Thursday, October 29, 2009
Everyone's talking about Halloween ... the ghosts, goblins and everything that goes bump in the night. There are countless people on the loops and blogs discussing their favorite horror movies. Me? I'm watching "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" because that's more my speed. I don't do horror movies unless I'm given no other choice. (I watched "Friday the Thirteenth" in college with my hands in front of my eyes the whole time because some college roommates thought I would love it!)
I have an overactive imagination. It's one of the reasons I fell into writing. I also have a sort of photographic memory. So when I watch anything gory or scary it stays with me for-ever! Images pop up randomly. I saw a horror movie when I was 15. Some B-rated flick at a cheap cinema. To this day I can describe the movie in vivid detail to you. *shivers* Those images never go away. And it's just not worth it to add more gory images to my mental file.
Until my children were pre-teens I kept all that stuff from them. There are "children's" movies that are just downright scary in my opinion. Of course they would tell me they watched them at a friend's house. When my oldest was in second grade the "Goose Bumps" series was popular. The librarian read one of them to my daughter's class. It was enough to have her sleeping in my room for the next month. Apparently she's as sensitive as I am.
This week I was using the internet to do some research on ghosts. I'm not sure what I was looking for, but I ended up over at YouTube. I told myself not to watch those videos claiming to be about ghosts, but like a car accident on the side of the highway, my curiousity got the best of me. I flicked through a few of them. Most of them were just silly, but one or two looked real. I don't know if they were, but it was enough for me to wake in the middle of the night wondering if someone was standing over my bed.
I don't like that feeling. I don't like being scared. It's not fun. It's not entertaining. It's just creepy to me. So I'm curious. Do you like scary movies? I'd love to know why or why not.
Believe it or not Nina writes paranormal stories about vampires and shifters. (Who totally don't creep her out.) You can find out about all her books on her Website.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
He chuckled softly. “Yes, I know that. But I have connections. How long do you have to stay here?” he murmured in her ear.
“The Harrises usually expect me until the bitter end. How long are you here for this time?”
“Two days. Can you leave early?”
The orchestra had segued into another slow, romantic tune and their bodies moved in perfect harmony. He danced with an unexpected grace, the muscles in his thighs flexing as he moved. She could feel his heart beating where he enfolded her hand against his chest and the thick ridge of his cock pressed against her soft flesh through the fabric of their clothing.
His hand caressed the nape of her neck, sending shivers down her spine and he pressed his cock more tightly against her. “Rachel, I have to see you naked. I’m so hard for you right now I’m doing my best not to lose control here in a public place.”
“I can’t leave,” she protested weakly, although she wanted nothing more than to run out the door with him. “What would I tell my bosses?”
They continued to move in time to the music, his pelvis grinding against hers, the sleek muscles of his thighs flexing with each step. One hand drifted down to cup the cheeks of her ass, pressing the light fabric of her dress into the cleft.
“People can see us.” She tried to reach back and rearrange the dress but he grabbed her hand and pulled it against him, trapping it between their bodies.
“They’re all too busy being seen by other people.” He bent his head so his mouth was close to her ear. “I love your ass. Do you remember the first time I fucked you there, Rachel? How hot it made you feel? How you loved my cock filling your hole? How hard you came?”
If he didn’t stop talking to her she would implode right there on the dance floor. Already she could feel her cream soaking the crotch of her thong and pantyhose and sticking to the insides of her thighs. The moistened fabric rubbed against her skin as she moved in the steps of the dance. Rather than causing a feeling of irritation, it only aroused her more.
“Gabe, please,” she whispered.
“Please what?” His head moved and his lips pressed against her hair. “Please fuck you? Please suck your sweet little pussy? Stick my tongue way inside until it scrapes the little sweet spot that sends you into orbit? Please make you come in a hundred different ways? Jesus, Rachel, watching you come is awe-inspiring.”
The music shifted into something with a stronger beat and Gabe’s body shifted with it. He was a smooth dancer, much more accomplished than she would have expected. He had a natural grace and rhythm that reminded her of a jungle cat. Maybe a panther, dark and sleek like him. Every shift of his hips, every dip and sway, increased the friction of his cock against her and the arousing feeling of the cloth between the cheeks of her buttocks.
“We need to get out of here,” he told her, tightening his grip on her. “Right now.”
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This is the title of my newest release from Total-E-Bound. And it is a step in a new direction for me. Finding Home doesn't really have a bad guy or any paranormal element. It is simply the story of a woman who is trying to find where home is. She runs out on her wedding day swearing never to go back but one phone call changes that. Her father is ill and Andy simply cannot stay away from the man who has always loved her. Going home isn't easy...especially when your sister is married to your ex fiance and your mother still criticizes your choices. But then sometimes things aren't exactly the way we perceive them. Sometimes the biggest obstacles in our lives are the ones we create ourselves. Finding Home is simply a heart felt story of one woman who is trying to do just that...find where she belongs.
Finding Home by Lacey Thorn
Sometimes home isn't a place...but a person...or in Andy's case...people.
Andy had been running for a long time. From her mother, her sister, her ex-fiancee, from life it seemed. But when an emergency calls her home she finds more than she bargained for.
With a clearer vision she sees that things aren't like she remembers. Just maybe she can finally be a part of the family she always felt different from. And in the process learn that love can often come with more than one man at a time. And that maybe a ménage can last a lifetime.
Excerpt From: Finding Home
“I know that you’re as unhappy as me, Andy. I can see it every time that I look in your eyes. There’s no love in there for me. You pull away from me when I try to touch you. You don’t return my kiss anymore. We’ve been engaged for a while now and yet we still haven’t made love. Which would be fine if it was to make our wedding day more special. But I know that isn’t the reason. We tried. We really tried, or at least I did. But I can’t spend the rest of my life with a woman who shudders away from my touch instead of under it. That wouldn’t be fair to either one of us. So I’m canceling the wedding. I’ll take care of it all myself. Because the truth is that I’ve been seeing someone else, someone who does love my touch. And that isn’t fair to any of us.”
Andrea Michelle Ebans sat in her car in front of her mother’s farm house. It had been three years since her wedding to Bryan had been canceled. She had left within hours of their conversation. And Bryan had married her sister Chloe instead. Chloe, her affectionate older sister who looked so much like their mother. Her sister was a slim 5’7” with an always perfectly coiffed blonde bob hair cut and big green eyes. She was America’s picture of the beautiful woman. And honestly, most likely a perfect match for Bryan. But it had been hard to admit that back then.
Andy was built more like the women in her father’s family. She stood 5’3” and was as curvy as they came. Her breasts were a large 38DD, and, although her stomach was flat, her ass was quite a handful. She had long brown hair that was prone to curls no matter how much she longed for her sister’s straight hair. In fact, the only thing that they shared was their green eyes.
She had only been twenty-one three years ago when she had run from home, and this was her first trip back. Her father was ill. He wanted to see his Raggedy Andy, the name he had called Andy since she was a little girl. Her mother had called and informed her that it was her duty to come home and see her father. Her mother, Claire, had despaired of her youngest daughter long ago, choosing to spend her time and effort on Chloe, who was always the perfect lady. Andy was more likely to be outside causing trouble. She had refused to wear dresses or kerb her wild ways, and eventually her mother had left her alone. Something she had always thought she wanted until she got it.
Her father, though, had always babied her. He was fond of telling her that only a dog wanted a bone. He said that a real man wanted a real woman, which is a woman with curves built for a man to embrace. When she had left, he had sent her to his sister, Carmen. Through Carmen she had learned all about what made her tick as a woman. And she was a woman, with a real woman’s needs, regardless of what had failed to happen with Bryan. However, she had received quite the education in the past three years.
Andy took a deep breath and opened the car door. This was the moment that she had both looked forward to and dreaded, coming home. Her mother stood framed in the doorway. Andy was more than aware that she had always been a disappointment to her mother, and she was sure that wouldn’t change. Her mother wouldn’t like her sex kitten image any more than she had the tomboy one. She still wore her jeans, but now they rode low on her hips showing all of her belly, including the red ruby ring that pierced her belly button. She wore a peasant style black shirt that tied just below her full breasts and left a lot of her creamy flesh exposed above her bra. She only prayed that her mother wouldn’t look hard enough to notice the faint outline of the tattoo she had on her left lower shoulder. Then again, wasn’t that part of the reason she had dressed this way? If she and her mother were sniping at each other then they wouldn’t have to face the bigger issues that they had been hiding from for years.
On her feet were 3” black ankle boots which matched perfectly with the cowboy hat she perched on her head. Why, it was almost a given that a girl needed a hat in Texas. She wore long gold hoops in her ears, and her hair hung in curling waves to her rear. She had almost put it up but decided at the last minute that she wanted to feel the wind blowing in it as she drove. With another weary sigh, she slammed the door to her shiny red convertible and headed to the stone walkway that led to the front porch.
She was still a good three feet away when she heard her mother’s gasp of probable horror. She couldn’t keep the grin from her lips.
“Why hello, Momma, it’s so good to see you.” Andy smiled at her mother as she came into the house. Her mother just looked at her with wide eyes trying to take in everything at once.
“Good Lord! What in the world have you done to yourself, Andrea?”
“I’ve grown up. I’ve lived. I’m very happy with my life, Momma. I’m so glad that you asked.” Andrea was waiting for her mother to make a sassy comeback just like she always did. But it didn’t come.
“Well, it’s good to see you anyway.” Claire said and for the first time Andy snapped out of her own perceptions and really took note of her mother. Claire had aged, and her once perfect hair now looked as if she ran her fingers through it constantly. She had always seemed thin, but now she was almost frail with it, as if a good wind would blow her away. It seemed that more than just Andy had changed in the last few years.
“Your father is on the back porch resting.”
Andy relaxed and smiled with ease for the first time since her arrival back home. She couldn’t wait to see him and tell him about how she was. He knew what Carmen was and exactly what lifestyle she led. He was the one that encouraged Andy to go to her. At the time, all he had said was that Aunt Carmen would help her find herself. She most definitely had. Still smiling at her mother, she moved through the kitchen and out the back door to the porch that wrapped around the entire house.
Her father sat on the porch swing. He looked older than she had ever imagined him looking and worn out. He was thinner and his hair was all grey now. She had only been gone for three years. It was amazing how much a person could change in that amount of time. He must have heard the screen door close, because he looked up at her before she even took a step towards him. His eyes were bright with tears and the sight of them made hers tear up as well.
“My own little Raggedy Andy. I’ve missed you, baby girl,” Joseph said.
“Daddy,” Andy hurried to him and fell into his arms on the swing. He held her close, and she was frightened by the lack of strength in his arms.
“Daddy, what’s wrong? Why didn’t you let Aunt Carmen and I know that you were sick?”
“I wanted you to enjoy yourself, Andy. I know what you think of this town and the people in it. I know the memories that coming back here will bring. I couldn’t, no I wouldn’t ask it of you unless I had to.”
“Nothing is more important than you, Daddy. I would face anything for you. And this town holds no power over me now. I know who I am, and I’m okay with that.”
“You look beautiful, Andy, absolutely beautiful. You remind me so much of your Aunt Carmen.”
“She misses you too. I still don’t understand why she wouldn’t come with me.”
“Carmen has more of a reason to hate this town than you do, Andy.” Her mother spoke quietly from the doorway, and there was sadness in her eyes that Andy had never seen before. “Your room is ready for you. We’re having company for dinner in an hour, so perhaps you would like to change.”
“I already have a room in town. And I’m fine with how I’m dressed now, Momma.”
“What do you mean that you have a room in town?” Her mother looked hurt at Andy’s words. “You’re welcome to stay here, of course. Tell me where you’re booked at and I’ll take care of it for you.”
“No, Mother, I’ve already taken care of it. Aunt Carmen still owns a house here in town. Since the previous renters moved out several months ago, I plan to stay there while I’m in town. It has an office that I can use for my work.”
Her mother gave another weary sigh and shook her head. “My daughter the writer. When do you plan on getting your head out of the make believe and actually living your life? You need to grow up, Andy. You should be more like your sister. She and Bryan have been married for three years now. Bryson started pre-school this year, and little Amanda Rose is just the most perfect little girl. Only two years old and already such a perfect little lady.”
Oh, yes, Bryson, the child that her sister was already pregnant with when Andy was supposed to be the one marrying Bryan. Little had she known that the woman he had been seeing was her sister. But did her mother blame Chloe or even Bryan for that? No, somehow that was all Andy’s fault as well. And hell, maybe it was Andy’s fault. But bottom line was that her sister and Bryan seemed happy and Andy had moved on.
Book DetailsErotic Rating Total-e-burning
Genre Contemporary/ Ménage à Trois
Cover art by Natalie Winters
Book Length Novel
It's your world...unlaced
Monday, October 26, 2009
One lady in the supermarket checkout asked me how I could wear a half naked man on my chest and not be embarrassed. I blinked at her and raised my brows. "What half-naked man?" I asked innocently. The lady on the other side of me turned and stared, and said, "Where can I get me one of those?"
Yep...being a romance author is fun. Nobody even lifts an eyebrow anymore. The Post Office guy just grins and asks me how I got the picture of him. (He's hot), and when I mailed stuff off to Ellora's Cave for Romanticon, the Post Office lady asked how she can get some books. I handed her my card with the EC website addy on it. I asked her then next time I saw her if she got any books. She sorta grinned and ducked and said, "My husband loves those books..."
Well...I can certainly imagine why! Most women who buy erotic romance usually try an experiment with the old man once in a while.
Yep...it's loads of fun being an erotic romance writer...
PS! My Big October Treasure Hunt runs until midnight Halloween! You can win a full set of all four of my published books, plus large glossy cover flats autographed specially for the winner! So hurry and get your entry in. I promise you will have fun finding the Treasure!
PS again! My NEW RELEASE contest just started for my next book, "First and Ten" A part of the Carnal Reunions Anthology being released November 10, 2009 from Resplendence! Seven separate short novellas...seven hot authors! That's on my website, too!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I can barely keep up with the three things I have now. I'm a Twitter reject because I can't remember to twirp or whatever they call it. When I do I'm at a loss for what to say. Do people really want to know that I'm staring at my computer screen with my eyes crossed? I'd try for something really glamorous but I doubt anyone would believe me. I generally harassas friends there just to make it look like I'm a good Twitter person.
Then we have websites, which I don't mind in the least. The reason I don't mind is because my webmistress is a gem. She makes sure I don't have to do a thing. That woman is a sparkling mountain of diamonds in my eyes. I sometimes venture over to the public side of my world and admire it. Vain? Nope, cause trust me outside of cyberspace, I am so not that put together and organized. Plus, my website helps readers get in touch with me easier than tracking me through my publishers.
And my last and probably least abused cyber home is myspace. I sort of know what I'm doing in this realm. I blog whenever something something occurs to me or whenever I have something to share. I can update my 'mood' and other things. Add friends, request friends, make a music playlist and in general create mayhem. I love it. It's fun, it's easy and it makes for killer sparkly things to show off.
I've been told I must get a facebook account and a few other cyber homes that I can't remember. My question is why? I have three valid places for readers to find me, contact me or update themselves on news. To add more feels like throwing a drowning man an elephant. Way useless.
My one exception is guest blogging. I love doing this. Nothing is more fun than being invited over to someone else's house and making yourself at home. Party, party, party and there's no mess to clean up afterward!! And I get to share my opinions and plots with yet another unsuspecting group of vict-...I mean cherished readers :)
If you see me on Twitter, or floating off someplace in the cyber world give me a yell, tell me hi. If there's no angry mob on my heels I'll stop and chat. However if a group of angry people with torches and pitchforks are running after me....either hide me or give me an alibi. I'll be your friend for life :)
Have a wonderful Fall weekend!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Two hours later, you still don't know any more than when you started. As a writer, it isn't enough for us to write well. We must also be able to share a short synopsis with our readers if necessary.
It could be a very short description--"I write BDSM ménage with a historical background." Or it could be a little more. "My current story is about a retired female spy who is leading a secret life. When her life is endangered due to an internet hacker, the hero who also a spy must find her and save her life."
In either case, you immediately have an idea about the story. If BDSM is not to your taste, okay. But you aren't floundering along wondering what the story is about. It is our job to describe our story as concisely as possible. After all, when you're exchanging information in a grocery store line, time is of the essence. And yes--almost every time I go to the grocery store, I share information about my books.
I recently met a woman who is a self-described writer. When I asked her what she wrote, she stated a genre. And then I said, "Oh. What is the story about?"
She didn't know. After a while I concluded that there was no story. There might be a scene or two, but this woman has no idea that she needs more. For over an hour, she talked mostly describing various examples of her genre. But every time I asked about her story, she went back to describing her genre.
That's like saying I write fantasy. Or sci-fi. Or romance. What do I write specifically? I write humorous erotic romance stories based on the Arthurian legends. They are part satire, part twisted fairytale cycles based on the adventures of three sisters seeking suitable husbands.
Now at this point, if you as the reader don't like satire, Arthurian legends, fairytales or erotic romance...well at least you've been thoroughly forewarned.
Or I might say I write a series about a secret valley where blue people dwell among strange plants and animals. Their highly sexual culture is a medieval/high technology mix with paranormal elements. Oh, yeah. Outsiders who find their way to the valley can never go back home.
How about you? Can you describe your story in a short paragraph? This isn't a blurb for the back of the book. This is a short description of your story. Here's your chance.
Tell me--What's your story?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I intended to write yet another glowing report about RomantiCon and what a wonderful conference it was. And it was—every superlative used falling ever so slightly short of just how we (authors, aspiring authors, EC sponsors and all we readers) felt just being there. And trust me, all those EC sponsors and staff went far beyond the call of duty to make everything run so smoothly.
But today, maybe because I’m cooking comfort food on a dreary Monday, it struck me that RomantiCon was like a family reunion: The distant cousins I’d never met; the ones I’ve known for years, but only see at conferences; the friends they brought with them. And more friends still who shared smoking space and laughter—lots of laughter, to feed the soul.
And the generosity of spirit that shared concerns for everyone reaching home safe and sound. And above all the abiding friendships—old and new—that made this conference so very special.
Stay safe and as wonderful as you are. See you next year!
I've been scrubbing my brain for something mistake-ridden which I could post here. There isn't much I'd admit to in a public forum.
1. Underestimating my free time while overextending myself on projects. Not to terrify my editors who I know read this blog, but I'll be pulling all nighters to get my work in timely. Fortunately for us all, I schedule my turn in dates well in advance of their turn in dates. This shortens my timeline but keeps the editorial staff out of the firepit.
2. Forgetting to buy coffee. Huge error when you require wakefulness to write and have a life outside of laptop-land.
3. Relationships which inhibit some part of you that you like. In this case, writing. Sometimes you don't have a choice who is in your life. Sometimes you do. Make those choices wisely.
4. Thinking the Internet will only take a moment. It won't. It is a greedy whore that's incredibly jealous of your writing time. Unfortunately, you can't break up with her completely because you work with her, but you do have the wherewithal to refuse her admittance to your writing home.
5. Writing. Yes, it can be. Just as you need to have an environment for writing which is sacred, so must you have a life to refresh your creativity. Watching people is critical to characterization. Living life is critical to plot development and experiential training.
6. Never. Not ever, should you think you know more than someone already in the industry. Probably wise not to do the same for the newer talent. I don't believe I've made this mistake but I've certainly seen it done. You only make enemies and yourself-to borrow from a friend-an asshat.
7. Turn the bloody alarm clock off before you sit down to write. I add this because it just went off into a rendition of the Titanic theme song and now it's annoying me. Must get up. Shall be back in a flash.
8. Don't forget to eat. Your computer doesn't mind but your mind won't compute. I forget constantly then wonder why I can't concentrate.
9. Don't piss off your editor. Yes, I've done this. Do I really need to explain why this is bad? Fortunately they are forgiving souls and will only mention my impertinence every so often.
Numbers 10 through 253,987 are not printable here. Good luck to you.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It is wonderful to read of women, whether real or imaginary, who overcome hardships. Sometimes, in real life, we don't come out on top. Sometimes, we sink. But as all women who survive, we eventually swim to the top of the muck and mire and start over again.
As many of you know, I am my husband's caregiver. He is the victim of stroke and a quadriplegic. For six years I have been taking care of him and his has been improving, little by little. Then about a year ago, he stroked again. He forgot how to drink, how to eat, everything. I was devastated. That is when I sunk into the lake of despair.
My husband is recovering. He has relearned and even gained ground.
I am back. It took a year for me to recover my writing, my sense of security, my strength.
However, I am coming back by not just swimming to the top. I am swimming and diving off the big board.
I have entered NANOWRIMO 2009. I will put myself on the line by putting my word count on MySpace www.myspace.com/charleneleatherman You can click on the NaNoWriMo icon to go to my page and see word count, excerpts and leave comments. Rooting me on is encouraged -- (grin).
I am going (if the creek don't rise) submit my wip (work in progress) to Cerridwen Press and see if it is accepted. The working title is Vials of Pyxis. I will be blogging on MySpace and my other sites about the novel now and then.
I am going to start blogging again. So check back here on the 18th of the month and every month after that to see what is going on with my work. There might be tidbits about life as well.
I am reviewing a book, and interviewing the author starting November 9. The book is Tirissa and the Necklace of Nulidor by Willow.
You can find the book on Amazon.com
So, for now, that is what is going on. I'll see you again, here, on the 18th. I'll let you know what is going on. Hopefully I'll have good news about Vials of Pyxis. I'll tell you all about Tirissa and the Necklace of Nulidor. And, (I'd cross my fingers but then I couldn't type) I'll have a wonderfully huge word count in the NaNoWriMo. See you then. Charlene.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
With the debut of the first in my SWORDS OF PASSION series, I get to work with 3 FAB men. Knights, every one. Each one madly in love with women whom they should not have. Each man irrevocably tied to save her, from herself, her king, her fate. Each man, a legend (hey, aren't they all?) in their own time!
The first is the tale of Simon de la Poer, one of King Richard's men, now owing fealty to King John. Simon's task is to aid a lovely, lonely, childless countess who must bear an heir to her estate before those around her decide to dispossess her of her lands, her wealth and even her life.
Come Nov. 30 to TOTAL-E-BOUND.com when AT HER SERVICE debuts.
And don't you really want to know what those pearls are for????
Trust me. You DO.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Do you really, really want to have those kind of regrets? Look back and mourn the things you didn't do? To me that's an invitation to be the sexy, take-charge woman most of romance novels exalt. Not too long ago telling a man what you wanted in bed was almost unheard of. Now the modern woman isn't afraid to demand satisfaction, and I find that one of the biggest advances both in romance itself and romance writing. Changes the whole picture from a little 'how I hope you love me' to a big 'here's HOW you love me'.
I think this is part of why e-books are so popular. Women can take charge of almost anything and do in my books. It's part of the reason they're so popular. It's also the reason some friends I have won't touch e-books. Older readers are too scared of the technology and some are menaced by the content. They simply don't want to be a sexy, take charge sort of woman. Someone of them don't want to catch the wind in their sails. Can't imagine such a thing. The unknown scares the hell out of them. If you've got an older friend into e-mail and e-books then they've made at the biggest part of the leap to the new world. Maybe this is a far fetched conclusion to reach, but I'm one of the older ones who made the leap and have quite a few friends who never will. I feel sorry for them, but no longer discuss much about the web with them. I just get a blank, or in some cases, a digusted stare. My younger friends love to talk about anything connected to the web.
This made me remember a similar admonition, 'you seldom spend time regretting what you bought, but you often obsess of the things you didn't.' I've had times where I couldn't make up my mind fast enough to spend the money for something I really wanted. Not important, but the same line of thinking. I still think about a beautiful abstract drawing I didn't get. Tough luck when you let that happen.
DON'T be afraid to be impulsive. I have trouble with following my own impulses, but that's another story. Let's just say I'm working on it. Maybe this is why my heroines don't usually have that particular problem, and the kind a woman wants to be. Makes the little dears much more interesting, I think, and I'm striving to get there with them.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Anytime Darlin', by Julia Barrett, my very first romance, took Third Place in the Romance-Suspense category.
Beauty and the Feast, by Chana Alexander, coming March 2010 with Resplendence Publishing, took Third Place in the Short Contemporary category.
I could not be more thrilled! To place in two categories is every bit as meaningful to me as winning grand prize!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Apparently, the popes of history were concerned about leaving something behind after they die so people would remember them, so they commissioned great works of art.
There are two ways to leave a legacy -- have kids, create art, or both. Unless everything on earth disappears, the words we write will be around long after we will in one form or another. Michelangelo is gone, but the Sistine Chapel is still here, inspiring everyone who sees it.
I was sad to learn of Kate Duffy’s recent death. She was Sr. Editor of Kensington Publishing for several years, and I attended many of the same writing workshops she did. She could often be found on editor/agent panels, giving straight, commonsense advice--laced with her great sense of humor--to aspiring authors like me.
During one convention, I pitched a book to her. If you didn’t know Kate, she could seem a little formidable at first, so I was nervous. When the girl who pitched her book before me walked out looking like she might cry, throw up, or both-- apparently there was a sizable problem with her story--I thought “hoo boy, what am I in for?”
To my surprise, it was one of my best pitches ever. It was soon apparent she liked me and my story. And when I described a funny scene where the historical heroine ogles the modern-day hero sunbathing in the buff on the castle roof, she laughed so hard her face turned red. She even told me I was doing a great job pitching.
She read the whole manuscript promptly and although she rejected it, she gave me some valuable feedback I learned from and still use today. Basically, lack of detail in characters and setting and not enough sex. Since then, I’ve been told my settings are rich, my characters are well developed, and sex? I just sold my third erotic romance manuscript. Need I say more? And I’m not an aspiring author anymore. I’m published.
Kate may no longer be with us, but her influence is still around, making all the authors and books she impacted better. What’s your legacy?
Ellora’s Cave titles:
Cicada - paranormal
Sexual Energy - futuristic m/m/f ménage - coming soon!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
ALERT - I'll be adding a hunky Halloween photo at the bottom of my blog...but it's a naughty one! Don't look (well you can peek) if you're easily offended!
My latest book, "Sexy Games" by my other pen name, April Ash, is an erotic romantic adventure of a hero and heroine testing new adult games for the Naughty Games Company. they agree to don costumes and role-play three different scenarios. In my blogs on August 8th and September 8th, I interviewed both the heroine, Stacy, and hero, Sloane.
Costumes and role-playing allow you to fantasize incredible erotic encounters, as my hero and heroine discover. Think about Halloween. It's not just for children. Don't adults dress up and act out roles? How about those sexy pirates, cowboys, whatever?
Only once did I get my husband to wear a costume...but for a very sedate group on a military post so costumes were "tame". We went as Raggedy Anne and Andy. Nothing sexy there. But I knew that going as sex vamp Elvira and my husband wearing tight pants, an opened shirt and looking like a swashbuckling pirate wouldn't fit the atmosphere at this particular party.
So, do you have plans to dress up for Halloween? Perhaps, you'll be creative and do something similar to what the hunky guy in this picture decided to do to impress someone (certainly got my attention!).
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I can hear you saying, wow, where has she been?
Thinking a lot about this lately (as I approach writing my 8th and 9th erotica stories), I began to see how far women have come in the past 40-odd years since Harlequin took off, Avon bought Rosemary Rogers and other publishers saw the value of developing their romance lines.
In the 70s, romances for women were known as "bodice-rippers" and some said they gained their shelf-prominence because the stockers were men. That is such a male-centered statement. Those of us who bought the books did not buy them because they sat so prominently on the shelves. No, the fact is that we bought them because we wanted sexual adventure, men who could love a woman and accept her for all that she was and could become. Remember, in the 70's many college-edcuated woman first went to wrok--even if they had babies! In the 70's, safe sex was a novel idea. Condom sales were not high. (Pharamcies still hid them behind the counter and men had to ask to buy them.) The Pill was still considered unsafe for your health (but we took them anyway). And btw, there was no such thing as equal pay for equal work, maternity leave with pay, family leave for illness-and in many cases, no one ever heard of time off for a death in the family.
So...again...why did we buy those books?
We bought them because, consciously or subconciously, we WANTED men to get a grip, see us, hear us for what we needed: equality in work and play, joy in the relationship, more than slam-bam-thank-you, ma'am in bed!
Romance in all its forms gave us that. Men saw us reading them. Laughed, at first. Read one or two themselves. Then something else happened: They saw that we had more courage to ask for what we were entitled to. Fair pay. Fair play. In the boardroom, kitchen and the bedroom.
I remember the comment/aka uproar in the industry when condoms were first used by men in books, first requested by women, when euphemisims for body parts became boooooring and more honesty in use of terms became more acceptable. But editors still sat on the erotica-meter and cut and slashed those racier parts. (I was one whose scenes were edited down in my historicals and who mourned the loss of exciting diversity in the bedroom!)
But as our children grew to young adults and acted responsibly as we had taught them to do, we saw that they read romances, too. Yep, even the males. Perhaps not as many volumes, but still. This meant we had another generation who understood the dynamics of sexual relations--and who not only read about it, but acted on it.
Enter Virgin Books' Black Lace in the 90's and their huge success in sales in English-speaking countries.
Enter Ellora's Cave at the turn of the century and their huge success in the market with their focus on electronic publishing and sales.
Enter so many other e-publishers into a market that grew by leaps and bounds along with the internet--AND the huge demand for erotica.
What has the latest surge in erotica and e-publishing done for women?
Let me count the benefits!
First, we have truth in packaging! (And what a delight it is to see that FLOWERs are no longer the preferred concept cover for a romance or an erotica!) Now we have, for the ladies, MEN. Men in delicious poses. Men in naked splendour. Men with women in scrumptious tangles that imply the novel's content. And we have naked women, posing with other women. Multiple naked bodies, where the story carries it.
Now we also have an easy, quick and safe method to buy the books we love to read without fear of censure. What is on your Sony Reader or your computer can be locked up, baby, and sequestered from those who might spy on you, your need for a little get-away time, and your need for an affirmation that you are strong, needy and entitled to great sex. On paper. In your bedroom. From a partner who cares.
More importantly, we now have the ability to "view" other means of sexual enjoyment. What was once taboo, unavailable to us by any delicate means is now out there. I remember going to an "art house" with my husband in the 80's and being the only woman in the theater. Urrr. I remember enjoying Debbie Does Dallas and Behind the Green Door and not being able to discuss it except with my husband...and later my writing collaborator who was an educated woman with an open mind. I remember, too, going into Adult Video stores and asking for different tapes. i was asked if I wanted videos "For a Bachlorette Party" or "For a Bridal Shower" and being shown to the large book, subdivided that way. No lie. The entries, yes, I tried them-- were not as good as Dallas or Green Door. And yes, the acting was truly terrible.
But the writing of most erotica fiction I have read in the past few years is absolutely mouth-wateringly LOVELY. DYNAMIC and thrilling! Gratifying beyond any video I ever saw. Including Door and Dallas.
So what else do we get for our freedoms to buy, read beautifully written fiction and enjoy the hell out of it?
We get a boldness to ask our sexual partners for what we want.
We get the ability to know what turns us on.
We get the variety, written out for us, by those with more experience or greater imaginations than ours.
We get to understand that there are many ways to enjoy our own bodies. And others'.
We get to understand that what some want--multiple partners, same sex partners, toys--might be something we want to try. Or not. Living vicariously does make you stronger and more intelligent.
We get to read, enjoy our own imaginations and then we get to decide what makes us happy.
What does reading erotica do for you?
Has it helped you grow out of shell, a habit? Has it brought you new ways to think about the human condition? Might it have improved your primary relationship?
I would love to hear.
Thanks for reading my pov on this wonderful genre.
And do read my newest, a menage, HER THREE-WAY MERGER from EC!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Cheryl has traveled to France to assist in the restoration of a medieval chapel, but one man has been murdered, another beaten, all for the sake of a small but priceless statue, hidden somewhere in the ruins. An international team has been assembled by Francois to help in the renovations, but obviously, one of them is willing to kill to be the one to retrieve the statue.
Cheryl doesn't know who to trust, especially the dangerously handsome Francois, who definitely has more than just a statue on his mind. Who wouldn't want to lose themselves in Mona Risk's French Peril?
Traveling to the beautiful French countryside, staying in a marvelous, ornate chateau, eating fine food and drinking the chateau's wine, and let's not forget the charming and handsome host. Sign me up, Ms Risk, I'll be looking for your next foreign escape.Barbara Vey’s Publishers Weekly
This is a fast moving story full of colorful characters who enhance our enjoyment of the country and its people. Ms. Risk is one of those authors who puts together a tale that’s captivates from first page to last. I’ll have to look for more of her work in the future.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I tried everything I knew to jumpstart the story. I did a character interview, journaled and tried switching the POV of the scene I was writing. I even plotted out what should be happening in the chapter. Nothing worked, not even the walk away from it and leave it alone for a few days approach. That usually has the characters more than ready to talk. I just couldn't move the story forward. So I went back and reread. (I've been trying not to do this so much before I've finished because rereading sometimes leads to revising for me.)
Doing that, I finally figured out what had gone wrong and my subconscious was trying to tell me. (I just wish it would have told me without all of the frustration involved.) I'd pushed the story in a direction that didn't fit the characters or plot. One of them I had to take out a couple of chapters but I'm back to writing and I'm not frustrated. Do you have any interesting techniques for kicking your characters in the butt to get them moving again? I'd like to know because they might come in useful next time.
Oh and by the way, look for Primal Encounter coming October 28!
Friday, October 2, 2009
I try to go at the shelves logically - by starting at the beginning. But then another one comes into the store and it looks soooooo good! And then another. And another.... you get the picture. :)
To alleviate this massive pile up, I could do several things:
1. I could quit my job - but I kind of need the paycheck and, besides, where would I then get free books? Not an option.
2. I could quit writing. Definitely not an option.
3. I could quit doing promo. But if I do that, then my books wouldn't get "out there" - it's a necessary evil. So, unfortunately, not an option.
4. I could quit spending time with my family. No, guess I shouldn't do that.
5. I could quit sleeping. As a person with chronic insomnia, I already do enough of that. Not an option.
6. I could quit reading. Like writing, definitely NOT an option.
7. I could quit adding books until I read the ones I have. But the ones that came in yesterday look so good! I can't do that.
You see my problem? So I guess my shelves will keep growing and I'll keep reading during my free moments.
Sorry this blog is so short. But I have a book to read! :)
Thursday, October 1, 2009
A pro point -- if you know your subject, you're unlikely to make any horrible errors. Con point -- if that's all you know, then your creativity is stifled. I'm an imaginative writer. I also like to get my facts right, because if I don't, I just know someone is going to latch on to the bits that are wrong and I'm going to be Horribly Embarrassed. So where does that leave me...?
Well, writing Fantasy (as I have done) I can invent anything my little heart desires, and it'll be fine, because that's my world and I can do what I like in it (So long as it's consistent).
But if I'm confining myself to the Real World, then certain restrictions kick in. My characters have to follow the physical laws. Gravity. Entropy. All that stuff. In my other favourite -- historicals -- I can't mess with history (or not too much) or it turns into fantasy. So I can't have the Battle of Hastings won by Harold Godwinson, however much I'd like to. I can have him survive the battle, however. The body identified as his, may have been one of his brothers. In my Egyptian-themed contemporary, I have to find a Pharoah who isn't well-known, so I can invent around him.
You're getting my point. I have to say that these are my rules, and no one else has to follow them. Some of the very popular writers don't. No names -- but I can recall one in which the hero is shot in the lag. The musket-ball breaks his thighbone. (This is Napoloenic era, btw) Now, if we are being Realistic, infection would very shortly set in, and if he survived that, then he could still lose the leg. He would not be walking around six weeks later with barely a limp! When I read that I nearly hurled the book across the room.
In another, historical facts were gayly discarded because they didn't fit the plot. Okay, maybe many of the readers didn't spot the errors, but I did, and it spoiled my enjoyment. Catherine of Aragon, from the portraits we have of her, was short and had strawberry-blond hair. But she was Spanish, right? And Spanish ladies are tall with black hair. (My pet beef about the HBO series, The Tudors. Or one of them. Henry was tall, red-headed, and aged like other mortals, for heaven's sakes...)
Which is why I trumpet the benefits of Research. Get the facts right.
But there's a downside. You can get so enthralled by the research that the book may never get written....