but the cleaning...ick.
It's not the actual work I mind, the torture is finding a home for all of the stuff. In my house, there is STUFF. With two growing boys, a spoiled beagle and a husband who just doesn't care, well we have a mess of epic proportions. It scares me. especially after watching an episode of Hoarders. *Shudder*
Where did it all come from? My husband is an electronics junkie, holding onto old computers, game systems and power cords of all shapes and sizes. My boys each have their own room and with our playroom still out of commission (Five weeks and counting) their crap spills down the stairs into the kitchen/dining room/living area.
My typical cleaning M.O. is let it stack up til I can't take it anymore then chuck with a vengeance. If I'm merciful with the crap, it multiplies and migrates like the swallows of Capistrano. And it never fails, after the frenetic pitching, I always go insane looking for something I no longer own.
Seriously, how do you know what to save? Leftover Valentines from 2008? Probably not. Stacks of projects from the school that make the King James Bible look like a beach read? Well I'm getting rid of them but not in front of the kids. Do I really need Danny's first Halloween costume that I made with my own two hands? (It was supposed to be a caterpillar but ended up a turtle. Betsy Ross I am not.) haven't been able to get rid of it yet.
Do you have a system for controlling the stuff? Are you a saver or a scrapper? Tell me about it!
Friday, March 5, 2010
Do you ever wonder how many people actually believe those offers that tumble into your inbox like confetti at a church wedding? I’ve been getting a bumper crop of them lately, and after a few glasses of wine, I thought I’d share a few with you.
I'll just list the subject lines,since that's all that I read,LOL
Well that would be nice except for the fact that, well, I’m not a man. Never had the slightest desire to change into one. You think my name would have given that away. Not a lot of men named Anne hanging around in cyberspace.
2. Spam it!
They might want to rethink that one if they want people to actually open the e-mail.
3. Fast and easy way to enlarge your penis.
Interesting proposition, but again not really an option. In order to enlarge it, I’d have to have one to start with. Do the guys actually go for this? Most of the ones I know don’t want anyone fooling with their equipment.
4. Russian women are waiting for your prowess.
I’m a little puzzled as to why. Again, I think they’ve mistaken Anne for the name of some burly male with very little brains.
5. Making love won’t be a burden anymore
Oddly enough, I never thought it was.
6. congratulations you have won
The obvious lack of punctuation and capitalization is my first clue that this may not be a dream come true. In their defense, I’m betting English is not a first language for this bunch.
7. Brand name watches cheap!
I’m not sure why watches seem to be a big thing to spammers. I get a lot of variations on this one, and yet I’ve never felt my worth is measured by something on my wrist. As long as I know how much time I have left for coffee break, I’m happy.
8. Do you have a monster in your trousers?
That one just about had me rolling on the floor laughing. Have to admit it caught my attention.
9. Get any medications with no prescription needed.
Now that’s just scary. If I thought I needed medication, I’d go see the doctor.
10. Unimaginable carnal fusion.
Doesn’t that cause you to stop and go HUH? I have no idea what that means.
And with that, I'll leave you to chuckle at your own inbox while I go refill my wineglass!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Read something recently on an literary agency blog I follow, and I'd like to throw it out there for general debate.
The agents were discussing genre trends -- what's hot and what's not. And according to one of the agents, the erotic romance trend has "cooled off". She suggests this could be because the genre is being diluted by the increasingly hot love scenes that are now commonplace in paranormals and historicals.
I know there'll be faction of people out there who'll be pleased to hear that the erotic romance trend might have peaked and be on its way down. To quote Emma Holly in an interview with the Smart Bitches quoted in Beyond Heaving Bosoms, "they would be happier if the erotic branch of the romance tree could simply be lopped off."
Now there's a visual for you. Ouch!
Take it from a girl whose introduction to "the deed" was being told "It's messy and painful and you only do it because you love the person", reading romances and realizing from what I read that I could expect a heckuva lot more than messy and painful, was pretty revolutionary. And reading erotic romance was even more of ahem! an eye-opener. More fun than an "insert tab A into slot B" manual, that's for sure ;-).
Sure, paranormals and historicals are getting "hotter", but I like the upfront, unabashed honesty of the erotic romance genre. It doesn't pussyfoot around with euphemisms or have to walk some unseen line that makes it still acceptable to the general reading public. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is. It's "out there". It pushes boundaries. And IMHO, an exquisitely written, emotionally heartwrenching love scene can also push boundaries and be an explicit, fully-realized sex scene, where the main characters are being honest and upfront about what they like, want, and feel comfortable with. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive.
In Beyond Heaving Bosoms, The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan say,
"There's more to erotic romance than "Yar! Here be buttsecks!" Kind of. Because pushing people's boundaries sexually means pushing the boundary in the narrative sense as well. Erotic romance has also helped challenge some of the heteronormative assumptions about romance in general. Bottom line, erotica pushes boundaries. Literally and figuratively."
Yar, me hearties! Let's hear it for the boundary-pushers!
So here's my question: Is erotic romance as a separate genre on its way out?
Personally, I sure as heck hope not!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Blurb: Targeted by a terrorist cell, Bryn McAllister survives a bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut only to be left to die in a desert cellar. When she is rescued by Navy SEAL Lieutenant Declan McCabe and his team, Bryn must rely on the handsome officer to get her to safety. But just when she thinks the nightmare is over, family friend and legendary CIA operative Luke Hutchinson recruits her and McCabe to help track down the terrorist mastermind responsible for the attack.
With Bryn determined to see the terrorist brought to justice, Dec joins up to protect her, prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her safe during their dangerous mission. Battling the explosive attraction between them, Dec fights to keep his distance from her so he can do his job and keep her alive. But when plans falls apart and Bryn is captured, he must make the agonizing choice between his duty as a SEAL and the life of the woman he loves.
When Dec knocked on Bryn’s door, she didn’t answer. After calling her name and waiting a few seconds, he figured she must still be in the bathroom and used her extra key. The shower was running behind the closed ensuite door. How long had she been in there now? Long enough to have a good cry by herself.
He knocked. “Bryn, you okay in there?”
She didn’t sound fine, but he’d give her some more time. Four minutes passed, then five, and still the water ran. “Bryn, say something.”
“I’m f-fine,” she repeated.
More time passed, and with each minute, his tension levels increased until his gut was tied in knots. “All right, that’s it. I’m coming in,” he warned, and jimmied the lock free. A cloud of steam hit him, thick and humid as it wafted from behind the shower curtain. She didn’t say a word, didn’t give the slightest indication she was aware he’d intruded on her privacy. “Bryn, tell me you’re okay at least.”
The hell she was. He covered the four steps to the bathtub and gripped the edge of the plastic curtain. When she made no objection he grew really worried and pulled it aside to peek in.
She huddled in the tub, fully clothed, directly under the spray of scalding water. Her dark eyes were haunted as she gazed up at him, arms wrapped around herself, shaking, her hair plastered to her skull. “I’m fine. J-just cold.”
Something twisted in his chest, as though a giant fist had reached in and squeezed his heart. “Baby,” he whispered. Unlacing his boots, he tossed them aside and climbed in beside her, fully clothed, squeezing against the wall to pull her into his arms. She burrowed into him like a frightened child waking from a nightmare. Only she hadn’t been dreaming.
Heart aching for her, he held her tight, her shivers wracking them. The water beat down on them and he bent over her, sheltering her from the full brunt. Her fingers curled into his wet shirt. Her face pressed against the base of his throat, warm breath washing over his sensitized skin. He stroked one hand down her hair and the length of her spine, marveling at how perfectly she fit against him. She calmed, her breathing becoming slow and even, the convulsive shudders subsiding. Then she sighed and leaned her weight against him as though content to remain in his arms under the cooling flow of water. His body, however, was raging hot. If he didn’t put some distance between them soon, he wasn’t sure he could hold back.
“Better now? Want me to order us some food while you get out of these wet clothes?”
“Okay.” But she didn’t move. In fact, she didn’t seem in a hurry to go anywhere. She turned her face into his neck and nuzzled him, setting every nerve ending on fire. Her lips touched a kiss under his ear, making his growing erection jerk. Not good.
He set her away from him, surging to his feet and grabbing a towel to drape around her. “I’ll let you dry yourself off,” he blurted, snagging another towel for himself, stripping off his soaked t-shirt and tossing it in the sink on his way out. When he shut the door behind him, he leaned against it and took a deep breath, scrubbed a hand over his face. God. Another second in there with her and it would have been too late. As it was, his hand was shaking as he picked up the phone and dialed room service.
He rubbed the towel over his hair, peeled off his jeans and underwear, then wrapped the towel around his waist, flopping down on the bed while he waited to place his order. Bryn wasn’t thinking straight right now, he reminded himself. She needed soothing, to feel safe and protected, and she needed sleep. Shoving her down onto the mattress and getting inside her as deep as he could get wasn’t going to help matters.
Maybe something light to eat, fruit and cheese and bread or something, to settle her stomach and help her unwind. He’d have to check out some of the more serious cuts and scrapes she’d suffered, too. Maybe rub her neck for a while. Then he’d tuck the covers around her and stay while she slept, so she wouldn’t be alone. In case she had nightmares. He knew how much of a bitch flashbacks could be.
Still on hold, he turned his head at the sound of the bathroom door opening, and the air sucked right out of his lungs. Bryn stood, backlit in the doorway, stark naked, every gorgeous line of her body silhouetted in eye-popping relief. Her black gaze stroked over him like a caress, bold and possessive as she crossed the room toward him in a movement he could only describe as a prowl. His penis leapt to urgent attention.
A voice came on the other end of the line, but Dec didn’t hear a thing besides the roaring in his ears. He dropped the receiver into the cradle with a clack, his heart thudding against his ribs.
Oh, shit. He was so screwed.
Poor Dec :) Hope these two characters keep you entertained!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I saw a post on one of the social networking sites from an author who said she didn't read anymore. I will no longer be reading her books.
When you stop reading, you start to think that only your work is relevant, that's when you've gone off the reservation. When you stop reading, you stop learning. If you aren't learning, you're not growing as a writer or a person and your work will show it and therefore suck hairy, syphillitic donkey sac.
I was once part of an online critique group and we had a few big name authors join. One of them only joined to promote his work. That's what other groups are for, not critique groups. When you join a crit group, it is to give and get crit. This author said he didn't have time to read books he wanted to read, let alone unpublished work by untalented...etc and so forth. I convinced him to quit the group with my sweet talking ways. *g* I'm not saying he should have offered to read everyone's work, of course he doesn't have time for that, but why else do you join a crit group?
As a writer, you don't ever stop reading. Hell, that would be my advice to people in general. Never stop reading, never stop learning.
And on that topic, rec me a book. It doesn't have to be a romance. It can be anything, as long as it moves you.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I love this story and I can't wait to make it longer.
A Taste of the Forbidden is in the Summer Solstice Scorchers anthology from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.
Izanna Tremayne, Queen of the Darkness, broke the edict that prohibits having sex with a vampire you've turned. Razi, a demon and The Overlord, has been stalking her for centuries. because she was the most powerful queen in 1,000 years. Now that his strength has grown and she's broken the edict, he prepares for the final battle Can Izanna defeat the demon and save the life of her one true love, the man she turned?
A TASTE OF THE FORBIDDEN
“This is all your fault.” Jason Devon stood on the back porch and glared at Fetch, his vampire golden retriever. “You just couldn’t leave that cat alone. Now I’ve got meet the feline’s owner to discuss damages to her property.” His fingers bent the note releasing an intoxicating scent in the air. His cock stirred in response as it always did when this particular fragrance
Fetch cocked his head to one side, wagged his tail then went in search of a ball that his fangs hadn’t punctured.
Jason glanced at his watch and cursed. He transported himself to the agreed meeting place, ‘Out of This World’. Standing outside the building, he sensed something different about this restaurant, but couldn’t quite place what it was. Instincts on guard, his muscles tensed as he opened the door and walked inside. Cool air grazed his skin along with her scent. His groin hardened with his resolve. Swallowing a growl of frustration, Jason decided four years of torment would stop right now. No more dreaming or lusting after her.
“Welcome to Out of This World, Jason. Izanna is waiting for you.”
Years of police training and now being, one of the undead taught him to keep his expression closed as he followed the hostess. For the space of a heartbeat, the air crackled with otherworld energy. Jason’s heightened senses caught a nasty maelstrom of undercurrents just waiting for the tiniest spark to ignite and explode. Hell, what had this woman gotten him into?
By the various auras he picked out the vampires, a few shifters—and what made up the category of ‘other’. He never paid attention to this nondescript building surrounded by large old trees, tucked away at the end of the street. Jason realized the further he walked the establishment catered to the elite among non-humans.
“Here is Izanna.” The woman strode away to soothe a growling customer in the corner.
Jason gave Izanna a barely-there smile. His blood heated with lust so intense it took his breath away. Her skin shone, pale as the moon in the night sky, he fisted his hand to keep from reaching out and touching her. Soon, very soon, he’d claim her as no man, or vampire ever had. He’d never experienced this compelling force regarding any woman.
Instead, he crossed his arms and leaned against the heavy oak partition separating the booths. “Thanks for meeting me. Have you decided what I can do to repay you since my dog destroyed your landscaping?”
“Please, sit down.” She motioned to the seat beside her. “I’m Izanna Tremayne. I don’t believe we’ve been properly introduced.” She held out her hand.
He raised it to his lips brushing a light kiss across her skin. A tidal wave of lust threatened to drown him from the innocent gesture. For whatever reason, her unique intoxicating scent branded what was left of his soul. Jason released her hand and slid into the darkened booth keeping his manner calm and cool. The attraction could be one-sided and he didn’t want to make a fool of himself.
Izanna moved across the seat until her thigh touched his. “Forget about the landscaping. The damage wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed by my gardening staff.” She leaned closer, pushing her body harder against his. “What I want to discuss is more important—I want to have sex with you, Jason. It’s taken too long for our paths to cross again. I’ve dreamed of you for the past four years. I want you in my bed. And...other places.”
His cock hardened at the erotic promise of her words. Desire burned a potent path in his veins. “I’m yours. Tell me when and where.” This dark corner table works for me. She surprised the hell out of him with her direct approach. This wasn’t what he expected when he walked in moments ago.
“In fifteen minutes, at my home.” She leaned over the tips of her fangs oh-so-lightly scraped his skin as she nibbled the curve of his neck. “Mmmm,” she purred.
A hot sensual rush washed over him the instant her lips and tongue contacted his skin. She whispered directions on how to by-pass her security system. Jason swallowed and tried to keep his other head from rearing up for a quick introduction. Down boy.
Izanna tapped the table with a perfectly manicured nail. “Don’t keep me waiting.”
“I’ll be there.” By the gods, fifteen minutes was too long.
She rose with the grace of a queen and walked away with the sway of a woman with seduction on her mind. His body throbbed and hungered for the exotic Izanna Tremayne. It didn’t matter she proposed sex first. He was damn happy not to have the ugly chore of guessing whether she wanted him or not. Jason asked the server where the closest transport shortcut was located.
She told him to look for the cool blue orb in the alley behind the building. He had a hard-on from hell. Before sat down, he’d located the exits—some old habits never die. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, tossed it on the table and left through the closest door.
Once more instincts from his previous job, now honed as a vampire, came to the fore as he stepped into the night. The hair at the back of his neck stood at attention blaring a warning, He scanned the area. Nothing.
One-step before he reached the destination point, someone or something grabbed his throat.
The overwhelming stench of sulphur made his eyes and throat burn. He fought but the lack of air sapped his strength. Finally, the grip loosened enough for him to breathe.
“Izanna is mine!” The raspy voice dripped with evil power and halitosis.
Claws pierced his neck while intense blows from fists made of steel rained down on his face, shoulders and back. Each hit left a burning mark and Jason hissed in pain. What was beating the shit out of him? And why couldn’t he fight back? All of his abilities were useless. At last, he managed an elbow to the groin of his attacker and tried to shove it away. A hit to the side of his head blurred his vision, he heard his attacker whisper in a cold voice, “Touch Izanna and I will kill you vampire.” A blow between his shoulder blades and a hard shove sent Jason sprawling on the ground.
Too weak to teleport home, Jason lay on shards of broken bottles. The jagged edges sliced his battered flesh. His face stung from tiny pebbles beneath his cheek. Odors of garbage and old urine reeked from the rough asphalt assaulted his advanced sense of smell. As if, his close up encounter of road-kill breath wasn’t enough for one night. He had to protect Izanna from this asshole.
White-hot rage surged through Jason. He willed his body to move, his muscles refused. A blood red haze flashed behind his eyes before he passed out.
I was also thinking as I'm writing this blog post, but for me writing erotic romance is a little like A Taste of the Forbidden. I can let my imagination go where it wants, my characters take risks I'd never consider and I'm writing at the heat level I'm comfortable in. Yes, other authors may writer hotter or do other things, but I'm happy where I am and I hope my readers are happy as well.
My writing has temporarily slowed since I'm doing mostly homework but I'm counting down to May for graduation.