Thursday, September 30, 2010

Audio Books? Really?

On October 6, Enemy Red will release from Total E-Bound in audio form.

Yes, take a moment to ponder that one. On the one hand, I'm pleased to see the book going out in more formats to reach a wider audience, but on the other hand I'm a bit confused. Not since the world of cassette tapes have I listened to a book, and that was only because I was driving on a long trip and needed something to keep me occupied.

My main question is, who narrates the story? Is it a man or woman? How will I feel when I hear some very frank language about personal intimacies being read aloud? I'm not a prude, but I think you lose something in the translation from words on a page, be it electronic or print, to hearing it spoken. Because if the voice displeases you, the story might as well. (Of course, if I couldn't see, I'd be dying for audio books, so I'm not trying to be picky about things.)

I have no idea what this will be like, but I can't wait to hear it. And I might actually get my husband to finally "read" one of my books! Ha!

Anyone out there listened to any erotic audio books? Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Good Day for Naps...and Writing

I think it's a good thing when reviewing an old book you've written and it still sucks you in. I was doing some more edits on Gale Season, my third Storm Lord book which releases from Total E-Bound in a few weeks. I hadn't read the book in a while (it released from another publisher back in 2006 I think). And as I was editing, I found myself enjoying the work. Granted, some parts had me scratching my head wondering what I 'd meant by that or how the hell did the other publisher not catch these errors...? But it's been years and I'm clear on the re-read. It's now much better for it, and thanks to my editors at TEB as well.

I've been editing the book for a few days and finished it this morning. Then I took a nice lunch/walk break and settled in to start on my newest project for Loose Id: THE LOST LOCKET.

I wrote the first chapter and a little more today, and I'm loving it! Words are flying onto the screen, so far so good. A book about psychics, temptation, fun, and adventure. Two guys, a girl, and locket. Hurray.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Can't Look Away

Disclaimer: This is NOT my house

Hoarders on A&E is a television show that deals with people who are clinically diagnosed with a disorder in which they hoard things. They never throw anything away and continue to accumulate stuff. Most of the time their homes are unsafe, unsanitary, and cluttered so much it's hard to maneuver inside at all.

One man used to spit in a cup and save his spent saliva in an orange juice container because his plumbing no longer worked and he couldn't get to his bathroom sink through all the clutter. Another woman lived with 30 cats who defecated and urinated on everything in her house--that she still lived in. When the cleaning crew came through, they found many of the cats diseased, living in their own filth, and others dead and buried under a ton of household crap, all while the old biddy bitched and complained about people throwing out her things. Mind you, this was after her house had been condemned by the city.

I don't know why, but this show fascinates me. I'm far from a perfect housekeeper, but I've never not been able to walk through my hallways because I'm stepping through mounds of clothing and/or refuse.

I realize hoarders suffer from a real mental illness. The question remains: how can anyone collect so much continued to bring things home they can't emotionally or financially afford, and not want to throw at least something away?

A common trend I've noticed among those diagnosed as hoarders is a tragic loss somewhere in their past. That by holding onto things they can hold onto the memories of those most dear. Some of the hoarders are children of hoarders, and several of the psychiatric doctors on the show mention a possible genetic link between those with the disorder. In any case, I wonder what's it's like to not be able to part with anything. Even trash? Balls of dog fur??

I don't have a problem steering clear of reality television. I don't like the invasive, sometimes tawdriness of exploring people's private issues. But Hoarders is compelling TV. Call me crazy--God knows I've been called worse. Now I have to go tidy up my desk, because I feel an intense need to throw something away.

(On a side note, I am determined to somehow work this dysfunction into one of my characters in a future novel. A child of a hoarder, perhaps? Make for an interesting dynamic, at the least.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ugly Monday

*Woke up late.
*The bus didn't come, had to take the kids to school.
*Hair is a mess so wearing bandana. Nice visual, eh?
*Had to wake up grown daughter--AGAIN-to walk the dogs.
*Tired from late (but fun) night with critique partner.
*Still haven't had a cup o' joe.

Is it Tuesday yet?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Good News

Foxy Lady has been Samhain's #1 seller for a few days now. Of course, saying that has no doubt slipped me to #2, 3, or 7 right now. But really, I did get there. It did happen. And just being on the list at all is a blast. Then again, I'm very competitive, and I don't like to see anything but #1 in my future. Ah well. Have a nice Sunday. Monday's coming soon enough.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Ugly Truth About Reviews

I think at some point, every writer has felt both good and bad about reviewers--not reviews, those who do the reviewing. I mention this thread because a few days ago, a pretty well-known writer got into an unintentional battle with a popular review site, and the readers of that site are pretty rabid.

The reviewer mentioned that the heroine of the piece made her want to vomit. Yeah, hurl. The writer made a HUGE mistake by trying to make lemonade out of lemons. Honestly, I didn't read the author's comeback post as anything less than funny, something about Pepto Bismo, and it made me laugh. I thought, how clever of her not to say anything negative. Good for Jenny Writer. Well, then another hundred people jumped on the bandwagon that Jenny Writer was being mean, they looked at her Facebook comments, and the fur really started flying.

Man. You'd think most writers would know by now that you can't win. Seriously. Hell, and it's not just writers. Musicians, artists, athletes, you name it, none of us are ever free of criticism, are we?

But in the public eye, I think the best you can hope for (from a bad review) is for it to all blow away. Because if you try to play it off, someone out there will take offense to something you say and blow it all out of proportion. If you respond defensively, you come across as whiny and needful of praise. I've always found that a simple thank you or no reply at all is better than trying to engage in dialogue with snarky reviewers. They have an opinion, they stated it, end of story.

But it struck me when I read that post by Jenny Writer, because I honestly didn't see anything mean spirited about it. It's funny how you can turn anything inside out when you read written word. Spoken aloud, intonations and pitch lend meaning. But on a computer screen, anything can be misconstrued. Man, don't get me started on a post I wrote a few years ago about bad language. Oh man, that was ugly... and moving on...

A lot of people claim that reviews mean nothing. Well, in this day and age, they mean something to me--as a consumer. If enough people badmouth a book, I might not read it. If enough Yahoo users claim that next horror movie I've been eyeing sucks, I'm not shelling out ten bucks to see it.

So yeah, reviews mean something. And sure, as the receiver of both good and bad reviews, I've been annoyed. The other day I was digging for a review on an older book I'd written (for advertising purposes) and couldn't find anything. (Yes, I SO need to archive my stuff.) So I thought, why not try Amazon? And there I found a terrible review for one of my books. And why did the reviewer not like it? Because the Christian site that led her to my erotic romance title (????) didn't give her the mystery or suspense she'd wanted. Huh? I wanted very badly to ask the woman why she'd buy a book without reading the blurb that went with it, or to add something obnoxious like an "oh God" said in the heat of the moment could very well be inspirational, but I declined.

Not worth the effort or the potential mess of a discussion I really didn't want to have. And really, did it matter in the end? My royalties are nice and I'm happy with what I wrote. I have bigger problems to deal with and new stories to write. Why get dragged down in the negatives?

Food for thought on your happy Friday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hitting the Hot Spot

I'm over at Hitting the Hot Spot today talking about television. Come on over and take a read.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

FOXY LADY: New Release

New Release! FOXY LADY is now available from Samhain. A Cougar Falls book.

Sheriff Ty Roderick likes order, but Julia Easton is one vixen that turns his well-ordered life upside down. She’s cool, contained, and unshakable. Until one night she makes him an offer he hates to, but must, refuse. Now the one woman he can’t stop thinking about won’t give him the time of day. And then she vanishes. When he learns she’s in danger, he rushes to help and finds more than he bargained for.

Julia took a huge chance and fell flat on her face, rejected. Trying to save her younger sister from the same fate is giving her fits. The man Meghan's engaged to isn’t a shapeshifter, he’s human, his family likes to hunt, and his bully of an older brother is fixated on Julia. When Ty comes to the rescue, Julia plans to use him and lose him. But Ty isn’t going anywhere. Instead, he gives her the answer she wanted the first time she asked, if she can only find the courage to accept it.

To read more, click here.

And to read the free prelude to Foxy Lady, click here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Week, Another Happy Monday

Good Morning! Enjoying a nice piping hot cup of a Starbuck's Sumatra blend and getting to work. I've walked the dog, done my situps and eaten breakfast. Time to get to work.

I received word this morning that Storm Lords will be going into print with Total E-Bound. Here's the cover. The book's due to release in October!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Unlikely Heroine

I'm pretty sure this picture is from the Dove ads, which I absolutely love. Fat, thin, brown, tan, gold and white, body type and skin color seem to be the two biggest factors when describing a typical female heroine in the romance books. The large percentage of heroines in the romance market at large are white, skinny with boobs, and beautiful.

Now, I like fiction. And I don't have a problem reading or writing about a woman I wouldn't mind looking like. (I'm not talking at all about character. I'm talking about physical appearance. Character is something else altogether.) But some time ago I had a few readers ask me why I never wrote about women of color, and I was struck dumb. I hadn't ever really thought about it. Not writing about dark skin, Asian descent, and Hispanic roots wasn't a conscious decision at all.

I'm the daughter of an Italian-Sicilian father and Swedish/English/who-knows-what-else mother. My best friends throughout the years have been from different backgrounds, and I grew up in a suburb of Philly, where the culture was extremely diverse. (Note: I live in the South, and I've met ONE Jewish couple down here. Yeah, ONE.)

Heck, I also served in the military. I'm familiar with people from all walks of life. Yet my heroines tended to be very similar. Why was that? And now that I was aware of it, why not try something different? So I resolved to write about characters with different backgrounds. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and more.

Then I noticed something else. Most of my heroines were full-breasted and on the tall side. And okay, that's because I am, and with so many women getting boob-jobs, it seems to me that society favors a larger chest. But most women aren't perfectly formed up top, are they? Nor is every woman topping 5'7 and happy about it. So to fix my tall, boob fixation, my latest heroine is a petite woman with a bra size in keeping with her frame. (Foxy Lady, due out from Samhain next week.)

Now I'm wondering what other conventions I should play with. Long hair vs. short hair, maybe? Most of my heroines tend to have longer hair. They also tend to be shy of turning forty. The older heroine, perhaps? Then again, I don't seem to write about women in their late teens, early twenties. It's easier for me to write about women who have more life under their belts, so to speak. But why not have a fun heroine in her forties, or a mature 22-yr old looking for love?

It's an interesting thought process, and one I don't think I'll have as much trouble dealing with when writing my heroes--who have to be alpha. But I'll save that topic for another day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Wednesday Wazzup

My happy face. I just finished a manuscript. Now I'm doing the smart thing and tucking it away for at least a week before I look at it again. It's amazing to me what fresh eyes can find in a work that I think is just perfect after a few cups of coffee and marathon writing sessions.

I'm now jotting some ideas for my backburner project I'll start tomorrow, just before my dentist appointment and then after an excursion to Pier 1, because, heck, it's close and I have my eye on a chair I saw there. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Happy hump day. (And take that however you like.)

Clash of the Covers--Below the Surface is a Contender

Below the Surface is up for best book cover in the Clash of the Covers contest at Embrace the Shadows. Go on over and vote, or not. But you can see what I'm up against. They nominated The Fire Within last time, and it won. There's some pretty stiff competition this week, though.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mood Reading

This is a mood ring. Very popular back in the 70s (or so I've heard; I never had one), the mood ring changed colors dependent upon the mood of the person wearing it.

Well, I'm a mood reader. My mood changes color, so to speak, dependent upon what I read. Give me a happy ending, I'm a happy camper. Give me a book where the heroine dies, the hero then kills himself, and their child grows up to be a bitter, estranged individual from society, and I want to off myself.

I can't function when I've read something miserable, which is why I normally steer clear of literary fiction. It seems like fiction isn't considered quality unless there's a large dose of angst and unhappiness thrown in, capped with a maudlin ending.

I've recently reported to my book club that I'm going to be unable to read anything new until after November, when I hope to have several projects completed. I just can't chance it. I need to write sexy adventure with thrills, chills, and a great big HEA in mind. And if I read material that is far from that mark, it'll affect what I'm writing.

For that same reason I rarely delve into a new book unless I'm done a major project. One, it's a reward to myself for hard work. And two, I don't like being manipulated by the good stuff I read either. If I read about a real alpha hero who's a vampire, my hero might start to develop vampy tendencies. If the heroine in my new reading material is athletic and leggy, even though I've written her as a short bookworm, she'll suddenly start leaping like crazy through my book.

So to be completely safe, I'm going no-book for the next month and a half. It's gonna be hell. There's a new Nalini Singh book coming out in November, so I might actually make that one. But I'll miss Venom, the latest Jennifer Estep Elemental Assassin novel I'm just dying to read. Then there's Sabrina Jeffries' new Hellions of Halstead Hall book, arriving Sept 21st. And I could go on. I'm a book addict going cold for a few weeks. I just hope I can survive while my muse picks up the slack.

What are you looking forward to reading?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Below the Surface Releases Today!

Below the Surface, Storm Lords Book Two, releases today from Total E-Bound.

Water bends but doesn't break, and the River Prince must learn that weaknesses can become strengths with the right woman by his side.

The land of Tanselm will fall to evil if four identical princes wielding elemental powers fail to find their intended brides. Thrust into the parallel realm of earth to escape death and insure a future for their world, they have one mission and one mission only - to find their destined affai.

The River Prince, Marcus Storm, doesn't think he'll ever find a mate worthy of him in a world devoid of magic. To make matters worse, the evil that invades his own world has followed him into Seattle. Time is running out for Tanselm. He’s working hard to find a woman to satisfy his need for a bride. But his well-earned conceit and sure charm don't work on Tessa Sheridan.

Tessa would be happy to put the sexily aggravating Marcus in his place. Unfortunately, she’s dealing with a new and unwelcome form of telekinesis and an embezzler at work trying to frame her. She doesn’t have time for Marcus’s arrogance. But Marcus is all too willing to show her his passion runs deep, and his love is just there below the surface.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some Real Finds

A few things I've recently discovered that I'd like to share. I'm not getting any kickbacks from any of this stuff, so take my recommendations for what they're worth.

The Romance Studio hosts release parties every few weeks. The next one is on Sept 24th. It's in a blog-style format, so you just need to post to be eligible to win contests. A great way to win books by new-to-you authors for free. And the authors change with each party, so click on the link to see who's stopping by for this upcoming party. Oh, and publishers happen to stop by offering prizes as well. You can't lose here, since you don't have to sign up for anything you don't want to.

s Wholesome Junk Food I was shopping at Earthfare (upscale grocery store) the other day for a few odds and ends. If I put too much in the cart, I have to mortgage my house to pay for it, so I make do with a few organic fruits, coffee, and my staple--agave syrup (instead of sugar, it rocks!). I was hungry and picked up a snack that looked nutritious. But even better, it was delicious! So often what's good for you tastes like cardboard. LWJF cookies are chewy bite-size morsels of goodness. I tried the Anna-banana splits. Holy crap, are they good! Now I'm on a hunt for the lemon vanilla cookies. (They also have a gluten-free selection.)

Brick and Mortar Bookstore sales The best places to buy brand new books at cheapo prices are in the sale aisles. I've found some real finds lately, $3.99 and less on trade size books I didn't want to pay full price for. A Jaci Burton book, a Sarah McCarty book, and a few others. There were Jayne Ann Krentzs and Nora Roberts tomes in hardback for $5.99 at the back of Books a Million. And my local Borders is practically giving them away in the front of the store. What with everyone trying to get rid of overstock, it's time to go shopping and save...

Cold Stone Creamery. Okay, so they're not cheap, nor are they calorie free. But watching some kid mash up your ice cream in front of you is mesmerizing. Especially when he or she adds nuts, fudge, caramel, and brownies. Founder's Favorite--this flavor is to-die-for amazing.

Now I'm hungry. Gotta go.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Release: Enemy Red

The magic of love lies in the arms of his fiery enemy.

No one likes an arranged marriage, and Fenris, a golden wolf in the Silver Clan, plans to avoid it as long as he can. But the Wolf in the Forest has heard the prayers of another and grants the female her wish.

Unfortunately for Fenris, his destined mate is an alpha in her own right, and an enemy who plans on taking the Silver Clan, and Fenris, apart one bite at a time.

Until Fenris bites back.

To read more, click here.

Enemy Red--now available from Total E-Bound

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New and Noteworthy

  1. Julian's Jeopardy hit #3 on Fictionwise for erotic romance.
  2. JJ also received 5 stars from JERR. Here's a snippet of the review."The love scenes are quite raw yet passionate...The various secondary characters and villains are such a treat to read because I just didn’t know who to trust in this story. The continual surprises incorporated with each character were truly exciting. Tersch, Fallon, Olivia, Hayashi, Morgan, Mrs. Sharpe and Ava helped to bring Sheridan and Julian together yet strengthening their relationship with each other. Escaping to this wonderful, unique and sexy series was truly exciting."
  3. Enemy Red comes out on Monday, the 6th, from Total E-Bound
  4. I'm working on Kate, Logan, and Jesse's story(as yet untitled) to follow Namesake, for Ellora's Cave.
  5. My final post proofs have been delivered to Loose Id for Gunnar's Game, coming out in November.
  6. I've been offered a contract on another book that I wrote a few months ago. More news when it's official, but I'm very excited about the project and the opportunity.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Some Photos of Bend

It struck me that I haven't followed through on some older posts. My trip to Bend, Oregon over the summer was wonderful. I saw family, yes, but I was also enthralled with the area. If I had the money, I'd move there in a heartbeat. These photos are part of the reason I fell in love with Bend.